Dissecting my top-earning Medium stories.
I’ve been writing on Medium for three years now.
After 800+ stories and 160k+ followers, I found every successful Medium article has five main elements.
Weave them in your next story, and you’ll see a massive boost in your engagement, followers, and Partner Program income.
Read on, and don’t forget to share your insights in the comments.
1. A solid idea
Whatever topic you write about, if your article can make the reader go, “I’ve never thought about <topic name> this way,” your article is a winner.
Give your readers an “AHA” moment with your stories.
I understand that good ideas don’t always come easy. To turn yourself into an “Idea Machine” who gets brilliant ideas at short notice, use this method I learned from James Altucher:
- Write ten ideas daily.
- Do this every day.
Your brain will tell you this is pointless and you don’t need to keep doing it. But the more you practice, the stronger the idea muscle in your head will become, and the better ideas you’ll get.
2. A title that delivers on its promise
Medium punishes clickbait titles, especially after their August 2023 updates.
If your article doesn’t deliver on the promise, the reader will leave before 30 seconds. This hurts your article’s performance. 🤕
To ensure the reader isn’t disappointed, ditch clickbait. Instead, use authentic titles that your story can deliver.
Here are the four elements of a killer title, along with examples from my recent high-performing articles:
- Arouses curiosity in the reader (How I Managed to Write Every Day Alongside a Day Job)
- 6–12 words long (I Ask Myself These 3 Questions Every Month)
- ‘You’ focussed, rather than ‘I’ focussed (Tap Into The Divine Feminine With These 5 Books)
- Makes a promise it later delivers (How to be a Consistent Writer When You Can’t Write Every Day)
Use these tips in your next title, and your story will perform better. 🧡
3. A feature image that captures the article’s essence
You can search for relevant pics on Unsplash, Pixabay, or Pexels.
But the issues are:
- everyone keeps using the same tools, and
- duty-free images are often not closely related to your article’s theme.
To stand out, try either getting your own pictures clicked or using Midjourney or Dall E to generate unique images. This will help you catch readers’ attention amidst other articles using stock imagery.
Artificial Intelligence has progressed in such leaps and bounds of late. It’s high time writers started leveraging its power to push themselves forward on their journey.
4. The easy-to-digest format
In 2023, most readers love reading on their phones.
Make your article easily skimmable on mobile devices so you don’t lose your reader’s attention midway.
Here’s how you can optimize your article for phones:
- Add lots of white space.
- Use shorter paragraphs.
- Break down your post into sections with H2 & H3 headers.
- Use dividers to separate sections
- Add bullet and numbered lists whenever applicable.
Use these tips to format your article, and your read ratio will increase 🤗
5. Credible research to back up your words
People trust facts, not opinions.
Add facts throughout your article to add credibility to your words.
This will help you win your readers’ trust, motivate them to take action, and add real value to their lives. Here are a few resources to find credible research for your post:
- Harvard Business Review
- Psychology Today
- Any peer-reviewed journal (You can find them by searching for relevant topics on Google Scholar).
Link their research to your article to make it trustworthy.
Elements of a successful Medium article: Final words
Every Medium article is different. But if you look with a critic’s eye, the successful ones have some elements in common.
As a new writer, if you study these elements and think of ways you can incorporate them into your work, you’ll start seeing results in terms of better reach and engagement.
Summing up, here are the five elements every successful Medium article needs:
- A solid idea
- A title that delivers on its promise
- A feature image that captures the article’s essence
- An easy-to-digest format that can be skimmed through on mobile devices
- Credible research to back up your words.
Which of these elements do you think is currently missing from your articles? Let me know in the comments.