You Can Now Follow Tags Instead of Topic Pages

My thoughts on yet another Medium change

Meg Stewart

Sep 10·4 min read

Photo by on Unsplash

Medium is making yet another change to how blog posts are found by readers. Those super broad Medium topic pages? You know the Art, History, Politics, Science, Money, etc? They are going away. Very soon, if they haven’t already.

But no worries.

Medium’s plan for replacing those topic pages, I think, will be a good one not just for readers but also for writers.

I work with a lot of Medium bloggers in my role with the Ninja Writers team. And one of the biggest frustrations is the lack of control over making sure that our blog posts get seen by those who are interested in them. It’s also really hard to stand out among so many posts in those broad topics.

But broad topics like “Money” and “Health” are going away and will be replaced by those more granular, more focused, and writer-generated, tags!

This move, I think, is a good one for readers and writers. Here’s why:

Enabling readers to follow tags means they can hone in on exactly what they’re interested in. Medium used to do this, way back when I first started on Medium, before writers were paid. It worked great. This I believe will reduce a lot of the noise for readers, they will get less in their feed that isn’t what they want and more of what they do want.

Example: Readers currently following a Money topic page will be able to hone in on tags like personal finance or budgeting instead of having to sort through posts about everything money related.

Enabling readers to follow writer-generated tags allows for more accurate categorization which can be found easier by readers wanting that content.

Example: No longer will writers have to use a tag for health when the audience they truly want is interested in women’s breast health or male pattern baldness.

Instead of 100 topics to choose from, readers and writers can choose from over 7 million+ tags.

Those of you that know me have heard me say that on Medium you can either be the little fish in a big pond or the big fish in a little pond.

Under the topics system, neither of these was great for writers. Big ponds had great traffic but it was hard for new writers to get seen. Small ponds were easier to be seen but there was not much traffic. If you’ve been in my calls, you know I always advised people to do one or two broader “topics” as tags and then several smaller tags for balance.

The new system of following write-generated tags means writers can use those granular tags to target their ideal readers. Readers can follow tags that are much closer to what they’re actually interested in. They’ll see fewer posts overall so less overwhelm in their feed. The posts they do see will be ones they are interested in.

So if you’re blogging on Medium and especially if you’re new, your new strategy is to be the biggest fish in several small ponds. Get noticed by people who are looking for your unique insight and skills.

So tag your posts wisely.

Want to write about how hermit crabs mate and reproduce or other “cliff claven” facts? Create a tag for hermit crabs or maybe Crustacea or use both. Readers that find you will be way more likely to be a fan than someone who just followed “Animals” on the topic page.

So polish your fins, take a look at your existing content, make a list of those granular tags you might start using. Maybe even start to edit and change tags on some of those older pieces to get them seen with the new system. (You can change tags by editing the story, going to the three dots in the right corner and clicking on “Change tags”).

By all means if productivity really fits your post, use it. But with the new changes, you should be able to go all in on those more granular tags to get seen easier by readers who are into your posts.

You can read more about the details straight from Medium.

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