Curation Isn’t the Holy Grail of Medium
What matters isn’t magically bestowed upon you.
The most heavily talked about topic in regard to writing on Medium is curation. So many people try to figure it out. Time pieces perfectly. Figure out the algorithm.
It. Does. Not. Matter. One more time for the folks in the back: it’s not your bread and butter.
Without a doubt, curation can do wonders for a story. No one can deny that. My most popular story on Medium was curated in two different topics. I can say, beyond any shadow of a doubt, that it would not have gone as far as it did without curation.
It set a trajectory in the right direction. I am thankful as hell. But, once that happened, it was on me to keep the trajectory going.
Curation is an addictive thing. It is incredibly easy to chase that high.
That chase can come with a horrible crash. There were moments when I was writing a piece or making final edits that I thought to myself, “I don’t think the curators are going to like this.” Bottom line, it should not affect how I edit, what I write, and if I hit the publish button.
There is something far more valuable than curation. Engagement.
It has taken me six months to find my voice and my audience. For quite some time I just bopped around Medium. I had little direction other than the chase. Check stats. Refresh. Mope.
Frequently, the crash at the end of the chase left me blocked. I felt defeated. I did not feel good enough. Cue Impostor Syndrome.
When I got stuck in a writing rut I turned to engagement. I read other people’s stories and left comments. I found I got far more joy in seeing that someone left me a comment than I did that someone randomly clapped.
I try and respond to every single comment that somebody leaves for me. It is time consuming, for sure. It’s time well spent.
The people that leave comments on a piece that you wrote are taking the time to give you solid feedback. Constructive or otherwise. They care. They are engaging with you. To me, that deserves acknowledgment.
I’m not chasing followers. Yes, followers will help you because the number of people whose feed your stories show up in increases your opportunity for exposure. That’s just math, not mysticism.
Quality over quantity is what wins out in this arena every single time.
It’s not about getting followers. It’s about keeping them.
I would rather have 500 followers who are excited when my name shows up in their feed than 5,000 who could take it or leave it.
There’s a reason I’m not a runner. I don’t like moving fast. And, running sucks. So there’s that. Sorry, Jeff Barton.
I know I could put on my shoes right now and go for a 3 mile run, burn 350 calories and be done in 30 minutes. I’m still not going to do it. I like a long game. I would much rather put on some headphones and head outside and walk for an hour. I understand that it’s going to take me twice as long to burn the same amount of calories, but the results are the same.
The big difference is that I truly enjoy just walking. It’s calming and serene. I can focus and spend time with my thoughts. It’s something that I can do with intention. Writing on Medium works the exact same way for me. Slow and steady.
It shouldn’t matter if your story gets curated or not. If your story is strong and written with good intention, readers will find you. Harvest the loyalty of those who support you.
There are a few names that pop up frequently in my notifications. These are the people that I will grapple to my side with hoops of steel. These people are the reason why curation no longer matters.
These stats are my everything right now.
107 views may not seem great to some. The read rate makes my heart so happy. The number of those readers that became fans thrills me. I feel appreciated and like I’m doing something right.
The story is still pending curator review. If they pass, I don’t care. It mattered to 31 people. I don’t need 300. 300 would mean a nice payday but this is a W in the right column.
If you don’t take time to feed your garden, it won’t grow. Give away what you want to receive.
The quantity of your readership is only as strong as the quality of the relationship you build with your readers. Do that work.