How to run a publication that fits with the Boost Nomination Pilot

Why we’re so excited about niche topic publications

Ariel Meadow Stallings
The Medium Blog

--

A photo illustration of the sky with vintage aerospace blueprints is behind text that reads “Medium Boost Nomination Pilot” and “What we’re looking for.”

If you attended Pub Crawl, you heard that your publications are a priority at Medium in 2024. We want to share thoughtful, nuanced, knowledgeable perspectives, and the Boost Nomination Pilot is how independent publication editors nominate high-quality stories for broader distribution across Medium.

But what makes a publication a good fit for this program? We think it comes down to four common attributes:

  • A focused publication topic
  • High quality writing
  • Publication editors with a strong POV or expertise on a subject
  • Clear publication submission guidelines

If you edit a publication that you’d like to be considered for the Boost Nomination Pilot (or you’re thinking of starting a publication that might fit within the program), here’s additional insight into the kinds of publications we’re looking for right now.

Focused publication topic

One of the primary goals of the Boost Nomination Pilot is to have a broad range of topics represented. As the program has grown, we’ve recognized that the publications that thrive (with high nomination acceptance rates and higher story views) are the ones focused on a topical niche, with a very specific audience in mind.

This means we’re looking for publications that share stories speaking to readers with very specific interests and goals.

Here are a few examples of focused publications currently nominating stories:

This focus on topically-focused publications doesn’t mean we won’t add more general interest publications to the program in the future. Right now, however, we’re focused on working with editors running publications that speak to very specific audiences

Takeaway: Ensure your publication has a clear topical focus, ideally one that’s differentiated from other publications in the program. You can see current pubs in the program here.

Quality of the publication’s stories

When we look at a publication that’s expressed interest in joining the Boost Nomination Pilot, we check if the stories in the publication fit with Medium’s Quality Guidelines. Do the stories in the publication look Boostable? Have any of their stories or writers already been Boosted? We’re looking for editors that understand what quality means on Medium, and who are taking a strong stance towards reflecting that in their publication.

Takeaway: Demonstrate that you’re invested in your publication’s stories by keeping the quality bar high.

Editor expertise

We are hoping to work with more publications run by (and featuring the writing of) experts, operators, professionals, academics, and first-person do-ers. In the same way that Medium’s Quality Guidelines emphasize that author experience is one of the five pillars of a story being eligible for Boost, a publication editor’s experience with the topic of their publication is an important factor.

Here are examples of nominating editors with a connection to their publication topics:

  • Live View: The editor is a working photographer with a popular podcast and has been leading workshops and facilitating online communities for years.
  • Pink Hair & Pronouns: The editor is the parent of a gender nonconforming child
  • EduCreate: The editor is professor and creator with a PhD in writing and rhetoric

Takeaway: Your Medium bio should reflect your connection and experience with your publication’s topic.

Clear submission process

We want to partner with editors who are actively working with writers in their pubs, and part of how we measure that is by looking at a publication’s submission page. (Note: if a publication only has one author or isn’t actively accepting submissions, they’re not a fit for the Boost Nomination Pilot.) We want to see a publication’s submission page clearly linked from the publication’s homepage, and we check the submission page to make sure the publication has clear processes that emphasize quality over quantity.

Examples of clear submission pages:

Takeaway: Your publication should have a submission page clearly linked from its homepage, with clear submission processes for writers.

Let’s create a thriving ecosystem of diverse, high-quality publications!

As a reminder, any Medium member can start a publication, and then any publication can apply for the Boost Nomination Pilot. While following the guidance here won’t guarantee that your publication will be approved for the pilot program, it goes a long way in our consideration.

If you’re an editor who’d like to get involved with nominating, you can apply here. We’ve made some big changes in how we’re processing applicants and should be able to respond to new applicants within a few weeks.

It’s worth noting some of the things that we don’t look at when considering publications for the Boost Nomination Pilot: we don’t care about the number of followers a publication or its editor have, how old the publication is, or the visibility of the publication’s writers. We’re focused on things like publication topics, editor experience, and story quality — not popularity. The Boost Nomination Pilot is about finding the hidden gems and new writers on Medium, and we love how publication editors help us do that.

If you’ve got questions, feel free to leave a response!

--

--

Ariel Meadow Stallings
The Medium Blog

I'm a product manager at Medium, but I'm also a whole-ass person living life: author, publisher, devotional dancer, Seattleite, mom, and just a human humanning.