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Why Fake Engagement on Medium Will Get You Nowhere

  • 4 min read

And how to grow organically without gaming the system

Medium’s earnings calculation has changed… again! Reading time is back.

But we can see in our stats that engagement still is key.

Claps, highlights, new followers, and comments still really pay off.

That’s why people meet in engagement groups.

There’s a lot of fake engagement on Medium.

What does Medium do against it, you ask?

Medium implemented a “rate limitation”, e.g. you can’t comment more than 50 times per day without that the “Medium police” will leave a message in your inbox.

I’m not kidding. This happened to R C Hammond.

Often (new) writers think they have to engage A LOT to be seen and read on Medium.

I felt the same when I started writing here.

However, I also wanted people to be genuinely interested in my words and thoughts.

I bet it’s the same as you wish.

Money is just a short-term success.

Followers are definitely a vanity metric because you can earn the same with 100 as with 1,000 or 10,000 followers.

I bet you think:

“Kristina, for you it’s easy. You have 10,000 followers”.

No, it’s not.

Only about 1% of my followers see my stories in their feed plus so many people who started writing already have more followers than me. I write a lot of meta stuff and short stories which won’t get Boosted and it’s fine for me.

Now let’s talk about engagement groups…

“If you have to rely on engagement groups or on commenting on other people’s pieces, hoping that they will comment back and stuff like that, you are definitely on the wrong path.

The problem is, if you get into a group with, let’s say, 20 people, and suddenly 20 people comment on your piece, and that’s 20 comments more than your usual piece has, you will feel like you’re making progress while you are really not.

Because the actual readers will not see your story based on that fake engagement or because of that fake engagement”, that’s what Sinem Guenel shared with me in the latest interview.

And Zulie Rane hit the nail on the head:

“If you are hitting a rate limitation, your engagement isn’t genuine, unless it’s your full-time job to comment on Medium.

And if that’s the case, I think you’ve got the wrong job and you should go do something else, like writing. If you’re posting enough comments that you’re hitting a rate limitation, you are spending too much time commenting on other people’s work.”

How can you grow organically (without gaming the system):

1 — You need to have the right mindset

If people start to interact with your story, it’s because there’s something they want to add to your story, or they want to let you know that they genuinely enjoyed your story.

What’s in it for you if people just clap and run without reading?

That’s why Medium now incentivizes reading time more. You need to shift your mind and think about how you can make them read your story til the end.

2 — Most readers on most platforms are not engaging

Keep in mind that most readers on most platforms are not engaging. They are lurkers. They read, they don’t engage, they don’t like, they don’t comment, they just move on.

If somebody takes half a minute to comment on your story, that’s already considered quite heavy engagement, because you obviously wrote a piece that moved the person to actually join the conversation, which is a huge win.

3 — Become a person of value

“My advice is to try to be clear on what you are bringing to the table and how you are enriching the life of your reader. This is not just about Educating or creating value as you can create value in various forms.

Poetry can be valuable. A funny story can be valuable. You can bring that value to the table in different ways. (…) And ideally, you do that over and over again where you create a loop of readers having a specific expectation about what they get from your writing and you fulfilling that promise over and over again” recommends Top Writer Sinem Guenel with about 89K followers.

Want to learn how to grow your audience in 3 simple steps? Join this free Masterclass hosted by Top Writers Sinem & Zulie:

For more watch our interview:

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