Medium’s Curation Guidelines: everything writers need to know

Updated: February 8, 2019

Our editorial team reviews thousands of stories every day. We have over 25 curators with a diverse set of interests and experiences. Many come from literary backgrounds, while others have specific expertise in fields that are popular on Medium.

The curators on our editorial team look for great stories on Medium to add to topics, which makes those stories eligible for personalized distribution and promotion across Medium — on the homepage, in our app, in our Daily Digest email, and on topic pages. At this time, we are only able to review English-language stories for curation.

Curators use the below editorial standards and their assessment of quality to determine whether to select a story to recommend to readers. If your story is selected, our curators will add it to relevant topics, which distributes it to readers interested in those topics across Medium. For example, a selected story about the ethical implications of machine learning would be distributed in the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Philosophy topics, reaching the readers who follow any of those topics on their homepage, Medium apps, and Medium emails. (90 million unique readers visit Medium each month.)

Here are some things our curators are looking for in stories that they add to topics:

  • Quality: It (almost) goes without saying, but the most important factor is that your stories are insightful, considered, and interesting. They should tell a narrative, convey useful information, or thoughtfully share a point of view. The writing should be polished and free of errors. We recommend spending more time on stories of depth and meaning, rather than simply publishing as often as you can.
  • Headlines: Write a clear and descriptive title and subtitle for your story. Headlines should accurately reflect what your story is about — please avoid profanity, misleading “clickbait” phrasing, and using all capital letters. (And if you really want to get into it: Standard headline styling is title case for the headline and sentence case for the subtitle. This isn’t required but is ideal.)
  • Images: Include a featured image with your story. It appears when we preview your story for readers on our homepage or your profile. It should be an image that you have the rights to use. Free resources like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash are great for sourcing Creative Commons-licensed images.
  • Citations: Link facts (especially in the areas of science, medicine, health, statistics, etc.), quotations, and excerpts to their sources.
  • Profile: Your profile on Medium helps readers know more about you and your expertise, so they can understand the perspective of your story even better. Edit your profile to include a clear picture of yourself, your full name, and a bio that describes your credentials.
  • Proofreading: Avoid major typos, errors, or formatting quirks in your story so readers can focus on the piece itself.

Things that would disqualify your story from being distributed in topics:

  • Ads: Medium is ad-free. You may not include advertising for third-party products, services, or brands. This includes images or text that indicate brand sponsorship, undisclosed affiliate links, and sponsored stories.
  • Requests for claps and donations: Do not include requests for donations or other links or embeds that exist for the purpose of capturing user information or soliciting money. (Mailing lists are permitted). Do not ask readers to clap at the end of your story — either in text or an image that shows them how to clap. Applause from members is a key factor to how much money writers receive for their stories in the Partner Program — so if some writers included language asking for claps, it would create undue pressure for every writer to do so, which would be a poor experience for readers.
  • Copyright violations: You must have the rights to use all the words and images in your story. This includes professional photography from services such as Getty Images, Associated Press, or Reuters. You must either own the copyright, have explicit permission to use it, or have a good faith belief that you are using it lawfully (such as fair use).
  • Content violations: We will not distribute stories that breach our rules, including stories that:
    • Advocate or promote intolerance or prejudice against individuals or groups, including the use of scientific or pseudoscientific claims to pathologize, dehumanize, or disempower others
    • Glorify, celebrate, downplay, or trivialize violence, suffering, abuse, or deaths
    • Exist mainly to target, shame, intimidate, or harass identified, identifiable, or anonymous people
    • Dox someone, including by exposing personal information or aggregating of public information
    • Consist of unsubstantiated, unverified, or misleading claims and reporting
    • Have been previously published on Medium
  • Serialization: Stories that are split into multiple posts are unlikely to be curated unless each post stands on its own without context.

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