Publishing articles on Medium can be an incredible way to grow your online presence and overall reputation. When no one sees your Medium articles, however, it can feel like screaming into a black hole.
You agonize over your article. You pour your heart and soul into a topic that is meaningful for you. You take a deep breath, press “publish”, and then… crickets! The stats on who even landed on your article are embarrassingly low. Meanwhile, someone else’s article is taking off, getting tons of claps and comments along the way.
One of the factors that influences the success of an article on Medium is curation. Curated stories on Medium are read by Medium curators — that’s right, a human being reads your article! — and the stories curated will then be distributed in one or more topics on Medium. Your article will be distributed for days, weeks, or even months, and may show up in Google’s search results, thanks to Medium’s high domain authority.
As a bonus, curated stories have higher potential in the Medium Partner Program. If you want your Medium articles to make you money via the partner program, it’s important to understand what curators look for and how to create a post that has good potential for curation. Curation matters!
So how can Medium writers ensure the articles they’ve spent time writing get curated every time? Simple: by following Medium’s curation guidelines to the T.
Here’s what you need to know about how to get your article curated on Medium.
How Does Curation on Medium Work?
To understand curation on Medium, we need a refresher on how Medium is structured as a platform.
When a new reader comes to Medium and creates a free account, they have an option to pick different topics they are interested in and want to read about. This gives Medium’s algorithm a running start and helps it understand what to suggest to new users in an effort to retain them and keep them engaged.
The topics that users follow are known as tags. When you publish an article on Medium, you can opt to put up to five tags on your article. Think of tags as being like hashtags. They’re searchable, and all of the articles tagged with a certain tag, whether curated or not, will appear when you click on a particular tag.
If a user follows a topic like “technology”, they’re more likely to be recommended articles related to the technology tag and other similar tags. Here’s the key: the articles that Medium suggests to users are usually articles that Medium has curated, and a curated story will almost always get more visibility than a non curated story.
If you can get your article curated on one or more popular tags, the chances are much higher that your article will be distributed to more readers. You can also submit your articles to Medium publications or user-owned publications, which creates more opportunity to get your writing seen.
Where Do Curated Articles on Medium Get Seen?
Curated articles on Medium have two opportunities for increased visibility: feed and email newsletters.
When users visit Medium, they are fed articles based on algorithmic recommendation. Many of these articles will be curated, because Medium wants to show you the best of the best for the topics you care about. Curation is why you sometimes see articles that were published weeks, months, or even years ago. This is good.
In the screenshot below, you’ll see that there’s a tag in the bottom-left corner of the article preview: “technology”, “entrepreneurship”, “bitcoin”. Also notice that my feed is not chronological; some articles are recent, but others were written weeks or even months ago. This screenshot was taken in September 2022.
Curated articles are also more likely to be visible in Medium’s email newsletter. When users sign up for Medium, they have an option to receive a daily digest or weekly digest from Medium themselves. These emails are auto-generated, and give article recommendations based on user interest and browsing history. Think of the daily and weekly digests as Medium bringing its feed directly into your inbox.
The digests include article recommendations based on who you follow, articles on tags you follow, recent viral articles, quick reads, and some other sections as well.
Additionally, Medium produces a weekly newsletter for paying users called The Edition, which spotlights specific news topics or articles. In my experience, these articles are mostly related to current events or world news.
When your article is curated, you’re much more likely to be seen in these two places, resulting in higher views and reads on your articles.
How to Get Your Article Curated on Medium
In order for your article to be curated on Medium, it needs to follow Medium’s Distribution Standards and disqualifications. The disqualifications are similar to what you would expect from other media outlets: nothing graphic or violent, no undisclosed affiliate links, no conspiracy theories, and no defamation.
The big ones to point out here are:
- No meta stories. Stories about Medium or Medium strategy (like this one) won’t be curated on Medium or read by curators.
- No press releases. Press releases are not content.
- No non-English stories.
- No erotica.
- No shortform posts. Stories of less than 150 words are not eligible for curation.
- Standard headline styling. Medium articles need a clear and descriptive title, proper headline and sentence case, and no grammatical errors.
If you repeatedly violate these guidelines in your articles, Medium might put your profile in curation jail, which will inhibit your ability to show up in search engines and attract more claps or more engagement. Additionally, Medium communicates to us some softer standards for what they *are* looking for. These include the following, per their website:
- Does the story meet a high editorial standard? – Is it well-written, easy to follow, free of errors, appropriately sourced, narratively strong, and compelling?
- Does it add value for the reader? – Does it share new insights or perspectives? Offer an original take on a familiar issue? Does it stir emotions and/or thinking? Provide meaningful advice? Enrich a reader’s understanding of the topic? Does it feel like time well spent?
- Is it written for the reader? – Is the story written with the reader in mind? Does the story make a connection with the reader or to a larger issue?
- Is it complete? – Is it a finished, polished piece of work? Considered? Concise? Will a reader walk away satisfied?
- Is it rigorous? – Are claims supported? Sources cited alongside stated facts? Does the story hold up to scrutiny?
- Is it honest? – Is the story written in good faith? Is it truthful?
- Does it offer a good reading experience? – Is it properly formatted for the web/mobile? Does it have a clear and relevant headline that lets the reader know what the story is about? An easily readable story body — paragraphs/spacing/styling/section breaks/quotes?
- Is it free of typos and errors?
- Is the imagery appropriate? Is the imagery relevant and appropriate to the story?
It’s good to cross-check the distribution standards when you’re getting started on Medium. The best advice I can give to you here is to focus on original, quality content. When you learn how to write content quickly and well, you’ll start seeing traction on Medium.
FAQs on How to Get Curated on Medium
What topics are best for getting curated on Medium?
Curation depends more on the quality of your article than the subject, as long as your article follows the distribution standards. That being said, when it comes to readership on Medium, the topics with the most readership tend to be personal development, health, relationships, entrepreneurship, and technology.
How long does it take to get curated on Medium?
Your article will be curated in under 24 hours. Medium curation used to be done by employees of Medium. Now it is done with AI. Curation is not a drawn-out process; your article will either be curated or not curated within a day or so.
How do I know whether or not my article was curated on Medium?
Navigate to Stats, then click on an article’s headline. In the individual article stats screen, if your article has been chosen for further distribution, the phrase “chosen for further distribution” will appear under the headline.
Can I grow on Medium without curated articles?
It is possible to grow on Medium without your articles being curated, but it will probably be tougher. That’s because you’ll need to find some other way to get eyeballs on your articles. You could submit your articles to user-owned publications or promote them to audiences you have on other platforms. If you plan on using Medium seriously, however, you’ll want to leverage curation whenever you can.
Start Getting Curated on Medium Today
Medium can feel like a black box at first, but when you understand the landscape of how articles get seen on the platform, your articles are far more likely to get seen and make you more money along the way. Focus on writing quality articles and the rest will soon fall into place.
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