Regarding the “tag” feature, if you’re writing a new story of your own, just click on the three dots in the upper right corner of the page and click “Change tags.” If you’re commenting on another person’s story (like this one), then you’ll get the chance to add tags to your comment as well. After you’ve begun typing a comment, you’ll see a message in gray at the bottom of the screen that says, “Add a tag.” The tag option also comes up after you click the “Publish” button on your comment.
Tags help users find content by topic. You can click on any topic tag to see other stories about that topic, as well as see a listing of the top writers in that topic. For example, here’s what users see when they click on the “Advice” tag.
I think you’d get different answers from different people regarding whether paywalled or non-paywalled stories reach more people. I always thought non-paywalled (i.e., free) stories would reach the most people, but then I found out that Medium seems to give preferential treatment to paywalled stories, so I actually think those get the most traction. My recommendation would be to experiment with both to see what works best for you.
And generally, you’ll get more traffic if you get your work into publications. There are three ways to get your work in front of an audience on Medium:
- Self-publish (not through a publication) — This only goes to your own followers and anyone else who happens to stumble upon your piece.
- Publish in a publication (Better Marketing, The Writing Cooperative, The Ascent, etc.) — These articles not only go out to your followers, but they also get pushed out to that publication’s followers, expanding your audience.
- Medium curation — Medium also employs algorithms and a team of curators to “curate” stories that they think are really good. These stories are recommended on Medium’s homepage, email newsletters, etc.
The stories that often receive the biggest audience are those that are published in a publication AND are curated by Medium. The curation process is part of Medium’s secret sauce, and there’s no way to guarantee curation other than getting your story into a few of the vaunted publications that work directly with Medium on the curation process.
I hope that info was helpful! Thanks for reading.