And the good news is, it’s completely doable.
You can become a one-time hit on Medium, even if you’re not a professional or natural born writer. Medium gives fair game to everyone, and it’s up to you to utilize this untapped gem to express your story and get thousands of people to hear your voice.
And the best way to reach Medium’s wall of fame is not to blindly write and hope, but to listen to those who’ve gotten viral. Take it from these 10 writers — you might learn a thing or two.
Sometimes we underestimate the power of social media, because normally we get low (or no) responses when we release our latest post to our followers on Twitter. Not for Sarah Mason, a blogger and creator of Uncommonly.ly. After uploading her post on Medium and tweeting it, she suddenly got a huge spurt of tweets, thousands of views, and people signing up for her email list…AFTER the 9th month. Apparently, people tweeted her old content, including Medium — the biggest influence behind her virality.
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your business is, tweet whenever you publish a new post. You might hit it big today, tomorrow, next month, maybe next year.
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Before Benji even started writing on Medium, he talked to several successful Medium writers about how they got so much traction and executed their advice. Things like using more H2s, quotes, and images to make a post more readable/shareable. Coming up with a better headline, from “What I Learned About Finding Your Passion” to “Why I Quit My Life.” Finding a publication to accept your story. By the time Benji got feedback from the editor of The Mission and published his post, he instantly emailed his friends, colleagues, and subscribers to recommend and share his story. Within one hour, he’d gotten 100 recommends. In 4 days, 10k views.
Execute the feedback successful writers tell you — that’s how you accelerate i in your writing.
In one day 1,009,964 people viewed Ali’s life — a story of how quitting a corporate job for his startup dream f*cked his life. Emotional and real, this story shook those living the startup life or those fascinated by the startup culture (which makes up for the majority of Medium readers). What brought Ali’s post to hit over a million views was a simple trick: Asking readers at the end of his article to recommend and share it with their followers. This alone increased his shares by 32%. On top of that, he reposted his article on all of his social media, several times over the next few days to cover different time zones.
Promote your post as much as you write. This will mean asking your readers to recommend and share your post and reposting it on all your social media for the next couple of days, multiple times a day.
Sarah always had a thing for blogging. And it wasn’t until she found an 8-year old notebook when she scribbled down her ideas and published it onto Medium for the first time, when suddenly she got 200,000+ views the next day. By the end of the week, that number had grown to a million views.
She didn’t do anything special to her writing. She just pushed her ideas onto a new platform to see where it might lead up to — a 3 book deal after 12 months.
As Sarah puts it, “if you’re getting started [on blogging], go to a place where there is a built-in audience that has native sharing” — like Medium, Facebook, Instagram, and experiment. Once you have your audience and found your voice, then you can get your own domain.
As a female designer, Caitlin found Facebook friend’s icon a bit annoying because it shined more light on men. So she changed the famous Facebook icon by adding a female silhouette. Within hours after publishing the new Facebook icons onto Medium, her story blew up on Twitter and Facebook, thanks to the re-shares from friends and a few A-celebrities. The next day, she got emails from The Chicago Tribune, Business Insider and CNN asking for an interview and for her permission to republish her article on their site.
Don’t be afraid to express your opinion, your world’s view, onto Medium. Sure you’ll go against the mainstream, but you might make the hottest topic of the week.
“All writing is risky, but the best stories are inherently vulnerable.” — Caitlin Winner
At first, Carina republished old posts from her personal site, The Curious Cat Project, onto Medium but only got a few hits. After publishing her story in a collection (aka. publication), she got over 2.1k views — 61% more than her non-collection posts got. That’s when she started researching on how to become a writer for different collections. At the end, what Carina accomplished was joining NaNaWriMo to write a thriller novel and getting her Medium pieces published on Thought Catalog, The Daily Muse, and Business Insider.
Submit your post to as many publications as you can, ideally those with a high following. This’ll make it easier for people to find your post.
Before jumping into his 30-day writing challenge, Jon took the time to ask his readers what they wanted to learn. They wanted posts between 5–8 minutes without the bullshit. Keeping that in mind, Jon wrote consistently, publishing up to 6 posts a week and even hired several people to help with the formatting and images. At the end of his experiment, he’d gotten over 500k views in one month.
Keep your reader’s interest in mind at all times when you write. But most importantly, don’t slack off once you’ve committed to writing everyday.
Even though Andrew is writing for “free,” it doesn’t stop him from publishing quality content, consistently. He believes providing value to others is the best writing you can offer, and that in turn brought him thousands of tweets around the world, an interview on a radio show, a guest blogging opportunity at Coindesk, and much more.
Always aim for high quality content. This includes well-thought-out research, clever headlines, and dynamic media.
Before, Mike got 2,127 views in one month. This month though, it’d doubled to 5,689 views. The biggest discovery to this huge increase was getting his post, How to Self-Publish a Best-Seller, featured by Amazon Kindle. This brought Mike 1,000+ views on Medium in 2 days. He mentions it’s really the title and social shares that are important, because after his article, he doubled again the next month, breaking 30k views/month.
Invest more time creating an attractive blog header with an engaging title. It’s worth attracting more attention to your post.
10. How I Hacked Medium! by Levent Aşkan
Levent didn’t focus on writing initially, but loved reading the stories on Medium. He wanted to find the popular stories, but unfortunately he wasn’t content when he looked at the “Top Stories.” So he prepared an Excel sheet and listed 300 of the best writers in 7 hours and started sharing his content through Twitter. In 6 days, he’d gotten 11k views, 464 Medium followers, 250 Twitter followers, 35 HackerNews upvotes, 5 job offers, and close to 500 email subscribers.
Write what’s missing on Medium and share that with people who you believe will find it valuable. Not everything you find on Medium is incredible, so it’s up to you to do a little research and deliver the best content you could offer to readers.