When you’re first starting out on Medium, one of your first priorities is likely to gain your first 100 followers. Having more followers qualifies you for the Medium Partner Program, but it also helps get your stories out to a broader audience.
Personally, I have 30,000+ followers on Medium, and I got my first 100 in less than a month.
To gain followers on Medium, your best bet, in the beginning, is to write a lot and to engage with other Medium writers by posting thoughtful responses to their stories.
Both of these strategies help you to gain followers. The latter can get you as many as 100 followers in a week, and the former sets you up for long-term success and ongoing follower growth.
Here’s how to accomplish each.
How to Get Medium Followers as a New Writer
When starting on Medium, you have a chicken and egg problem. You need people to read your work in order to follow you. But because you don’t have any followers, there’s no one to read your work!
The way out of this circular trap is to lean on other writers at the beginning. I’m not a big fan of follow-for-follow schemes, since I think they tend to lead to low-quality followers. But if you can organically engage with Medium writers, they’re likely to take a chance on following you.
Here’s how to do that.
- Find a Medium writer whose story you like
- Clap for the story
- Leave a response of about 200 words on the story, sharing your own perspectives and showing that you really read and understood the story
- Follow the other writer
Writers love when people engage with their story and when it’s clear that readers are really taking the time to understand what they’ve written. In many cases, the writer will follow you back right away.
In some cases, your chosen writer will reply to your response or say thanks. In that case, it’s fine to respond with something like “I’d love to keep engaging with your writing and share my writing with you. If you’d like to keep in touch, please consider following me.” This often prompts the writer to follow you.
Remember, don’t be pushy. If a specific writer doesn’t want to follow you, move on and write a response on someone else’s story.
With this approach, you can also help yourself out by finding writers who follow a lot of people on Medium. Click through to the writer’s profile and see how many people they follow, relative to how many followers they have.
Some writers (myself included) follow a very small number of people on Medium. We’re probably not the right people to target. But if you see a writer who follows lots of other people, prioritize leaving a response on their stories.
How Many Responses to Write
This might be controversial, but in the beginning, I advise people to divide their time evenly between writing their own stories and writing these kinds of targeted responses to other writers’ stories.
Why? Engaging with other writers is the fastest way to get to 100 followers when you’re brand new. And if other readers see your insightful comment on a writer’s piece, they might choose to follow you as well.
If you publish your own stories but also leave a lot of carefully thought-out responses on other writers’ posts, you can grow very quickly in the beginning. It’s totally reasonable to get 100 Medium followers in a week if you really dig into this approach.
Write a Lot
So you should spend about half your time writing responses when you’re brand new on Medium. But what should you do with the other half of your time?
Write a lot of stories! One of the fastest ways to gain Medium followers is to publish a lot of content on the platform.
Think of each story you write as a chance to convince readers to follow you. The more stories you publish, the more chances you’ll have.
It can be hard to motivate yourself to publish a ton of content initially because you’ll probably get almost no reads on your stories. You might be tempted to think that Medium just isn’t for you and to give up and try something else.
In reality, though, if you just keep writing, your follower count will start to grow, and then you’ll be getting lots of reads on each story instead of just crickets.
With 30,000+ followers, I rarely have a story that gets less than 100 views, and a typical story is often in the 500 to 2,000-view range. You’ll get there—just keep writing!
Use CTAs Effectively
To make sure that your articles actually bring in followers, you should also include a clear call to action at the end of each article. For example, you could include text that says:
“If you enjoyed this article and want to read more of my work, please consider following me here on Medium.”
Sometimes you have to explicitly ask if you want people to perform a certain action. A good CTA can work wonders in terms of getting you more followers.
If you can commit to a specific publishing schedule, include that in your CTA. You can say something like, “I publish a new post about SEO every Tuesday here on Medium. Follow me to see my latest posts.”
Only do that if you can keep to the promised schedule! If you can, though, a promise of future value can go a long way toward winning you followers.
When you first start out on Medium, your best bet is to engage with fellow writers by following them, clapping for their stories, and leaving thoughtful responses.
Remember, they were new once too! They’re more likely to take a chance on following a brand new writer than the average reader would be.
At first, you should put about half your time towards writing responses. I advise doing this until you reach 100 followers. With the other half of your time, write a lot of stories and remember to include a compelling call to action.
Don’t get discouraged! It can be hard to write to a nonexistent audience, but if you keep at it, the followers will come.