About Medium's distribution system

Updated: September 21, 2022

One of the biggest questions we receive from writers is how distribution works on Medium. When you publish a story under your individual profile, there are two paths to distribution on the platform: Through your audience (your followers, email subscribers, and people who go directly to your personal profile page), and through Medium’s network. There is also a path to getting distributed via publications (more on that here), but for now, let’s look at these two paths.

Distribution to your audience

When you publish on Medium, your story is immediately accessible and available to share on social media or send to friends via email or messaging services. There is no review, no approval, and no waiting.

Your story will also appear in these places:

  • On your personal profile page: Every Medium user has a personal profile page with a unique URL that contains all your stories. You can share this profile page and your stories with your friends and on social media.
  • On the "Following" tab of your followers’ homepages on desktop and mobile apps, where people can see all of the stories from Medium authors and publications they follow listed in reverse chronological order.
  • In Medium Digest emails: Medium users receive a daily or weekly email digest, which contains a mix of recommended stories based on interests, follows, and reading history. Your story may appear in your followers' digests because they follow you.
  • (Optional) Email notifications: Medium also allows you to send your published stories directly to users who have subscribed to your profile, or any email addresses you have imported to your mailing list, for more direct communication. Learn more.

Distribution to Medium’s network

Medium also recommends stories to readers across our website, apps, and emails based on their interests and reading habits.

By default, all stories published on Medium are eligible for further distribution via our recommendations algorithm (we do filter for spam, NSFW, etc). So in addition to being distributed to your audience, your story may also show up in the following places if selected by the algorithm:

  • The "For You" section of the Medium homepage for all readers on the web and in our mobile apps.
  • In Medium Digest emails: Your story may also appear in the digests of people who don’t follow you, but are interested in the topic you’ve written about.
  • On Medium topic pages
  • In the Explore section of Medium’s app, as a trending or recommended story
  • In the “More from Medium” (web) or “Recommended for you” (app) sections on other Medium stories
  • On the version of the Medium homepage for logged-out users

While much of the distribution in Medium’s network happens automatically through the recommendations algorithm, we also have a team of human curators searching for the very best stories in order to share them with readers. Their selections help inform the recommendations algorithm.

If selected by our human curators, your story may also be featured in promotional spots across Medium, including the homepage, emails, newsletters, Medium-owned publications, and more.

If one of your goals is for your story to be shared across Medium’s network, concentrate on quality and ensure that your work meets our distribution standards.

One of our main goals is to ensure that we are sharing the very best stories for our readers and members. To that end, we will also remove low-quality stories from distribution to Medium’s network, though they will still be distributed to a writer’s audience. For more on distribution disqualifications, see our distribution standards.

Medium publications and distribution

Publications on Medium are collections of stories by a single or multiple authors. Distribution within a publication operates very similarly to individual distribution.

When you publish in a publication, in addition to going to your individual network and Medium’s network, your story is distributed to:

  • Publication followers: Medium readers can also follow publications, so when your story is published or included in a publication, it goes out to its followers via Daily Digests and the "Following" tab of the publication's followers’ homepages on desktop and mobile apps.
  • Publication Newsletters: Medium readers can subscribe to a publication’s Newsletter, and editors can send emails to their subscribers as often as they like. Learn more about Newsletters.

Learn more about Medium publications.

If you are a writer in a Medium publication, you can submit your story to them for distribution to that publication’s followers. Learn more about submitting your story to a Medium publication.

Medium Partner Program and distribution

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

Making a story eligible for earning money does not affect your distribution status or improve your chances of getting increased distribution. Your stories are eligible for recommendation regardless of your Partner Program or paywall status.

If you choose to meter your story, it will be eligible to earn money based on member reading time. It will be part of Medium’s metered paywall and accessible only to Medium members, who are paying Medium subscribers. If you do not want to meter your story, it will not be eligible to earn and will not be part of the paywall.

Learn more

Browse the Creators Hub publication for additional resources about how to be successful in writing on Medium.

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