My Medium Article Got 11.3 Million Views

Here’s how I wrote it

Thomas Smith
9 min readApr 26, 2021


Photo by Nick Morrison on Unsplash

Last year, in the midst of the pandemic, I wrote a Medium article which nearly broke the Internet. My article shared the stunning results of a supercomputer analysis of Covid-19, which was performed by government scientists at Oak Ridge National Lab. The experiments yielded the Bradykinin Hypothesis — a totally new way to understand the progression and symptoms of the coronavirus.

The article went live in I here on Medium at 10:30pm PST on August 31st, 2020. When I woke up the next morning and checked my stats (I rarely check stats at bedtime), it already had 98,000 views. It would go on to rack up 11.3 million views (and counting), with a 5+ minute average read time.

I’ve already covered how I reported the article. But here I want to cover the more tactical elements of how I wrote it, and to share some tips that I learned from the experience, to help other writers who want their stories to go big in a similar way — and to use online platforms to have a real impact.

The Nuts and Bolts

Firstly, let’s take a look at the nuts and bolts of the article. How is it structured, and where did all that traffic come from?

The article is an 8 minute read. It was actually really hard to keep it that short. It goes deeply into a new scientific theory, and also had to cover a lot of basic ground, like how viruses enter cells, what kinds of receptors SARs-COV-2 latches onto, and more. So keeping it short was a challenge — I could easily have written 15+ minutes and still had lots to talk about.

The advantage of paring it down, though, was that were was absolutely no fluff. That’s crucial if you want people to engage with your stories. Writers often ask me if they should bulk up their online pieces, to get longer stories and thus more read time.

No, you shouldn’t. Articles have a certain natural length that they need to be, in order for you to express everything you want to express…