I was scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed a few months ago when I came across an ad for a short story contest hosted by a site called Vocal Media. Lured by the $20,000 grand prize, I signed up, wrote a story, and entered it into the contest.
Once on the platform, I was intrigued to learn that Vocal does more than run writing contests; they also compensate writers who publish on their site. I started posting regularly, and although I didn’t end up placing in the contest, I still made $50 in my first month as a Vocal member.
Admittedly, it’s not 20 grand, but it’s still not bad considering I was writing about whatever I wanted. And I discovered there are some pretty exciting opportunities for monetization.
Have I piqued your curiosity? Then keep reading for my full vocal review below.
What is Vocal Media?
Vocal.Media is a contributor platform where content creators can write and post articles on just about any topic. There are currently 37 different “communities” that group stories by niche, including tech, health, relationships, politics, photography, career, pets, and beauty.
No matter what you write about, chances are you can find a home for your pieces in one of these communities.
Vocal is unique from other contributor platforms in that it has the potential for multiple monetization methods. It’s free to sign up and contribute to Vocal. However, to maximize your opportunities to earn money, you’ll need to register for their Vocal+ membership, which costs $9.99 per month.
Here is a breakdown of how to make money as a Vocal creator.
Pay Per Read
Vocal pays contributors based on how many reads their articles get. The feature is similar to Medium’s Partner Program, except that you get paid for all reads, regardless of whether or not the person reading your story is a Vocal member or not.
Also, while Medium’s pay varies based on reading time, Vocal pays a flat rate per read. Free members earn $3.80 per 1,000 reads, while Vocal+ members earn $6.00 per 1,000 reads.
Although this pay rate is pretty low, there are ways to leverage it to make decent money.
For example, many creators have found success in sharing their stories within relevant Facebook groups. (I once shared an article about old science fiction movies to a sci-fi Facebook group and earned quite a few reads that way.)
There are also highly engaged Vocal-specific Facebook groups where creators share and read each other’s work.
Another way to get more eyeballs on your stories is to get featured on Vocal’s homepage. There are no guidelines to what qualifies for a Top Story, but challenge submissions, current events, and unique opinions tend to have a higher chance of being selected by the editors.
But the best way to get reads is to write articles optimized for Google. Vocal has a relatively high domain authority, so it is possible to write articles that rank on the first page of the search results.
Vocal Creator Bonuses
A few months ago, Vocal announced Creator Bonuses to reward contributors for reaching certain milestones on the platform.
There is no official list for what will trigger a bonus, but here are a few that I have received since joining the platform:
- Earn $5 for reading and engaging with other creators’ content
- Make $5 for publishing my first five stories, and $10 for my first 10 stories
- Earn $5 for being chosen as a “Top Story”
The bonuses are not a sustainable way to make money on Vocal for the long term, as eventually, you will run out of milestones. But it’s a great way to get a strong start on the platform.
Another way to make money as a Vocal creator is through the platform’s tipping system. At the bottom of your published story is a floating bar where readers can “heart” to like your article or click the “send tip” button. The tipper can send anywhere from $1-$20.
You can optimize your work for tips by including a polite call to action at the bottom of your stories, asking for a small tip to support your writing.
I have earned about $15 through tips so far, and it’s been a nice little bonus to my earnings!
Vocal’s Challenges are possibly the most lucrative opportunity on Vocal. Each Challenge consists of a writing prompt, and the top three entries win a cash award. First prize winners stand to gain anywhere from $1,000-$20,000!
Each Challenge has a different theme and writing prompt. Some call for short fiction or poetry, while others are looking for personal essays or photography. You can submit as many stories to the Challenges as you want to boost your chances of winning.
Most of the Challenges are for Vocal+ members only, but they include one available to all members once in a while.
New Challenges post every week, so there is always an opportunity to enter. The best strategy is to submit to as many Challenges as you can. Not only does this increase your chances of winning, but you’ll find it expands your skills as a writer by tackling topics you otherwise might not have thought to write about!
Affiliate marketing is another way to make money on Vocal since the platform allows affiliate links. Find products and services you can become an affiliate for through sites like ShareASale or CJ.com that house affiliate programs for thousands of brands in every niche.
Once you sign up to be an affiliate for a brand, you can promote them by writing product reviews.
Just remember to disclose your affiliate links in your post and only promote products and services you can get behind. Authenticity is vital when it comes to making affiliate sales.
Aside from the monetary perks of writing on Vocal, there are a few other reasons to sign up that are worth mentioning:
- Your Vocal profile makes a great portfolio to send to potential freelance writing clients.
- You can hone your craft by writing about topics you don’t usually write about.
- It’s a fun outlet for your creativity.
- You can connect and network with a great community of other writers via the Vocal Facebook groups.
Vocal Review Wrapup
If you love to write, I highly recommend you check out Vocal. I’ve been on the platform for three months now, and although it’s not likely to bring in a full-time income, it’s a fun way to make extra money while providing an outlet for my creativity.
I would recommend starting with a free account so you can get a feel for the platform before you decide if it’s worth subscribing. Either way, it’s a fun way to make some extra cash, hone your craft, find community, and write about topics you enjoy.