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What Curators Look for in a Story

Medium’s Curation Guidelines get an update

We checked in with Medium Curation to discuss this latest update of Medium’s Curation Guidelines. From Medium Curation:

We built out sections on how curation works on Medium and how we think about quality, and we listed everything that can disqualify a story from curation. Hopefully you’ll find this page more comprehensive and usable than before.

This update was inspired by a desire to provide more transparency for writers and publications about what curation is looking for and what’s not allowed. The latter is much easier (and clearer) to explain than the former. “What we’re looking for in curation” is not prescriptive — each story is unique and might have a completely different feel from another story in the same topic, and that’s great. We want to leave plenty of room for individual creativity. The challenge is writing the guidelines so they’re not interpreted simply as a bare minimum — as “do this and you’ll get curated.” That’s not the case. There are things that definitely won’t get you curated, and then there’s the much more subjective quality aspect, which can be frustrating for writers. We’re continuously improving our systems based on what we hear and what’s working.

We were also inspired by the community that already exists on Medium, as well as the efforts of Medium Writers to help writers improve and succeed. We hope this page will be a useful reference in that work.

See the latest update of the curation guidelines: Medium’s Curation Guidelines.

Keep in mind that curation is one way to find your audience, but it should not be the only way. Curation is not a substitute for knowing your audience. As you write, think of who your audience is. Who comes to mind? Share your story with them. Get feedback from them on your writing to understand what works best. Due to the volume of stories published each day, curators are not able to provide feedback and review every story. Even if a story isn’t curated, it will still live on Medium and be sharable. It will be available in search and on your profile page. If you’re not already doing it, find your audience, promote your stories, and listen to the feedback.

“What we’re looking for in curation” is not prescriptive — each story is unique and might have a completely different feel from another story in the same topic, and that’s great. We want to leave plenty of room for individual creativity.

As a refresher, Medium’s Curation Guidelines are your source to understand what curators are looking for when they make the decision to curate a story. These are based on insights across the platform on what makes a quality story. When a story is curated, it is eligible to be distributed further across Medium surfaces.

Medium is a platform, allowing anyone to publish as long as the story does not violate Medium’s rules. Medium also seeks to help quality stories gain more exposure. That’s where the curation system comes in. Curators are on the lookout for quality stories to distribute further. In their own words: “We value quality content — fresh ideas, unique perspectives, varied voices, smart thinking — and believe readers do, too.”

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