How to Make Money on Medium
I’m sure this isn’t the first time you’ve stumbled across an article about making money on Medium. They seem to be everywhere — even if you’re new to the platform you’ve probably read a few.
When I first joined Medium I wanted an outlet for my writing, and to discover brilliant writers I could learn from by immersing myself in their worlds. Initially I didn’t know about the Partner Program, but thought, why not? If I’m on here, and people read my stuff, I wouldn’t say no to some loose change.
Then I noticed an article or two claiming that, in fact, I could make substantially more. Thousands of dollars per month were possible, hundreds were in fact likely — as long as I put in the effort and followed these simple rules. So I found myself clicking on them.
The Golden Rules
The advice I found was encouraging, and much of it seemed to make sense. Words of wisdom came from top authors who often revealed their own stats, proving it was possible. And some of the advice was useful. A typical list looked like this:
- Publish. A lot. I tend to publish once or twice a week, then miss a week or two. Many of the top earners on here are publishing two or three posts a day. The thing about passive income is that even if an article only makes a few cents each month, hundreds of them will soon start to add up.
- Follow people. If you want followers, this is the easiest way. I’ve seen advice suggesting you follow 50 new people every day. That’s not for me though, because the people I want to read get lost.
- Responses. You need to interact with other Medium users if you want them to follow you. I’m not particularly good at this if I haven’t got something constructive to say, but it certainly gives you a warm feeling when someone leaves a positive reply, making you more inclined to follow.
- Don’t forget the value of images. Unsplash is a great resource, and can draw people in if your titles are struggling to do the job alone.
- Titles. They should be able to do the job alone. Snappy, enticing, not revealing too much but also not being too “clickbaity”.
- Submit to Publications. I’ve had a little luck with smaller publications, and have even had a story selected by Medium as a Featured Story, appearing at the top of the website and app. The results were just a handful of dollars, though.
- Get curated. Make sure you’re writing is top quality and Medium’s curators are sure to pick them out. Except some of my best work has been overlooked, and even though most of my posts do get curated, it hasn’t increase traffic a great deal.
You get the picture.
A Sinking Feeling
After a while I noticed that it wasn’t just a handful of experienced writers giving these tips. There were loads. And for the most part they were variations of the same tips. Most of it is fairly decent advice, so there’s nothing wrong with this.
But it started to annoy me. None of these things were quite the Magic Formula they seemed to be promising. The key to success for many of them seemed to be luck, or starting out at least five years before I’d ever heard of the platform.
Yet they keep on churning them out.
I don’t want to be disrespectful, because these writers are obviously far more successful than me, but I was starting to feel disrespected myself. The more I read, the more obvious it became that very little effort went into some of these articles. It felt like they were being knocked out over breakfast, or while watching Netflix.
The Actual Secret
But you know what? I was still clicking on them. No matter how many times I read the same bullet points expecting something new, no matter how annoyed I got at being told to try harder by a post riddled with typos and dodgy grammar, I still clicked.
I’m not someone who easily falls for marketing strategies. I don’t generally notice advertisements, let alone get influenced by them. I’m not interested in get rich quick schemes, or honestly in getting rich at all — money simply isn’t what motivates me. But if I’m on here anyway, and I only need to make some basic adjustments… So I click.
The secret to making money on Medium, is writing about making money on Medium.
The people who seem to be making the most money on Medium like to write about it — a lot. And it’s taken me this long to realise it’s because it very clearly works. If even someone like me can’t just scroll on by, I should have known they were on to something.
It’s not simply ‘selling out’
Up to now, I’ve been selling these authors short. The truth is, many of them are very, very skilled writers. I’ve followed a good number of them, and not because of their money-making advice — take your pick of any of these articles, and most of it is right there. I followed because they have other, genuinely interesting things to say.
But that isn’t necessarily what makes them their money. Sometimes, in order to write about the things you love, you have write about the things you know people will read.
The Cold, Hard Truth
Brilliant articles on the things we’re passionate about are not always going to be the bread winners. Many of these advice pieces admit there’s almost no telling what could be popular, or what will flop.
The one piece of advice that seems to hold most true is being prolific. Quantity over quality, in fact. So if you can write about making money on Medium, and are able to knock out a handful of these articles each week, then why not use that to free up the rest of your time to write about what you love?
If you can rush over some fairly simple subject matter for three or four articles on a Monday, you can spend the rest on the week focusing on what really matters to you. Then, you’ve got a platform to share it, too.
If you’ve read this far, thank you — I genuinely appreciate it. But this isn’t what I want you to be reading.
I write about a wide variety of subjects. I’ve written about music, politics, and about my children, the subject that matters most to me. Stories like this one, full of advice and anecdotes I hope other parents might find useful, or at least entertaining.
I’ve written about learning languages, which performed a little better for me, though it helped by getting into a publication (albeit a small one). This modest success motivated me to write a few more on the subject, which, in turn, has inspired me to increase my learning efforts.
I’ve also written longer pieces, pouring my heart into personal stories that hopefully anyone could relate to. These are the sorts of pieces I want you to read. But if earning an income writing articles like this one allows me to continue writing the others, and even introduces people to them, then that’s fine by me.
So if you’re interested to know whether I really have discovered The Golden Rule of making money on Medium, stick around. Give me a follow so you don’t miss my upcoming article on how this one made me 10k per month (or, possibly, explaining why it only made 7 cents, like most of the others). If nothing else, it will satisfy you desire for this type of content. Better yet, you might just stumble across something that matters a little more — to both of us.