I have about a 70% curation rate on Medium. The reason for this, I believe, is because of a focus on the small details — the one-percenters.
These tips are not written anywhere and they can’t be found in the Medium FAQs or in a growth hacking blog post. Even if your story is not curated and you have no desire to bother with Medium Curation, these tips will still help you increase the quality of your writing and make it shareable online.
Here are eleven things you need to know about Medium Curation based on my experience.
Medium hates clickbait
If Medium had a mantra, it would be this.
The whole reason Medium Curation was introduced was to get rid of clickbait.
Clickbait is typically a bold promise in the headline that is not delivered on in the body of the story. For example, an article titled “How to be a Millionaire” that doesn’t deliver a single strategy or mention someone who has done it is clickbait.
When readers don’t get what they want, they get frustrated and stop coming back. The image can also make the article look like clickbait. A middle finger in the air or a swear word in the title can quickly start to smell like clickbait. But not always.
You can swear or use a provocative image without falling into the clickbait trap. The key is to be subtle and not overdo it.
Edit for ease of reading
When you’re in the moment it’s easy to add too much information or repeat the same point over and over.
It’s expected that you edit your work and trim the fat. I didn’t do that recently with an article about Ryan Holiday’s book, and the result was a 14-minute read that was too long and confusing to understand.
Be concise to be curated.
Have a purpose to your story
When you’re fired up with passion or anger you can quickly go on a rant that leads nowhere. Don’t forget to have a purpose to your story.
Why does the audience need to read this?
What do they need to understand?
What has been missed about this topic by other writers?
What can they learn?
What does this story teach people?
Leave rants without a purpose for other social media platforms.
Telling readers how they should live their life rather than how you live yours
Medium doesn’t favor stories that tell readers how they must live their lives or insists on delivering absolutes. Nothing is absolute. Share your experience and leave it up to the reader to decide if your advice is helpful.
Does the story meet basic quality measures
To have your story curated you need to consider the following:
- Is it free of spelling and grammar errors?
- Is it well-written? Are there parts you have to read three times to understand?
- Have you placed links to facts and cited outside sources?
The reader needs to be the focus
We’ve all read those stories that are all about the writer and their ego but offer nothing for the reader. There is no takeaway or new insight the reader can use. These stories usually won’t get curated.
Talk to the reader like you’re emailing a friend.
Share the whole story as a personal essay if you must and then give the reader at least one strategy, rhetorical question or opinion to consider.
Expand on the chosen topic
There are a million stories about startups on Medium. Are you adding anything new or different to the conversation?
Help a reader to think and find new angles on existing topics.
Go beyond your own perspective
It pays to consider adding at least one other perspective to your story.
Maybe it’s a one-sentence quote from an expert or a link to a resource you’ve found helpful. You don’t know everything on a chosen subject. Show us you understand that fact.
Using sex to draw attention
I made the mistake of accidentally sharing an image of a woman bending over in a sexual position. It got me in trouble. Write about sex, absolutely — but don’t sell your story using sexual images that get men, especially, excited.
Journal entries are a fail
Save journal entries for your journal. They won’t and never will get curated on Medium because they have no audience beyond yourself.
Match the publication’s classification
Some publications don’t allow for swear words. Other publications don’t allow you to talk about drug use or give graphic descriptions that should be left for horror films to depict. Keep the publication’s classification in mind.
Are they G, PG, M, M15+, or R? (XXX is not permitted on Medium.)
Not following a publication’s classification can prevent curation.
If you follow this rough guide, when it comes to Medium Curation, you can increase the numbers of stories you get curated. When a story gets curated by Medium, it gets promoted by them through the homepage and their daily email list. You can even get onto their popular list page, editor’s picks page, or into a Medium-owned publication like Forge as a result of curation.
Medium Curation is an unofficial tick in the quality box and it will get you closer to readers who appreciate well-written pieces (which is the vast majority of the Medium audience).
Write with curation in mind and you’ll avoid producing clickbait and content that has no purpose or value. You can write curatable content most of the time if you make it a focus.