Medium’s Curation Guidelines: Everything Writers Need to Know

Every story you publish through the Partner Program on Medium is reviewed by one of our curators. We have over 25 curators across nine countries, 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.

Curators apply our internal editorial standards to evaluate stories for distribution. When your story meets our editorial standards and is found to be high-quality, a curator will distribute it through topics, which power the personalized recommendations on Medium. For example, if you write a story about the ethical implications of machine learning and it meets our editorial standards, it would be distributed in the Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, and Philosophy topics, reaching the legions of readers who follow any of those topics on their Medium.com homepage, Medium apps, and Medium emails. (80 million unique readers visit Medium each month.)

This is a quick guide to what would disqualify your story from being distributed in topics and what you can do to enhance your chances for distribution:

Things that will enhance the chances your story will be distributed in 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. 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 “clickbait” headlines. (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. Free resources like Pexels, Pixabay, and Unsplash are great for sourcing Creative Commons-licensed images.
  • 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: Try to 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.
  • Promotional material: We will not distribute most stories that include promotional material or calls-to-action in the body. This includes requests for donations, email list sign-ups, and other links or embeds for the purpose of capturing user information or soliciting money. (You may put any calls-to-action that you’d like in the bio on your profile. This bio appears with every story you publish.) You are permitted to include source information for your stories — if you are adapting content from your own book, podcast, newsletter, etc. — but without promotional language.
  • Requests for claps: Do not ask readers to clap at the end of your story — either in text or an image that shows them how to clap. Feel free to remind readers to clap in your personal promotion for the story, but not within the story itself. 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. You must either own the copyright, have explicit permission to use it, or have a good faith belief that you are using it lawfully.
  • Content violations: We will not distribute stories that breach our content guidelines, 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

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