How I Got 2000 Followers In 5 Months On Medium
No follow-for-follow or any other funny business
I've gotten this question a few times now. "How did you manage to get almost 2000 Medium followers in just shy of 5 months on this platform?" My answer was "I don't know". Because to be honest, I didn't. Until I thought about it some more.
Before my first post
It all started even before my first Medium story. I didn't just write that first post and hoped for the best. Instead, I did a little research. By research, in this case, I mean I created a Medium account, became a paying Medium member, and started to read viral articles by high-profile writers. Why? Because I wanted to know a couple of things:
How do they structure their posts? Is there a pattern?
How often do they post?
What's the length of a viral post?
How "clickbaity" are the headlines?
What publications do they publish with?
What I realized is that in addition to sometimes clickbaity headlines and consistent posting, the most common thread among these articles and writers I looked at was a clear post structure including short paragraphs with simple subheaders and a handful of big publications that seem to work best.
Nothing groundbreaking, you're right. Nevertheless, for me as a total newbie, it was interesting. After doing this research, I set out to write my first post. And I had one simple goal. Getting into big publications. My choices were Better Marketing, The Startup, and Curious.
The funny thing is, out of my first 7 Medium stories 5 were posted in these 3 publications. I firmly believe that this is the main reason, my follower count jumped up quickly in my first weeks here. It's not the only reason though.
Reading, posting, engaging
As I just eluded to, another reason I keep popping up in people's feeds is that I write and publish frequently. In these first 5 months on Medium, I wrote more than 20 posts each month. Closer to 30 in a couple. So, I publish almost every day. That's not an accident. It's a lot of work. And a choice.
Consistency has brought me 3 bonus payments and many followers, as well as beautiful comments and discussions. I love these interactions. I found my favorite writers through interactions on Medium or social media, people like Kristina God, Leo Sharp, Dr. Mehmet Yildiz, Zulie Rane, Trisha Dunbar, Scout Dawson, Larissa Marie Schwarz, Razane, Fatimah Alayafi, Tom Kuegler, Tom Fenske, and many more.
I make use of Twitter
My main social media network for promoting posts and engaging with writers has been Twitter. I started my Twitter account around the same time I began writing on Medium. Coincidently, I garnered almost as many Twitter followers as Medium followers. I'm honored that some of my Twitter friends started writing on Medium because of me.
My engagement and promotion of Medium on Twitter is another sure reason for my follower count. The trick here is that I don't just promote my own Medium posts. I frequently link to other people's work, new posts, or profiles I love. This way, I've met some amazing writers. People I now follow and read regularly. And they do the same with me.
As I said in one of my most popular posts in "Start it up", you don't have to be on every social media platform out there, just pick one that's right for you and create great content. Great content on one platform will always beat mediocre content on many.
I've become an editor
A stepping stone along the way to more followers and engagement was a new opportunity I got after a couple of months on Medium. I was asked to be the new editor of the publication "Thoughts and Ideas". A pub with over 23000 followers and a strong writer base that produces a high number of posts per week.
With this, my profile and posts got more engagement and reads. I gained a considerable amount of followers from this new "job". By the way, you're welcome to send your stories to "Thoughts and Ideas". I'd love to read them.
The last step is easy… or hard. Depending on how successful and motivated you are. It's repetition. And repetition. And some more repetition. I constantly write, I frequently comment, I read incessantly, and I post and engage on social media a lot. That's it. No rocket science. Just work.
Anything I missed? I'm sure there are other reasons my follower count went up quickly. A couple of well-performing stories have surely done their part in this. The timing might have played a role in it as well. I started right when Medium changed its algorithm and strategy for the future.
Of course, there was luck too. I got accepted into the biggest Medium publications right from the get-go. This gave me a confidence boost and a head start on views and followers.
In the end though, what does this all mean? I haven't made a fortune on Medium. Certainly not enough to do this full-time. But I earned more in these 5 months on this platform than in 13 years of blogging with WordPress combined.