Feeling overwhelmed with the number of possibilities and topics to write about on Medium?
As a full-service SaaS SEO and link-building agency, we understand that certain topics perform better than others. After all, we help rank a ton of content each week.
Demographics, popular categories, and the right publications offer a glimpse into the bigger picture.
To succeed on this platform, you’ll have to let it introduce herself.
Getting to know the audience is essential to build your writing career.
Medium is branding the storytelling future. To understand this place, you’ll have to get into the numbers and popular topics.
What we’ll cover:
What makes Medium tick?
As of this writing, Medium is enjoying anywhere between 85-100 million unique monthly visits. The platform doesn’t publish official numbers, but scoping the web produced the following info.
“A Medium spokesperson declined to comment on the number when asked for comment, but did note that the company is approaching nearly 100 million monthly readers.” — Cheddar
SimilarWeb ranks the page in 312th place worldwide and 274th in the U.S. Their algorithm calculated that Medium had 152.52 million visits in January.
Alexa is a popular Amazon tool for scanning web engagement. The service ranks websites according to their criteria. Currently, Medium ranks at #100 worldwide and #105 in the U.S. These numbers mark a steep decline. Medium.com ranked #85 three months ago, in October of last year. Still, this puts the popular blogging site at the top of the World Wide Web.
What do these numbers mean for your writing career?
It points to the theory the platform is widely established and consolidated. The top earners have been around for years. This means by going all in on Medium right now is a gamble. But it never was a safe bet.
Don’t despair — there’s still room for new writers.
These numbers will eventually help you find what is profitable to write about. Let’s dive in deeper and help you decide if Medium is the right path for you.
Medium is, by all means, an international platform. But certain places drive the majority of its traffic. More than 24% of monthly users come from the U.S. Most popular issues revolve around American politics and everyday life (we’ll get to this in a minute).
India is the only country with more monthly visits than the U.S. Alexa informs us that more than 19% of monthly visits come from India.
This isn’t a surprise, as India is the country with the most English speakers.
The top earners, like Shannon Ashley, Nicolas Cole, and Shaunta Grimes are all from the U.S. This group is also made of writers from the U.K., New Zealand, and Australia.
Medium Story Tags
The list of most popular tags creates a deeper understanding of what people follow the most. There are a few lists out there. This is the one for March 2020.
It’s essential to tag your story correctly. The tags should serve as little inside windows to your story. This helps Medium put it in the right category if the story gets curated.
Curation means a world of difference when it comes to promoting your work. With the right tag, you might get hundreds or thousands of extra eyes on your article.
The 20 most popular Medium tags in Dec 2021
- Startup (391,000 followers)
- Life (348,000 followers)
- Life Lessons (314,000 followers)
- Politics (303,000 followers)
- Travel (275,000 followers)
- Poetry (299,000 followers)
- Entrepreneurship (268,00 followers)
- Education (257,000 followers)
- Health (254,000 followers)
- Love (239,000 followers)
- Design (217,000 followers)
- Writing (213,000 followers)
- Technology (213,000 followers)
- Self Improvement (197,000 followers)
- Business (186,000 followers)
- Music (181,000 followers)
- Social Media (177,000 followers)
- Sports (154,000 followers)
- Food (129,000 followers)
- Art (115,000 followers)
Getting the right tag is essential. Earning the Top Writer status in the above categories will bring more readers. Unfortunately, you’ll notice that not all tags get the same click rate. Stories about programming(not even on the list) usually earn way more than stories about travel.
We’ll discuss the niche topics in the next part.
Inspecting the latest popular posts on the platform reveals what’s in high demand.
By quick glance on this page, we’re able to see what’s hot.
During the last few years, the front page mostly curated stories about Politics, Coding Tutorials, Crypto, Mental Health, Sex, Relationships, and Money.
You’ll notice Mental Health (105,000 followers) is not among the 20 most popular tags. Yet, at all times, you’ll find such articles dominating the front pages with titles like: “What if Burnout is Actually Depression” or “Why Long Walks will Change Your Life” or “How Unprocessed Trauma is Stored in our Body.”
Medium loves when you get deep and personal. The stories that do best are the ones you’d hardly even tell your therapist. People love to hear about how you overcame significant trauma. Add the juicy sex parts, and you’ll have a Medium promoted story.
This trauma might also come from a failed business. The stories about business moguls and fail-safe deals captivate readers.
You’ll also notice travel stories don’t linger around the front pages — even though the tag Travel is in the Top 5 and has over 275,000 followers.
People love the idea of traveling, but they won’t invest time in reading about your latest holiday.
Top Medium Publications
If you made it this far, you already know a thing or two about Medium publications. I won’t waste your time with how critical Medium publications are for new writers. I believe you already know that.
Smedian — a third-party Medium tool — follows and ranks publications. It estimated there are currently 10,781 Medium publications. If you’re not using this tool already, I highly recommend it. It’ll help you contact the most important publication on the platform.
There are generally two types of publications. There are private ones that you can create yourself, and there are Medium’s official publications.
It’s important to note it’s easier to land on the front page if accepted at a Medium publication. These are Human Parts, OneZero, Elemental, GEN, etc.
These publications usually have a flat fee for each approved submission. It ranges between $200-$250. And the stories easily reach a wider audience.
Medium's top private publications that follow suite are:
- Startup (745,575)
- Towards Data Science (601,402)
- Personal Growth (541,360)
- BetterHumans (382,310)
- The Economist (414,302)
- Startup Grind (402,566)
- Better Marketing (107,608)
The top private publications have a bigger number of official followers. It’s much easier to get your work published in private publications like The Startup or Better Humans. Neither of those can’t guarantee money or reads like Medium’s publications.
I’ve published more than 40 articles for The Startup (the most popular private publication). Certain pieces never got more than 100 reads (certainly my fault) and accumulated mere pennies. The worst-performing article on OneZero has thousands of reads and a similar number of claps.
Takeaway: How to Write on Medium?
Gathering the ultimate knowledge about Medium won’t help you succeed. You’ll still have to write religiously and publish more than is comfortable. Even then, no one can tell you exactly how to reach the stars.
Don’t listen to stories promising hundreds or thousands in passive revenue on Medium. In honest truth, there’s no foolproof guide on how to succeed.
This isn’t to say that such stories aren’t necessary. They’re fun and motivating — each author reveals a glimpse into the bigger picture. Read as much as you can, and type until your fingers bleed. This is the only way to find out if you’re made for the art.
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