How I Got 20,000 Followers on Medium

You’re probably not going to like it

Karen Banes


Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

Today I realised I had a very satisfying number showing up as my follower count on Medium: 20K.

So that was a surprise. I didn’t notice this milestone creeping up on me and had no idea I’d reached it. I can only assume it happened a while ago because on closer inspection I’ve discovered I’m a victim of rounding (it’s actually 20,227, or was, just before I wrote this article).

I appreciate that 20K isn’t an impressive number if you’re some kind of super influencer or thought leader, but I’m not. Not even close. I‘m just an ordinary freelance writer who looks on Medium as just part of one of at least ten income streams.

So how did I reach this milestone? I’m happy to share, but I suspect you’re not going to like it.

Here’s what I didn’t do

I didn’t endlessly track my following stats, or any other stats (obviously).

I didn’t do ‘tit for tat’ following strategies, where I followed people in the hope they’d follow back.

I didn’t buy followers.

I didn’t join online groups and communities with the aim of getting more followers.

I didn’t strategically engage with other writers on the platform. I mean, when I have time I do read, clap, and even occasionally comment on other writers’ stories, but I have a crazy busy life and often don’t have the time. When I do, I read whatever I like the sound of, and clap if I like it. There’s nothing strategic about it.

I didn’t ask for follows on social media, or anywhere off the platform itself.

I didn’t heavily promote my work on other platforms (other than sharing it in a few targeted Facebook groups).

And here’s what I did

I wrote good content that I thought people would like. It really was that simple. I didn’t really ‘research what was working’ and I didn’t pay too much attention to creating stuff that would ‘go viral’. Consequently, of course, I didn’t go viral. Which is disappointing. But I did do really well occasionally. My most popular article made over $1,000 pretty quickly, though not overnight (and has…



Karen Banes

Freelance writer sharing thoughts on life, society, creativity, and productivity.