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How to Get Boosted as a New Writer(and How Not to)

  • 6 min read

Most writers don’t know about Medium’s new Distribution Standards. Here’s a checklist.

Medium’s biggest and most impactful Boost is here.

At least, that’s what Medium says. Some writers see it differently.

They share their Boosted stories and complain about not getting a really big Boost — meaning after a peak the views dry out.

Nevertheless, Tony Stubblebine shared that there are Medium writers experiencing up to 100k views.

“How big is the Boost? We had a soft launch for the Boost for a few weeks, so we could test the algorithmic changes. In that period, we’ve seen boosts between 500 views and 100,000 views. Our goal is that every Boosted story should get at least 500 extra views within the first week.”

I haven’t seen a screenshot with 100,000 views yet, but I believe Medium’s CEO.

Here’s a WOW-worthy example with 3,000 views Tony shared:

Boosted story; Tony Stubblebine

500 extra views within one week are amazing

But why talk about 100,000 views when most new writers are just longing to cross 500 or 1k?

The Boost is real.

I haven’t seen a report where a writer said he got Boosted and DID NOT see an uptick in his views. I mean, Medium is showing your story to more people than usual. That’s cool.

Maybe you’ve been fumbling around without really knowing what you’re doing when writing a story…., and that’s why you haven’t been Boosted YET.

So let’s talk about how you can get Boosted as a new writer.

Medium updated its Distribution Playbook

On February 21, 2023, Medium updated its Distribution Standards.

These standards are the playbook, every newbie needs to know about.

Why?

It provides guidance and direction.

I know some say it’s not that clear and precise… but it still tells us how to get Boosted and how to not get Boosted.

The 5 criteria to get Boosted

Medium is listing 5 criteria in form of questions to get the Boost.

Ask yourself…

1— Is my story constructive?

  • ✔️You helped your reader to level up in some way.
  • ✔️There’s a takeaway message.
  • ✔️Your story makes your reader’s life, job, and relationship better.
  • ✔️Your story “elicit(s) a real laugh or emotion.”

2 — Is it original?

  • ✔️Your story sheds light on something unknown.
  • ✔️Your story explores a topic that’s not frequently examined.
  • ✔️Your story “re-examines something we think we know a lot about to shed new light, voice, or perspective on the topic.”

3 — Is there relevant experience?

  • ✔️You’re a subject matter expert (e.g. financial advisor, sailor, artist) or have relevant and lived experience (e.g. are divorced, gave birth, are retired).
  • ✔️You have done “thorough research” and share links to your sources.
  • ✔️You have first-hand experience that is credible, for instance, you’re a photographer and you’re sharing tips to buy a new digital camera.
  • ✔️You have in-depth knowledge and (insider) insights about certain topics so that you can communicate them effectively.

4 — Is it well-crafted?

  • ✔️Your story is high quality, well-written, clear, and compelling.
  • ✔️Your story is formatted properly, “free of errors, appropriate sources, and narratively strong” (e.g. you use Grammarly (as a non-native) to check your grammar).
  • ✔️Your story has an image that provides value and your title and subtitle are interesting and properly formatted (e.g. Medium prefers title case for the headline and no clickbait).

5 — Is it memorable?

Medium states:

“The best stories are the ones you’re still thinking about days later.”

  • ✔️“Are you compelled to share this with your network?”
  • ✔️“Did this story get you thinking?”
  • ✔️“Did this story “move you”?”
  • ✔️“Did this story (m)ake you feel good about the value of your Medium subscription?”

A lot of what makes a distributed article to me just sounds like common sense.

Maybe you’re nodding your head right now too but are thinking:

“Kristina I already tend to follow those rules without even knowing they existed. Apparently, I’m doing something right instinctively. 😃 But… none of my stories have been Boosted yet…”

Well, if you make sure all boxes above are checked, you definitely increase the chances that your article will get Boosted.

But your work isn’t ready for publication YET.

Keep in mind that there are factors that frequently disqualify new writers from a broader distribution.

How to not get Boosted

Medium shared a very long list of what does NOT qualify for distribution and the Boost, which is important to keep in mind.

Violation of Medium’s Rules

❌Don’t create content that violates Medium’s Rules.

Write clickbait headlines or images

❌Don’t try to get more clicks by creating a clickbait headline.

❌Don’t use a clickbaity image (that’s new!)

Forbidden story types

These types of stories disqualify you:

❌Sponsored content, content marketing, or stories whose sole purpose is to gather signups/traffic

❌Crypto airdrops

❌Press releases

❌Non-English stories (Medium and its Community Curators can only review English stories at this time)

❌Erotica (this doesn’t mean you can’t get Boosted as an erotic writer, you simply have to use other tags than #Erotica and share softer (fiction stories) and no hard-core stories.

❌Inflammatory business reviews

No stories written about Medium called “meta posts” (This post won’t get distributed by Medium!)

❌Copyrighted images (original imagery is super. In general, you need to have the rights for the image you’re using and cite the source.)

❌Call-out posts

❌Dangerous, illegal, or harmful posts (e.g. Corona news without being an expert)

New! Short form posts are eligible for distribution

Short form seems to be eligible for the Boost!

In the past, it was explicitly stated that short form posts, 150-word stories, were forbidden and not eligible for distribution.

(Excessive use of) call-to-actions (CTA’s) were forbidden too.

Apparently, now it’s allowed to place at least one call to action at the bottom of your article, assuming it will be genuinely helpful to the reader!

So you don’t have to worry about promoting your website, newsletter, YouTube channel, or services. Yeah!

Bottom Line

Medium’s new Distribution Standards and Boost criteria are pretty similar to their old Curation Standards.

For my coachees and followers, I shared a list of the factors which got you curated (curation was killed last summer) and which did not. You can check them out here.

Adding value, putting the reader first, high editorial standards, and proper formatting are the key factors.

I bet my Boost Checklist will help you get Boosted! Let me know once it happened.

Any thoughts or questions?

P.S. I shared further insights on how to get Boosted on my YouTube channel with interviews with an official Medium Boost Curator and Medium’s Publication Relations Director!

Plus, I’ll share exclusive insights in my Substack newsletter!

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