Why waste years trying to corral your ideal readers when someone else has already done it for you?
Medium is an open-source self publishing platform that has been around for over 10 years. Within Medium, there are publications: topic-specific blogs and digital magazines that any Medium writer can submit drafts to for consideration. Submitting your written article to a Medium publication can help you reach a wider audience, grow your Medium profile, and help refine your overall content strategy.
- If your articles get published with top publications, they have a much better chance of being distributed both to that publication’s followers and to Medium users as a whole.
- Additionally, if your article is published behind Medium’s paywall, and Medium members read it, your article will make you money if you’re enrolled in the Medium Partner Program.
- Submitting to publications is a Medium strategy suitable for all skill levels, and most publications make their submission guidelines very clear in order to attract the best stories.
This post gives you a rundown of what Medium publications are, the difference between Medium-operated and user-operated publications, an active list of current publications accepting writers, and how to start a publication of your own, if you so choose.
What Are Medium Publications?
On Medium, a publication is a digital magazine or niche online media publication that exists entirely within the Medium ecosystem. Publications are part of Medium’s DNA; the platform has experimented with many different strategies over the years.
- In the early days, Medium experimented with acquiring professional publications.
- 2019 is where things got exciting. Medium allowed users to start up their own publications. We’ll call these “user owned publications” moving forward.
- Medium themselves experimented with hiring professional journalists and editors for some of their in-house publications, which we’ll call Medium owned publications, but in 2021 this strategy was scrapped in a much-publicized layoff round.
Starting a new publication can be a serious time commitment for a Medium writer. Some writers choose to start a publication that houses only their articles for a certain topic. You do not need to have your own publication on Medium in order to self-publish, but you may want to create one down the line as you build up your writing portfolio to have all your work published in one place.
A publication doesn't have to always be about growing an audience. You could start a publication of your own that just features a certain category of articles you write.
The top Medium publications, which include both user owned publications and Medium owned publications, can help you reach more readers on the website. When you publish an article with a publication, you’re more likely to be curated and featured with that publication’s followers.
It’s a win-win scenario: your favorite publications grow, because writers are contributing articles and feeding the overall content flow around a common theme, and the writer’s audience grows as a result of having visibility within that particular publication.
The Difference Between Medium Owned and User Owned Publications
A Medium owned publication is owned and operated by Medium. Medium staff manage submissions and may commission writers. Some Medium-operated publications are listed below, but it’s important to note that many of these publications are now relics.
Medium poached many top editors and journalists in 2019 to launch these publications, but they weren’t profitable, so in 2021 the company offered these professionals a six-month severance package, which most of them took. My professional opinion is to be aware that these publications exist, but not to overly focus on pitching them in your Medium writing career.
Most Medium-operated publications are now defunct, as of late 2022.
In contrast, a user-owned publication, while still technically owned by Medium, can set its own rules on what it covers and which articles it accepts. Most publications want to accept as many articles as possible, as long as the articles are of a certain quality, because this is one of the only ways the publication can post enough content.
User-owned publications also can develop their own email lists, promote their own offers, establish their own communities on platforms like Slack and Discord, and create their own domain if they so choose. Many publication founders use Medium as a way to grow an audience of like-minded readers.
User-owned publications are usually easier to get into, which is good news for new writers, and they actually also perform better than Medium publications with regard to traffic. Every publication has its own submission guidelines, though most of the guidelines are similar.
Medium is especially popular for articles related to personal growth, web development, the human condition, international news, design inspiration, and the startup grind, but there’s a wide range of subject matter. Here’s a list of some of the publications that are actively taking submissions.
I often see writers do curated lists similar to this one. Some of them include publications that have no contributing opportunities in order to ratchet up the total number of publications on their list. They want to appeal to new writers and those who are new to having a Medium account, but this approach wastes time.
I also left Personal Growth off the list, despite it being popular, because the only way to contribute for the outlet is to be invited by the outlet founder, which is not transparent enough of a process to be included in this list.
In addition to submission information for each publication, I’ve also given you a link to the publication’s archive page, sorted by article performance for a given month. This is a handy way to see what articles are currently getting the most traffic in that publication, and it helps you bypass vanity metrics like claps and comments, which are sometimes artificially inflated.
On the archive page, sort by “most read”, then select a year and month to see the articles published that month that received the most views.
There may also be a third party Medium tool that gives you this data, but I find that looking at what other writers are creating is helpful to get ideas moving.
There is temptation to only aim for publications that have the largest followings. This is a superficial perspective on traffic. Submitting your Medium story to an engaged publication that has 3,000 followers may yield far better results than writing for a bloated publication that has 300,000 followers.
Strive to be intentional; since the submission page usually requires that you send in an already-written article, the labor is frontloaded, and your resources are finite. Be smart with your time.
(If you like this list, and also want to write articles for media outlets or magazines, you might also find the sister blog post helpful: 72 media publications.)
Top 20 Medium Publications of 2023, Organized by Category
- Business and Entrepreneurship Publications
- Self Help and Personal Development Publications
- Science and Technology Publications
- Miscellaneous Publications
Business and Entrepreneurship Publications on Medium
Start It Up
Formally called The Startup, Start It Up is a publication focused on creators. Their tagline is “Get smarter at building your thing.” They are the largest active Medium publication, and publish trustworthy writing, career advice, and life lessons in the creator economy.
- How I Earn $8K+ Per Month While Only Working 15 Hours Per Week
- 7 Subscriptions to Increase Your Productivity and Organization
- Quora’s New Paid Writing Program Could Earn You $10,000+ Per Month
How to succeed in entrepreneurship and business. This outlet features founder stories, design articles, and startup deep dives to inspire your entrepreneurial journey. They focus on appealing to the Medium member, and new writers can start pitching the publication whenever they like.
- The Fate Of Elon Musk’s Assistant Is A Cautionary Tale For Negotiating Salary
- Tim Ferriss’s DEAL Formula To Work Less And Earn More
- How I Slowly Became A “Middle-Class” Millionaire
They publish tutorials, case studies, how-tos, inspiration, writing advice, industry trends, and tips from industry and business experts. Part of the same family as Better Humans and Better Programming.
- Chris Hemsworth Is Exactly What’s Wrong With the Fitness Industry
- Sony’s See-Through Camera Disaster Cost Them $100 Million
- A 17-Year-Old Crafted the Best Marketing Email I’ve Read
Making Of A Millionaire
A publication dedicated to stories about how to make more money.
- Generating Passive Income Is Hard, Here Is a Better Option
- Stop Buying Bitcoin with Robinhood!
- My Parents Didn’t Invest a Dime in Stocks, and They’re Crushing Retirement
Self Help and Personal Development Publications on Medium
Aggressive self experimenters, rejoice! This is the largest publication in the self help world on Medium, focusing on human potential, and you can start writing for them as soon as you have an active Medium profile. Their tagline: “Explore your potential, find a new level of productivity, live healthier, make an impact on the world.”
- Want To Meet Decent Men Online? Write a Bitchy Profile
- 5 Strategies I Use To Build a Fierce and Functional Body in the Modern World
- A Complete Guide to Doing a 10-Day Fasting Retreat
Mind Café is a publication focused on self improvement and wellness. A past byline of theirs was “Relaxing, inspiring essays about happiness”, and new writers are welcome to submit drafts to the editor for consideration. The pub is one of the top Medium publications in existence.
- Ikigai: The Most Misunderstood Secret to A Happy Life
- Five Signs of a Highly Intelligent Person
- 12 Age-Reversing Habits: How I Made My Brain 10 Years Younger
A Medium publication all about mental health that publishes a lovely range of personal stories, and often has articles make it onto the front page. The submission page is clear, and new writers are welcome to submit drafts to the editor for consideration.
- The Reasons People With Complex PTSD Self-Isolate
- ADHD Paralysis is Frustratingly Real. Here’s How to Fix it.
- 6 Causes of Childhood Trauma That Our Society Doesn’t Fully Recognize
Run by the same people who run Start It Up, this outlet runs stories about personal growth. Pitch your completed draft to the editor.
- I Accidentally Sent a Sexually Explicit Text to My Employer
- Confessions of a Venmo Voyeur
- 3 Key Tasks I Always Do Between 5 and 8 AM
Big Self refers to itself as a self-discovery outlet, not a self-improvement outlet. They focus on emotional wellbeing, mental health, and soulful work, and have a clear submission page.
- Dark Bezos’ 70% Rule Will Help You Decide Faster
- 3 Powerful Habits That Will Increase Your Influence At Work
- How to Be Happier at Work Without Changing Your Job
Human Parts (Medium owned publication)
One of the top publications on all of Medium, and probably the hardest Medium publication to gain entry to, because the submission process is hazy. The outlet publishes stories on life lessons and personal perspectives.
- Boobs: The Last Frontier of Body-Shaming
- The Joys and Perils of Having Children Late
- Love and My Ex-Husband’s Vaseline
Science and Technology Publications on Medium
Towards Data Science
Towards Data Science is one of the top publications on the site — it’s the second-largest Medium publication by followership — and is about everything related to, you guessed it, data science.
- Towards the end of deep learning and the beginning of AGI
- Data Scientists Will be Extinct in 10 Years
- 9 Distance Measures in Data Science
The UX Collective is an independent design publication and blog built to help designers think more critically about their work.
- An ode to oddly satisfying product experiences
- From Bézier curves to balance sheets: navigating the design continuum
- Redesigning design(ers)
Another large Medium publication on UX which claims to be “a one-stop resource for everything related to user experience.”
- 10 easy tricks to improve your website design
- Better Design with UX Rules, and Psychological Research You Need to Know
- 10 lifesaving HTML/CSS tricks for designers
Advice for programmers, with stories on topics like product design and machine learning. Part of the same family as Better Marketing and Better Humans.
- I Almost Got Fired for Choosing React in Our Enterprise App
- I Fired One of My Programmers 15 Days After Hiring Them
- “If software engineering is in demand, why is it so hard to get a software engineering job?”
Prototypr is a niche publication that focuses on prototyping, UX design, and front-end development. The publication’s submission page is a call for all types of contributors, so there may be opportunities to partner with the publication beyond submitting articles.
- Headspace’s 6 Mindful Technology Design Principles
- Ghost Artist, a Figma AI plugin that generates images from text
- How to Prepare for a UX Design Interview
Miscellaneous Publications on Medium
The Writing Cooperative
The Writing Cooperative, a publication from Write Together, Inc., is a community of people who help each other write better.
- George R.R. Martin’s Top 8 Rules for Success in Writing
- 9 Publications Who Need Writers At $300 to $750 Per Story
- No One Will Read Your Book
Wide range of material focused on discovering new up-and-coming writers.
- The 2 Percent Rule: How to Live an Exceptional Life
- How To Transform From an Ordinary to a High-Value Woman
- The “No Zero Days” Productivity Mindset Might Change Your Life
Age of Awareness
Age of Awareness is Medium’s largest publication dedicated to education reform.
- Here’s Why You Should Never Shop at Shein No Matter What
- Setup react with webpack and babel
- The Buddhist Antidote to A Distracted Life: The Four Reminders
Medium’s biggest humor publication which publishes a wide range of material intended to make the reader laugh.
- May God Have Mercy On Your Souls: A Millennial’s Guide To Gen Z
- A Man In His 30s Explains To Me What’s Wrong With Women In Their 30s
- I Replaced The Word ‘Millennials’ With ‘43-Year-Old White Men’ And Now These Headlines Are *Italian Chef Kissing Fingers Gesture*
Zora (Medium owned publication)
Zora is about the voices of Black women and other women of color. The outlet has an About page rather than a submission page, but welcomes pitches for stories that are a match for the vertical.
- Dear White Friends, I See Right Through Your #BlackLivesMatter Posts
- The Police Tried to Make Me Medically Examine a Man Against His Will
- 5 Phrases Your Black Friend Wishes You’d Stop Saying
Start Writing on Medium today
Medium continues to be a terrific place to develop your writing skills and grow your platform online.
Use this information to start submitting to publications quickly and efficiently, and you’ll see your online audience grow with time.
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