Medium recently made changes to the Medium Partner Program requiring writers to get 100 followers before they’re eligible to monetize their writing. That means many writers are probably scrambling to get to 100 followers if they haven’t prioritized followers before. Here are some strategies you can use to get your first 100 followers on Medium.
How do I know that these work? I’ve been writing on Medium for over two years, and in that time I’ve amassed 28,000 followers. My follower count sometimes grows by 100 or more in a single day! Part of that is getting established on the platform, but a big part is using the right strategies to grow a following.
Why do I need 100 followers on Medium?
The biggest reason most writers want to add to the following on Medium is to hit the initial threshold for the partner program. Once you’ve reached us and met other eligibility requirements, you can potentially monetize your Medium articles.
I would encourage you to think more broadly about your following, though. If you’re just focused on reaching 100 followers in order to monetize, you’re losing out on the opportunity to build passionate following that will engage with your content over the long term.
Getting to 100 followers is important, but these strategies are geared more towards a holistic look at your follower account. They are intended to help you grow your following over time, and ensure that you’re building an engaged audience that actually cares about your writing. In the long term, this will serve you better than rushing to 100 followers and ignoring their quality.
A few ways NOT to get followers on Medium
A lot of new writers think that the fastest way to get a following on Medium is to join follow-for-follow schemes on Facebook or other social media platforms. With these, Medium writers agree to follow each other, increasing both writers’ follower counts.
I don’t like this strategy. When people follow you just because they expect something in return, they’re unlikely to really care about your content. You also risk that they will follow you from a fake account, or even from a bot account.
That creates a wide range of problems. Even if their account is legitimate, they probably don’t care about the writing you’re putting on Medium. It’s very likely that they’ll unfollow you in a few days or weeks. You could hit the 100th follower mark, and then find the half your followers abandon you because they didn’t really care about what you’re writing. You then be back down under 100 followers, and essentially back at square one.
If someone follows you from a bot account or a fake account, you could even risk having Medium remove that follower from your account down the line. If most of your followers are fakes or bots, that could even potentially put your own Medium account in jeopardy.
Instead of using follow for follow schemes, focus on attracting real followers who actually care about what you’re posting. They’ll be more engaged over time, they’re less likely to unfollow you, and they’re less likely to be bot or fake accounts. Again, focus on building a followership for the long term, not just reaching the 100 follower number.
Ask for followers in the right way
The simplest way to develop a following on Medium is to ask people to follow you. I know that sounds so simple that it’s useless. But in reality, most writers don’t ask for followers effectively. And if you want this strategy to work, there are some good ways to do it and some bad ones.
There are two keys to asking someone to follow you:
- A value proposition
Let’s look at timing first. You want to catch your reader at a time when they’re genuinely interested in engaging with more of your content. Usually, I find that readers who finished one of my articles found my contact useful, and are likely to want more of it. For that reason, I find it works best to put a message asking for followers at the end of your articles. Readers who made it through the whole article probably like what they read, and are likely to want more of your stories in the future. That makes them a prime candidate to click Follow and connect with you.
The second aspect of asking for followers is providing a clear value proposition. Ultimately, readers don’t care about you. They care about the value of the content you’re providing. Your follower message should clearly articulate what they can expect if they follow you. That way, they know what valuable benefits to get from hitting the follow button.
Keep your follower message simple. I like using a message along the lines of “If you enjoyed this article, please follow me here on Medium for more stories about _________.” For example, at the end of a food story about Bay Area cupcakes, I might include a message that says “Please follow me here on Medium for more stories about food in the Bay Area.”
The message is simple, and it articulates a clear value proposition. The reader knows exactly what they’ll get out of following me (more stories on a similar topic to the one they’ve just finished. And by putting my ask at the end of an article, I know that I am engaging my reader at a time when they’re most likely to be receptive to the message. It’s a winning combo that can help you quickly build a Medium following.
Write a lot
Once you’ve included a clear follower ask at the end of your articles, one of the most important things is to write a lot of articles. The more stories you have on Medium, the more chances you have to pick up followers.
Remember, it’s OK if your articles are mix of longform and short form. If you write a two minute read that your audience finds helpful, and you put a compelling ask at the end of it, you can still pick up followers just as easily as on a seven or 10 minute read.
I’ve written about 400 Medium articles so far. That’s a big part of why I have 28,000 followers.
In fact, when you’re first starting it’s helpful to write shorter articles about a wider variety of topics. This maximizes the reach of your content and ensures that you engage with audiences that have a wide variety of interests. Assuming you included a good follower ask at the end of your articles, this will maximize the number of potential people who choose to follow you.
Write for publications
When you’re first starting out on Medium, your lack of followers means that your stories will likely be distributed to a smaller set of people. That becomes a chicken and the egg problem. You don’t have followers, so your content doesn’t reach as broad an audience. And because your content doesn’t reach as broad an audience, it’s harder to get followers.
One way out of this loop is to write for publications. When you write in a popular publication like Better Marketing, Start it Up, or any of the Medium in-house publications, you get instant access to their audiences. These can be hundreds of thousands of people in some cases.
One well-placed article in a popular publication with a good follower ask message at the end can easily get you 10 followers, 50 followers, or even 100 followers. Yes, it can be hard to break into these publications as a new writer. But if you are able to get established in one, it can make it way easier to build a following.
Here’s the other good news. The same loop works in a positive way. Once you have followers, your stories will be promoted to a broader audience, which makes it more likely for you to pick up additional followers. Now that I have 28,000 followers, I’ll often pick up 100 new ones in a single day without doing anything, just because my content reaches a broad audience.
Leverage your other networks
I definitely think that follow-for-follow schemes are a bad idea. But that doesn’t mean you can’t pick up new followers from your existing networks on other platforms.
People who follow you on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or other social networks have already indicated an interest in your content. If they enjoy your content on another platform, it’s likely they’ll enjoy your content on Medium as well.
Again, when soliciting Medium followers on different networks, it’s all about showing your readers or followers on other platforms what they can personally gain from following you on Medium. For example, you could post on Facebook asking your existing audience to follow you in Medium so they can get your latest stories about earning passive income, baking brownies, or whatever it is you write about.
You’re not just hitting them up for a free follow. You’re telling them what they will gain from following you on Medium. And since you’re preaching to the choir of people who already want to follow your content, you’re likely to pick up followers in this way.
From my own experience, LinkedIn and Twitter are the two networks that are most similar to Medium, and are the best places to attract new Medium followers.
But putting it all together
To summarize, there are plenty of ways to get your first 100 followers on Medium.
- Skip the follow-for-follow schemes, and never buy followers.
- Write a simple and compelling follower ask message articulating what your readers will get out of following you . Put it at the end of all your articles.
- Write a lot of articles, prioritizing short-form articles in the beginning. This will spread your content and your ask message to a broad audience
- Try to get at least a few into publications to capitalize on their existing audiences
- At the same time, write compelling asks for your existing social networks, and post there explaining why your followers should also follow you on Medium
Use all these strategies effectively, and you should have your first 100 followers in no time.