Writers No Longer Need to Be Curated by Medium to Do Extremely Well
There have been huge changes to Medium. Here’s three examples of stories I wrote that weren’t curated, and why they did well.
Writers on Medium used to believe they lived and died by Medium Editors and whether they’d curate their story.
Now, I never got sucked into this way of thinking because I believed (and still do) that the habit of writing matters the most.
You could never make a dollar on Medium, have zero views, and if you write for five years straight, the rest would take care of itself. The opportunities to make money present themselves when you’ve written for long enough.
Regardless of whether you agree with the importance of a writing habit, Medium has made some changes to the platform recently and I’ve had a month to analyze the data.
My conclusion might shock you: you don’t need to worry about Medium curation any more.
The Change to Medium That Leveled the Playing Field
For a while, Medium was heavily pushing its own publications and the non-Medium-owned publications were finding it hard to reach readers.
Writers who didn’t publish in publications were hit the hardest. Other than their own followers, without curation, no one saw their work. This has changed.
The new homepage features writers and publications that a reader cares about based on their previous reading history, and the Medium-owned publications have largely disappeared from the homepage, outside of the menu along the top listing their publications.
This change is so important because part of the attraction of Medium to users is finding niche topics to read and discovering cool indie writers like Kris Gage. The blogs that show up at the top of a Google Search, and have learned the dark art of SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), lack these two features. This gives Medium an edge over traditional blogs.
The Stories That Show Curation No Longer Matters
A story that is close to my heart is the one I wrote about Keanu Reeves. Studying his humility has become an obsession for me and the article I wrote about him wasn’t curated by Medium. I’m not going to lie, I was devastated.
But without Medium Editors endorsing the article, it still performed really well and is one of the most shared stories I’ve ever written on Medium.
Keanu Reeves Rarely Talks About Money — but When He Does, It’s Life-Changing
Choosing one of these goals as your focus will produce more money than you could ever expect.
I wrote another article about the concept of retiring in your 30s and it was also overlooked by Medium too. Readers still loved it and it did incredibly well for a number of weeks without curation.
Start in Your 20’s, Retire in Your 30’s — a Guide to Money, Minimalism, and Life
Early retirement is real, as demonstrated by the FIRE Movement, and popular documentary sweeping the world.
If that wasn’t enough, I committed the ultimate sin (like I’m doing now) and wrote an article about Medium that, by default, couldn’t be curated. This article, too, was received well by readers and had a lot of staying power.
Medium Writers That Are Crushing It Are Doing One Thing Differently
It’s not so obvious and is revealed when you look at their Medium Profile Pages (I did the analysis for you to save…
Now before you say it, yes, the number of Medium Followers a writer has affects the reach of a story somewhat. If you’ve been on Medium for four years like I have, you’d expect a slight perk for staying on the platform and consistently using it, wouldn’t you?
But it’s all relative. 13K claps is a lot for one of my stories, whereas you could be new to Medium and have a story not curated and get 1K claps where previously you might have got 100 claps or one read or ten views — or whatever metric you measure yourself against on Medium.
The point is that Medium has changed and it’s now simultaneously rigged even more in both the writer’s and reader’s favor. That’s why I love the platform.
The Crowd Ultimately Decides
That’s the bottom line and it’s great news.
If the crowd likes your work and it helps them — in the form of being funny, entertaining, informative, educational or clever — then your story will reach a larger audience thanks to the new changes.
You now have three concrete stories from my back catalog that show you what is possible on Medium. The opportunity for you is huge with the changes.
All you need to do is focus on the quality of your work and being helpful, and you won’t have time to complain about Medium because you’ll be too busy enjoying the fulfillment that comes from being a writer who has their work read and helps strangers.
It’s not about gaming the system; it’s about writing well. That’s true for writing and pretty much everything in life.