How to Make Your Non-Curated Articles Successful on Medium

It’s still possible, even when it doesn’t seem like it


Tealfeed Guest Blog

3 years ago | 6 min read

For a Medium writer, seeing the label that your article wasn’t curated feels like a gut punch. It’s Medium telling you your article wasn’t good enough to be distributed.

A lack of curation sends a message, too: Give up on your article. Move onto the next one. Even though writers on Medium aren’t given that message explicitly, the fact remains it’s much harder for an article to do well without curation.

Let me say I’m a member of the privileged few here on Medium. I don’t count, but I can safely estimate that more than half of my pieces get curated on the platform. I’ve been around long enough and been writing prolifically enough that I know my noncurated pieces and my curated pieces don’t have a big disparity in quality.

For me, the luck factor in curation has always been huge. Maybe your curator was in a bad mood. Maybe your curator was having a bad day or just overwhelmed by the number of submissions they have to look at, which is why Medium writers are reporting waiting days or even weeks for their article to be reviewed by a curator.

But the main message is curation is no indication of the quality of your piece. In fact, when I see my article wasn’t curated, in some ways, it makes promoting my pieces more fun. You have to hustle more and work harder to boost your noncurated article’s visibility.

Once we realize an article can be successful without curation, even if it’s harder to do, there are things we can do to make our noncurated articles successful despite a lack of distribution.

Promote Your Piece More Than You Think You Should

When your article isn’t curated, it means the distribution burden falls mainly on you, not Medium. So when your article isn’t curated, you need to share your piece in a lot of places. Share it in Facebook groups dedicated to Medium writers, but also spread your piece around to subreddits and niche communities on the topic you wrote about.

For example, I write a lot about “The Wire,” God’s gift to the Earth and the greatest show of all time. I’ll share my work in groups dedicated to “The Wire” on Twitter, Facebook, and Reddit. A lot of the times, my pieces that are hyperspecific to a certain niche audience aren’t curated. I get that because with a targeted audience, not that many people can relate to my articles.

However, having a targeted audience, whether it’s writing to people of your religion, ethnic group, or fans of your favorite band or TV show, is an advantage rather than a disadvantage. You know where to market your piece outside of Medium to give your opinion. That ties into the next point, which is to welcome critics.

Don’t Fear the Controversy or Backlash

Every writer needs to be judicious when sharing their work. Don’t promote your piece just to get more visibility for your piece, but do it with intention. You wrote an opinion because you believe in it. You took a stance because you thought it was the right thing to do. So don’t back down when you’re sharing your piece and spreading what you believe or where you stand.

The internet is a place where anything you write is going to offend someone. For example, despite my beliefs as a progressive evangelical Christian, I still maintain stances that have people call me a bigot and a homophobe. Those accusations come despite the fact that I teach inner-city kids at an almost completely Black school and despite the fact that I’ve been a supportive and good friend to all my friends in the LGBTQ+ community.

When someone criticizes you or comes at you for something you wrote, it’s more about them than it’s about you. Of course, writing pieces that bait a reaction of offense shouldn’t be your intention, but on the internet, negative feedback is good for your visibility and traction. It might not be nice to have someone insult you online, but by exposing your opinions, feelings, and experiences online, you have to have thick skin to deal with those comments. That doesn’t mean you don’t set boundaries and pick and choose your battles.

Your noncurated pieces will do well — especially if they tackle sensitive topics, sensitive topics you have a personal stake in. I promise whatever you choose to write about, there’s a big community of people devoted to reading about the topic. I write a lot about my faith as a Christian believer. Is everyone on Medium going to agree with what I say? No. Absolutely not. But are a big group of people in the Medium community devoted to reading about faith? Yes — you’d be surprised. I have had noncurated articles about Bible verses and Christianity do extremely well because I’ve found the right publications to engage in those pieces.

I’ve had a lot of openly hostile and critical comments on pieces relating to my identity, faith, or politics that I’d have cowered at several years ago. Now, I know it’s just a part of the game.

Don’t Give Up on Your Article, Even a Long Time After It Was Published

The biggest advantage I’ve seen with curation is not immediate success — but having an article get traction long after it was published. I can’t speak to other people’s experiences, but I haven’t observed the same trend in my noncurated articles. It’s the sad reality, but your noncurated article isn’t going to do well unless you keep promoting it.

You can’t just promote it the day after, but you need to keep promoting it the week after — or even the month after. A noncurated article can’t do well if you just move on to the next one. You have to move on to the next one while keeping the previous articles in mind.

You’ll find niche communities by naturally scrolling through the internet or being on your phone. And then you’ll realize you wrote an article a while ago that’d be perfect for that community. I’ve found a very large community of “Final Fantasy” fans and supporters that love my pieces on Reddit. Many of these pieces haven’t been curated, but they’ve still found success,

Be Engaged With the Medium Community

I don’t like the “I’ll read your article if you read mine” mindset, but the fact is fewer people will read your article if you don’t read and engage with theirs. It’s no different from how a friend doesn’t text you back if you don’t initiate conversation most of the time — you have to be a committed, active, and engaged member of the community if you want your noncurated pieces to do well. Don’t just write and publish.

Read, and read a lot. Highlight, clap, and comment on other people’s articles, and show that you care about their work and their success, too. It’s not just about you.

Being engaged in the Medium community will also help you find the right publication for your piece. Even when your piece isn’t curated, having the right publication is a sign you’ve found a niche group who’ll engage with you, even if the general Medium community doesn’t.

With a community, you can rely on your core group of loyal supporters and friends on the platform. If you don’t have any friends on the platform — if you think Medium is just a place where you can make a lot of money by sharing your articles in Facebook groups — think again. It’ll be your fans and supporters who hold you high on the platform when you think you should quit.

I didn’t understand the benefit of having a collaborative co-op of writers I work very closely with and give feedback to. But it’s necessary to survive — I find this with writers I found when I first started as well as the invisible-illness community.


The fact is that not all of your articles are going to be curated — unless you’re a very, very lucky person. But despite not being curated, you can still gain traction and exposure by overpromoting your articles, welcoming controversy and backlash, engaging with the community, and, above all, not giving up.

You might not see results immediately. But look back after a long period of time to see that you gave your writing the chance and validation it deserved, even if Medium didn’t

This article was originally published by Ryan fan on medium.


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