How to Get Your First 100 Followers on Medium
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Medium is an amazing blogging platform, but it can be quite challenging to build a following, especially when you are just starting out. However, building a following is essential to making money with Medium. Luckily, reaching 100 followers is not as difficult as it may seem. This guide will show you how to get your first 100 Medium followers using strategies backed by my own 4+ years experience writing on Medium, and data from experiments I’ve ran using my alternate Medium accounts.
What Happens When You Get 100 Followers on Medium?
New writers now need 100 followers to even apply for the Medium Partner Program. The Medium Partner Program is the creator compensation program, which pays writers based on the performance of their articles. There used to be no minimum amount of followers in order to be eligible for the partner program, however this is no longer the case.
As a result, reaching the 100 follower threshold on Medium is the difference between being able to monetize your content or not.
How to Get Your First 100 Followers on Medium
1. Write and Publish Your First 5 Articles
Although this Medium blogging tip may seem somewhat obvious, it is much easier to get new Medium followers once you have published several articles. While you can reach 100 followers with just a single article published (or, actually, with no articles published), writing five articles will greatly accelerate this process.
Ideally, these first 5 articles will highlight the topics that you plan to write about going forward (give your readers a preview of some of the content you will produce going forward).
However, if you are not sure of what content you will be producing, don’t let this stand in the way of starting to write!
Just focus on getting the first few articles published. The Medium algorithm generally rewards writers who publish more content (especially early on), so this should be your first major step toward reaching 100 followers.
2. Fill Out Your Medium Bio and About Page Completely
Short of someone reading your articles, there are few ways to get to know a new writer on Medium. This is why it’s essential to fill out your Medium bio and your About Page, completely.
As seen in the screenshot of my Medium account below, both the about page and your bio can be accessed from your main profile or homepage.
Of the two, your profile bio is probably the most important and is worth taking some time to think out. The bio shows up alongside any article you publish, in internal search results, and is small enough to be consistently featured in the mobile app.
A few things to know about your Medium Bio:
Medium bios have a maximum length of 160 characters. This means that you don’t have much space to write about yourself. While the style each writer chooses varies, most writers include a few keywords (such as topics they write about), their job/company, and any website they are trying to promote.
While I think of this space as prime “digital real estate” due to the opportunity to add multiple hyperlinks, this ultimately directs traffic outside of Medium. This is valuable if you have a product or service to promote, but is less than ideal if you are focused solely on growing your followers as fast as possible.
Interesting Medium bios can lead to increased followers. In my experiments with my multiple Medium accounts, I’ve tested 10 otherwise identical Medium profiles, each of which had a different bio. The results are somewhat nuanced, but it is clear that the profiles that performed the best, in terms of follower accumulation, are the profiles that had a mixture of personalized content (a brief sentence about who you are, what you do, or why you write) coupled with some sort of credential (having worked at an interesting company, awards, or major life experiences).
While less critical to accumulating your first 100 followers, your Medium about page can play a similar role in building a connection with readers.
Below is a screenshot of my About Page on Medium:
A few things to know about your Medium About Page:
Medium About Pages do not have a limit in length. Unlike the Medium profile bio, the about page does not have a limit in terms of length. This makes it the perfect place to expand on topics you only vaguely referenced in your profile bio. For example, in my about page, I have sections detailing my personal and professional background, projects that I am currently working on, websites and newsletters that I have built, Facebook groups that I run, and a section on how to best contact me.
Medium About Pages can contain images. Medium About Pages are similar to Medium posts in that you can include images (in addition to links, styling, and formatting using the editor). Images are a great way to personalize your profile. These images do not need to be of you. They can be images representing topics you are passionate about or plan to write about.
3. Follow Other Writers
While following fellow writers blindly is generally frowned upon, it is a very effective strategy for getting your first 100 followers.
I’ve tested this using my alternate Medium accounts and the results are overwhelming. Especially if you have a few articles posted.
Medium allows you to follow 140 new accounts per day. If you are focused on reaching your first 100 followers, I’d highly suggest “maxing out” this limit several times per month.
Below are two samples of the data from accounts that had just a single article posted.
For the first Medium profile, my only engagement was following other Medium writers. I maxed out (followed 140 people per day) my following 2 days per week, spacing these days a few days apart. You can see that my follower growth quickly accelerated in April, the first month where I implemented this strategy:
As you can see, even with an article posted (in December), I was only gaining 1-3 followers per month through March, each month.
However, as soon as I implemented two days of maxed out following per week, I saw 57 new followers in the first month. By the second full month of repeating this procedure, I cracked 100 followers.
For the second Medium profile, my only engagement was following other Medium writers. I maxed out (followed 140 people per day) my following 7 days per week (every day each month). You can see that my follower growth quickly accelerated in April, the first month where I implemented this strategy:
As you can see, even with an article posted (in December), I was only gaining 1-6 followers per month through March, each month.
However, as soon as I implemented my daily ritual of maxing out 140 follows per day, I saw 234 new followers in the first month. By the second full month of repeating this procedure, I cracked 500 followers.
Clearly this strategy is highly effective. It is still pretty tedious to have to manually follow 140 profiles every single day, but it is one of the quickest ways to reaching your first 100 Medium followers.
Why doesn’t everyone on Medium do this?
- Most writers are unaware of the efficacy of this strategy.
- Most writers fail to pick the right profiles to target for following.
- As your following grows, your metrics start to look lopsided since you will be following far more people than you have followers. This reduces the efficacy of this strategy, partly because this looks like bot-like behavior, partly because of the vanity metrics and perceived benefits of certain follower ratios.
However, while this strategy of following other writers may not work quite as well as it did in my Medium experiments, it is definitely one of the fastest ways to grow your following and should not be overlooked. My one cautionary note is to make sure that you are not just unfollowing all the newly followed writers as this is viewed negatively and Medium may view this as bot/spam behavior.
4. Respond, Clap, and Highlight Other Articles
Responding to other writers’ Medium articles, clapping for their articles that you enjoy, and highlighting passages in their articles that you found particularly insightful is another great way to increase your following on Medium.
These engagement strategies rely on many of the same basic principles explained in the previous point on following new writers. Basically, responses, claps, and highlights all signal to other writers that you engaged with and that you enjoyed their content.
All three of these forms of engagement will increase your following, but the success rate will vary significantly. Responding to someone’s article obviously is one of the quickest ways to get them to (possibly) view your profile. However, writing detailed responses takes a lot of effort compared to clapping or highlighting. You’ll have to make a judgement call on which of these engagement strategies is best for you, but in my experience, responding to a few articles a day is by far the most effective of the three.
As with the previous point on “following to get followers” it is worth emphasizing that randomly clapping or highlighting articles will have little positive effect. Nor will generic responses. But if you take the time to respond to articles that genuinely resonated with you, this strategy can be quite effective.
5. Join Facebook Groups for Medium Writers
There are 10-15 groups on Facebook that cater specifically to Medium writers. When you are a new writer on Medium, these groups can really help you gain some initial traction and help you build your audience.
These groups usually have threads where writers can share their latest articles and some might even have a reciprocal “follow back” thread where new writers who are also trying to reach 100 views will follow you in exchange for you following them back.
While the follow back threads are a bit more iffy, sharing your content with fellow writers in order to get your first readers (who may in turn become your first followers) is a completely above board strategy.
I run one of the larger Medium Facebook Groups (Medium Writing). Feel free to join our group!
Trying to reach 100 followers on Medium in order to be eligible to apply for the Medium Partner Program can be daunting at first glance, for new writers. However, if you apply the strategies laid out in this article, you should be able to reach 100 followers within 2 months. And if you use these tactics on a daily basis, you could easily reach 100 followers within a week or two!
If you are interested in becoming a successful Medium blogger, consider taking our Medium Writing Course. You can also sign up for our newsletter, Blogging Guide, which contains digital publishing insights on all the platforms mentioned above, and more!