Writers today have many options when it comes to making a living online. As a writer myself, one of my favorite methods is making money by publishing content on Medium.
Medium is a massive online publishing platform with over 700,000 paying subscribers. Their subscription offers readers a clean, enjoyable reading experience without ads and more than 20,000 new articles published daily.
Anyone can sign up to become a Medium writer. Writers can then publish articles on their profile or submit them to Medium Publications to reach a wider audience.
Medium has been around since 2012, but writers have been flocking to the platform in droves the past few years because of its earning potential.
The Medium Advantage
Writing on Medium can be more advantageous than starting a blog from scratch because the audience is built right into the platform. Medium is its own ecosystem, and thousands of readers log on daily to read the latest stories.
And thanks to Medium’s algorithm and setup, it’s relatively easy for readers to find your work. In addition, you don’t need experience in SEO because search engine traffic isn’t nearly as crucial for this type of blogging. (More on that later!)
Furthermore, you can succeed in a wide range of niches that are otherwise difficult to monetize. For example, personal essays, short stories, and poems all have a home on Medium, as do educational and how-to articles.
How to Make Money Writing on Medium
Here are the main ways a writer can leverage Medium to earn income with their writing:
1. Medium Partner Program
The MPP has evolved since its initial launch in 2017. Currently, it pays writers for the time members spend reading their work. This program is the primary way that writers get compensated for their contributions.
Each subscribing member pays $5 per month (or $50 per year) to read an unlimited number of stories on Medium. As they read stories, a fraction of that monthly amount is paid out to the writers whose stories they spend time reading.
Since the platform has a massive internal readership, you can make a lot of money if your stories go viral or are featured in popular publications.
The only downside to the platform is that writers do not get paid for reads by non-members.
This means that although Medium has a high domain authority which makes it relatively easy to rank in search, readers brought in by Google are not likely to generate much income because most of those clicks won’t be from Medium members.
Non-members get to view three articles a month before the stories are put behind a paywall.
However, the MPP also incorporates other perks from time to time that can further increase your earnings. For example, between April-July of this year, Medium paid out a $500 bonus each month to the top 1,000 performing writers on the platform.
They also recently launched a 3-month fellowship program to select writers who are guaranteed a minimum of $200 per month for their work, provided they publish at least four articles per month.
And in July 2021, Medium announced an essay contest with a $50,000 grand prize for the winner, as well as smaller awards for those who place in the top four and top 100 stories.
Lastly, Medium announced in August 2021 that writers would earn a referral commission if their content converts a non-paying reader into a subscriber. Writers also have a referral link they can promote to their audience outside of Medium.
2. Affiliate Marketing
Provided you include the appropriate disclaimers and follow the rules of the specific program, you are allowed to use affiliate links in your Medium articles.
If you have SEO expertise, then you can harness Medium’s high domain authority to rank for keywords relevant to your affiliate links. So even though you won’t make much money through reads, you can make money with that traffic through commissions.
3. Other Opportunities
Establishing credibility and an engaged audience on Medium can open up other opportunities down the road that can take your writing or blogging career to the next level.
For example, you can include a call-to-action at the end of each post, directing them to your website or your email list. Medium also collects the subscriber emails of those who want to follow your Medium posts, which you can export from your dashboard.
Lastly, many writers who grow a large following on Medium are approached by brands and other potential clients for sponsored posts and freelance writing opportunities. In many cases, the clients are willing to pay competitive rates for you to work with them!
How Much You Can Make on Medium?
It’s difficult to pinpoint precisely how much you can make on Medium because your earnings depend on how long each person spends reading your work and how frequently they read on the platform.
For example, if someone only reads a handful of stories a month, you’ll earn much more for that reader’s time than you would someone who reads many stories every day.
Most writers find it takes a few months to build up enough momentum on the platform to make a significant amount of money. Some writers only make a few dollars a month, but dedicated writers can often make a few hundred to over a thousand dollars per month.
The top writers on Medium make much more than that, reaching five-figure incomes some months.
How to Be Successful on Medium
Medium has a lot of potential for writers, but it does take some education to get familiar with the platform’s features and take advantage of its vast readership. This overview will help you get started and on your way to earning for your first payout from Medium!
1. Sign Up for the Medium Partner Program
You don’t need to be a paying member to sign up for the MPP, but most writers do since it’s helpful to read other people’s stories and see what is trending on the platform.
As of August 11th, 2021, Medium implemented new requirements to be accepted to the program: Writers must have a minimum of 100 followers and at least one published story.
So you may need to spend a few weeks writing free content on the platform before you gain enough followers to apply.
Once you qualify, fill out their simple application form. Once accepted, connect your Stripe account and fill out the necessary tax forms. Medium will automatically send your monthly payments by the 8th of every month.
2. Choose a Niche
Technically, you can write about anything you want on Medium, and some writers do become successful writing about various topics. However, it helps to stick to one niche because you can consistently publish in the same publications and grow an engaged audience.
Personal essays, coding, entrepreneurship, health, personal growth, and relationships are trendy topics, but you can choose just about anything and find an audience for it!
3. Write for Curation
Medium only wants to show quality articles to their readers, so they have a curation team that chooses pieces for distribution within the platform.
Getting your articles distributed by the curation team is crucial to success on Medium, so make sure your content is polished and formatted correctly.
Use the Medium editor to write and format your articles. Each article should begin with the title followed by a subtitle, with a horizontal image underneath.
You can easily find images right within the editor, which sources photos via Unsplash, or you can upload your own. No matter what images you use, make sure you credit the source!
After you’ve chosen your feature image, type out your story. (I highly recommend you invest in the pro version of Grammarly to ensure your writing is free of spelling and grammatical errors.)
Highly successful Medium writer, Zulie Rane, has a helpful video tutorial with step-by-step instructions on using the editor correctly.
4. Find Relevant Publications and Submit Your Work
Although you can publish articles directly to your profile, it’s not the best strategy because it’s tough for readers to find your work this way, especially when you’re just starting and have no followers.
Instead, you should submit your article to a relevant publication. Publications are like digital magazines within Medium that other writers run on the platform.
Readers follow their favorite publications, which are usually committed to a particular topic. Popular publications will have tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of followers!
For example, In Fitness And In Health is a popular fitness publication, Better Humans is all about personal growth and development, and Start It Up is all about entrepreneurial pursuits.
Each publication has different criteria for what they are looking for, so be sure to check their submission guidelines before you submit.
5. Assign Tags and Submit
Once you are ready to submit your piece, you can choose up to five tags to add to your story. Tags are another way that Medium helps categorize your content so that readers can find your content and get an idea of what it’s about.
Lastly, before you hit the submit button, make sure to check the box that says “meter my story, so it is eligible to earn money” to ensure you get paid for reads!
6. Rinse and Repeat – as Often as Possible!
The key to success on Medium is consistency and frequency. You are not likely to earn a lot of money publishing just one or two stories. The most successful authors on the platform have published dozens, even hundreds of stories.
So, publish high-quality content as often as you can. Just be patient, as it may take a few months for your work to start taking off.
Keep learning and improving your writing as you go, and you may surprise yourself!
Medium has excellent potential for writers and bloggers alike in just about any niche. If you’re dedicated, patient, and willing to learn the platform, you can make money writing on Medium.
It’s also a great jumping-off point for building an audience and starting or growing a business.
You retain ownership of anything you post on Medium, so you can always repurpose that content for other projects down the road.
If you want to make money writing, you have nothing to lose – and a lot to gain – by writing on Medium!
Thank you for this article, Corrie! I am just getting started on Medium, and your article is going to shorten my learning curve by a lot! I was unaware that affiliate links can be used on Medium, so I will give affiliate marketing a try in some of my articles.
Holly Reisem Hanna
I’m so glad that you found Corrie’s tips helpful.
Good luck on Medium, and keep us posted on how it works out for you.