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It’s The Time of Awakening Claps and True Followers on Medium to Continue Making Money

  • 5 min read

Many people wonder: Quo vadis Medium? Engagement and followers are the answer!

Medium is preparing big changes in regard to distribution.

They already killed the “chosen for further distribution” notification which means we can’t see whether one of our stories was distributed beyond our followers or not.

Yes, BEYOND our followers.

For everyone who won’t be able to “game the system” in the future, followers will be the most important asset.

As a professional (online) marketer and writer on this platform, here’s what I see when I look into the crystal ball:

Awakening the meaning of “true fans”!

Medium is an open platform.

Everyone can join.

You can write about whatever you want as long as you play by Medium’s rules.

However, Medium doesn’t recommend you or your writing when it’s not a high-quality piece! Medium decides whether or not your story serves its paying readers.

Of course, in the future, there will be a lot of meta stories (except Medium won’t allow you anymore to put meta stories (like this) behind the paywall) on how to game the new distribution system and check all the boxes in regard to quality.


What if you can’t game the system? What if you can’t meet Mediums’s (high) expectations? What if you’re about to calling it quits because you’re frustrated?

Your following can help you.

As I see it, no matter whether Medium likes your story or not, your followers will see your story.

To be more specific: a very small percentage. I recently shared it’s less than 1%.

That’s bittersweet news, I know.

“Kristina, you’re telling me about the importance of my following but I only have 200 followers and 1% are 2 people!”

I hear you and no, please don’t play the follow-for-follow or follow-unfollow game it won’t help you.

You need true, raving fans! True fans are people who really like and trust you. Who would even buy something from you.

You might have heard of “1,000 true fans” where the author Kevin Kelly explains that as a content creator you only need these 1,000 fans to earn $100,000 per year.


Quick math:

When every true fan supports you with $10 per year, you can make $100,000 per year! Yeah! That’s also the business model of platforms such as Substack. You love one specific author, pay an amount of money per month/year and support him/her directly.

Amazing idea, isn't it?

Awakening of claps!

On Medium, you’re getting paid based on reading time. What should your true fans do here?

✔️Your true fans need to read your story.

What else?

✔️They need to engage with your content. Mediums’ algorithm (as any algorithm on the internet) loves engagement. It is biased.

When a story gets a lot of engagement the machine learning algorithms of Medium think:

“Oh, this story seems to be relevant for Medium’s audience in this topic!”

Besides comments, claps are crucial on Medium.

Claps can boost the visibility of your story

My friend Yousuf Rafi for instance had a viral hit thanks to 1,000 people clapping for his story!

He got this notification telling him about his huge success:

Medium’s Help Desk shared with me:

“Stories that have high-level engagement do have a greater change of increased distribution to readers who have shown interest in similar stories and topics.”

So when you receive an email notification about 10, 50, 100 or 1,000 raving fans, this is AMAZING and will boost the visibility of your story.

The more claps & fans, the more earnings

raving fand
made with Canva

Some fun facts I learned:

  • When you get 10 fans within 24 hours after you’ve published you get in the popular on Medium feed.
  • When you get 10+ fans within 24 hours you’ll get into the trend list for the primary tag (=label).
  • When your story reaches the threshold of 50 Medium will promote your story further.
  • When you reach the threshold of 100 you have a greater chance of increased distribution to readers who have shown interest in similar stories and topics in the past (based on their reading history). Meaning Medium will promote your story further.

Final Takeaways

  • Claps matter more than ever. So clap 50x when you like this post or any other story on Medium and think more people should read it!
  • Your (true) followers matter more than ever. You want them to read your articles and clap for them. The moment they do this they are your fans.

✔️Put your audience first. Make your writing all about them, not you.

✔️Start writing reader-centric = write for your audience and make them “true fans” that like and trust you!

✔️The moment you help others, you create value and make an impact!

✔️Ask your audience what they would like to read more from you.

This brings us back to Tony’s approach to changing the distribution system and raising the quality bar.

If you keep your true fans in mind, I’m sure you’ll also pique the interest of Medium’s algorithms and will be distributed (one day) with your value-packed writing.

It’s value-packed quality content or nothing for true fans!

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