How to Make Money on Medium

All the evidence points to giving readers what they want.

Rule number 1, for many, is a seductive photo (by Andre Sebastian on Unsplash)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Titles. They should be able to do the job alone. Snappy, enticing, not revealing too much but also not being too “clickbaity”.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

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.

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.

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.

Rule number 2, or 7, or 14, is to pepper these seductive images throughout your work to keep the reader interested. Photo by Joshua Rondeau on Unsplash

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.

Politically Left, parent, Welsh. Writes about any combination of the three, and occasionally other subjects entirely.

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