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The Secret Sauce to Going Viral on Medium | 10 Real Stories

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The Secret Sauce to Going Viral on Medium | 10 Real Stories

Tiffany Sun
We all want to know the secret of becoming the next Internet phenomenon, like Numa Numa Boy or PSY from Gangnam Style — except as a writer on Medium.

And the good news is, it’s completely doable.

You can become a one-time hit on Medium, even if you’re not a professional or natural born writer. Medium gives fair game to everyone, and it’s up to you to utilize this untapped gem to express your story and get thousands of people to hear your voice.

And the best way to reach Medium’s wall of fame is not to blindly write and hope, but to listen to those who’ve gotten viral. Take it from these 10 writers — you might learn a thing or two.

1. My 9 Month Overnight Success on Medium by Sarah Mason

Sometimes we underestimate the power of social media, because normally we get low (or no) responses when we release our latest post to our followers on Twitter. Not for Sarah Mason, a blogger and creator of Uncommonly.ly. After uploading her post on Medium and tweeting it, she suddenly got a huge spurt of tweets, thousands of views, and people signing up for her email list…AFTER the 9th month. Apparently, people tweeted her old content, including Medium — the biggest influence behind her virality.

The Takeaway
It doesn’t matter who you are or what your business is, tweet whenever you publish a new post. You might hit it big today, tomorrow, next month, maybe next year.

2. Going Viral: How I got 10k Views on Medium in 4 Days by Benji Hyam

Before Benji even started writing on Medium, he talked to several successful Medium writers about how they got so much traction and executed their advice. Things like using more H2s, quotes, and images to make a post more readable/shareable. Coming up with a better headline, from “What I Learned About Finding Your Passion” to “Why I Quit My Life.” Finding a publication to accept your story. By the time Benji got feedback from the editor of The Mission and published his post, he instantly emailed his friends, colleagues, and subscribers to recommend and share his story. Within one hour, he’d gotten 100 recommends. In 4 days, 10k views.

The Takeaway
Execute the feedback successful writers tell you — that’s how you accelerate i in your writing.

3. How I Got 6.2 Million Pageviews and 144,920 Followers by Ali Mese

In one day 1,009,964 people viewed Ali’s life — a story of how quitting a corporate job for his startup dream f*cked his life. Emotional and real, this story shook those living the startup life or those fascinated by the startup culture (which makes up for the majority of Medium readers). What brought Ali’s post to hit over a million views was a simple trick: Asking readers at the end of his article to recommend and share it with their followers. This alone increased his shares by 32%. On top of that, he reposted his article on all of his social media, several times over the next few days to cover different time zones.

The Takeaway
Promote your post as much as you write. This will mean asking your readers to recommend and share your post and reposting it on all your social media for the next couple of days, multiple times a day.

4. From Medium to Book Deal in 12 Months by Sarah Cooper

Sarah always had a thing for blogging. And it wasn’t until she found an 8-year old notebook when she scribbled down her ideas and published it onto Medium for the first time, when suddenly she got 200,000+ views the next day. By the end of the week, that number had grown to a million views.

She didn’t do anything special to her writing. She just pushed her ideas onto a new platform to see where it might lead up to — a 3 book deal after 12 months.

The Takeaway
As Sarah puts it, “if you’re getting started [on blogging], go to a place where there is a built-in audience that has native sharing” — like Medium, Facebook, Instagram, and experiment. Once you have your audience and found your voice, then you can get your own domain.

5. My Medium Post Went Viral. Here’s What Happened Next by Caitlin Winner

As a female designer, Caitlin found Facebook friend’s icon a bit annoying because it shined more light on men. So she changed the famous Facebook icon by adding a female silhouette. Within hours after publishing the new Facebook icons onto Medium, her story blew up on Twitter and Facebook, thanks to the re-shares from friends and a few A-celebrities. The next day, she got emails from The Chicago Tribune, Business Insider and CNN asking for an interview and for her permission to republish her article on their site.

The Takeaway
Don’t be afraid to express your opinion, your world’s view, onto Medium. Sure you’ll go against the mainstream, but you might make the hottest topic of the week.

“All writing is risky, but the best stories are inherently vulnerable.” — Caitlin Winner

6. How Medium Helped Me Get Published On Other Major Websites by Carina Sitkus

At first, Carina republished old posts from her personal site, The Curious Cat Project, onto Medium but only got a few hits. After publishing her story in a collection (aka. publication), she got over 2.1k views — 61% more than her non-collection posts got. That’s when she started researching on how to become a writer for different collections. At the end, what Carina accomplished was joining NaNaWriMo to write a thriller novel and getting her Medium pieces published on Thought Catalog, The Daily Muse, and Business Insider.

The Takeaway
Submit your post to as many publications as you can, ideally those with a high following. This’ll make it easier for people to find your post.

7. How I hit 500,000 views on Medium in 30 days by Jon Westenberg

Before jumping into his 30-day writing challenge, Jon took the time to ask his readers what they wanted to learn. They wanted posts between 5–8 minutes without the bullshit. Keeping that in mind, Jon wrote consistently, publishing up to 6 posts a week and even hired several people to help with the formatting and images. At the end of his experiment, he’d gotten over 500k views in one month.

The Takeaway
Keep your reader’s interest in mind at all times when you write. But most importantly, don’t slack off once you’ve committed to writing everyday.

8. My Amazing, Humbling, and Extraordinary Month on Medium by Andrew Torba

Even though Andrew is writing for “free,” it doesn’t stop him from publishing quality content, consistently. He believes providing value to others is the best writing you can offer, and that in turn brought him thousands of tweets around the world, an interview on a radio show, a guest blogging opportunity at Coindesk, and much more.

The Takeaway
Always aim for high quality content. This includes well-thought-out research, clever headlines, and dynamic media.

9. 4 Growth Tips I Learned Getting 5,689 Views on Medium This Month by Mike Fishbein

Before, Mike got 2,127 views in one month. This month though, it’d doubled to 5,689 views. The biggest discovery to this huge increase was getting his post, How to Self-Publish a Best-Seller, featured by Amazon Kindle. This brought Mike 1,000+ views on Medium in 2 days. He mentions it’s really the title and social shares that are important, because after his article, he doubled again the next month, breaking 30k views/month.

The Takeaway
Invest more time creating an attractive blog header with an engaging title. It’s worth attracting more attention to your post.

10. How I Hacked Medium! by Levent Aşkan

Levent didn’t focus on writing initially, but loved reading the stories on Medium. He wanted to find the popular stories, but unfortunately he wasn’t content when he looked at the “Top Stories.” So he prepared an Excel sheet and listed 300 of the best writers in 7 hours and started sharing his content through Twitter. In 6 days, he’d gotten 11k views, 464 Medium followers, 250 Twitter followers, 35 HackerNews upvotes, 5 job offers, and close to 500 email subscribers.

The Takeaway
Write what’s missing on Medium and share that with people who you believe will find it valuable. Not everything you find on Medium is incredible, so it’s up to you to do a little research and deliver the best content you could offer to readers.


I’m Tiffany Sun, creator of Rabbut, and what I want most is to inspire writers to become even better so we can get more good reads on Medium.

What I’m working on:

  1. Medium Marketing Course (it’s free!)
    Learn how to go viral on Medium by taking our growth hacks for your own post. It’ll give you a higher chance to hit top Medium stories.
  2. 50k Medium Journey
    A journey where our team is working towards 50k monthly Medium traffic to our site. Learn what we’ve learned by signing up, it’s free.
  3. Medium Stats Bank
    An open source to view and share your (and other’s) Medium stats page, so you can know where you stand for your Medium game. Sign-up if you’re interested in this, we might create it. 😉

One Last Thing…

Mind if you do me a sweet favor, and share this post if you found it useful? It’d mean the world to me. 😊

Thanks again for spending part of your day here. Hope to see you come back. 🙂

About the author

Tiffany Sun

Online Marketer | Millennial at Rabbut. Empowering people to be better bloggers, better versions of themselves. Writes on 45m.ph.

  • Hi Tiffany,

    Lots of great takeaways here! I think one of the most valuable lessons is that new bloggers should use a platform with built in sharing.

    Being easily connected with others in your niche takes a lot of the difficult networking process out of blogging.

    I personally self-host, but I use the Medium plugin to publish all of my articles to Medium as well, that way I get the benefits of the connected community!

    Thanks!

    Jonathan

  • Really great point, Jonathan. 🙂

    Medium definitely is a great starting point for new bloggers, who haven’t built a strong network and need a platform to help spread their voice.

  • Hi Tiffany! This is a very helpful post. I was wondering, is it fine to republish same article from my blog to medium?

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