What does being curated on Medium mean?
It is very straightforward: Medium (either the algorithm or an actual person) chooses a story and distributes it through one or more topics throughout the entire platform. It doesn’t mean your story will be in their daily digest email, but it COULD be, and Medium (the platform) is more likely to suggest your story to people interested in those or similar topics.
The stories that get curated and distributed are usually clean, edited, well-researched, and add value to readers (according to Medium themselves).
And not every great story gets chosen to be curated. Not every curated story is great. And most importantly, curation is no guarantee of something getting a lot of likes or going viral.
People ask about curation A LOT. So, I’ve gathered some information and am putting up my own information as data.
Let’s look at 4 stories of mine which have been chosen for curation in the last month.
These two posts from just last week were both curated in the “Freelancing” category:
This one was curated for the “Remote Work” category:
This one was curated into the “Marketing” category:
But look at the numbers:
Those above numbers are not particularly impressive. Yet, some of my curated stories have done very well. My highest-viewed story was about my first $10k month as a freelancer, was curated in “Freelancing,” and currently has over 45k views — though it already had several thousand views prior to being curated. This one about publications with open submissions has over 12k views and was never curated.
Sometimes it can feel (and be) arbitrary.
My point is this: Curation does not guarantee success and a great, well-written post does not guarantee curation.
But if curation is important to you, here are some facts and guidelines to keep in mind.
Some facts about curation:
- You do not need to be in a publication to get curated.
- Yes, curation can potentially give you wider exposure but does not necessarily boost your views or follower count.
- Curators do not edit your stories and look for strong pieces that do not need additional editing or fixing.
- Curated stories generally follow proper formatting guidelines (as told by Medium in their Curation Guidelines).
- “Clickbait” or plagiarism will not be curated, neither will duplicate content.
- They tend NOT to curate stories about Medium itself. They want to bring new content and value to the readers.
- The curators also have specific rules about headlines. Yout story will definitely NOT be curated if: it does not have a headline, has an ALL-CAPS headline, has typos or hyperlinks in the headline, or if your headline is obviously clickbait.
- If you are part of the partner program, your stories will remain eligible for earning money whether they’re curated or not.
So, there are clearly some things that will keep you from being curated.
What if your post fits all the guidelines and you STILL don’t get curated?
It happens. Remember, curation does not guarantee success and a great, well-written post does not guarantee curation.
Medium has somewhere between 85 to 100 million active monthly users and at LEAST tens of thousands of actively-posting writers. New content is being written and published every minute of the day.
There is just no conceivable way that human beings reviewing algorithmically-selected content for curation are going to review thousands of articles every hour or each day.
They are going to scan for relevant, well-researched, well-written content and grab as much as they can. But there is no way every deserving piece will be curated. As a writer on Medium, I understand and accept that.
I am not here to be curated, that is not my goal. I know newer Medium bloggers yearn for curation and that’s totally fine if that’s your goal.
I have seen firsthand that curation does not necessarily do anything for boosting readership or gaining new followers (though it CAN that doesn’t mean it WILL).
The best way to get new followers on Medium is to write and post consistently and make sure you are posting clean, error-free (as much as possible) copy, linking to credible sources, and giving value to your readers.
Consistency and good content. That’s truly what it comes down to.
Conclusion & Summary
Curation is well and good and if that’s your goal, that’s fine. But do not rely on curation to meet your goals and don’t assume that every good article will be picked up. That’s just setting yourself up for disappointment.
Focus on writing great articles and providing value to your growing group of followers and continuously working on and improving your craft. Success will follow!
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Can You Succeed on Medium Without Being in Publications?
Depends on your vision of success.