Anyone who has used social media in any capacity knows that it's not exactly free of risk — but there are ways to mitigate those risks through careful planning and execution.
In particular, creators should know whether they're able to use popular platforms like Facebook or Twitter as a way to generate income off their content. If so, what kind of revenue can they expect to receive from these efforts? And how easy will it be for them to convert readers into subscribers or followers?
Medium is the place where anyone is welcome to self-publish their stories and ideas, build an audience, and eventually earn money for their work. The "earn money" part can be a little daunting if you don't have anything published yet, but we'll get to that later. First, let's talk about what makes this platform really interesting.
The short answer here is yes, but only some mediums actually take advantage of the fact that people want to read paid content. In addition to publishing your own writing (which may include original essays, fiction, poetry, etc.), many publications feature curated collections of other authors' work. These pieces come with varying levels of editorial oversight, ranging from basic formatting to very extensive editing.
You might also find yourself reading nonfiction columns by experts in various fields (e.g., science, health), interviews, or even personal essayists. There are also plenty of podcasts available on Medium, which often feature readings and conversations between hosts and guests.
While all of these types of content can help boost your exposure online, they aren't usually considered traditional journalism because most publishers choose to monetize them differently. For example, while you could potentially support your podcast host via Patreon subscriptions, the same isn't true for audio episodes produced specifically for Medium.
On top of that, the vast majority of publications on Medium don't charge writers for access to their pages. They rely instead on advertising dollars, donations, and subscription fees to cover production costs. This means that if you'd prefer to remain anonymous when sharing your thoughts or experiences, you won't need to worry too much about getting scooped during live broadcasts. It doesn't hurt to keep tabs on new posts within your favorite publications though, just in case something big happens.
For more information on Medium's business model, check out our post detailing its unique approach to reader engagement. You can also learn why you shouldn't pay attention to Medium headlines!
If you've been wondering how many publications exist on Medium, try searching for topics related to your interests. You'll see a number appear at the bottom of each search result page that shows the total amount of results found across different categories. Clicking one of these links takes you directly to the main menu area, where you'll find a list of every publication currently featured on Medium. Some publications require payment to join, others give you full access without needing any extra steps.
When looking at specific titles, you can filter results based on whether they're open to submissions or already accepting pitches. Unfortunately, there's no straightforward way to determine how many paying customers a given publication brings in, aside from checking their About section or following their official accounts on Instagram, Twitter, and/or YouTube.
This said, many of these publications still manage to turn a profit thanks to generous ad rates and sponsorships. As long as they offer quality content that keeps users coming back for more, advertisers will continue to seek partnerships with them. So if you plan on using Medium to publish your next story, you might consider pitching your idea to multiple publishers first before settling on one.
Another great resource for finding new Medium publications worth exploring is Discover Medium, a website run by independent journalists and editors whose mission statement reads, "We believe everyone deserves high-quality reporting." Here, you can browse lists of recommended publications per category, along with editor picks and trending news items.
Of course, all of this assumes you intend to write for someone else's account instead of creating your own account under another person's name. That option exists as well, but it requires quite a few hoops to jump through in order to set up correctly. Plus, unless you're willing to shell out additional funds for premium services, you probably won't have enough time to properly research everything needed to become a successful writer on Medium.
Now that we've covered the basics, let's explore what kinds of compensation writers can expect to receive from Medium publications once they start working for them. Much of this depends on how established certain publications are within their respective industries, meaning that you should treat these numbers with caution since they vary greatly. While some publications tend to pay better than others, the average payout for freelance contributors tends to hover around $20-$30 per article.
Here's a quick breakdown of typical earnings for different types of contributions. Keep in mind that these figures reflect payments made over the past 12 months and may change depending on a variety of factors.
Featured Articles: Writers typically submit pitch letters to Medium outlining potential projects, after which they go through several rounds of edits before being accepted. Once approved, contributing writers can either accept a flat rate fee or negotiate a higher cut if their piece proves to be particularly effective. Contributors can also opt to donate portions of their royalties to charitable organizations.
Essays: Similar to featured articles, contributors interested in penning longer essays must fill out pitch forms and wait for approval. Essayists then agree upon details surrounding word count, deadlines, and length before beginning revisions. Depending on the topic discussed, the final product can range anywhere from 500 words to 25,000 words. Payment differs slightly depending on the type of essay submitted. Paid essays fall under two categories: those written exclusively for Medium and those written for clients elsewhere. When submitting work for both Medium and external clients, contributors retain the rights to distribute copies of their materials to whomever they wish.
Columns: Columnists can provide weekly updates on a specific subject matter. Payments depend largely on columnists' experience level and popularity among Medium audiences. A good rule of thumb is to ask fellow writers for advice on how best to promote oneself and reach a wider base of fans.
Interviews: Interviewers can request exclusive access to sources and interviewees to create thought-provoking narratives. Since interview subjects typically consent to having their names included alongside quotes attributed to them, they can share in royalty profits when a publication prints excerpts from their material. Compensation varies widely for interviewee profiles, but according to former contributor Alexia Gentry, earning less than $100 was fairly common.
Podcast Episodes: Podcast producers record interviews and discussions between themselves and guest speakers. Guests can decide whether or not they want to allow their voices to appear publicly. Most frequently, contributors receive small cut percentages of podcast episode sales. However, larger cuts can sometimes occur if a show garners thousands of downloads.
As previously mentioned, there are numerous other creative opportunities that writers can pursue when joining a Medium team. Check out our guide to making money on Medium if you'd like to learn more about pursuing such gigs.
Once you've joined a publication, you can begin uploading your own work. By default, however, most Medium publications do not grant writers permission to redistribute their writings outside of the site itself. Instead, these texts are restricted to viewing only by members of the relevant community.
To circumvent this limitation, you can fork over extra cash for premium membership plans offered by select publications. To obtain access to premium features, including direct messaging, copywriting tools, and custom domains, you can purchase annual membership packages starting at $19.99 per month.
Premium subscribers can enjoy unlimited distribution rights for all of their uploaded works. Nonmembership holders, on the other hand, can upload as many pieces as they'd like and send them wherever they please, provided they leave behind attribution links.
Nonpaying visitors to sites hosted on Medium's servers cannot view any text or images from publications requiring a subscription. Content marked as private remains hidden until a user signs in with a verified email address and password. With this setup, Medium effectively prevents unauthorized viewers from accessing content posted by regular users without prior authorization.
It's important to note that if you attempt to bypass these restrictions and download content without signing in, Medium reserves the right to revoke your privileges indefinitely. Additionally, Medium prohibits violations of copyright law, spamming, hacking attempts, harassment, impersonation, privacy invasion, and fraudulent activity. Failure to comply with these rules can lead to termination of your account.
Additionally, Medium does not guarantee the accuracy of information shared by its users. Therefore, you assume all liability for libelous statements made by third parties claiming ownership of your work. Finally, remember that you do not control access to your profile or content once you sign in to your account. Someone else could theoretically gain access to your credentials at anytime and remove your username from public display.
We recently asked our readers how they are making money from blogging. We've received great responses like this one from reader "Maggie":
"I have been doing freelance writer/editor work for several years now. But there’s something about having your own site that feels more professional than just using platforms such as UpWork or Fiverr."
The thing is, not everyone needs to hire writers (or editors) full time in order to write content regularly. And even if you're looking for someone who will dedicate themselves exclusively to helping you grow your following, it's difficult to find people willing to give up their income stream without compensation — especially since most freelancers don't want to risk getting into business solely based upon client referrals.
That said, there are ways around these hurdles. One of them is through the use of subscription services like Patreon, which allows creators to set monthly donation goals so fans can support what they love while paying for exclusive perks.
Another option might be to start publishing your posts directly onto social media instead of creating a traditional website. This way, followers aren't being directed away from existing platforms to another platform, but rather toward a specific account. It also allows users to read your updates at any time, wherever they choose to check out new material.
There's no need to worry about SEO either because many popular websites get indexed automatically by search engines. In fact, some sites rank higher than others simply due to their popularity. For example, Facebook has become increasingly famous over the past few years largely thanks to its ability to create large audiences quickly when necessary.
If you're interested in learning more about how to make money online via Medium, keep reading! Here are four simple steps to take right now...
In order to effectively monetize a Medium blog, first consider whether or not you'd prefer to publish regular articles on the service itself. There are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches.
Publishing original pieces directly on Medium gives you complete control over every aspect of your brand identity, including the design, tone, and voice of everything published under your name. On top of that, Medium offers tools designed specifically to help maximize engagement among readers. You could potentially reach thousands of new eyeballs each day without needing to pay a dime extra in advertising expenses. However, you'll only receive a fraction of the revenue generated by other methods.
On the flip side, publishing original pieces on Medium takes a lot longer to produce compared to other options. While you can still try posting guest articles here and there, it may feel less rewarding overall to wait patiently for your next paycheck when you could probably generate similar results faster elsewhere.
Ultimately, the decision is yours to make. If you decide to go down the latter route, we recommend considering whether or not you should focus on growing your follower count or generating additional ad dollars. As long as you remain consistent in terms of quality, consistency will win out in the end regardless of what approach you opt to follow.
Here are two examples of successful blogs created on Medium:
Stephanie Lee's "Diary of An Adult Child," which she describes as "a personal journal exploring life after divorce." Stephanie earned $10 per month from her diary alone back in 2014. She later expanded her repertoire and started selling ebooks related to the topics covered throughout her blog. Today, Stephanie makes upwards of $20,000 per year off her Medium page.
Lily Singh's "Dear Sugarsweet," which was written as advice for young women trying to navigate romantic relationships. Lily made $1 million total across all sources last year, which included affiliate marketing. Her earnings peaked at nearly $3 million in 2017 before dipping slightly again in 2018.
Once you've decided to publish original material on Medium, you'll need to determine exactly how you plan to profit off of it. Luckily, Medium offers advertisers special software called Ads Manager, which helps publishers sell space on their pages during various times of the day. These ads appear alongside individual blog entries, and visitors can click on whichever ones appeal to them most.
Advertisers typically offer three types of packages: text links, image links, and video links. Text links are the cheapest type to advertise on Medium, costing approximately $0.15-$0.25 depending on placement preferences. Image links cost between $0.50 -$1.00, while Video links generally sit somewhere in between those prices.
As mentioned previously, however, the biggest benefit to using Medium lies within its built-in community features. By focusing on building an engaged fanbase, you can easily drive traffic to your profile and increase your chances of attracting new advertisers. With Twitter, for instance, you often see brands sponsoring tweets and hashtags in hopes of reaching potential customers.
Most importantly, remember that there are no guarantees. Advertisements are entirely dependent on clicks and conversions. That means that although you won't immediately begin earning money from advertisements once your blog goes live, things can change rapidly in the future.
One mistake we frequently see bloggers make is overestimating expectations regarding their own success rates. Just because you haven't yet managed to turn a significant amount of clicks into sales doesn't mean that you shouldn't continue pursuing opportunities. When you realize that you're capable of driving hundreds of targeted viewers towards products and services, you'll soon learn that it pays to stick with it.
Also, bear in mind that even though Medium does allow for direct payments from advertisers, it's important to note that none of these companies guarantee profits, nor are they required to provide refunds if your campaign fails.
To view a step-by-step guide detailing how to properly optimize your Medium campaigns, click here.
When deciding whether or not to pursue a particular piece of content, always ask yourself this question: "Would I share this on my own timeline?" More accurately speaking, would I share it publicly on Instagram, Snapchat, or TikTok? If the answer is yes, then there's a good chance that it belongs on Medium.
Keep in mind that certain categories of content tend to perform better on Medium than others. For starters, videos consistently outperform pictures and words when it comes to engagement metrics. Plus, photos attract more attention than anything else. Once you've determined your preferred format, look through Medium's list of recommended best practices and relevant tips and tricks to ensure maximum effectiveness.
For example, if you intend to upload a photo, it's crucial to avoid uploading images containing nudity or graphic scenes. Doing so could result in automatic removal. Furthermore, if you wish to include video footage, it's advisable to add captions describing whatever appears within frame. Otherwise, it might confuse your viewer(s).
Lastly, remember that you can embed Medium posts anywhere on the web. They're able to function similarly to YouTube clips, allowing you to attach audio commentary to accompany whatever's happening. If you're unsure of where to start, explore some basic guides available on Medium's Help Center.
While earning money from Medium is certainly possible, the reality is that it requires putting forth a tremendous amount of effort beforehand. To illustrate this point further, let's compare it to earning money from a typical job.
Let's say you currently work a 9-5 position for a local coffee shop chain. During breaks, you spend five hours preparing food for customers who visit your station. Afterward, you return home exhausted, eat dinner, shower, fall asleep, wake up, repeat. Then you go to sleep again. Next morning, you head straight into work to prepare breakfast sandwiches for patrons hungry enough to stop by. Rinse and repeat.
Now imagine you had a second job serving lattes and coffees at night. Not only would it require fewer days spent working each week, but it wouldn't burn quite the same number of calories. Overall, you'd likely save more money as well.
This is essentially why earning money from Medium works differently. Although it's true that you must invest countless hours into planning and executing your strategy, it's worth noting that you can apply the exact same principles to virtually any career field. Simply put, if you possess skills necessary for running a retail store, a restaurant, a barber salon, or any other kind of establishment, you can absolutely open your own shop and start charging clients for goods and services.
Not convinced? Check out this article outlining reasons why owning a small business can be profitable.
Overall, it's clear that earning substantial amounts of cash from Medium isn't realistic for most beginners unless they devote massive chunks of their free time to developing their profiles. But if you think carefully about what you enjoy doing the most, consider expanding beyond passive streams of income altogether. Instead, seek out businesses that will enable you to leverage your talents. Ultimately, the sky really is the limit when it comes to earning residual income from a passion project.
You’ve written your article on Medium. It's been published and now it has thousands of views, likes, comments, and shares under its belt. You feel proud that people have found value in your writing and want to keep contributing more content like this.
But how are you supposed to make money off all those readers who appreciated what you wrote? How can you get paid when your Medium article isn't even technically yours?
To answer these questions we need to first understand what exactly happens when someone clicks through from Medium to read one of your articles.
If you were to look at some statistics about visitors coming to your site via Medium vs. other platforms (e.g., Facebook or Twitter), then you'd see very different numbers — and not just because there aren't as many users per platform. What really matters here is whether someone clicked on your link. And if they did click, how likely was it that they actually wanted to stay long enough to finish reading your article?
In short, how well your article performs on medium depends largely on two factors: First, how good it looks compared with similar pieces on the same topic. Second, how compelling you find the title and description to be. If your title doesn't grab them immediately, or if you don't offer anything new or interesting in your descriptions, why would they stick around?
So yes, a lot hinges on how great your piece is. But before you start looking into ways to increase engagement rates, consider this question: Can I monetize my Medium blog?
This may seem strange since most blogs talk about building traffic to attract advertisers and sponsorships. However, while earning income from sponsored ads is definitely possible, getting paid by putting out quality original works is another story altogether. Unlike traditional media outlets such as newspapers and magazines, which charge publishers fees based on circulation figures, Medium pays writers directly for each view regardless of size.
The biggest downside to this model is that it makes earning money harder than doing something similar over on any other platform. There's also no guarantee of revenue sharing between writer and publisher, so you'll have to depend solely on reader feedback rather than being able to set your own price point. In addition, there's usually little room for negotiation since Medium takes 30 percent cut of every sale.
Still interested? Check out our guide below for details on how to write better Medium articles and maximize earnings. We've broken down everything you need to know about making money on Medium into four steps.
Monetizing your Medium articles involves several things but mainly comes down to three main components: creating engaging titles, offering unique benefits, and encouraging interaction among readers. Here are some tips for each component.
1) Write strong headlines
Headline optimization is absolutely essential for driving up engagement, especially on Medium. While it seems obvious that your headline should contain whatever will compel a person to take action, it gets trickier once they're already inside your article. This is because the text within the body contains links back to other Medium articles. So when someone reads your headline, they might think "I hate articles with too many words," only to end up scrolling right past your entire article after clicking through to check out your linked articles.
Instead of focusing on length, focus on clarity. Make sure your headline speaks to what the reader wants. For example, a simple phrase like "5 easy ways to save energy" might sound boring until you realize it's actually kind of vague. By adding specific information about saving energy, like using compact fluorescent bulbs instead of incandescent ones, you open yourself up to greater success.
2) Offer perks beyond your article itself
When a user lands on your page, you want them to spend time reading your article and interacting with it. One way to encourage this is to include extra incentives outside of your actual article.
For instance, on one of my recent pieces titled "What Is A Psychic Reading?" I added a bonus section called "Your Life Blueprint." Within this section, I offered free tarot cards readings to anyone who liked the article, spoke positively about it elsewhere, or shared it with others. Additionally, I included more detailed instructions for signing up. Not everyone will use them, but providing clear directions is always helpful.
3) Engage the community
One thing that sets Medium apart from other social networks is the ability to connect with other creators. When a creator writes a particularly popular piece, they gain followers and fans. These followers often come to expect future contributions from that author. To help ensure this relationship continues, try incorporating social mentions throughout your article.
Additionally, try tagging friends and colleagues in the comments box to show appreciation for their support. Some authors even go further, asking for positive reviews and testimonials from commenters. Doing so encourages both parties involved to continue supporting your work and helps improve your overall credibility.
4) Use hashtags strategically
Using hashtags properly is key to maximizing exposure on Medium. Hashtags allow users to easily search for topics relevant to their interests. They're also used widely across Medium to organize conversations. Many authors choose to utilize multiple tags to promote particular themes, allowing viewers to filter discussions accordingly.
Here's a few examples of how well-placed hashtags can boost visibility: Using #NewYearsResolutions allows viewers to discover related articles during the holiday season, while #SpiritualityTag prompts searches specifically relating to spiritual subjects. Another option is to combine the previous tip with using hashtags to create themed sections. On an article titled "What Are Your Favorite Spiritual Quotes?", I created separate tabs for quotes, affirmations, poems, and blessings. Each tab includes a custom tag to identify the type of quote, helping viewers easily sort through dozens of results.
While you shouldn't rely on hashtags exclusively to draw attention to your article, they certainly provide additional opportunities for exposure. Just remember that you shouldn't abuse them without reason. Placing excessive hashtags can quickly turn away readers, causing low engagement rates. That said, optimizing hashtags is a skill best learned organically through practice. Once you master it, experiment with combining them together to see what resonates with audiences.
With all this in mind, let's say you've decided to pursue becoming a professional Medium contributor. Now it's time to figure out how to optimize your existing articles so that you can reach maximum potential. Read on for advice on how to do just that.
Once upon a time, it wasn't uncommon for contributors to share earnings reports showing millions of dollars earned from sponsored partnerships. Today, however, unless your article goes viral, chances are you won't receive any significant amount of income from advertising partners.
On top of this, while many Medium articles generate small amounts of cash thanks to ad placements, none of these funds are guaranteed or distributed equally amongst the publication's editors. Instead, earnings are divided according to a complex formula based on various metrics including number of impressions, follower growth, etc.
That said, there are still plenty of ways to make money on Medium aside from selling advertisements. Below is a list of some of the lesser-known avenues available to you. Keep in mind that they typically require higher levels of expertise, commitment, and creativity than typical sponsored ads.
Create membership sites
A common strategy for bloggers is turning their site into a membership subscription service. As a result, you could potentially establish a sustainable passive stream of online sales. With memberships you could add products or services to your website, collect payments, and send recurring orders automatically. Membership websites generally cost anywhere from $50-$500 per month depending on complexity.
Ebook publishing is gaining popularity on Medium due to the ease of uploading documents. Readers appreciate having access to high-quality digital books with minimal effort. Unfortunately, it's difficult for newcomers to compete against established companies with years' worth of experience in ebook distribution. Still, if you're willing to put in the necessary hours, you can publish ebooks independently.
An alternative approach to building membership subscriptions is to sell mobile applications. Since developers tend to command a large chunk of profits from app creation, you could theoretically negotiate terms relatively favorable to you.
Build a podcast
Another creative idea is to launch your own podcast series. Podcasting is big business nowadays, and you could potentially tap into listeners' growing interest in spirituality by producing your own shows. Consider hosting interviews with experts, crafting topical episodes around current events, or simply recording casual talks with guests.
Create YouTube videos
Creating video content is easier than ever. Given that YouTube remains one of the world's largest sources of internet traffic, it's wise to leverage the power of this platform whenever possible. Creating YouTube videos requires significantly less technical skills than setting up a website or developing an application. Plus, unlike web pages, videos can be embedded on external sites.
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