Part 4 of 5: Building Your Medium Clan

Exclusive crash course for early Medium success.

Photo by Gustavo Alves on Unsplash

Hello! Welcome to the five-part series and a full-blown introduction to the Medium platform. In this crash course, we will look at various parts of the Medium equation. Then, we will figure out how you can jump-start your success on the platform.


  • Part 1: Intro & Familiarizing Yourself with the Platform
  • Part 2: Creating a Writing Schedule
  • Part 3: Publications
  • Part 4 (You are here): Building your Medium Clan
  • Part 5: Promoting Yourself & the Secret to Real Monetization

Getting involved

I won’t lie to you. Before I got started on Medium, I saw social media interaction as utterly fake. Back in the day when I used to be a Community Manager for several online brands, I’d spend 30-minutes to an hour each day involving myself in the comments of Instagram and Facebook.

I’d try to create relationships that meant something.

But, to tell you the truth, one can only read so many “Amazing photo!” comments before everything on the platform seems fake.

That’s not the case for Medium. As I’ve mentioned in previous lessons, Medium is a platform of writers for writers. What does that mean?

It means genuine involvement. It means thoughtful interaction. It means people are actually reading and buying into your thoughts and ideas.

There are no comment-for-comment, like-for-like faux personalities. There are no follow/ unfollow games. There’s no manipulation for profit. Straight up: there’s no bullshit.

. . .

This is because of several reasons:

1. Medium is tailored to an older crowd. There aren’t many 17-year-olds on Medium using it as a popularity contest.

2. You are your brand. Your words are your brand. People engage with your thoughts. If you’re not real, you will run out of words to keep the facade going.

3. This is a supportive community.

. . .

That third reason means something to the rest of us. We are each other’s biggest fans. Genuinely. We see the human on the other side of the keyboard. We connect with each other, not a username on the screen.

I’m being 100% honest when I say I whole-heartedly appreciate and connect with each person I follow. In one way or another.

With that being said, Medium is a welcoming community. The fakeness is easy to spot. But if you bring genuine support, you will receive it as well. Like I say about this space: you get what you give. And I love it.

What to know about followers on Medium

Here’s the catch: followers mean nothing on Medium. If anything, it is only a gauge for how long one has been writing on Medium.

Prior to 2018/2019, it used to be a lot easier to build a following. Most people with gobs of followers have been on for a while.

Medium’s platform made some changes, though, and since then, your follower count has not meant so much. To me, this is a great thing.

It takes the focus off of metrics and puts a focus on the people. On the connection. Someone with 500 followers can just as easily make $1,000/month as someone with 10k followers.

Don’t even think about using toxic social media habits (follow/ unfollow) to build a following here. It might work, but what’s the point? The algorithm doesn’t favor you. Other writers don’t care about your follower count. So, why do it?

In fact, I like to think the Medium algorithm is the most human-interactive one of all big platforms on the Internet. It feels like actual people are on the other side of the machine choosing who to promote. That’s great news for the little guys with no traction!

So, what can you do to build community?

Start to follow people in your niche and prospective niches. If you have something to say about a given topic, see what others are saying. Support the existing content on Medium and make sure your voice can add something to the ones who are already there.

Here’s what I do:

Start by following 10 new writers a day. Preferably writers you’ve read at least one article. Don’t worry, you’ll be able to read more later.

Ten is not a lot, but for the first month, you will build up a large enough base of writers to support. You’ll be able to hear a lot of different perspectives and see which ones you gel with most.

Look for writers who are actively publishing on the platform. Check out each writer’s catalog individually. If they haven’t posted since June of 2020, it’s probably a good sign they don’t log-on to Medium often.

Look in the comment section of pieces you enjoy. Support the people who are supporting other writers in the comment section. These are the kinds of genuine people you want to connect with.

Read others’ work

This part is absolutely critical. I had to force myself to interact with strangers on Instagram, but that’s not the case on Medium. Every day, I am eager to see who has posted new content. We like to subconsciously hold each other accountable to keep creating.

I start each morning reading and interacting with at least 3 articles that pique my interest. Then, I continue to casually interact with new content as it pops up throughout the day.

I cannot say this enough: Genuine interaction is the key!

I’ve found that responding to other writer’s articles with my own article and tagging them in the post works well. This shows them you are highly in-tuned to their work and is a great way to kick-off a relationship. I call these “reaction articles” and I try to write at least one per day.

It doesn’t have to be thousands of words. Usually, a few hundred does the trick. Just enough to show them you care about what they’re saying.

Connect on LinkedIn

There are two places I like to connect with Medium writers outside of the platform: LinkedIn and Twitter. But, I prefer LinkedIn because it forces a more intimate connection.

When was the last time you got to someone’s LinkedIn from Instagram? Probably never. That’s what I’m saying! LinkedIn is for close connections which automatically takes the relationship to another level.

Give them a reason to connect with you also on LinkedIn. It helps, then, to be active. I usually share my articles on LinkedIn, but we will get to that in the next lesson.

Shoot them a message with your connection request. Tell them how much you admire their work and perhaps compliment them on a recent piece they wrote. That will make their day. I know it has made my day in the few instances it has happened to me.

Make an impression, that’s the goal.

Building your Medium clan

I like to call my tightest-knit community my ‘Medium Clan’.

In fact, I have a Word document saved on my computer titled, “Medium Clan”. It’s a simple document with a numbered list, 1–15. My 15 favorite writers on Medium; the writers you are eager to see new content from each day.

This is sort of my way of building exclusivity in my mind. Of course, I never broadcast this list — who would care anyway? It’s just for me.

Think of it as a small island just off the mainland. Those islanders may have friends from the mainland, but it’s nothing like the community within the small island.

Or, rather, think of it like the channels you subscribe to on YouTube. You may support other creators on YouTube by giving a ‘thumbs up’ to their videos, but there are probably only a handful of channels you’re eager to check for their newest videos. Right?

That’s your Medium Clan. Those are your people.

It’s a fluid list. I’m constantly adding and removing writers from the list to keep it exclusive. It’s the people I fuck with the most at the current moment. That type of closeness always arrives in waves.

The writers I first interacted heavily with on Medium might not be the ones I still engage with frequently. Although loyalty is a factor, there are other factors when making my list:

1. Are they active on Medium?

I could thoroughly enjoy their writing, but if they’re not writing on Medium anymore, our relationship will be short-lived.

2. Do they write about what I write about?

This is the best way to truly connect. Engagement comes from interest, and interest comes from like-minded people. That’s the whole reason my Medium Clan is a fluid list. It’s not the writer’s fault if they fall from my list. It’s because my interests are ever-changing and I like to keep it that way.

3. Can you find them on LinkedIn?

This isn’t an end-all mark, but I do like to go the extra effort in connecting outside of Medium. It’s nice to be reminded of them outside of their content on Medium.

4. Do you get excited about their work?

If they’re writing about what you write about, you’ll be engaged in their opinion. You’ll listen to them. It creates a commonality and drives genuineness. In the end, that’s what you want.

I can’t stress enough how the involvement of the community has got me inspired by Medium. I’m so impressed with what the platform has been able to build. I didn’t think a place like it could exist on the Internet today, but it certainly does with Medium.

In our next lesson, our final lesson of this 5-part series, we’ll be breaking down self-promotion on Medium. I’ll share a few tips for monetization. Read the next lesson in the “Read More” section below. See you!

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