About Medium's distribution system

Updated: October 6, 2020

Medium is becoming more relational in order to give creators more freedom and agency over building and maintaining relationships with their audience. Our goal is to create the best of both worlds: An open and simple platform where anyone can publish—once or occasionally—that also allows for deeper connections between readers and writers. 

You can read more about relational Medium in this update from our CEO

Medium is an open platform on which anyone can write. Your content is always yours, completely owned by you, and we will host it for free, indefinitely. This applies whether or not you choose to make money by putting your articles behind the Medium paywall, or make them completely free to all readers.

When you publish on Medium, your post is immediately available to readers and to share. There is no review, no approval, and no waiting.

Your post immediately appears in these places: 

  • On your personal profile page: Every Medium user has a personal profile page and unique URL that contains all your posts. You can share this profile page and your stories with your friends and on social media.
  • In your followers’ “Latest from following” feeds on their Medium homepage and app, where all of your followers will see the latest posts from every Medium author and publication they follow.
  • In search engines: We have invested a lot of time and work improving Medium’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and posts published on Medium generally rank high in search results on search engines. 

While relational Medium is your best bet for building a reliable readership, there are other routes for further distribution as well:

Medium publications

Publications are collections of stories by a single or multiple authors, kind of like magazines that live on the Medium network. There are distribution advantages to creating or joining a publication:

  • Publication followers: Medium readers can also follow publications, and when your post is published or included in a publication, it goes out to its followers.
  • Newsletters: Medium readers can subscribe to a publication’s Newsletter, and editors can send emails to their subscribers as often as they like. 

Additional distribution

In addition to reliable relational distribution, it’s also possible for a story, writer, or publication to be recommended across additional Medium surfaces via algorithmic or human featuring—in “Your Daily Read,” for example. Editors are seeking out the best from the platform every day to promote in a variety of ways. Subject-matter experts may be featured in a topic collection. Individual stories may be requested for a Medium-owned publication. A blog may link to your story as a recommended read.

The goal is to build an even more robust network of thinkers and perspectives, where ideas get better because they’re connected to others, and where links between people and posts lead to more discovery.

All posts are now eligible for further distribution across Medium, whether they are paywalled or not, so when you publish, you’ll only need to decide whether you want your post to be eligible to earn money through our Partner Program, which anyone can join (subject to availability by country).

What about curation?

We are still reviewing stories (and authors and publications) for promotion and featuring across Medium (as mentioned above). But as Medium places a greater emphasis on the connections between readers and writers, we don't want curation to be a bottleneck to those connections. Instead of focusing or waiting on curation, creators are free to focus on creating—doing their best work for themselves and their audience.

While we don't review every published post, if we do select your writing for featured promotion, you will see that on your post stats page. 

If one of your goals is to be featured on Medium, concentrate first on quality, but also ensure that your stories meet our distribution guidelines.

What does the checkbox do?

If you are a writer enrolled in the Partner Program, when you click Publish on a story, you will be prompted to choose whether to make your post eligible to earn money as part of Medium’s metered paywall.

If you check the box, your story will be eligible to earn money based on member reading time, and it will be part of the metered paywall. If you do not check the box, it will not be eligible to earn and will not be part of the paywall.

Only writers in the Partner Program see this checkbox. Stories from writers who are not enrolled in the Partner Program will no longer be part of the metered paywall. To earn money on your stories, enroll in the Partner Program.

Every story on Medium is eligible for additional distribution, regardless of Partner Program or paywall status.

Learn more

Common questions

Why were topics removed from the stats page?

We removed topics from the story stats page in order to reduce the focus on topics in distribution. Our recommendation engine uses several different signals to distribute relevant stories to readers. These signals include story popularity, stories previously read by the reader, and stories read by other readers with similar interests as the reader. Displaying only the topics on a post was incomplete. But we do appreciate that removing these notifications without replacing them was disorienting.  We are working on lots of improvements to writing and distribution on Medium, including providing more information about how your stories are doing and why. Thanks for your patience.

Are posts previously distributed in a topic still in that topic?
Yes. Any of your past curated stories are still curated in the same topics — we did not remove any stories from distribution with this change.
Do I have to be a paying Medium member to publish on Medium?
No. Anyone can publish on Medium for free. In order to be eligible to earn money on Medium, you must join the Medium Partner Program which is free for anyone to join.
Was this article helpful?
Have more questions? Submit a request