How to Write an Article on Medium People Want to Read

Three Secrets from a Former Journalist and Speechwriter

“Don’t Bury the Lede!”

I can’t tell you how many times my editors or Communications Directors yelled at me for burying the lede in every first draft I ever wrote. I can’t explain it, it’s just something I like to do.

Think of it as the “Where’s Waldo” for writing.

Except that’s not what you want to do.

If you bury the lede, no one will want to read your article.

How I Overcame That Problem

It has taken me a long time to figure out how I like to write and how to overcome my tendency to bury the lede all the time. To be transparent, I bury the lede in every first draft.

But I know that now. Which is why I have created a process to edit my articles to find the lede and then put it up at the top (where it belongs.)

That’s what you need to do.

A Writer Writes

Keep writing articles. I have over 20 draft articles in my Medium account right now. Part of my process is that I will write a rough draft of an article and then save it in the drafts section of Medium.

When I want to publish on that specific topic, I open the draft and hunt for the lede.

What is the Point of Your Article?

If you aren’t getting a lot of reads, it’s probably because the point of your article is buried inside the words of what you wrote. Admittedly, some of my earlier articles are just blog-style, stream of consciousness. And I wanted to write and publish them that way.

But that’s not how you will gain a following on Medium.

Maybe followers will go back and read those blog-style articles because they like my style of writing, they like my writer’s voice and want to see how I think on a topic.

When you have a following, you can do that. But if you are trying to build a following, you need to stick to the foundation of article writing.

The Three Secrets

Secret One

What is your lede? What’s the most important point you want to make. And make that your very first sentence. This isn’t a murder-mystery. Tell people the most important thing in the first paragraph.

Secret Two

Back up your point. Why are you writing this article? Right after you write the most important point, provide the most important back up information that supports that first paragraph. If that’s a direct quote from a famous person, make that your second paragraph, if it’s data or research, move that up. You want people to know exactly what you are trying to say.

Secret Three

Develop your voice. The way you write is going to be different than the way I write. I have to spend more time editing out my sarcasm than you probably will. It’s just how I see the world. It served me well as a reporter because being jaded is how reporters get the “whole story.”

But it’s not a good practice on Medium. People don’t want to read someone making snarky comments every three sentences. Unless you’re Jon Stewart and then in that case — be snarky!

Thanks for Following

If you like this type of content, please follow and leave a comment. I spent 5 years as a reporter in print, radio and television and two years as a speechwriter.

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Professor Schwartz

Professor Schwartz

Former Superintendent | Ed Consultant | Speaker/Author — Go to my homepage at https://leafacademy.org