What Works on Medium in 2024 — Analyzing a Viral Article

I had given up on it. Success wasn’t immediate.

Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.
8 min readMay 15, 2024
female writer, sitting at laptop, satisfied with her writing
Photo by Anete Lūsiņa on Unsplash

I had no idea I had a hit on my hands.

I published Homeless Outreach: 7 Tips for Handing Out Food & Supply Bags on April 1. It was my fourth article back following a two-year hiatus.

Back in the early part of the decade, I had many articles selected for curation, or later distribution on Medium. Meaning, they were deemed worthy by The Powers That Be (whether that was a human or an algorithm) of being shown to a wider audience. I made some nice royalties back in those days.

Upon my return, I expected to have to start all over from scratch. My regular readers didn’t expect to hear from me, and I figured many of them had left the platform. I knew there was a process for an article to “get Boosted” (with a capital “B”), but I had no idea what to do to achieve that.

I simply wrote about what I knew. I became homeless in early 2024, so I wrote about day-to-day life in a shelter. That story broke an unwritten rule about being too long — it clocked in at a 16-minute read — and I figured that was the reason it limped along, earning less than a dollar a day. I tried another story about homelessness and one about public libraries. They gained very little traction.



Paul Ryburn, M.Sc.

I write about writing, ideas, creativity, homelessness, intuition, spirituality, life lessons. Ex-college teacher Twitter: @paulryburn