How to Format an Article Correctly on Medium

As an editor for several publications, over the internet, I see the same mistakes from new writers. To attract readers, a good format is almost as essential as the written word. Without a format that attracts the eye, many readers will not read the whole post.

Readers will view articles on their mobile when they have five minutes. A format that appeals to both platforms is essential. I normally write the post, edit the post and then format it.

Titles and Subtitles

Write your title into the piece of work, at the top. Highlight the title and press the large T. Titles should be capitalised. Generally speaking, this means that words larger than three letters have capitals and no punctuation. There are a number of websites that help with this if you are not sure.


Subtitles should be written in sentence form with punctuation. Highlight these and press the small T.

Images

These can be any size, however, they must be cited. Even if these are your photos you will need to cite them, see above. Most publications prefer the image under the subtitle as it makes a better preview photo. You can change the size of the image by clicking on it and selecting the size you want. I have slightly larger for the first image and then in line with the text for the rest. Take the time and fill in the Alt text for visually impaired readers and SEO purposes.

The options are from left to right — within a piece of writing (never use this as a title) — in line with text — slightly wider than text — across the top of the screen. I would suggest either of the last two for your first image.

Body of Article

There are many formatting techniques you can use when writing the body of your article. You do not need to use them all, but you do need to use some. The body of your article has to be broken up. I would suggest 3–4 sentences per paragraph. White space is your friend. Below are some of the ways you can break your text up.

Headings & Subheadings

These are used to break the text up in larger subjects. Again these should be capitalised, press the large T


Subheadings are to break the post up into smaller chunks as I have here. Again highlight the text and press the little T. Depending on the heading will determine whether I use capitalisation or not.


Other Methods to Break Up Text

There are several other tools at your disposal to break up the text, these can be images. You add these by pressing on the plus, by the side of the line. The camera icon will allow you to import your own picture, the magnifying glass allows you to search the database (these pictures bring the citing through automatically.) If you are going to use the inline option for text as I have above then this needs checking on a computer and mobile to see if it works, before publishing.

The next option on the menu the triangle is to put in a video in. You press this and then add the URL of the video you want to include and press enter.

The fourth option is for adding media such as other articles and tweets. I will talk about other articles later.

The last option gives the option of putting a break into the writing, think a new chapter. These are the three dots contained in this article.

You don’t need to use all these methods, but you do need to use some of them.

Quotes

Quotes can be added into the text to support your opinion. They should be no more than two to three sentences. If you want to include a longer quote then add the first sentence put in three dots… and then finish the quote with the last line. Add a link to the quote if people want to read the whole thing, they will.

I have seen many posts that are a mass of quote, don’t do it this will put readers off. We want to hear your words not those of others.

There are two types of quotes you can add and these are personal preference.

To add a quote highlight the text and press on the speech marks once. This will give you a quote like the one above. If you press the same button twice you get a quote that looks like the one below.

Formatting of quotes is personal to the writer.

Adding Links to Other Articles

You can link to your other articles using two different methods the first is within the text, I use this when referencing points that support my view. Such as this article on the structure of articles. Highlight the text you want to link. Click on the handcuff sign and then paste the URL in.

The second method is to offer the link as a preview of the title. For this paste the link into the piece of writing. If you don’t see the preview ensure you hit enter after the text then it should appear.

Screenshot 2020-08-15 at 19.20.26

Other Options

If you highlight any text you will get these options.

These are from left to right

Bold, Italics, Links, Headings/ Titles, Subheadings/Subtitle, Quotes, Indented Paragraphs and Personal Notes.

We have covered all of these in this article except the last two. The first is the indented paragraph this will make the first part of your paragraph larger, as demonstrated here.

The last option the padlock is where you send writers personal notes or the editors of the publication. I would use this to message an editor and ask for a specific publication date. I would also use this to point out an error to a writer without everyone knowing.

Following these tips will help engage readers and make your work more attractive to publications. Whether you add a call to actions (CTA) or other articles links is individual to the publication. Most though, require this level of formatting. Editors on these publication work for nothing, we as writers should be making their job as easy as possible. You cannot expect them to take time from their writing, to make your article attractive.


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