How I Became a Top Writer On Love, Relationships & Travel on Medium
And how you can do it too by implementing this Medium Success Formula.
This was a crazy, random idea.
This was unpredictable and unexpected.
This was an experiment.
On January 13, 2017 I quit my full-time remote job in online marketing.
Inspired by Gary Vee’s advice on documenting our journeys and not having anything else better to do after quitting my job, I decided to start my 99 Days of Wander Writing Project.
Results 99 days later:
- Top Writer in Love, Relationships and Travel- Suggested Writer in Travel, Relationships, Entrepreneurship & Life Lessons- 570 followers- Published author on Be Yourself (top Publication on Medium with 120,000 followers) - 6,047 views on all articles- 3,028 reads on all articles- Read rate: 50%
The two most important numbers on Medium are read rate and recommends. This way even the new writers with 10 followers can get to top writer status. Medium’s goal is to spread great content in a non-invasive way where headlines and clicks matter less than great stories.
Even Williams, the founder of Medium, put it beautifully himself:
“Through a combination of algorithmic and editorial curation, posts on Medium get spread around based on interest and engagement. Some get hundreds of thousands of readers — and not because they were written by famous people. Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say.”
In 99 days I have published 38 stories or one story every four days.
Before I started 99 Days of Wander, I only had five published stories from May 2016 to January 2017 with 1,090 views and 648 reads throughout that period which is still a 59% read rate.
Medium Success Formula
Curiosity x Focus x Consistency x Frequency = Success
During these 99 days I showed up. I cared. I did it for myself and not for numbers. In fact, in the beginning I didn’t care about numbers at all. I wasn’t after subscribers or top writer status. I didn’t even know such a thing existed on Medium. I wanted to explore myself and my own voice. I wanted to see what else is in in me. I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and say what I want to say without being afraid that I will be judged. As a result I published stories that inspired others, made them laugh and cry and have pushed my own boundaries to the next level.
Writing is an introspective experience. It is a journey into your own self.
How I am constantly staying curious and keeping the inspiration flowing?
If you want to succeed at anything, you need to focus and give it all you’ve got. It’s all about priorities and what’s important for you. Your attention, your effort and your time. What you focus on expands.
Writing became my top priority. Five days a week I would show up and write. First 11 days I published one story a day. I actually thought I could do that for 99 days. #overachiever. So I slowed down after I realized that quality is more important than quantity.
Yes, it was difficult. Yes, I wanted to do other things instead. There is always something else that will want your attention. And yes, sometimes I was hating it. But I was committed and focused.
How I am keeping my focus?
But curiosity and focus isn’t enough. You can be curious and focused and not publish anything for three months. And that wouldn’t get you anywhere. You actually need to be putting your work out there. That is the ultimate test. And you need to do it consistently. I know so many talented creatives who are simply struggling to write and publish consistently. And thus, they’re not getting anywhere. Publishing your work can be very uncomfortable but you have to feel the fear and do it anyway.
You can pick your own frequency of publishing your work (on that below) but you have to publish consistently. No matter what. Every day, every 10 days, every month. Whatever. Just show up and publish.
Sometimes it will be rubbish. Sometimes it will be brilliant. Sometimes it will be about nothing (or so you think.) Sometimes it will be about everything. It doesn’t matter. Just show up, write and publish.
You need to show up consistently. Even if rains. Even if you’re hurt. Even if you’re shitting rainbows. Even if you’re depressed. Even if you think the world is ending. You wake up, do your morning routine and write.
Don’t know what to write about? Write about the rain or how you’re hurt, shitting rainbows, depressed or about how the world is ending.
This single factor is what differentiates those who succeed on any platform. So many of us (including myself) started something and then dropped it. We don’t have the discipline, we don’t have the motivation, we don’t have the drive.
How I am doing it?
Writing consistently and publishing every two-three days is what got me to the top writer status. Obviously, Medium wants me to publish frequently and is rewarding me for it.
For example, when I didn’t publish anything about travel for about a week, I got removed from the “Top Writer in Travel” status. As soon as I publish something about travel (keeping my read rate at minimum) in 24 hours I am again a Top Writer in Travel. I tested it with other categories as well. So I know what I’m talking about.
Publishing consistently and often is the ultimate success formula. Of course, given that you write quality stuff. But without the curiosity and focus, you’ll be another “guru” running after numbers.
Curiosity x Focus x Consistency x Frequency = Success
The beauty of writing on Medium is that it’s a platform where your SEO knowledge on writing the top headlines doesn’t matter (as much). I was just writing intriguing headlines that I thought would be cool but I had never checked any keyword research tool.
I dedicated some time to actually study the platform. Any environment you want to succeed in you need to understand how it works. So I read about how to use Medium to its maximum capacity, how to link images and write in the most effective way.
Want to know what I found about Medium and how I write my stories?
My Marketing (aka Traffic)
It was non-existent :) I started writing with less than 150 followers. I didn’t use any marketing gimmicks and tricks. I wasn’t posting in Facebook groups, messaging people or asking others to promote my stuff. I didn’t want to be annoying. I thought if people want to read my stuff they will find a way to keep up with it. I wasn’t running after anything. I was just genuinely showing up as me.
As soon as I published my article on Medium I did three things only:
- Post the link on Facebook.
- Post the screenshot on Instagram.
- Email my subscribers with it (all 45 of them ;-)
I also made sure to write a really good description to the post. From the heart. All raw. All me.
- My Birthday. One trick I did is on my birthday, February 15, when people started messaging me with congrats messages I asked them for a gift: to share on their wall one of their favourite posts I wrote. I thought that was a legitimate one-time request. And so they did. And it really helped!
2. Top Writer Status in Love, Relationships and Travel.
This was killer. Instant credibility. People were searching for good stuff to read and I was showing up as top writer in three categories so that brought me a lot of new traffic and followers.
3. Suggested Writer Status.
New members who are just signing in were seeing me as suggested writer in Travel, Relationships and Entrepreneurship (I suspect that I am close to being top writer in entrepreneurship as well)
4. Being published by Be Yourself.
Exposure to 120,000 followers of a major publication? Yes, please!
Here is a quick round up of the top posts from this project:
Top 3 posts in terms of views:
- 4 Reasons Why I Don’t Care About Current Affairs — Day 13 of 99 Days of Wander. (473 views)
- Let Him Lead — Day 84 of 99 Days of Wander (376 views)
- What My Mother’s Death Taught Me About Life & Love — Day 94 of 99 Days of Wander (347 views)
Top 3 posts in terms of reads:
- What My Mother’s Death Taught Me About Life & Love — Day 94 of 99 Days of Wander (187 reads)
- Let Him Lead — Day 84 of 99 Days of Wander (176 reads)
- Why I Stopped Giving “Wanderova” Calls For Free — Day 44 of 99 Days of Wander (156 reads)
Top 3 posts in terms of read rate:
- The Story of Emma & Jack (Finale) — Day 34 of 99 Days of Wander (77% read rate)
- I Am A Foreigner Here — Day 9 of 99 Days of Wander (74% read rate)
- The Story of Emma & Jack — Day 31 of 99 Days of Wander (72% read rate)
Top 3 favorite posts to write:
Interestingly, my top favourite post to write is also the most read one.
Two of my favourite posts to write are also the most viewed and read.
Success = Curiosity x Focus x Consistency x Frequency