How I Got 20x More Reads On A Medium Article by Accident

I used to write Medium articles wrong and then I wrote one right by accident.

Photo by Sigmund on Unsplash

I struggled for over a year to write something that wasn’t garbage. Many people told me my writing was great, but I knew it could be better.

I worked really hard on articles I thought would do well, and it turns out, the article I worked least on would perform the best.

I used to theorize in my writing which turned people away. That means I would collect famous person anecdotes, facts, and figures and organize them to prove a point. This didn’t work.

Nobody wants to hear another internet whiner.

My best performing articles on Medium didn’t theorize needlessly. And my best performers weren’t even written with SEO in mind.

They succeeded by accident.

My best articles succeeded because I used my experience to prove points.

My 2nd best article, 3 Ways to Earn Passive Income with Cryptocurrency: Novice to Expert is an article about my direct experience earning passive income with crypto currency.

This post got about 4.5x the amount of views I usually get.

my 2nd best performing post (240 views)

My best performing article of all time, Why Playing Video Games Is Better Hobby Than Most, did so well because it drew from my over-a-decade-worth of gaming experience.

I got over 20x the amount of views of a normal post.

my best performing post (532 views)

Here’s what I found helped me get to 20x views so you can do the same:

  • Owning your experience
  • A successful opener
  • Taking a side
  • The title
  • Lots and lots of examples

Owning Your Experience

Regardless if you’re a pro or a beginner, writing is about sharing your experience and doing it everyday.

Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya on Unsplash

Novice writers get stuck in writer’s block and write dull articles all because they fail to value their own experience as content.

Two things happen when you write about your experience:

  1. Less writer’s block. You are the content.
  2. People remember stories better than facts and figures.

Trying to prove a point by theorizing with with facts, figures, and anecdotes is possible, but no one is going to have fun reading it.

Instead, interweave your experience in your writing and the audience will find your experience new and tantalizing.

A Successful Opener

I noticed most writers talk about the first sentence being the most important. However, I think my 2nd sentence deserves some recognition.

In the beginning of my video game article, I open with a direct opinion and back it up with a second sentence that reads:

“I have personal experience playing video games while leading a productive and sociable life.”

This simple sentence does 3 complex things:

  1. labels myself as an authority worth listening too.I have personal experience…
  2. hooks readers by taking a side.…leading a productive and sociable life [while playing video games].
  3. Implies that people who play video games normally don’t lead productive and sociable lives.

Looking back and analyzing this article made me realize, my experience is more valuable than I think.

I learned that by playing with people’s assumptions of what a gamer looks like I can draw eyes to read further.

Taking a Stand

Taking a stand is something we don’t do often enough, but it can effectively draw in eyes from both sides of the issue’s aisle.

Photo by Anthony Tori on Unsplash

Here’s how I took a stand:

First sentence of “Why Playing Video Games is Better Hobby Than Most”

Taking a stand effects each side differently:

  1. People who agree → they will read so they can confirm their beliefs by vicariously living through my experiences.
  2. People who disagree → they will read so they can be angry at me being wrong. (or they change their mind)

People who agree with you are already apart of your community.

People who disagree aren’t, but they’re more likely to agree if you share your experience so they can see your perspective.

I learned that to make an article perform well, you need to take a stand with what you believe and back it up.

The Title

The title is more important than everything else. People won’t click if they aren’t interested.

“Why Playing Video Games is Better Hobby Than Most”

This title piques curiosity by implying other hobbies are worse and that I have something to say about video games being the best.

That’s all it does and it does it well.

I learned not to over complicate your title.

Lots and Lots of Examples

Using examples does several important things:

  1. Shows you know what you are talking about.
  2. Presents something the reader can connect the dots with.
  3. Connects you with the audience since you mention things they recognize.
Excerpt from “Why Playing Video Games is Better Hobby Than Most”

As demonstrated above, there’s mentions of six different video games in a single sentence. Anyone who recognizes just one will likely keep reading.

Provide lots of examples to increase your chances of becoming relatable.

A Summary

These five things I learned by writing every day, publishing, and observing my successes.

  • Owning your experience
  • A successful opener
  • Taking a side
  • The title
  • Lots and lots of examples

Where have you succeeded by accident? How did that happen?

How can you repeat it? Write about it.

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