How I Went From 0 to 1200 Medium Followers in 3 Months

Spoiler Alert: I didn’t write everyday.

As a participant in the Medium’s Partner Program, individuals have the opportunity to earn more money sharing stories than working a day job. This is not a secret.

We all have the potential — right at our fingertips — literally. That’s what makes Medium so sensational.

Determined individuals can write their way into a new career, filled with various forms of writing self-employment.

However, going from zero to Tim Denning does not occur overnight. It requires dedication, a willingness to learn, an open mind, a stomach for criticism, and an unconquerable writing process.

“Gotta play to win,” said the guy buying lottery tickets.

So, how can you gain more followers while you’re mastering your writing skills?

Neglecting the FOLLOWER metric will result in the persistent goose-egg statistic.

The answer is simple. Adopt a new strategy.

It begins with a basic understanding of the platform but doesn’t include any of the conventional wisdom like write every day, enroll in workshops, get curated, learn SEO, submit to publications, etc.

It is a distinct approach, like a slice of humble pie, but will result in THOUSANDS of followers. Hard Work Not Required.

The Power of Followers

There are organic methods to success on Medium. A story can become viral from the moment it is published. Such success requires compliance from the algorithm, the editors, and the luck factor.

This begs the question: Is there a way to gain valuable Member Reading Time on your own?

The answer is yes!

After corresponding with several successful Medium writers and analyzing statistics (including my own), I’ve uncovered a common trend — an insight into the amount of Member Reading Time versus the number of followers. The chart below illustrates this correlation.

Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers
Estimation and Chart developed by author | Tableau | Medium Followers

Simply having a large audience, writers are able to achieve hundreds of hours in Membership Reading during the lifetime of their stories. This is why the most important factor to earnings is the follower metric.

Disclaimer

You usually won’t see a disclaimer in the middle of a story, but I can feel the simmering wrath, the boiling wave, the scorching displeasure of comments heading my direction, so hence the legal Jiu-Jitsu.

A story’s success depends on many factors: topic, headline selection, formatting, pictures, grammar, flow, voice, etc. However, when assessing the averages, a trend emerges that links with the number of followers.

Strategy to Gain Followers

The more followers you have, the greater number of individuals who will view your stories on their homepage, and the higher the Member Reading Time.

So, how do you do it? How do you gain followers?

The short answer is you have to be active. I’ll explain what I mean and the dedication that is required to grow your audience proactively.

First, I’ll begin with a historical perspective of the platform, so my strategy will make more cents, I mean dollars. :)

Background

Medium has the feel of an expensive online newspaper. The clean layout, center alignment, large font, and Charter (serif) easily convinces newcomers of this image. It worked on me…

However, it is not a newspaper or publishing platform; it is Social Media. Medium was founded by the same person behind Twitter — Ev Williams.

I like to think of the world as a sort of a casino, except the house doesn’t have the advantage. If you’re smart, you have an advantage. It behooves you to place a lot of bets.

— Evan Williams

Medium was meant to be a more extended version of Twitter — for the users who wanted to share more than the character allotment for Tweets.

Now, you‘re probably thinking: Why is this relevant, and how does this enable me to develop a broader audience?

It’s relevant because we need to alter our view of the platform. The sooner we view the platform as Social Media, the quicker we can engage with each other and be on our merry road to success.

Insight #1: Social Media Platform

Medium falls into the category of Social Media. It has all of the benchmarks of Social Media: friends (followers), likes (claps), commenting (commenting), groups (publications), and more.

Which brings me to my point, if you want engagement from others, you have to give engagement.

Give a little to get a little. Give a lot to get a lot.

For example, if you’re adding members, commenting on stories, clapping, and highlighting, it captures the author’s attention — literally. Most writers, including myself, will return the engagement and readership.

“You‘ve got a friend in me.” — Randy Newman, Toy Story

Here’s what Medium published about the matter.

“Medium is becoming more relational in order to give writers more freedom and agency over building and maintaining relationships with their audience. Our goal is to create the best of both worlds: An open and simple platform where anyone can publish — once, occasionally, or often — that also allows for deeper connections between readers and writers.”

— Medium Creators, “Updates to Medium’s Curation and Distribution System”

Insight #2: Sir Clap-A-Lot

Every time I read a story, I CLAP. I don’t just clap once, but 50 times. It doesn’t cost me anything, and it provides the writer with some encouragement and notifications of my identity. This is a good thing because I want the writer to know that I read their story.

Most of the time, fellow writers will return the engagement by interacting with my stories. Frequently, they’ll keep returning to my work, building a foundation of reciprocity!

So, while you’re developing your writing skills, you need to be investing roughly half of your time engaging with other writers. It will get you the attention you need to grow an audience.

Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers
Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers, Medium Followers
Photo by Carl Heyerdahl on Unsplash | Medium Followers

Moreover, think of your writing as a small business:

While you’re working hard to perfect your portfolio, the Chief Marketing Officer (you) should be dedicated to attracting supporters. Your small business may fail if you don’t dedicate the time to promote it.

Fortunately, Medium has made it easy for writers to mingle with one another.

Follow. Clap. Comment. Highlight.

Final Thoughts: How I Went From 0 to 1200 Followers in 3 Months

Every day, I set aside an allocated amount of time for Medium. I treat it like a career because I hope to achieve the upper echelons of writing.

Sometimes, I am studying writing styles, other days I am researching or writing a story, but often I am reading on Medium.

A capacity, and taste, for reading gives access to whatever has already been discovered by others.

— Abraham Lincoln

I spend half of my creative time every day reading the stories written by writers of all levels. I want to see what works and what doesn’t, what to adopt and what to avoid.

After reading each story, I clap — like clockwork. Why? Because it doesn’t hurt to encourage someone.

My hope is for writers to recognize the power of clapping and develop some level of reciprocity. If that happens, then BINGO! We’ve got loyal followers in each other.

I know it’s a pretty basic strategy, but it works!

Give it a try.

Follow me: krfranklin.medium.com/follow

Editor of Fellowship Writers

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