Everything You Already Know About Writing on Medium

Medium, from what I can tell from writing a 500-word article every day for two months, is relatively simple. But, it’s very confusing at first.

Here are the basics.

Writing articles is self-explanatory
The interface for writing a “Story” is self-explanatory. What You See Is What Your Article Will Look Like When You Publish It, (WYSIWYAWLLWYPI). Your story is saved as a Draft automatically, so you don’t have to worry about losing it.

People can Recommend your article, which involves giving you a ♥
I’ll talk a little more in a bit about how this affects the popularity of your article. When someone Recommends your article, there’s some chance their friends will see it. Recommends are really useful as a writer to get a sense of what resonates with people.

People can Highlight your article
Highlights are extremely useful as a writer, as sometimes it’s surprising what people will Highlight in your article. You can then write future articles on the thing that people Highlighted.

Your article can be published in a “Publication”
You can create your own Publication wherein you can collect your articles on a particular topic, but Publications are also very useful for getting exposure.

If you keep writing, chances are a Publication will invite you (you’ll get a Medium email) to Publish your story in their Publication (there will be a link for you to click in that email).

On most Publications, you can see how many followers they have, and sometimes you can find submission information. My advice it to just take every invitation you get, as it will get your articles more exposure. Once you’ve published an article in a Publication, you can submit future articles to that Publication.

Eventually, you may be invited to a Publication with a lot of followers, and which fits your voice. This is great, because now you have an outlet for your writing. I like to give an article a couple of days to be sure it performs well before I submit to a Publication.

The more ♥’s your article gets, the more people who see your article (kinda)
Engagement on Medium is insanely high. For example, this article apparently has a 100% Read Rate, despite having over 12,000 Views.

Because engagement is so high, it can be frustrating when roughly 1/10th of people who have Viewed your article have also Recommended it, yet your article still isn’t spreading.

The power of a Recommend depends upon the followers the person doing the Recommending has. If Medium, with 4 million followers, Recommends your article, it will get some Views (in my experience, anywhere from 10k to 100k Views — precise, right?)

A 10% Recommendation rate (Recommends/Views) is surprisingly not that great. 20% is really good, and I’ve had articles with as high as 50% early on.

Recommends will often start higher — as your followers are more likely to Recommend — and taper off. An article that has spread will usually die off right around a 5% Recommend rate.

There’s certainly much more to know about Medium, but that’s Everything You Already Know.