My Medium audience stats

In order to join the Medium Partner Program, you’ll need to have at least 100 followers. While this requirement has been the source of some frustration for new Medium writers, this requirement is easy to meet with some work.

To get 100 followers on Medium, write the kind of content your target audience wants to read and share, and spend time interacting with others on the site. Creating quality content and getting your name out there through social interaction, provides the best chance to get Medium followers quickly.

Let’s break this down a bit more.

Note: Medium has removed the 100 follower requirement as of August 1st, 2023. Read more here: Medium Partner Program August 2023 Changes

Writing what you would want to read

It should be a shock to exactly no one to know that there’s no shortage of clickbait garbage on the web. Sadly, some people think that kind of thing will fly on Medium. Thankfully, it doesn’t.

In order to attract followers, you’re going to need to produce quality content. And by quality content, I don’t mean novel-length, college course material. But what you write needs to be something that provides value to your reader.

Consider what kinds of content you would want to read if you were your target audience.

Personally, I’m in the tech niche on Medium, so I think about what kinds of content people who are interested in that topic would want to read. If I write mainly about Apple, I need to think about what people who are interested in that subject want to read.

Now, you may not know, starting out, who your target audience is so let’s jump to that for a moment.

Consider your target audience

It’s important to understand who your readers are – or if you don’t have any right now, who your intended readers are. What do they want? What do they like? What do they dislike?

If I know those things, then I can create content that matches their interests and needs. If I don’t, though, I risk writing into the void and at best creating content that interests no one – or so few people as to barely make a splash.

My own audience on Medium is one that enjoys technology. I write mainly about Apple there, but I also write a bit about side hustles and the like. So my target audience is, primarily, composed of people who enjoy reading about technology topics – the latest iPad, for example. It wouldn’t make much sense, then, for me to write about something unrelated, like a potato salad recipe. Most likely, my audience won’t care. Does someone care? Sure. But most likely not the people who are following me.

Put yourself in your audience’s shoes

So again, think about your target audience. If you’re John Doe, member of your audience, what do you want to read? Think about that and start writing that sort of content.

My target reader is someone who is interested in technology, may or may not be considering buying the latest gadgets, and likes reading various opinions about Apple products, Microsoft and other products in the tech space.

I write to that type of person because I’m that type of person. It’s easy for me to think about what that kind of person wants because I’m that kind of person. I know that I like gadgets and product launches, and that sort of thing, so I can write the kind of content that would interest someone like me.

Depending on your niche, you might not have a ton in common with your target reader, and if you don’t, you’ll need to start really thinking through just who your target audience is and learn what it is they’re looking for and write that kind of content.

Be social on Medium to get exposure

Medium is unique in the online writing space. It has a lot in common with a social network even though it isn’t really one. Among the social networking-esque features of Medium is the ability to read and respond to other writers’ content and to respond to comments on your own stories.

While it is possible to just write on the platform without ever reading anything from another soul or commenting on anything ever, doing so is very isolating, and if you want to get Medium followers, you can’t isolate yourself.

Ironically, I write that as someone who’s pretty introverted. Social interactions… I could take ’em or leave ’em some days. But on Medium, it’s important to get your name out there by commenting on other writers’ stories and getting involved in discussions.

Doing this, you can come into contact with others who are also interested in your content and the topics you write about.

For example, let’s say I go read something from Mark Ellis on Medium and respond to one of his stories. My response is public for everyone to see. Now he writes in the same niche that I do. So people who are interested in his content are hopefully likely to be interested in mine as well. By commenting on his story, I’m getting my name in front of his readers who, hopefully, will click on my profile, read some of what I’ve written, and follow me.

And I know that works because I’ve seen it work. I’ve actually found people that I want to follow by looking at comments on other writers’ content as well. (Incidentally, you should definitely go follow Mark if you’re interested in tech. He seems like a great guy.)

Avoid “follow for follow” schemes

Some, sadly, have tried to speed up getting to 100 followers on Medium with “follow for follow” types of schemes. As far as I’m aware, that’s not technically against any rule and I doubt it would get your Medium account into any trouble, but it’s not exactly how the follower system is meant to be used, and if you do this you’re not really building your audience.

Admittedly, at the beginning, I fell for this a couple of times and followed someone for the promise that he or she would follow me back. But I was quickly shaken off of that nonsense. I wasn’t following people for the right reasons, and I knew that I wasn’t really building my audience.

Here’s the thing: If you get to 100 followers with “follow for follow” you’ll still be able to join the Medium Partner Program, but you won’t have built any sort of audience. Your “followers” won’t be following you because they want to read what you’ve written. No. They’ve probably followed you because… well… follow for follow, right? You follow them. They follow you. That doesn’t mean they’ll actually read a word you have to say.

It’s perfectly fine to follow someone in hopes that he or she will follow you back, but you see that’s different than a pre-arranged “follow for follow” scheme. Occasionally, I’ll find someone on Medium whose content interests me and follow him or her, hoping that he or she might also want to follow me. But if he or she doesn’t, okay. No worries. I’m still interested in what that writer has to say.

Do you see the difference?

Follow people who you actually want to hear from. If they follow you back, awesome. But if not, keep writing great content and being involved in discussions.

Be patient getting to 100 followers

What I hope to help you understand first and foremost here is that getting to 100 followers on Medium takes time, and it takes consistency. Even those with thousands of followers had to start somewhere.

It took me just under two weeks of consistent effort to get to over 100 followers on Medium, starting from just 1. Since then, my follower count has been increasing. Sometimes that increase is tiny, and sometimes it grows by leaps.

Whether you’re starting from zero followers or whether you have a few already, I hope you’ll remember that patience and consistency are key if you want to build your audience well.

Don’t fall for schemes or the promises of anyone who claims to offer some kind of shortcut – and please don’t think that you can buy Medium followers. While I don’t know that such a practice would get your Medium account banned, I can’t imagine they exactly smile on that practice.

If you don’t have your 100 followers yet, my advice is to focus on writing great quality content that provides value to your target audience, keeping in mind the kinds of content your target reader wants, and further make sure you’re being social. Don’t isolate yourself to the point where you don’t even bother to read what others have written and that you forget to respond to others’ stories. Believe it or not, I think this goes a long way toward gaining new followers – whether you’re new to the site or have been around for a while.