How to Write on Medium – A Guide With Tips and Best Practices

Devin Pickell
Devin Pickell  |  July 24, 2019

Publishing your content to the Web is a great way to spread your tips and ideas, but it’s also great for networking and building industry recognition.

In this tech-driven world, there are many options for publishing content. Some of the most commonly-used options today are website builders. This software allows businesses of all sizes to have powerful publishing capabilities with built-in SEO and analytics.

See the Easiest-to-Use Website Builders →

And while website builders have become the norm, many writers still utilize Web-based platforms for creating and publishing content.

I recently discussed how to post an article on LinkedIn and the various benefits that come with it – like reaching LinkedIn’s enormous community of professionals. But there’s another great option for Web-publishing. It’s called Medium.

Jump ahead to:

What is Medium?

Medium started as an invite-only Web-publishing platform in 2012 but quickly grew to prominence as blogging and content marketing grew in value. More people wanted a piece of the pie, and now Medium averages more than 200 million monthly visits.

The site is filled with both amateur and professional content. It has visual storytelling for publishers, and can even act as the main content hub for businesses that become Medium partners.

Anyone can join Medium for free and publish their thoughts, which makes the platform accessible for a wide range of users. In this guide, I’ll discuss how to write on Medium and provide some tips for maximizing visibility.

How to write on Medium (6 tips)

After signing up for Medium, customizing your profile, and including a few words about yourself, it’s time to start thinking about what you want to write.

Here are a few tips to consider:

1. Hot content topics

Every article on Medium is tagged to its proper category, so this should help provide some inspiration on what to write. The current top five categories on Medium include:

  • Ideas – The top category shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Medium serves as a central space for idea and perspective sharing. Write about life lessons, business ideas, inspiration, innovation, and entrepreneurship.
  • Politics – Politics have always been deeply important in our society. For some, politics have helped shape who they are today. In this category, you’ll see topics ranging from the President, political candidates, economics, and election polling.
  • Tech – One of Medium’s largest reader bases is the tech-obsessed. Everything from startups, programming, blockchain, design and interface, and even social media is covered in this category.
  • Entrepreneurship – This category goes hand-in-hand with ideas, however, more personal branding, marketing, self-improvement, and leadership skills are discussed here.
  • Life – One of Medium’s more general categories, expect to see a variety of content on writing techniques, poetry, love, passion, inspiration, personal development, and relationships.

Other popular topics to write about on Medium include money, culture, education, comics, photography, spirituality, fashion, music, humor, and others. As you can see, there are many diverse interests on the platform.

2. Avoid content marketing

Medium isn’t exactly the spot to publish sales and marketing-heavy content. As a business, you can obviously include your links when necessary, but don’t push your product or service too much within the content. As a matter of fact, Medium itself says this is generally frowned upon in their writing community.

An actionable way to engage with your readers on Medium is to encourage them to ‘clap’ if they found your article valuable. Claps are considered in Medium’s ranking algorithm, and many claps can catapult your article in the eyes of more readers.

3. Don’t mislead readers

Your goal as a writer should never be to mislead readers into clickbait, and you should double-down on this when it comes to Medium. Also, Medium is adamant about not peddling pseudoscience or bad health advice. As Siobhan O’Connor, VP of Editorial at Medium would say:

“Life’s already too short to give people bad health advice.”

4. Be authentic

It is strongly encouraged to post original insights and perspectives. Medium states aggregating content is frowned upon and plagiarizing other’s work can lead to a few things. If caught plagiarizing, the original author could issue a cease and desist, request a reference link, force a complete rewrite, or negotiate a royalty.

The easy way to avoid all of this is simply not plagiarizing. Instead, map out your thoughts and conduct meaningful research before you begin typing. To learn more, read our guide on the five most common types of plagiarism today.

5. Optimal content length

Your content doesn’t need to be long-form and fully fleshed out. This is contrary to writing on LinkedIn, where long-form content in the range of 1,900 to 2,000 words seems to drive the most engagement. Short-form content that is actionable can perform just as well as full guides on Medium.

6. Optimal headline formatting

Make your headlines clear and descriptive. This is especially true if you’re trying to reach a wide audience. Unclear headlines could detract readers and may lead to higher bounce rates.

Publishing tips for Medium (get more visibility)

So, you have an idea of what to write and how to write it, but how do you get the most out of your content? How do you ensure people are seeing and reading your articles? It starts with on-page elements.

On-page writing elements for Medium

On-page writing elements refer to individual tweaks made to a piece of content to improve its searchability and user-friendliness. This is commonly done for SEO reasons, but Medium has on-page tweaks that can be made to increase visibility as well.

Add alt-text to your images

First off, you should already be using images in your Medium content, since articles with images have 94 percent more views than text-only articles. Next, be sure to include alternative text with these images. Alt-text makes images more accessible to sight-impaired users, hence, a greater audience.

adding alt text to an image on Medium

Above is an example of alt-text. Be sure to be descriptive of the image so screen readers can accurately depict your image.

Use proper header tags

Most writers are aware of different sized headers and their readability, but did you know header tags are important for informing search engines of what your content is about? Using header tags properly in Medium is important

how to add header tags on Medium

The large T signifies an H1 tag and should contain some variation of your target keyword. The small T signifies an H2 tag and should complement your H1.

For example, if your H1 is “How to write a marketing email,” the H2 tags should be the individual steps of that process, i.e. “Write a captivating subject line” or “Be short and to the point.”

Create a custom URL

Medium allows content creators to customize their story links before publishing. This can be done by tapping the More options menu and selecting Customize story link. Do so in a way that makes sense to the reader, but also has SEO value.

creating a custom story link on Medium

Customize links in a way that makes sense to the reader, but also has SEO value. If you have a keyword research tool or some SEO software, you can analyze which keywords have the highest volume and aim for one when customizing a URL.

Add a meta description

Publishing software typically requires you to enter a meta description before going live, although, Medium does not. Instead, you’ll need to tap the More options menu and select Change display title/subtitle to begin customizing.

adding a meta description to your story on Medium

A meta description is an HTML tag, typically in 160 characters or less, that summarizes the content of your article. A good meta description is important for both readers (increases click-throughs) and search engines (increases ranking).

Add topic tags

If you really want to reach a variety of readers, consider tagging your content to relevant topics. You can do so by tapping the More options menu and selecting Change tags.

adding topic tags to your story on Medium

Add topic tags that are both high volume and relevant to your story. You can add up to five tags per article.

Bonus tip when using Medium

Medium may be a Web-publishing platform for amateur and professional writers, but users should still look to expand their networks. This is another, less referenced way to maximize your profile's visibility.

See a publication that interests you? Follow it and engage with its day-to-day writers.

Clap for stories you enjoy to uplift them and share your thoughts in the comment section. Let the author hear your take on their story, and offer a new perspective if you feel it adds substance. The more you engage on Medium, the greater the likelihood other users become aware of your work.

For more online networking tips on platforms similar to Medium, check out our full guide for networking on LinkedIn. This could provide insight on how to leverage your network to its fullest potential.

Devin Pickell
Author

Devin Pickell

Devin is a Content Marketing Specialist at G2 Crowd writing about data, analytics, and digital marketing. Prior to G2, he helped scale early-stage startups out of Chicago's booming tech scene. Outside of work, he enjoys watching his beloved Cubs, playing baseball, and gaming.