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Many New Writers Feel Shadowbanned

  • 6 min read

You’re in good company but it will get better (hopefully).

I heard from several new writers I referred to the platform they feel ghosted. 👻

On social media platforms such as Twitter or Instagram “shadowbanning” really is a thing.

But on Medium?

What does “shadowbanned” mean?

The term has existed since Twitter used it in 2016. The platform filtered out abusive tweets and applied a sort of temporary “time-out” on users.

In general, it means that a platform is moving your account down.

The discoverability of your stories goes down.

This can be a major obstacle to growing your account and getting more followers and engagement.

If all your posts are facing a drastic fall, you might have been shadowbanned.

There are platforms that inform you such as Twitter but there are others such as Instagram that don’t inform you about a shadowban.

Many more senior writers really can relate, to new writers.

A few months back, I also had the feeling that my stories were getting less and less distribution. Some of my followers even asked me in autumn whether I quit writing.

I figured it must have to do with my meta stories. Meta stories are articles about the platform. Additionally, I write short form stories.

  • Both types of stories aren’t the ones that Medium’s algorithm prefers.
  • Shorts (150 words+) are too short and meta stories aren’t what Medium wants to feed its reader’s feeds.

My new approach is that I still share meta stories like these and 2 short form posts per day but I also share a lot of stories about my expertise — marketing.

I publish them with Medium’s biggest publications such as Better Marketing and my views are much better.

Top Writers such as Jessica Wildfire also see a drop in their views

Even Top Writer and mom Jessica Wildfire (known for her doom and gloom stories) complained about her views.

Tony replied in the comments and said it might have to do with the launch of the “Show less like this” button.

The “show less like this” button simply lets Medium’s recommendations algorithm know not to send you stories like the one you’re seeing.

It’s based more on subject matter, not the author.

People who don’t want to see doom and gloom, just click it and won’t see it again.

So the “Show less like this” button could make your situation worse when you’re writing about one topic people don’t want to read about.

Katie Jgn and Yael Wolfe too

I recently read a story by Katie Jgln in which she shares that she feels shadowbanned.

Katie has grown her following primarily via TikTok where she has a huge following of 277K followers.

She also drives traffic from her TikTok to Medium but gets fewer and fewer views although her headlines are compelling and her stories are always thought-provoking.

The other example of a more senior writer who feels shadowbanned is Yael Wolfe who shared:

“My views have dropped by 75% in the past month for no apparent reason. And over the past six months, my follower count has come to an almost standstill.”

👻Less than 1% of your followers will see your story!

What new writers need to know is that at the moment less than 1% (!) of your followers will see your story.

This means we have to cater to the needs of our followers who might love us for a specific topic we’re writing about, for instance, #Relationships, but we also have to keep the 99% of new readers in mind who don’t have a clue who we are and what we’re writing about

So although Medium recommends sticking to one niche topic or sharing your expertise as a subject matter expert in a specific field (as I started doing), I bet it would be beneficial for us to spread our wings and experiment a bit.

Keep new subscribers in mind!

I watched an interview between a spokesperson of YouTube and the most-watched YouTuber in the world Mr. Beast.

I learned that YouTube wants and allows people to try new things.

Why?

When you’re on YouTube, only 30% of your YouTube subscribers will see your videos.

About 70% (!) are new viewers and potential new subscribers.

Keep Medium’s new quality approach in mind!

Medium wants to support quality writing and subject matter expertise more.

Tony Stubblebine, Medium’s new CEO emphasizes this whenever he can.

That’s one of the reasons I’ve started to share my marketing expertise more broadly throughout Medium.

If you’re an expert (this also includes being an expert in your own life experience) share this in your short bio and in your stories.

The idea is: Why write about cooking when you’re a marketing expert?

I know…. because it’s sooooo much fun…. but Medium wants to become more of a knowledge platform like Wikipedia where people can go and find the answer to a specific question in a curated list of stories.

Your story could become part of this.

It’s more likely when you’re an expert in the field you’re writing about!

Medium will boost high quality stories by experts

A few days ago, Stubblebine announced that publications will get a “boost access” to boost stories they really like and think are worth reading.

So in the near future, you can earn more money if you write about your expertise.

Stories of poor quality or who don’t get any engagement won’t get any support.

3 Top Tips to show that you’re an expert in the topic you’re writing about:

  • ✔️Make sure to show your expertise in your “About” and “Bio”.
  • ✔️Create a Linktree (micro website) and showcase your portfolio. Maybe you’re an indie author, then link to your books.
  • ✔️Write an “About Me story” in which you share your background in the topic you’re writing about and what makes you an expert.

Bottom Line

If you feel shadowbanned by Medium the reason simply might be that your following is so small and only 1% see your stories.

The more followers you get, the more people will see your stories.

To increase the chances to get read and seen more, write about your expertise and really show why you’re an expert in the field you’re writing about.

Keep in mind: if you feel shadowbanned, you’re not alone.

Actually, you’re in good company.

Even more senior (Top) writers experience it and have to adapt to Medium’s new more expertise-driven approach.


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