5 of the Most Common, Easy-to-Fix Problems We See in Curation

Simple tips from Medium Curation

Every day the curation team reviews stories for distribution through Medium’s topics. Curators are looking for great stories to distribute, but in addition to quality, stories must meet some minimum guidelines. (Read the full curation guidelines here.) Some of the issues that disqualify a story from curation can easily be fixed. So before you hit publish, check to see if you’ve met these commonly missed guidelines.

Note that you can still publish on Medium without meeting these guidelines (except for rules violations), but you will not be eligible for curation.

1. Write quality headlines

We could fill a whole post with headline best practices, but here are a few tips:

  • Be specific. Don’t leave the reader to guess what your piece is about.
  • Spark interest. Engage the reader’s interest by highlighting what’s unique about your piece.
  • Be clear. Avoid confusing terms, general statements, or “insider” jargon.
  • Be clean. Watch out for typos in your headlines and please don’t use profanity.
  • Go for reads, not clicks. Steer clear of clickbait headlines — tropes like “one weird thing” or using “this/that” to get the reader to click. Make sure your story backs up the claim in the headline.
  • Bigger is not better. Make sure caps lock is off. No all-caps titles.

Here are a few great headlines:

  • “Crushes Are Wonderful — But They’re Not Everything”
  • “It’s Bikini Body Season! So What Should I Do With My Regular Body?”
  • “Elon Musk Wants You To Merge With Your Technology”

Here are a few not-so-great headlines:

  • “On Headlines”
  • “Mom”
  • “To Be a Perfect Person, Do This One Simple Thing”

2. Refrain from asking for claps

At the end of your story, readers will already see the prompt for claps. If they like the story, they will clap. You don’t have to ask again. It degrades the quality of the piece when you ask for claps at the footer of the story. A great story stands on its own and doesn’t have to ask for appreciation. Asking for claps disqualifies a story from curation.

3. Make sure you have the rights to use the images in your story

Images can help improve the readability of a story — especially feature images. They can make the story more inviting. When you use an image, make sure you have the rights to use it. If you are using an image you don’t have the rights to, that’s a copyright violation and disqualifies your story from curation. The most common image copyright violations we see are writers taking copyrighted images from photo services like Getty, the Associated Press, and Shutterstock without a license or permission.

From the guidelines: “It should be an image that you have the rights to use. Free-use resources like Pexels, Pixabay, Unsplash, and the Gender Spectrum Collection are great for sourcing Creative Commons-licensed images.”

4. Avoid rules violations

In order for a story to be curated, it must comply with Medium’s rules. Make sure there are no platform violations within the piece.

  • No ads or sponsored content, as defined in “Ad-Free Medium.”
  • Avoid embeds that directly collect emails or data from users. See “Embedded Content” under the rules.
  • Remove or disclose all affiliate links in the story. This is a rule from the FTC.

5. Do not include requests for donations

Please don’t link to your Patreon, GoFundMe, etc. in your story.

Tips, tricks, and tools for Medium creators

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