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How To Become A Successful Medium Top Writer

  • 13 min read

Yes, you can become a Top Writer. I have 17 shiny badges of honor and earn $600+ per month. Here’s my step-by-step guide for you.

Many writers wonder:

There are so many passionate voices on Medium, how can I stand out and get more attention?

Let me coach you.

I’ve received 17 Top Writer badges 📛since I’ve started writing on Medium 10 months ago. For instance, in the popular category ‘Writing’.

✅ Here’s the proof:

As you can see below my latest article is trending and…

screenshot by Kristina God

I belong to the Top 5 Writers in #Writing on this platform — together with Top Writer Tim Denning, Zulie Rane and Linda Caroll:

screenshot by Kristina God

Last month, I made more than $600 with my side hustle — and I’m pretty sure I make most of it thanks to my badges of honor in multiple categories.

My recommendation to stand out and to get more attention:

Strive to become a Top Writer!

This month I’m hosting my first ‘Online Writing Kickstarter Bootcamp’ with around 15 aspiring and also experienced writers.

Lucky you! This article gives you an exclusive insight into what I teach my bootcampers.

Let me be your coach today and follow my lead.

Since we’re all busy writers, this article is straight and to the point to help you become a Top Writer.

Let’s get started, guys!

It’s great that you’re only a little fish in the big pond

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Did you know that there are around 700K paying members on this inspiring platform and you are one of them?

According to this data, you may think that Medium is home to thousands of voices and you’re only a little fish🐠 in the big pond.

Well, as a little fish in the big pond there’s every opportunity for you to grow from a little fish into a big fish.

Placed into this environment, we small fishes can thrive, aspire to bigger and better things such as becoming a Top Writer, don’t you think?

That’s why Medium first introduced Top Writer badges in January 2017 — for more attention to their emerging writers and popular voices.

✅ To reward little fishes 🐠🐠🐠 for their effort, passion, and inspiring work.

8 things you need to know about Medium’s Top Writer badges

1. At the moment there are 74 popular tags you can become a Top Writer in.

Still, this is a moving target.

They are updated on a daily basis. Here’s the go-to list you need to have a look at.

2. Only 50 people can ever hold one of these badges at a time

Each Top writer badge has a maximum award capacity. Only 50 people can have a badge in the category you chose to write in.

3. You can gain and lose Top Writer badges

If you slowly drop down to the 51st spot you’ll lose your badge again.

Fellow writers such as Yana Bostongirl (1.5K followers), who’s Top Writer in 2 categories, gives tips on how to maintain your badge.

They come and go. It’s not easy but doable to maintain your badge of honor.

4. Medium promotes your work

When you get a Top Writer badge, you’ll appear more prominently in searches and in exclusive sections of the Medium search bar.

Here’s what I mean by appearing in exclusive sections of the Medium search bar.

Let’s use the tag page for ‘Photography’ as an example.

There are 49K writers writing in the category ‘Photography’ with 136K stories.

screenshot by @kristinagod

As you can see below, my fellow writer friend Anne Bonfert from Germany is one of the Top 5 Writers in this category together with Keith Chen Alema Ljuca Josh Rose, and Derrick Story.

screenshot by Kristina God

Anne has gained over 54K followers in under a year (!) because she is ‘being presented on many surfaces as a suggested account to follow’ according to Medium Help Center.

When you click the ‘See More’ button, a list of all 50 Top Writers for ‘Photography’ pops up.

Here’s the shortcut to the tag page #Photograpy:

5. Your profile displays the tags in which you’re a Top Writer.

That’s awesome!

Potential followers can quickly see your expertise and social proof.

To find out what Top Writer badges an author has, you need to go to their ‘About’ page on their profile, here’s mine.

screenshot by Kristina God

As you can see I’m a Top Writer in multiple categories, such as #This happened to me, #Entrepreneurship, or #Social Media.

6. It’s a social proof

It’s great to not only be selected out of thousands of writers but it’s also a ‘social proof’ as J.J. Pryor, owner of the publication ‘Feedium’ says.

Courtney Simms, an expert in neuroscience and neuromarketing and one of my bootcampers, explains,

to get your audience to “know, like and trust” you, you will need to use the psychology of social proof.

Meaning, becoming a Top Writer makes you a credible source.

You wouldn’t trust me to coach you when I wouldn’t have at least one shiny badge, would you?

7. Medium’s Top Writers and earners have several badges.

Here’s the proof:

Zulie Rane has 3 badges,

screenshot by Kristina God

Tim Denning holds 17 badges of honor:

screenshot by Kristina God

As J.J. Pryor, owner of the publication ‘Feedium’, says:

(T)he “Top Writer” award on is a mark of professionalism for most authors on the platform.

I have 17 shiny badges of honor and I belong to the Top 1,000 writers on this platform.

8. You can get the attention of editors in higher-paying gigs

Editors from paid publications view this credential as a mark of consistency and accomplishment, as Susan Brearley, editor-in-chief of the publication ‘MuddyUm’ states.

It can open new doors for you.

Think of Top Writer Nicolas Cole. Cole once had several Top Writer badges when he was hired as an editor for Inc. Magazine.

THAT is way better than Fiverr or the other lower level underpaid writer jobs.

The last time I sent an article, or just a link to my profile page to a prospective new editor at an online site, as soon as she saw that I was a top writer in over 10 categories (and yes, I know, they come and go), she said to me,

“I am always happy to hear pitches from experienced writers.”

Susan Brearley

To sum it up: Receiving a badge is a big deal.

So let’s come back to you, little fish in the big pond.🐠

Let me show you how you can become Medium’s next Top Writer.

How to become Medium’s next Top Writer

Within my first month on Medium, I unexpectedly became Top Writer in ‘Parenting’.

This badge surprised me!

I didn’t know about this concept.

Within the upcoming months, I’ve gained 16 more shiny badges. This wasn’t by surprise anymore.

This happened more strategically.

Unfortunately, tags and the use of tags are some of the least well-understood aspects of finishing your post.

So, let me coach you.

Here’s how to earn a badge and get featured as a Top Writer:

1. Have a look at the list of Top Writer tags.

I see many new writers who use tags that don’t have any chance of earning them a Top Writer badge. Why?

⚠️Because they aren’t eligible for Top Writer status.

Here’s the list.

✅ Ask yourself what category or categories of the 74 tags eligible for Top Writer status appeal to you.

2. Chose a tag you’re passionate about and have fun writing about.

  • This can be your profession — I’m a marketer. I can write about marketing.
  • This can be your hobby — bootcamper jeanninekauffmann/poems in the raw loves to paint and even set up her own Ko-fi shop where she sells her unique masterpieces. Vidya Sury, Collecting Smiles is passionate about #Reading.
  • This can be about your daily life — bootcamper Christina is already Top Writer in #Parenting since she loves to share stories about motherhood.

⭐️Hint: You don’t have to stick to a niche as my bootcamper Sally Prag found out.

Most of us are multi-passionate. That’s great.

Medium allows you to write in multiple categories — and also to become a Top Writer in several topics.

3. Write frequently about the topic you love in order to let Medium’s algorithm find you.

Consistency is key.

You need to publish several stories within a month or two.

In April and May 2021, I wrote 5 articles about #Feminism.

Here are the tags I’ve used:

screenshot by Kristina God

My story called ‘Is My Vagina Dictating Chores?’ which received 400+ views, 2K claps, and 20 comments, made an impact on Medium’s network.

screenshot by Kristina God

It’ was inspired by a new book by New York Times Beststelling author Jordan Shapiro I read.

It’s called ‘Father Figure’.

Jordan even twittered my story, highlighted and commented on it.

4. Use the exact Top Writer tag over and over again!

I once made a mistake. When I wanted to become a Top Writer in #Short Form writing I failed although I write at least one short form post per day.

✅Learn from my mistake and always use the specific tag that’s eligible for Top Writer status.

⚠️Not the wrong one.

How to find out whether you’re a Top Writer?

I was very happy to find out about this program nine months ago with an email in my inbox announcing I was named a Top Writer in #Parenting.

As a novice writer, this was such a great incentive for me to keep up the writing.

Here you can see the views in my first two months on Medium.

screenshot by @kristinagod

And here are the pennies I’ve earned:

screenshot by @kristinagod

I thought about quitting as so many novice writers do.

The Top Writer badge was a psychological bonus, an incentive to keep writing.

I felt my stories were hitting the spot and I felt heard and seen for the first time.

Often I was feeling blah because I had a busy life as a working parent (Jameson Steward, Michael Nagy, and Burk with 5 kids can relate) who also wanted to start a side hustle.

This first badge was my encouragement to keep writing!

✅When you’re named a Top Writer, you’ll receive an email with the badge from Medium to let you know.

For instance, my Medium Writers Challenge entry (chosen for distribution) called ‘To Die Is Bad But Not To Live Is Even Worse’ with 3K views, 3K+ claps and 60+ comments, made me a Top Writer in #Travel:

screenshot by Kristina God

⚠️Hint: Sometimes writers don’t get these emails because they end up in the spam filter.

To find out if and what Top Writer badges you might have already gained (without knowing it) simply visit your ‘About’ .

There you’ll find your tags:

screenshot by Kristina God

Misconceptions of the Top Writer badge

Unfortunately, there are a lot of misconceptions about Medium’s shiny badges.

⚠️Let me give you an example, you’ll never forget:

Do you still remember Top Writer Anne Bonfert who I mentioned earlier?

She is a Top Writer in #Photography and #Travel.

She’s a skydiver, takes unique photos, and writes beautiful stories.

Here’s her ‘About’:

screenshot by @kristinagod

As you can see. She has 53K followers.

Let’s take Top Writer Sinem Günel. She has only (!) 44K followers.

As I recently said to Anne, she has more followers than Top Writer Sinem Günel.

Still, Sinem earns around 2 to 5K and more per month whereas Anne only earns a small percentage of her revenue.

I’m following Sinem (…) and know she made last month $2,500 with just one article.

Well, I published over 20 articles but I’m ashamed to tell you how much I made with it. Anne Bonfert

✅Lessons Learned: A huge follower base due to Medium’s promotion based on your Top Writer status doesn’t mean you will immediatly earn big bucks.

  • You need to play the long game. It’s not an instant success. II also only made pennies in the beginning of my journey.
  • You need to experiment with different (niche) topics and tags.
  • Your audience is as big as your comments sections — not your follower base. I have (only) 2.1K followers and I earn more than Anne (I’m so sorry, Anne!).

Final Takeaways

It’s always easier if someone has gone before you.

The above information is the perfect place for you, little fish🐠, to start.

10 months ago I didn’t know about this concept and its mechanics.

By reading this article you‘re in the known. Take advantage of it.

It’s an honor to be selected Top Writer.

The top 50 writers ‘show writers who are publishing quality content about a specific topic on a regular basis’ as Medium states.

I just wanted to let all (new) writers who are interested in achieving the Top Writer badge know anything is possible!

Keep swimming and…

Go get your badges, writers📛!

© Kristina God

PS: If you’re interested in my upcoming ‘Online Writing Kickstarter Bootcamp 2022’ and want to become a Top Writer, please leave me a comment and become a subscribe (here's the link) so I‘m allowed to send you an email.

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