Eight valuable lessons from my journey to reach 1,000 followers on Medium

Paul Aladenika
5 min readMay 18, 2024
Image courtesy of Microsoft Copilot

This is a companion piece to an earlier blog which focused on ‘14 insights from my journey to reach 500 followers on Medium.’ You may want to read that one as well.

In preparation for this blog, I discovered that about 40 per cent of those who follow me on Medium [circa 470 accounts] have a commercial interest in the platform, either as subscribers to the ‘partnership programme’ or as ‘friends of Medium’. Therefore, this blog is most likely to be of interest to those who are working towards earning an income from their writing as well as those who see engagement on the site as a marketing route for future employment or business opportunities.

No bells, whistles or fanfare greeted the achievement of the 1,000-follower milestone. Neither for that matter, have I noticed any change in follower engagement since I crossed that threshold. Notwithstanding, I am uniquely aware of how I might be able to leverage my new found ‘clout’ both on Medium and other social media platforms, where I have a presence.

So, what are the key learning points from my journey to reach 1,000 followers on Medium? Well, here’s my take.

1. Make sure your bio is right

On Medium, your content will bring you celebrity, but your bio conveys authority. When I click on to an account, even before I scan the blogs, I will read the bio. If your expert subject is business growth, expressing your love of dogs, cats and horses may not be the most judicious use of your bio word limit. Use your bio to demonstrate that you are competent, capable and credentialled to write on a topic that others want to read around. You should also include any links to external content that profiles your knowledge and expertise.

2. …Or write an ‘about me’ introductory blog

If I was joining Medium for the first time, this is something that I would definitely do. In an ‘about me’ blog, you can expand on your bio summary and demonstrate your authority on your chosen topic. Again, if you are thinking about commercialising your presence on Medium, think about an ‘about me’ blog as a marketing opportunity to those who visit the site and might be willing to spend their precious time reading content that you create.

3. Don’t expect Medium to come to you

It took me seven months to work out that my engagement approach on Medium was all wrong. I made little time to interact with other writers or follow the accounts of those whose content I enjoyed. Since I became more ‘social’, my account has grown steadily. Sociability attracts curiosity and curiosity attracts reciprocity. It goes without saying, that whatever you give attention to will grow and whatever you ignore will likely stagnate or regress. Therefore, raise your engagement game.

4. What are you here for?

If things aren’t moving as expeditiously as you would like and your ‘followers count’, ‘content views’, ‘read ratio’ and ‘claps per blog’ are not increasing as you expect, take a step back and re-evaluate your approach. Reflect on the relevance of your product, the readability of your articles and the frequency of your output. By all means, create content that you want to write, but don’t assume that it will be what others want to read. Again, commercialising your content requires business acumen. In the moments when you are pondering whether this is worth it, knowing why you came, will help you to remember why you came, if you ever wonder why you came.

5. Find your prime-time sweet spot

Do you know when to schedule and publish your articles? If not, you may want to test this out to identify the days and times that work best for you. In my experience, engagement levels at weekends are very different from weekdays. Similarly, there is clear contrast between mornings, afternoons and evenings. Wherever possible, you should also give consideration to the geography of your readership, especially where your intended audience are spread across different time-zones.

6. Monitor your momentum

Keep in mind that slow growth is better than no growth. As a writer, you may find that you connect immediately with your target audience and gain hundreds of followers every month. Whilst that may indeed be possible, such rapid expansion is more likely to be the exception, than the norm. Ultimately you should be aiming to cultivate a durable followership of those whose content you intentionally engage with and who similarly engage with you. Never confuse rapid progression with sustainable growth.

7. Remain active even when you are not writing

I personally need inspiration to write. I can go for months without writing anything and then pen a three-part series in a day and a half. However, whether I am writing or not, I try my best to remain active on the platform. For me, activity could be reading and commenting on new articles, giving claps or following, accounts. In my experience, my account has grown just as steadily when I have hit fallow writing periods, as when my productivity has been prolific.

8. Use your leverage to help others

If as I hope, you also reach the 1,000-follower milestone, remember that is not where you started. As a community member, use your influence to help smaller accounts to grow. Medium is not about anyone; it is about everyone. Ultimately, this platform will grow because account holders engage, and it will rapidly shrink when they stop. Do not see other accounts as your ‘growth opportunity’ but rather, to the extent possible, be conscientious in your efforts to ‘pay it forward’.

If you are seriously looking to monetize your content on Medium, I have a simple message for you: think commercially. Your content is a product, not just a random assembly of whatever thoughts you may have that day. Treat it as though it were something of value. Be mindful that in the Medium market-place, there are other products competing for attention of the same audience. Think about your ‘unique selling point’, why they should your audience spend up to five minutes of their precious time reading your article over others? Carefully cultivate your product and make it worth their while.

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Paul Aladenika

Believer, TEDx speaker, host of The 11th Thing Podcast, blogger, mentor, student of leadership, social economist & thinker. Creator of www.believernomics.com .