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How to Use Medium: A Beginner's Guide to Writing, Publishing & Promoting on the Platform
Published: August 07, 2021
What do the White House, Sports Illustrated , and my cousin Jimmy all have in common?
They all publish content on Medium.
For the White House, that content includes State of the Union addresses and policy announcements. Sports Illustrated, meanwhile, manages a sports news publication called The Cauldron . My cousin Jimmy? He publishes an ongoing series on advanced cat grooming techniques.
And that, my friends, is Medium in microcosm.
What is Medium?
Medium is a social publishing platform that is open to all and home to a diverse array of stories, ideas, and perspectives. Anyone can be an individual contributor, and popular topics on Medium range from mental health to social media, and from world affairs and trending news to productivity hacks.
As Medium founder (and Blogger creator/Twitter co-founder) Ev Williams wrote when he first launched the platform in 2012:
"Medium is not about who you are or whom you know, but about what you have to say."
To help emphasize the importance of what it is you're saying, the overall design of Medium is minimalistic, featuring lots of white space and limited formatting options. Want to change the header typeface to Comic Sans? You can't. Medium won't allow for such atrocities of design.
But that's just one of many little nuances that come with the territory for Medium users. In fact, if you're just getting started on the platform, there's a fair amount to learn before you hit publish. Let's get into it ...
Writing for Medium
Anyone who has a Medium account can write for Medium — there's no other vetting process involved. To get started, simply sign up for a free Medium account (or upgrade to the full $5/month membership for unlimited access), and you're ready to start writing from there.
However, your post needs to adhere to Medium's content guidelines and rules. For instance, you can't promote controversial or extreme content on your Medium account. You can't facilitate buying or selling social media interactions, including off-platform. And you can't publish anything considered affiliate marketing content.
For the full list of rules in regards to content, take a look at this post on Medium Rules .
As a marketer, Medium presents an opportunity for you to reach a new audience with your content. The platform is geared toward sharing longer-form, more well-thought-out content. (But of course, given the open-to-all nature of Medium, that isn't the only type of content you find there.)
Whether you're looking into Medium for its publishing capabilities or you simply want to learn more about the platform before you set up an account and start exploring, you've come to the right place.
How to Use Medium
Getting started with medium, 1. creating an account.
While it's true that anyone can view Medium content (regardless of whether or not they have a Medium account), in order to publish and interact with folks on the platform, you need to have an account and be logged in.
Fortunately, you can create an account in less than a minute by going to Medium.com and clicking the "Get started" button in the center of the page (or the "Sign in / Sign up" link at the top of the page). From there you'll have three different sign-up options to choose from: Google, Facebook, and email.
Regardless of the option you go with to start, you can always link your Twitter or Facebook to your Medium account later via the "Connections" tab in the Settings menu:
The Settings menu is also where you can update your username/profile page URL. If you sign up with Twitter, your profile page URL, by default, will be medium.com/@YourTwitterHandle. But you're free to change it. From the Settings menu you can also control what email notifications you receive from Medium. (You'll learn about what triggers these notifications in the sections to follow.) The other main things to remember when it comes to setup? Adding a profile photo and writing up a short (160-character max) bio for your Medium profile page. (Note: If you sign up using Twitter, your Twitter profile photo and bio will be automatically synced to your Medium account.)
2. Following People, Publications, & Tags
With a Twitter feed, the content that's surfaced comes primarily from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow.
With a Medium feed, the content that's surfaced comes not only from the accounts of the people and organizations you follow, but also from the publications and tags you follow. What's more, when you search for content on Medium, people, publications, and tags all show up in the results.
Medium publications are collections of stories based around a common theme. Anyone can create them — yourself included — and the way they work is fairly straightforward.
As the creator of a publication, you're an editor by default, which means you have the ability to a) add writers to your publication, b) edit and publish the stories that are submitted by your writers, and c) review the metrics for all of the stories that are part of your publication. As the publication's creator, you'll also have the ability to appoint new editors (so they can do all of that stuff I just mentioned).
Now, on to tags.
Tags are sort of like the hashtags of the Medium ecosystem. When you publish a story on Medium, you get the option to add up to three tags, which appear at the bottom of your story. Clicking a tag brings you to a page where you can see more stories with the same tag, as well as some suggestions for other tags you might be interested in.
The main benefit of following tags is that it can help personalize your Medium experience. Instead of surfacing content based solely on your social graph (i.e., the people/publications you follow), Medium uses tags to surface content that's based on your specific interests as well. For example, if you're into baseball, you could follow the "baseball" tag. Into "small fluffy dog breeds"? Yep, there's a tag for that (granted only one story has been published under it).
So far in this introduction to Medium, we've acted mostly as passive observers. We've set up an account, and started following some accounts, publications, and tags. In the next section, we'll dive into the more interactive aspects of Medium.
How to Interact With Medium Content
3. recommend, share and bookmark content..
The "Recommend" is the "Like" of the Medium world. It's a way to show you that you appreciate the content that someone has shared.
When reading a story on Medium, there are two places where you can recommend it: At the bottom of the actual story, where you see the clapping hand symbol ...
Or on the nav bar that appears at the left of the screen when you scroll through a story ...
In either case, you'll need to click on the clapping hand icon you see to recommend a story. Once clicked, the hands will change from an outline to solid green. To see the full list of people who've recommended a story, you can click on that little number you see next to the heart. (Note: You can clap up to 50 times per post, and you can clap for as many posts as you want.)
When you recommend a story, the writer, by default, will receive an email notification. (But that's something you can control in Settings). The more recommends a story receives, the more likely it will be to get shared around the Medium network. Stories that receive the most recommends within a given time period get featured on Medium's "Top stories" page.
In the same two locations where you can recommend a story, you can also share that story to Twitter or Facebook (by clicking one of the social icons), and you can bookmark the story for later reading by clicking the bookmark icon (which turns solid once clicked).
Once you bookmark a story, it will appear on your "Lists" page, which you can access from Medium's homepage on the bookmark icon:
4. Highlight specific words.
In addition to recommending, sharing, and bookmarking Medium stories, you can unlock a second level of interaction by selecting a section of text with your cursor. Once you've highlighted some text, a pop-up menu will appear that gives you four options:
- Highlight: Clicking the highlighter icon (pencil symbol) will put a green highlight around the text you've selected, which is visible to your Medium followers. By default, a story's writer will receive a notification when a section of that story is highlighted.
- Response: Clicking the speech bubble icon will allow you to write a response to the story you're reading. The section of text you've highlighted will appear at the top of your response. (More on responses in a second!)
- Text Shot: Clicking the Twitter icon will generate a "Text Shot," which is a tweet that automatically pulls in the text you've highlighted as a screenshot.
- Private Note: Clicking the lock icon will allow you to send the writer of the story a private note. (Note: This functionality can be turned on and off in your account settings.)
5. Write responses.
Unlike traditional blog comments, Medium responses are treated as individual stories . That means in addition to appearing at the bottoms of the stories you respond to, the responses you write are documented on your profile page, and have the potential to take off and get highly circulated just like traditional stories.
As a newcomer to Medium, writing responses can be a great way to engage with people on the platform without having to commit to writing a full-blown story. It can also help you come up with ideas for your first story when you do decide to write it.
How to Write and Publish on Medium
6. format text in your posts..
From the Medium homepage, you can access the Medium editor and start writing or laying out a story by clicking on your profile icon at the top-right of the Medium page, and then selecting "Write a story":
As you'll likely discover, writing in Medium's editor is highly intuitive and — from a stylistic perspective — nearly impossible to screw up.
By highlighting text, you can unveil several basic formatting options, including bold, italics, and hyperlinking. You can also designate text as an H1 or as an H2 (using the big T or little t) ...
Clicking that plus icon will open up a menu with four options. The one on the far right -- the icon with the two little lines -- is the separator.
Here's what it looks like on the page:
7. Add images and media.
Adding images, videos, and other media (e.g., tweets) to your Medium story can be as simple as copying and pasting their URLs into Medium's editor. The editor, in most cases, can automatically recognize the media's format and render it accordingly.
Alternatively, you can click on the plus icon to open the same menu you used to insert the separator in the previous step. From there, you can upload an image from your computer, insert a URL to a video, or insert the embed code to another type of media using the corresponding icons.
Depending on the specific size of the image you upload, you'll have two different size options to choose from for displaying that image. These size options, which will appear in a pop-up menu after you insert an image, include left-aligned and center-aligned.
By default, Medium will display the formatting option that best fits the dimensions of the image you insert.
8. Share drafts and publish posts.
When you've finished your story and are happy with how everything looks, head up to the top nav where you'll find two links: "Share" and "Publish."
Clicking "Share" will generate a link to the draft of your story, which you can share with anyone — even if they don't have a Medium account. And the people you share the draft with will also have the option of leaving you notes.
Once you've selected tags for your story, you can hit the "Publish" button to share your story with the world.
9. Measure your results.
In order to see how your stories (and responses) are performing, you can go to the "Stats" page using the URL medium.com/me/stats . You can also navigate to the "Stats" page via the dropdown menu at the top right of the Medium homepage (the bell icon).
If you keep scrolling down the page, you'll be able to view the individual stats for each of your stories. Specifically, Medium provides data on views, reads, read ratio, and recommends.
Here's a quick rundown on what those metrics mean:
- Views: The number of people who visited a story's page.
- Reads: An estimate of how many visitors read a story all the way through.
- Read Ratio: The percentage of visitors that ends up reading an entire story (i.e., the difference between reads and views). According to Ev Williams , this ratio is an important factor in determining how a story gets ranked/surfaced on Medium.
- Recommends: The number of recommends a story receives.
The Medium App
If you prefer consuming and interacting with content on-the-go, consider downloading the Medium app. The app features the same stories and content you'll find on desktop, with the added bonus of a mobile-first interface.
On the app, you can surface content related to your interests. These curated lists depend on the tags, publications, or authors you follow. You can also use the app's Explore feature to find new, interesting content. Similarly to desktop, you can use the app to engage with fellow Medium readers and join conversations as they're happening.
Remember, this was just an introductory look at how to use Medium. There are several more features and options we haven't covered, but we'll do so in future posts.
Don't forget to share this post!
Related articles, what we learned from our first year on medium.
Do People Still Read? How Offsite Content Attracts Quality Readership
Medium for Publishers: What Media Companies Should Know
8 Medium Publications You Should Be Following
Save time creating blog posts with these free templates.
How to Write on Medium in 2023 (and Make an Easy Side Income)
- Updated on Jan 15, 2023
This page contains affiliate links. Meaning, I get a commission if you purchase through my links, at no cost to you. Read the full disclosure here.
However, even when I was focused on The Side Blogger , I never really stopped writing on Medium completely. And that’s a testament to how much I enjoy that platform even to this day. I would publish one or two stories every couple of months, get a few reads, make a few bucks, and contemplate being more serious once I had this blog under control.
And that’s exactly what I did in June 2022. Once I hit the coveted six-figure earnings from this blog and a lot of my blogging and sales activities were automated, I decided it was time to take Medium more seriously, and I’m so glad I did. It’s been so much fun!
I can write whatever, experiment with topics and forms, and what’s more, I make a nice little side income while at it. Nothing huge, but enough to motivate me… (over $800 in the last ~six months.) As I said, not a lot, but the steady increase in $$ from month to month has been enough to make me believe in the potential of this platform.
Also, it’s only been six months!!!
I have tons to share about the platform, but more importantly, I hope to give you a starting point in case you’re thinking about writing on Medium too.
Extra resources, Medium tag lists, title lists, and things I’ve learned since July 2022, in a 5-day email master noobclass 😝
(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)
In this post:
What is medium.
Medium was founded by former Twitter co-founder and CEO—Evan Clark Williams, mostly known as just Ev Williams. Ev also founded Blogger —one of the earliest blogging platforms. So, as you’d expect, Medium shares many similarities with Twitter, but like Blogger, it was built for medium to long-form content. (Fun fact, that’s actually where the name “Medium” came from!)
So now, Medium is this social media platform for medium (or long) form articles with its built-in audience (well over 100 million readers, according to Medium’s homepage) and a proprietary algorithm that shows content based on what it thinks a certain user (reader) would like.
How does Medium work?
The following set of key points pretty much sum up how Medium works:
- Medium is delightfully an ad-free platform . It is supported by a user subscription model.
- Anybody can read and write on Medium. All you have to do is create an account and start reading other people’s articles or write your own articles (known as “stories” within the Medium ecosystem.)
- You can earn money with your writing if you join the Medium “Partner Program” and lock your stories behind a paywall. (More about the Partner Program and how it works shortly.)
- Paid subscribers can read unlimited stories on Medium . Free Medium members can read up to three paywalled stories per month.
- Writers in the Partner Program make money on Medium when paid members read those stories. Nobody knows exactly how the earnings are calculated, but it has to do with the reading time of paid Medium members and their engagement. This money comes directly from the members’ subscription fees.
- A part of a member’s subscription fee directly helps the writers they read, and a part of it helps Medium stay ad-free. So, a paid subscription to Medium is highly encouraged. It’s only $5 per month—the cost of a Starbucks latte, give or take a little.
- Writers do not make money from free members’ reading times . So, if you’re a reader and wish to help the writers you love, please subscribe to Medium ☺️
Writing on Medium vs. Blog (on WordPress)
There was a time, a few years ago, when I’d yell say “WORDPRESS” without a second thought, but this is 2023, and like all things, blogging has also evolved.
Now it’s more of a personal choice. There’s the good old-fashioned blogging with [preferably] WordPress, there’s Medium, there’s blogging via newsletters ( Substack , anyone?), and who knows what else…
That said, I’m biased and would say WordPress is still the best way to blog if you want to create a business and brand that can withstand platform shenanigans and algorithmic rollercoasters . Pretty much all popular/successful writers on Medium also have their own websites (whether on WordPress or some other platform.) That should tell you not to trust any one platform too much, especially when you do not own it.
You don’t own Medium. You cannot control how Medium behaves today or how it’ll behave a few months from now. Those of us who’ve been on the platform long enough know the pain of weathering its many iterations of the infamous algorithm. But not just that, Medium can (and has in the past), at any time, change how it shows your stories and to whom, its UI, its earning model, etc.
It goes to show that to create a proper business, you still need your own home and audience. And for that, my personal recommendation will always be WordPress . And don’t forget to build that email list !
All things considered, is it even worth writing on Medium?
Is writing on Medium worth it?
A few exceptionally good (and dedicated) writers even make a few thousand just from Medium! Writer Zulie Rane, for example, shared that she made over $2k this past November from Medium. That’s not nothing!
I’d say Medium is a great way to make some side income every month.
But what if you’re trying to make more than a little side cash? Perhaps that’s when you’re better off having your own blog on WordPress or a similar platform where you have a higher level of ownership than you do on Medium.
In any case, let’s look at who should write on Medium and who should set up their WordPress blog.
Who should write on Medium, and who should write on WordPress?
Consider the following:
- If you can publish only one well-written blog post per week, go with WordPress.
- If you can write and publish multiple stories (2-4 at least), go with Medium (quantity matters on this platform big time! Especially for new writers.)
- If you want to make a few hundred bucks writing, and only by writing, then you’ll love Medium.
- If you’re not trying to create a brand from day-one, you’ll like Medium.
- If you’re building a business and do not necessarily care to be known as a writer, then go with WordPress.
- If you write on a topic that has historically done well on Medium (making money, writing, self-help, personal development, technology, data science, for example), then consider writing on Medium.
- Neither platform can make you a millionaire by itself; you have to sell something. Personally, I’ve found that selling is easier when you own your audience (your website, your email list, etc.)
- But, some folks on Medium were able to sell their own products too. The caveat is that most of those folks are selling products that are related to Medium. (Because they made it big on Medium, mostly they just talk about and teach Medium… not an option for newbie Medium writers, obviously.)
- If you’re a hobby writer and couldn’t care less about making money, why bother spending money on WordPress, themes, plugins, eh? Just write on Medium!
- If you have no idea what kind of writer or business owner you wish to be, or if you even enjoy writing, then perhaps starting with Medium is a more economical and practical option.
So, there you go. Consider these options and then make your decision.
As a WordPress blogger, you may consider this approach:
Well, you can do what I did.
You can focus on growing your WordPress blog, and write on Medium when you can, however much you can.
You can even republish your WordPress stories on Medium (using canonical links; more on that down below.)
Just don’t expect too much from it.
This will allow you to coexist on Medium alongside your WordPress blog, but without the pressure. You don’t have to worry about growing your following or income. Just be on the platform for fun.☺️
And then, later on, when your WordPress blog grows to a point where most things are automated, and you have a steady flow of new subscribers and revenue, you can start writing more on your Medium account. Just like I’m doing right now!
How to Start Writing on Medium
Follow these steps:
Step 1: Sign up for Medium
Go to medium.com and create an account. It’s free. However, as you’ll see shortly, Medium writers make money from paid Medium members’ subscription fees. So, if you sign up to be a paid Medium member and then read and engage with writers, it’ll mean that you’d be directly helping these writers.
So please, if you can afford it, do sign up for a paid membership. Better yet, sign up using my referral link —it’ll help me make money on Medium, and you’ll be directly supporting my writing. (More on referrals down below.)
Step 2: Set up the basics
You should set up a few basics when you join Medium.
Write a short but sweet bio (you can edit this info from your “Settings” page.)
Set your profile photo. Your profile image can be your photo or a cartoon version of your photo or whatever, really. (In my photo, my face is partially hidden by a gigantic camera…) But the trend seems to be either your real photo, partially obscured photo, or cartoon face.
Set (or edit) your username and subdomain, etc. You can write under your own name or under a pseudonym. It’s your choice.
Step 3: Follow these writers and pubs (they’re kind of important)
Now that you’re on Medium, follow these guys (and by “guys” I mean writers and publications alike…) They’re affiliated with Medium and share important info periodically that you’ll find useful as a writer on the platform.
- Tony Stubblebine : Medium’s current CEO
- Harris Sockel : I don’t know what his job title is, but he works at Medium and writes either important or cool (or both) stuff. But I really just love his writing! This story , in particular, is just… amazing. And I’m so grateful for this one !
- Shirley Lee : OK, so, she’s not affiliated with Medium, but I’m kind of in love with her [stories] so why not, eh?
- Medium Policy : As a writer on Medium, you should always stay in the know if and when they change their policy!
- 3 Min Read : This is the official Medium blog, and you’ll mostly find advice, tips, and feature updates here.
- Medium Staff : Also shares stuff about Medium.
- Creators Hub : A blog to help creators on Medium.
- Ev Williams : He is the ex-CEO of Medium. I still follow him just because… I mean, even though he’s not the CEO anymore, he’s still on the board, so who knows when he might pop by and share something important…
- Maliha (Oi! That’s me!): I mean… why not?
Step 4: Start writing and publishing on Medium
On your Medium homepage, towards the top-right side, there’s a tab that says “Write.” Click that, and you’ll land on the beautiful and minimalist yet powerful Medium editor. Start writing! (Side note: I LOVE the Medium editor!!!)
Here’s my advice on writing:
Give value. Lots of value. Share lived experiences as much as possible, as opposed to doling out casual, curated advice that resonates with nobody. And do your best to write well-organized, useful stories. Ask yourself, does your story provide value to the readers? Is it worth your reader’s time and money?
Now, a few words about picking a “niche.”
To niche or not to niche is the question… Ahem.
So, it’s a contentious topic. Some writers will say that you should pick a niche. Others will say that it doesn’t matter.
Now, if this were a WordPress blog, I’d say yes, please, pick a damn niche!
But this is Medium. And personally, I’m on Medium partly to enjoy writing whatever I want. That said, because I already write so much about writing and content marketing on this blog, it’s easy for me to go and write the same stuff on Medium too. And because I’m trying to publish 2-4 stories (per week) on Medium these days, I naturally gravitate towards these easier (for me!) topics.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t deviate. I’ve written about books, shows, movies, and some very personal things on Medium in the past and will very likely do the same in the future.
Is it bad in any way to write about many different topics on Medium? I don’t think so! Some of my favorite (and popular, going by their ginormous follower count) writers on Medium write about a lot of different things, and their followers don’t punish them in any way.
My advice? Keep an open mind and experiment. If you really want to write about something outside of your “usual,” Medium is the perfect place to share those ideas and stories. Go at it! Have fun, and above all, write because you enjoy it!
Step 5: Write really good titles and subtitles
At the top, you have the title and subtitle. These are super important; these are the texts that most people see on their Medium feed. If you write good titles and good subtitles, people will be more likely to click your stories and read them.
Step 6: Get familiar with the basic editing tools
The Medium editor is simple but powerful. At the beginning of a new line (hit enter to start a new line) you’ll see a plus sign show up to the left of your cursor. When you click it, you’ll see options to add an image, a video, embedded content, a code block, or a new part.
You have more formatting options when you highlight text in the editor, options like making text bold and italic, hyperlinking, making the text a header or subheader, adding quotations, etc. I highly recommend that you play around with the editor until you feel comfortable.
Step 7: Publish your story
Before you hit the publish button, an important note: Please follow Medium’s rules . I don’t have room for all the rules here, but do read this from Medium about its rules and then use common sense. If you do that, I’m sure you’ll be fine. But just to give you an idea, please do not write hateful stuff, harmful stuff, exploitative stuff, and stuff that may be deemed as harassment, to name a few things to absolutely avoid in your writing.
If you violate these rules, you may find yourself kicked out of the platform.
Assuming you’ve followed these rules and have written a good story, edited it, and now you’re happy with it, it’s time to hit the publish button! You can either publish it on your profile or on a publication. Did I just confuse you? Well, hold that thought because I’ll be talking about profiles and publications shortly.
But, for now, let’s assume we want to publish to our profile. That’s simple. Just hit the bright green “publish” button at the top of the screen. This will take you to a page where you can add some info before publishing. Namely, you can add up to five tags (super important that you do), if you’re on the partner program (which I’ll talk more about below), you can choose to meter your story, i.e. lock it behind a paywall, etc.
When you’re ready, hit the “Publish now” button. And voila! (Optionally, you can click “Schedule for later” to schedule it… for later, duh!)
[Related: How long should a Medium story be? ]
A little about tags:
Tags are super important; that’s [one of the ways] Medium knows what you’ve written about, which helps it show your content to the right people. For example, let’s assume I write about climate change. (I don’t, usually, but that’s not the point…) If I do not tag my story properly, the algorithm may not know who to show the story to, which will mean reduced views and reads.
On the other hand, if I tag my stories correctly, Medium will know exactly who to show my story to (folks who’re interested in climate stories!)
You can have up to five tags on Medium, and I recommend you use all five. Start by typing what you think is the most appropriate topic (where it says “Add a topic…”), and Medium will automatically show you some matching tags with a number next to them. This number represents how many stories are there with that exact tag. The higher the number, the more popular the tag or topic. You want to use these popular tags!
How do Writers Make Money on Medium
After some ninja-level snooping around, I’ve concluded that writers on Medium make money using the following methods:
- With the Partner Program (stories and referrals)
- Finding clients via Medium
- Promoting products on Medium
Let’s start with how Medium pays writers with its Partner Program. It is, by far, the most satisfying thing about Medium (at least for me!) You just write stories that people like reading, and voila! You make money!
The catch? People gotta love what you’re writing. As in, you actually have to be kinda good 😉.
Medium pays writers with the Partner Program
This is the most popular way to make a decent side income stream with Medium.
The Partner Program allows writers to make money directly from Medium, and the money is paid out by Medium every month.
Medium’s payment model is one of the most lucrative (if not the most) there is for similar platforms. There are Hubpages and Vocal and a few others that pay writers directly for their writing, but none of them (as far as I know) pay out as well as Medium does.
The Partner Program won’t make you rich, but if you’re committed to writing often and writing well, and you give a lot of value, you should be able to make a few hundred bucks every month.
Here’s what you need to know about Medium’s Partner Program:
- You have to apply for the Partner Program: It doesn’t let you in automatically.
- You must meet certain conditions before you’re allowed in: You must have at least 100 followers, you must have written at least one story before you can apply, and you must be from one of the following countries (Medium cannot process payment in all countries, unfortunately.) And, once you’ve been allowed in, you must continue to publish at least one story every six months.
- You must be from one of these countries to apply: As of writing this, the eligible countries are the following. Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom, United States.
If you’re on Medium and you meet all the criteria (at least 100 followers, at least one published post in the last six months, and be from one of the eligible countries), head over to http://medium.com/earn and click “Apply now.”
And if you’re not on Medium yet, now’s your time to get on it !
Now, once you’re on the Partner Program, you can make money in two different ways:
- Directly with your stories
- From referrals
Medium pays you for the stories you publish:
Once you’re on the Partner Program, you have to make your stories eligible to make money.
All you have to do is check the box that says “ Meter your story ” before you hit the publish button. Easy! (See the screenshot below.)
(Note: You won’t see this option unless you’re part of the Medium Partner Program, FYI.)
Basically, when you check that box, you’re locking your stories behind a paywall. Meaning, only paid members will be able to read your stories.
(Note: Free members can read up to three paywalled stories per month; however, this doesn’t help the writers because they only make money from paid members’ reading times. More on that below.)
Now, we don’t know exactly how Medium calculates how much a certain writer will earn, but there are two factors that we do know of:
- The time paid members spend reading or listening to your stories
- How much of their monthly reading time a member spends reading/listening to your stories
Note that your income depends on paid members reading your paywalled stories.
In other words, the more people (i.e. paid members) read your stuff, the more money you’ll make. And that should inform you about the most crucial aspect of writing and making money on Medium: You’ve got to write stuff that catches, and then keeps, readers’ attention and interest .
[Related: How to support your favorite Medium writers .]
Medium pays you for referring people to become paid Medium members
Medium has a referral system, and I love it! It’s Medium’s own version of a semi-passive income model. Here’s how it works:
- When you join the Partner Program, Medium gives you a unique referral link. The referral page looks like this ↓
- When you share this link (on social media, on your Medium stories, on your website like I’ve been doing throughout this blog post, in your email, etc.) and someone becomes a paid Medium member through it, Medium pays you half of their subscription fee for as long as they stay a paid Medium member.
- If a non-paying Medium member subscribes to get your stories via email, Medium will give them the option to become a member. If they convert, it’ll be counted as a referral membership.
Isn’t that neat?!
I mean, think about it!
If someone becomes a Medium member using my referral link, half of their subscription fee is mine as long as they stay a Medium member. If I get 25 members through this referral, that’s over 50 bucks every single month on autopilot (unless they cancel their subscription…) If I get a hundred members, that’s over $200 per month. Over $400 if I get 200 members, and so on.
Here’s what the earnings look like ( shared by Medium ):
Writers can accept tips directly from readers
I’m mentioning this here because a lot of writers ask for tips. Medium even has a way to set up a third-party tipping platform within its system. Better yet, anybody can accept tips on Medium, and you don’t have to join the Partner Program for it.
However, the potential for making money with tips is really, really low!
The general consensus is that you don’t really make much money with tips at all. Maybe a couple of bucks here and there, but that’s about it. Some Medium members actually hate this feature because, hey! Writers are not servers; they don’t deserve tips! (Not my opinion! Writers serve all the time; that’s literally all we do. We’re just not serving food…)
You can set up a tip jar with PayPal or Ko-fi or Buy me a Coffee . You can even use something like Gumroad ( as I’ve done ). But uh… I’ve never actually received any tips from anyone ever… So there’s that.
To set up this third-party link on Medium, first, create your tip jar using one of the services I mentioned above, then go to Settings > Publishing and then click “Manage tipping on your stories.” Follow the prompts from there.
Make money with freelance writing clients or by promoting your products
If you do wish to get rich off of Medium, then leveraging the platform to find freelance writing clients or sell your own products is the way to go. The Partner Program only pays so much… the highest earners make low four figures on this platform, and that’s not enough to live off of. Not in this part of the world.
I know Zulie Rane gets a lot of freelance writing clients via Medium, and so do many others. The only tip I have for you is this: Make sure you mention (perhaps on your About page and/or your mini bio) that you’re a freelance writer, and share your email address in case someone wants to reach out to you.
The same goes for promoting your products. You can write about your products in stories (also known as content marketing; I do it occasionally and have made some sales that way) and link them on your About page or bio.
Some Really Important Medium Features
Now, I’m going to talk about some seriously cool features of Medium.
Profiles vs. publications
Soon after you join Medium, you’ll notice that some people are publishing on their profiles, and some are publishing on “publications.” Some writers do both. (I do both!)
What does it mean, you ask?
The profile page: A profile page belongs to an individual account holder. For example, I have a profile page. Whenever I publish a story, it appears on my profile.
A publication: Publications are shared spaces. As a Medium user, you can create publications and invite other users to join these publications and write for them. Similarly, you can join somebody else’s publication as a writer and publish your stories there.
Even if you publish a story on a publication, it will still appear on your profile page as you’re the author of that story.
I personally have a few publications of my own, and I also write for other publications. I especially recommend new writers to join some big pubs (short for publications because it takes too long to type it and I’m lazy…) Because bigger pubs have a lot of followers, new writers, with little to no followers, can ride on their coattails and get their stories in front of many more readers compared to publishing on their profile only.
For example, even though I’ve been on Medium since 2017, I only started taking the platform seriously in June 2022. I don’t have that many followers (compared to more successful writers.) But, when I publish my stories in bigger pubs, I get a lot more views and make way more money. For example, here’s a story I published in Better Marketing —one of the biggest business and marketing pubs.
As you can see above, that story (published in Better Marketing ) has over 3k views and more than $160 in earnings. It’s much more than what I make when I publish stories on my profile.
And because many more people see and read your stories on bigger pubs, you also get followers more easily (which is how you grow your views and reads over time, even if you publish on your profile.)
And here’s the final catch: Writers need to join the Partner Program to start making money, and Medium requires writers to have at least 100 followers to even apply for the program. So yeah, big pubs can definitely help you get to that number faster .
To add your story to a publication:
- First, you’ll need to decide which pubs you want to join . You can join multiple pubs. Do a bit of research. Become a paid Medium member so you can start reading paywalled stories. See which pubs fit the kind of stories you wish to write about.
- Second, you’ll need to be added to a pub as a writer . Each publication has its own set of rules for how to join, so read those guidelines carefully. Usually, you’ll find a tab that says “submission” or “write for us” or something similar towards the top of the pub, in the pub’s menu. For example, here’s what it looks like on Better Marketing (it has a tab called “Write for us.”) ↓
- Third, submit your story to a pub . Most pubs require that you add a story as a draft as opposed to a previously published story. Make sure the story is completely written and edited before adding it to a pub. When that’s done, click the three dots at the top of the editor window, then click “Add to publication.” This will show a list of all the pubs you’re a part of. Click the one you wish to submit your story to. And then click “Submit” and follow the prompts.
- And finally, wait! Sucks, I know. When you publish a story on your profile (or on a pub you own), you can publish it right away. But the downside of submitting to a pub owned by somebody else is the wait. Because you see, when you submit a story, a human editor of that pub will need to approve it and then publish it. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days (in rarer cases, a few weeks!!!) But that’s the price you pay for more eyeballs, reads, followers, and eventually, more money.
Every day (more like every few minutes) Medium updates its “Stats” page to show how many people are seeing your stories, how many are reading them, and a bunch of other analytics. Get yourself acquainted with this page, check often to see how you’re performing, which stories are doing better than others, etc.
Understanding your stats is crucial for all bloggers on all platforms, and Medium is no different.
You can access your stats page by clicking your profile photo and then clicking “Stats” from the dropdown.
From this stats page, you’ll have access to another page called “Audience stats.” It shows up as a button towards the top of the main stats page. That page gives you info on monthly follower gains, subscriber gains, and referred member gains.
Partner Program (Earnings)
Every night, around midnight-ish, give or take some, Medium updates your Partner Program earnings (assuming you’ve joined the program already.)
It shows earnings from individual stories, earnings from referred members, and total earnings. Just like your stats, you should check this info on a regular basis as well.
To see your earnings, once again, click your profile photo, then choose “Partner Program” from the dropdown.
If a writer shares a lot of stories in a particular niche, depending on the topic, Medium may grant them a “Top writer” status on that particular topic. You’ll know if you’re a top writer by going to your “About” page and scrolling down to where it shows how many followers you have and how many you’re following. The top writer status will show right above that info. FYI, you can be a top writer in multiple topics.
In the image above, you can see one of my favorite writer’s ( Clive Thompson ) “about” page. He’s a top writer for multiple topics, including History, Writing, Technology, Art, and more. (He is proof that you don’t “have-to” pick a single niche on Medium.)
Top writer status depends on which tags you use in your stories, FYI. So, for example, if I use the tag “Writing” a lot of my stories, and these stories are popular with readers, then I may become a top writer in “Writing.”
Republishing with canonical links
One thing I do is republish some of my blog posts (from this blog) to Medium. But because they’re originally written for this blog, I want search engines to prioritize my content here on thesideblogger.com and not repurposed stories on Medium.
Enter: canonical links .
Canonical link: This link is added as a rel-tag [rel=”canonical” href=”#”]. It tells search engines that in the event that very similar or duplicate content exists on the internet, search engines should rank the canonical link and not the others.
Most platforms these days automatically add a canonical link to itself after publishing. WordPress does it. Medium does it too. So, when you republish your WordPress content on Medium, you don’t want search engines to start ranking your Medium story over your WordPress post (at least, I’d assume that is the case for most people.)
So, Medium allows you to easily edit this canonical link, and change it to your WordPress blog post link.
Let me show you how I republish my WordPress posts:
- Copy and paste your post from its original location (on WordPress, in my case) to Medium’s editor. Basically, treat it like a brand-new story.
- Publish it like you would a brand-new story.
- After it is published, click the three dots next to your story title and click “Story settings” from the drop-down list.
- Then, when you’re in more story settings, click “Advanced Settings” from the list shown on the left. This will take you to, you’ve guessed it, advanced settings!
- Click “Advanced Settings” again (yeah, lots of redundancy…) to expand this section.
- You should now see “Customize Canonical Link.” Check the box that says, “This story was originally published elsewhere.”
- An empty field will show up where you can paste the original link of the story.
- Paste the link, and then click the green button that says “Save canonical link.”
There’s another way to automatically add the canonical link without having to go through all these steps. It’s when you use the “Import a story” function on Medium.
I recommend against it!
When you import a story using the Import function, Medium automatically dates back the publish date to the original post’s publication day. Let’s say that you published a post on your WordPress blog in November. And you’re republishing it on Medium in January. When you do it using the Import function, Medium will date back the publication day to its original November date.
This is not good! Medium algorithm prefers fresh content. So, when you have a story that’s dated back a couple of months, the algorithm won’t prioritize it, and people won’t even see that you published a new story on Medium!
But when you republish using the first method I explained above, the canonical link changes, yet the publication date remains current (as in, when you published it on Medium.) And Medium’s algorithm treats it like a fresh story.
So yeah, even though the first method is a bit more tedious, it is still the preferred way of republishing your old content from WordPress (or wherever you blog) to Medium.
Engaging with writers you like
On Medium, a reader can engage with a writer in a few different ways (using built-in features): Readers can “clap.” They can “highlight.” They can leave comments. They can add stories to lists. They can share stories on their social media, etc.
Medium shows stories to readers based on several factors. There’s actual, human-curated distribution, and then there’s also an algorithm.
To make money on Medium, you need eyeballs on your stories. Now, you cannot control who the human editors of Medium will choose to feature on Medium’s homepage or newsletters (yes, they do that!) aside from writing good stories and then making a wish… But to work the algorithms, you, as a reader, can help the writers you like.
For example, when you spend time reading a story you like, that gives the writer a boost. When you engage with a story by clapping or highlighting, that boosts the stories too. At least, that’s what Medium’s current CEO, Tony Stubblebine, has said in a recent article on Medium (I highly recommend you follow this guy! He shares important stuff.)
I know this isn’t useful to you as a writer, but karma!
Help other writers, and thou shall be helped… I think… maybe…
But here’s an important distinction : Do not follow someone hoping they’ll follow back. Do not engage with a writer hoping they’ll read your stories and engage with you too. Writers on Medium love the platform because it’s different from other social media platforms. Here we don’t do follow-for-follow stuff. I follow writers and engage with writers who do not follow me or never engage with my stories. And that’s OK. There are also writers who engage with me and follow me, and I don’t do the same for them. And that’s OK. That’s how you keep this platform “clean” and good.
Some Hard Facts About Medium
HooooKkaaayyyy… we’re almost at the end, so let me wrap up with a few reminders and good practices:
Quality and quantity… but yeah… quality
Quantity is more important on Medium (and the internet in general) than quality—some folks will argue.
At times I’ve heard myself say the same thing and practice the same thing, and that is unfortunate.
The idea behind this ill-advice is that the more you publish, the more money you’ll make.
That is only true when you publish really good writing all the time! I know a few writers on Medium who publish really valuable content several times a week, and that’s great! Most of these writers are veterans of their respective fields: magazine writers, journalists, educators.
I’m not that writer. Many of you reading this are not that writer.
But if you’ve decided to write—whether as a way to express yourself or as a way to make a living, or perhaps both—please, take the time to learn the craft. I know it’s easier said than done with so much noise out there telling us we need to publish daily (especially on Medium) that we start to give into this self-detrimental behavior.
I do it too!
So here’s my two cents:
Write every day or as often as you can. It’s good practice, and practicing daily will definitely make you better at any craft. But know that when you’re a new creator, you’re more likely to create bad or mediocre things. For a writer, it’s the editing and revising that take our stories from meh to awesome. If you publish a lot of mediocre things, you’re only practicing mediocrity, and probably starting to get really good at being mediocre too!
Don’t do that! Take some time to edit and revise. Try not to hit the publish button on the day you write something. Come back the next day with fresh eyes, read what you wrote the previous day, and I’m sure you’ll find ways to make things better.
Yes, quantity still matters. So, don’t get hung up on perfection. You don’t need to publish Pulitzer-level stories on Medium every single time. But learn to identify when something is mediocre and when it’s much better. Good, even! Good… is good enough to publish 🙂 There’s no need for greatness. Try to strike a balance between quantity and quality, and be intentional about trying to polish your pieces before publishing.
Also, when you take the time to write good things, other opportunities may present themselves. I’ve talked about how some writers find freelance clients on Medium. That happens when you write good stories. I know writers who’ve gained tens of thousands of email list subscribers by writing really good and useful content, which led them to start their own businesses outside of Medium. Others have gone on to get book deals!
All of that doesn’t happen unless you take your writing quality seriously.
You should really be a paid member…
Here’s the thing: Writers on Medium do not take kindly to members who are freeloading on the platform. While I don’t take it personally myself, some (read “ many “) writers do. And I get it! Writing is hard, man! It takes so much time and effort! And we—the writers on Medium—get paid directly with members’ subscription fees. So when people don’t become paid members on Medium, it’s pretty disheartening. Especially when the subscription fee is so low ($5 per month or $50 per year, roughly the cost of a Starbucks latte…)
If you’re a resident of a developed country, if you subscribe to Netflix or Amazon Prime or HBO Max or the gazillion other streaming services, then you really should be a paid member!
If you can afford to pay, but you choose not to, that’s fine. But the hardworking writers on Medium would kindly ask you to get off the platform. I know it’s kind of harsh, but the truth is, Medium isn’t The New York Times or The Wall Street Journal, writers don’t get a pre-determined free or salary here. On Medium, a paid member’s subscription fee is what pays the writers. So…
It’s just good manners, my friend. If you find Medium interesting, entertaining, or valuable, and wish to make money on the platform yourself, please subscribe 😊
That said, life can be shitty. Man, do I know how life can be shitty sometimes! So, if the subscription is too much for you now and you need a free platform to start writing and building a following and eventually join the Partner Program and make money, so be it. Do what you have to do. No judgment here, honest! However, when you do start making money, please don’t forget your fellow writers. Become a paid member as soon as you can.
(Note: To be a better writer on Medium, you kind of need to read other, more successful writers to understand what works on the platform. So, yeah, it’s really to your advantage to join Medium as a paid member as soon as you’re able to.)
Why I Write on Medium
Here’s a short and sweet pre-conclusion conclusion to this rather lengthy guide to Medium.
As I’ve said before, it’s only been a few months that I’ve started taking Medium seriously. But I’ve been on the platform since 2017 and have witnessed this platform’s crazy roller-coaster rides. Yet, I’ve never once contemplated leaving the platform, and I’ve never once hated the platform like some folks do.
The reason is simple: I believe that the folks who run Medium, seriously try their best to help the writers on this platform.
Amateur writers can start writing on Medium and start making a solid [side] income within a few months! If you provide value, you can make several hundred to a few thousand bucks per month! Is there any other platform out there that does it? Some have tried, sure, but none of them focused so much on the writers and their experiences.
Medium isn’t perfect. It’s run by real people, and as real people do, they make mistakes. But they try different things, learn from their mistakes, and do their best to make Medium a fun place for both readers and writers.
Can’t say the same about most businesses out there, so…
Yes. That’s why I write on Medium. And even though I haven’t made it to one of the highest earners on the platform yet, I still love it here, and above all, I enjoy reading and writing on Medium.
I hope you will too. 😊
Frequently Asked Questions
Can i write on medium for free.
Yes. It does not cost you anything to write on Medium. But if you want to read stories that are locked behind a paywall, which is most stories, then you will need to become a paid member.
Can anyone write on Medium?
Yes. Anyone can create an account and start writing. But if you wish to start making money with your writing, then there are a few restrictions: you must reside in one of the eligible countries (check above), you must have published at least one article on Medium, and you must have at least 100 followers.
Do I own my content on Medium?
Absolutely! Whatever you publish belongs to you; you are the owner of your creative property. You can write or delete your own content at any time.
Can I be an anonymous writer on Medium?
Yes. Many writers are! You do have to submit your tax information with your real name and identity when you join the Partner Program to make money from Medium, but that information is not accessible to general public. People only see the name you have set on the front end, and that name can be anything you choose.
How much does Medium pay for 1,000 views?
Medium does not pay per view. Earnings are calculated based on many factors, and the prominent one of them is the total reading time by paid members. You will find a detailed explanation above in this blog post.
And that’s all, current and future Medium writers! Hope this guide will help you set up your Medium account and get going.
Of course, this isn’t all. As with most things, there’s more to this platform. But there’s only so much you can share in a single blog post.
Still, you should have enough now to understand how the platform works. But if you have any follow-up questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.
Oh, FYI, I have something a little extra ( I’m calling it a FREE Medium Noobclass 😝) Just sign up below, and you’ll be on your merry way to a 5-day email sequence on all things Medium from someone who’s been working at it, very seriously, for about 6.5 months now! Sign up ↓↓↓☺
5 thoughts on “How to Write on Medium in 2023 (and Make an Easy Side Income)”
Maliha really you nailed it. Everything I needed to know on Medium or/and blogging!! Thank you! Everything you share is a treasure for me at this starting point of mine. Thanks again.
Thank you, Despina 🙂
Wow! This post was awesome! Thank you so much, Maliha, for sharing. I joined Medium a few years ago because I thought that freelance writing and copy editing was going to be my new side gig. The gal that I was following mentioned writing on Medium might help jumpstart your freelance business. But once I joined, I just couldn’t think of what to write. I felt like what I had to say wasn’t that great. Since then, I have started my own blog, but find myself wanting to branch out more from my blog niche. I’m thinking Medium might be a great place to do this, while also growing my blog, too! Thanks for putting in the work for such a long post… After starting a blog, I understand how long it can take to write, edit, and post great content.
Thanks, Taylor; appreciate the kind words 🙂 I’m enjoying Medium. It does have some of the same annoying things as many social media sites, but once I focus on finding the writers I love and writing and getting better at writing my own stories, things start to feel a lot better, LOL. And well, it’s been paying for my coffee shop trips for the last few months, which is cool :p
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Mar 23, 2022
How To Start Writing on Medium in 2023: A Complete Beginner’s Guide
Everything you wanted to know but were afraid to ask..
I started to write online in 2018, have since reached millions of readers, and made six figures through my words.
I'm not a native English speaker (I was born in Austria and grew up speaking Turkish and German), and I have no formal education in writing.
I never had a writing-related job and didn't even think of starting a blog, writing a book, or writing in general until I came across Medium in 2018.
But luckily, I was curious enough to give it a try.
When I look back, starting to write online was one of the best decisions I've ever made.
It enabled me to build a business I love , grow a wonderful community with almost 10k writers , share my message with the world, and create a life I genuinely enjoy.
And in the past two years, I've helped hundreds of new writers to start and scale their online writing businesses as well.
I help beginners create an online writing process that fits their unique needs, come up with endless ideas , become better writers , write successful blog posts , grow their audience , and eventually make money by writing online.
Yet, I recently realized that new writers have many more questions before they start to write . Questions like:
Where do I start?! What’s the first thing to do? How exactly do I write my first article? WHAT should I even write about? How the hell do you even make money by writing on Medium? How do I figure out whether writing on Medium is the right thing for me to do?
And I know that finding answers to all these questions isn't always easy. The goal of this guide is to help you get aaaalllll these questions out of your way, so you're ready to write and publish your very first blog post and feel a sense of relief and confidence.
As mentioned, this is a beginner's guide. If you've already been writing on Medium for a while but are failing to achieve your goals, make sure to sign up for my free 5-Day Course , where I teach more advanced strategies to grow your audience and income.
What exactly *is* Medium and why should I care?
According to Wikipedia , Medium is an American online publishing platform developed by Evan Williams [co-founder of Twitter] and launched in August 2012.
According to Medium's own description, it's an open platform where readers find dynamic thinking, and where expert and undiscovered voices can share their writing on any topic.
If I talk to someone who has never heard about Medium before, I describe it as "Instagram for long-form, written content instead of images" or "Youtube but for blog posts instead of videos."
At its core, Medium is a reading platform.
Most users join Medium because they're avid readers and curious learners. They use the platform to discover news, fresh ideas, actionable advice, inspirational stories, and engaging content.
As of November 2022, Medium is one of the 370 most visited websites with over 150 million monthly visitors.
The biggest misconception, however, is that most new writers believe that Medium is a writing platform . They think Medium is full of writers who want to learn how to write and make money by writing, which is not true — more on that later.
So let's get back to the facts:
- Medium is an online publishing platform where anyone can share blog posts of any length.
- And it has a significant built-in audience of readers who're actively browsing through the app or website each day to find new content to read.
Now you might ask yourself the following:
“Well, okay, I get *what* Medium is but why is it different or relevant?”
Here's why: Medium is one of the few platforms with a relatively successful paywall.
In 2017, Medium introduced a subscription model. Since then, users need to pay $5 per month to be able to unlock and read every story on Medium.
As a writer, you can choose whether you want to put your story behind the paywall or not.
If you put it behind the paywall, you'll make money each time someone reads your article — more on that later .
If you don't put it behind the paywall, everyone can read your article, so it's not really different from a public blog/website.
So far, so good, now let's get back to our question: Why should you care about Medium?
The answer to this question will vary, depending on your background, needs, goals, and expectations, but as someone who's been writing here for almost half a decade, here's why I believe you should care about Medium and give it a try:
- Starting to write on Medium is child's play. You can create a profile within 15 minutes, and boom — you're ready to write and publish your first story. Launching your own website would take a lot longer, so Medium is by far the simplest way to start writing online — regardless of all other benefits.
- Medium is a great place to generate leads/email subscribers for your business. I love writing and supporting new writers, but my heart beats for entrepreneurship and I’m obsessed with helping writers build independent online businesses. And I've found Medium to be an incredibly rewarding place to build an engaged audience. Now, of course, this will depend on the nature of your business and the type of audience you want to attract, but with over 150 million visitors per month, the odds are high that there are a few people who're also interested in your message. Medium has enabled me to build an email list of almost 40,000 subscribers in less than two years because I'm able to add a call to action at the end of all my articles, which looks like this:
By the way, you can download a free step-by-step checklist that'll help you put everything you learn in this guide into action (see what I did there? 🤫).
- Medium can be your shortcut to building authority and credibility . When I joined Medium, I was a 21-year old student struggling to build a profitable business. Now, I have an audience of over 50k followers and 30k email subscribers, I'm making multiple six-figure profits per year, I got featured in major publications like Business Insider , and I'm a trusted authority in my niche because of my writing on Medium . I didn't start with these goals in mind, but given that I started with no audience and experience, these results are mind-blowing to me — especially because Medium is the only place where I publish original content.
- And last but not least, Medium is, of course, also exciting because you can get paid for your writing. On most other content creation platforms, marketers pay to be seen by an audience. On Medium, you get paid for reaching an audience. I would keep writing on Medium regardless of the money I make here, but the payment is obviously a huge bonus because it enables beginners to monetize their efforts relatively quickly.
Okay, that sounds good, but…how exactly do I start?! What are the first steps?
Hint: You can skip this part if you’ve already published one or more articles on Medium — this is for complete beginners.
As promised above, getting started on Medium is very simple, so let's do it together:
- Go to Medium.com and click on "Get started":
This was easy, right? So let's move on:
2. After signing up, you'll receive an email that'll have you confirm your account and take you to a page for the next steps:
Once you've done that, you'll end up on a page with recommended stories to read, which will mostly be a random selection as Medium doesn’t know what you like or dislike yet.
3. One of the first things you can do is customize your interests , so Medium's algorithm starts showing you stories about topics that matter to you.
4. Next, I recommend that you sign up to become a Medium member . This is not a must-have as you can also write (and make money) on Medium without being a paying member yourself.
However, being a member and having access to all stories will help you interact with other writers and see what's actually going on.
You can also learn a lot by reading stories of Top Writers, analyzing their work, and asking yourself why they do what they do.
Plus, if you're writing with the intention of making money, spending $5 per month on your writing career should really be no big deal anyway.
Everything we've discussed so far is about becoming a Medium reader, so you can read stories on the platform.
Next, we'll talk about how to become a Medium writer :
In order to apply for the Medium Partner Program, you need to meet the following eligibility criteria:
So let's look at each of these points separately:
- Publish a story: If you've just joined Medium, the first thing you can do is publishing your first story — this is what we'll talk about in the rest of this guide.
- Gain 100+ followers: If you've already published a few pieces but are struggling to grow your audience, sign up to receive my free video training that’ll help you gain your first 100+ followers .
- Stay active: Most people start enthusiastically, write a few stories, but stop before they see results because they lose motivation or life gets in their way. Luckily, publishing one story every six months is not a big requirement. If you want to build a significant audience and even income by writing here, you’ll have to publish a lot more than just one piece every six months anyway.
How exactly do I write my first article?
So let's get back to what you can do now to move forward in your journey as a Medium writer: Publish a story .
So here's exactly how you can use the Medium editor to write and format your first story :
Now you might think that this looks too easy to be true, but the truth is, writing on Medium is no rocket science. The simplicity of writing and publishing a story on Medium is one of the core benefits of the platform.
On Medium, you only have very few formatting options anyway, and you don't even need to use all of them. Keep things simple and focus on the core idea and message of your story. Avoid overformatting and make sure the visual appearance of your story is aligned with the overall user experience on Medium.
Alright, now you know exactly how to write your first story on Medium, but what if you don't know what to write about?! Let's talk about that too…
Help! I have NO idea what to write about!
You now know that Medium is an interesting platform, and you want to give it a try, but what if you have no idea what to write and whether people would be interested in your stories at all?
I'm going to give you a few ideas and strategies, but I know this is a huge problem for most beginners, so before we dive in, here's a basic rule I'd follow: Writing anything is better than writing nothing.
The more you write, the easier it'll get to figure out what you really want to write about.
I know this might sound ineffective, but the truth is, it's unlikely that your first few articles will get lots of attention (simply because you're in the beginning stages and don't know exactly how to attract views yet), so even though I want you to have a solid strategy right from the beginning, I also want you to stop overthinking and move fast.
And if you really can't decide what to write about, I can only beg you to write something because anything is better than nothing!
Let's split this question up and answer it depending on your exact situation:
➡️ You're an entrepreneur and want to use Medium to promote your business/generate leads
This is the easiest example because in this case, you'll (obviously) write about topics related to your core business to attract, engage, and educate the right audience.
➡️ You want to build that business, but…
Let's say you want to build an online business around a specific topic but don't really know where to start yet. Let's imagine that topic is running because you're a passionate runner and want to help others run faster, run their first marathon, run an ultra-marathon, or whatever.
Running is a huge topic, and you could write thousands of articles to educate your audience. The more specific you get, the more targeted your readers are going to be, but if you can't decide where to start and what exactly to focus on yet, you better just start somewhere and write stories that help you step into the arena and gain your first experiences as a writer.
You could, for instance, write stories like:
- 5 Running mistakes most beginners make
- 5 Secrets most runners don't know about
- How to avoid pain when training for your first marathon
- How to start running if you really don't want to (but know you should)
- What my first marathon taught me about resilience/discipline/…
These are just a few basic examples, but you get the point: If you know that you'd like to build a business, community, and product around a specific topic, start providing value around that topic as soon as possible, even if you haven't figured out all the details yet.
➡️ You really have no idea
Last but not least, the most common situation is the following: You don't have a business or business idea. You just want to write because you love it, and you'd be happy to make a few extra bucks each month.
If that's you, here are a few questions that might spark ideas:
- What do you talk about on a Friday night? If you're passionately talking about a topic, you could probably also write about it.
- What are you excited, angry, upset about, or inspired by? Maybe you're still new to a topic, but you're really interested in it — you're not an expert but a curious learner. In that case, you can share your own journey and the lessons you learn.
- Which books do you read? This is most likely not going to make you rich or popular, but it's an easy place to start: Write about the ideas and content you recently consumed. Summarize your favorite concepts from books. Add your own twist. Tell us how you're applying the knowledge in your own life.
- What's something you find easy that others find difficult? This is the best question to ask yourself because it helps you find a sweet spot between your strengths and the actual needs of your (potential) target audience.
- What's something you fundamentally disagree with?
- What's something you wish you had learned about earlier?
- What's a success you've had in your life that you'd like to share with others so they can replicate it?
- What's a failure you went through that you want to share, so others don't make the same mistakes?
My #1 advice for those who want to grow an audience and income on Medium is to stick to a niche and become the go-to voice for a specific audience of readers.
However, I know that most new writers either don't know which niche to serve, or don't want to stick to a niche because they want to write about multiple topics and explore various interests.
I can guarantee that writing about one topic is a lot easier than writing about ten different topics, but if that's what you want to do, by all means, go do it.
There are dozens of examples of widely successful Medium writers who write about anything under the sun, so it's not a "mistake" to write about different topics, I just don't consider it the easiest path.
And if you ever feel stuck and experience writer's block , take a look at my cheatsheet to fuel your creativity.
I'm done writing the post, what's next?!
You've done it: You've written your very first (Medium) article and are proud of yourself — well done! 🎉
Now the question is… what's next?!
Well, there are a few more things you can do:
First, I recommend that you set up a proper profile and about page so readers can get an insight into who you are and what you do.
Use a simple but friendly profile picture and briefly tell us who you are and what you do.
If we think back to our example of the writer who wants to write about running, her bio could say: "I help new runners train properly, run faster, and prepare for their first marathon."
It could also be: "I'll help you finish your first marathon with a smile on your face." or: "I write to help you finish your first marathon with a smile on your face."
If you're not focusing on a specific audience or niche, your profile can also just describe who you are and what you do.
Here's what my profile looked like for the majority of my time on Medium:
Just by adding the word "Dreamer" and the flags of Austria and Turkey, I was able to stand out from the crowd because my bio was different.
You don't necessarily need to be different, but you can .
Here's what my bio looks like now:
This one is less personal and unique than the first one, but it's specific and tells you exactly what I do and how I can help you if you're a new writer.
Now that you got your profile set up, I want to introduce you to publications.
You can think of Medium publications as independent magazines where you can publish your stories.
Anyone can start a publication, which means there are thousands of available publications for you to join.
Let me quickly point out the pros and cons of publications:
- Collaborating with publications helps you tap into an existing audience , even if you have zero followers yet. E.g., if you're writing about running, you could look for publications that cover fitness and health topics, which would help you ensure you get your work in front of a relevant audience.
- Working with experienced (and kind) publication editors can give you a headstart. If they like your work, they might be willing to support you through valuable feedback so you can avoid basic mistakes and get the most out of your stories.
- Due to the vast number of publications, it can be hard to find out which publications to contribute to .
- Each publication has a different application process and rules, which means you need to invest some time figuring out how to contribute .
- When you submit your article to a publication, the editors decide if and when the post goes live . This means it's harder for you to stick to a specific content publishing schedule because it might take several days to get a response from publications.
Even though finding your way through Medium's publication jungle can be challenging, collaborating with publications still makes a lot of sense.
If you get rejected by popular publications, you'll at least know that your piece still needs some polishing, which helps you avoid publishing articles that don't meet Medium's basic content rules.
Before you eventually send your article to a publication or publish it, you can add up to five tags, so readers (and Medium's algorithm) know what the story is about:
I recommend using 2–3 generic tags and 1–2 that are more specific.
For instance, if you're writing a story on how to train for your first marathon, you could use "Running," "Fitness," and "Health" as generic tags, and get specific with tags like "Marathon," "Marathon Training," or "Running Tips."
After adding the tags, your story is ready to be published or sent to a publication.
My story is online, where's the money?!
As mentioned above, you'll first need to meet Medium's eligibility criteria before you can start making money through the Partner Program.
Luckily, those criteria are relatively easy to achieve. All you need to do is:
- Publish one story
- Gain 100+ followers
- Stay active by publishing at least one story every six months
For most new writers, the benchmark of 100 followers is the only problem, that's why I'm creating a separate guide all about how to do that, you can sign up for free here .
Once you've published at least one story and gained 100 followers, you can apply to the Medium Partner Program .
Be aware that this application process currently only works for writers from a small number of countries:
You can find all official details about the Partner Program here .
Let's assume you've got your 100 followers and start to write for the Partner Program.
The bad news is that you probably still won't get rich by writing on Medium for a few days.
The good news is that Medium has a fantastic way of paying writers because earnings are based on reading time .
This means you'll only make money on Medium if readers genuinely enjoy your work.
A clickbaity title might get people to open your post, but if the content sucks, they won't read it, and you won't get paid.
So the biggest question is: How do you write engaging, interesting, and valuable content, so readers enjoy your work?
It took me almost two years to figure out how to do that, and I'm happy to share some of my insights with you inside my free 5-Day Email Course — all you need to do is sign up here .
The best thing about Medium is that it's massively underrated.
Most creators, entrepreneurs, businesses, and bloggers don't use Medium as part of their marketing strategy because they don't even know they could. They either don't know how to use Medium, or they suck at writing long-form content. If you're passionate about writing — or think you could fall in love with the process, Medium could literally change your life, just like it did for me.
So, what do you think? Will you give it a shot and start writing on Medium?
Let me know by leaving a comment — I'd love to hear from you!
Also, let me know if you have any other questions that I didn't answer in this guide. I'll be checking the comment section of this post regularly and keep updating it to ensure it stays the most helpful resource for Medium beginners.
Don't forget to sign up for my free 5-Day Course to avoid the most common mistakes and learn how to write content your readers will love. And if you'd like to be part of a thriving community with almost 10,000 writers, join my free Mastermind Group.
Big love from my screen to yours, Sinem ❤️
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Is Writing On Medium in 2021 Still Worth It?
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Views are down 50%. Blogging income reduced by half. A steady downwards trend I can’t seem to stop. I made a whole video complaining about it .
It’s no lie: Medium seems to be heading down a bad slope for bloggers, a fact that has caused a lot of bloggers to wonder if writing on Medium is still worth it in 2021. I include myself in that group.
My answer to that question is yes. Despite the decreasing views, income, and opportunities, there are still 3 fantastic reasons that writing on Medium is still worth it in 2021 , no matter if you’re a beginner or expert. Let’s dive in.
Quick note: if you landed here and you’re wondering what Medium even is, all you need to know is that it’s a blogging platform where you can publish today and potentially reach an audience of thousands tomorrow. Medium pays you when a paying Medium member reads your story. In my opinion, it’s the best platform for beginners to blog on the internet.
Writing on Medium is the journey, not the destination.
Even before the sharp drop, Medium could be a very hard place for beginners to crack. Most people didn’t make over $100/month - only about 8-10% every month managed to earn that. Half of Medium writers didn’t earn a single cent.
It was possible for beginners to earn a lot through the Medium Partner Program, but it was hard. You have to write to meet the requirements of curation, publications, and Medium readers. And you have to keep doing that month on month to gain any kind of momentum.
That’s why I’m always surprised more people don’t talk about the true power of Medium - using it as a platform to achieve other opportunities. For example, I’ve used Medium to:
gain three freelance blogging clients
grow my YouTube channel
grow my newsletter
Why is Medium so good as a vehicle to further blogging success? Two reasons.
First, with very little SEO knowledge (basically, being able to pick a keyword and make sure it appears often in your post) you’re very likely to rank high in Google search results. For example, if you search “toxic friends,” “fiction on Medium,” “ethical alternative to amazon books,” or “YouTube monetization alternatives,” you’ll see I appear on the front page of Google search for each term.
You can access the audience of readers beyond Medium even if you’re not having luck with eEdium readers themselves.. If you’re ready to capitalize on this, you can capture that audience and use it to build your business, promote products, mention your videos, and so on.
Second, Medium’s readers are pre-segmented for you. When you write something, Medium recommends your story to other people through a few factors that you know and can control.
One such factor is “distribution,” when Medium looks at your post and decides whether it meets their curation criteria or not. This can be tough to achieve as it’s very subjective, and the curators don’t typically give feedback. However, if you manage this, you know that your story will be recommended to be read by people who are interested in the topics you write in.
Another audience factor you can control is publications. Unlike curation, publications are mostly owned by regular, non-Medium people like you or me. The editors of publications curate themed and topical stories, and these publications are followed by readers on Medium. If you get accepted to a publication about pets, then you know animal lovers will be reading your story.
(Want to know all my secrets and shortcuts to get accepted to the publication of your dreams, that can help you reach those targetted readers on Medium? Enroll in my Medium Publications 101 course! Use the code ZULIEBLOG for 10% off.)
The combination of these two factors means you can target your stories with calls-to-action that are custom to the audience you’re trying to reach, which can help you turn those views into opportunities for your business, blog, or course.
Even if you’re earning $1/month and getting 500 views from Medium member reads, you can capitalize on those views with inbuilt segmentation and a high likelihood of ranking on Google. Medium is not the end destination - it’s the tool that’s going to help you reach your audience. For just that reason alone, writing on Medium in 2021 is still worth it. But there are two more reasons.
Writing on Medium is still better than… pretty much anywhere else.
You know what a lot of other people don’t get? Medium is still the best platform to write on, no matter if you’re a beginner or not.
I’ve tried News Break. It’s not great, and it’s hard to be accepted as a creator.
I’ve tried Vocal Media. It’s impossible to get views - and I did my absolute best.
I’ve created numerous Wordpress/Weebly blogs over the years. This one is by far the most successful, with a handful of thousands of monthly views.
I compare them all in this video and this article , if you’re interested.
I get a lot of comments on my YouTube and Medium blog posts saying that people have 5,000 views and only earned $100 in their first month.
And yet they don’t stop to think what other blog would give you $100 for getting 5,000 views without any ad revenue, needing to pay for the domain, upkeep, or maintenance of their website. I think because there are so many success stories out there, it’s tempting for writers to feel cheated when they don’t get those lofty views that others have been able to manage.
Sinem Günel does an amazing job explaining the difference between what’s typical versus what’s possible to earn on Medium , as well as telling you how you can step up your game. But she - and I - are clear that even if you’re only earning a small amount of money, and only getting a small number of views, compared to what’s typical elsewhere on the internet, Medium is still the best place to blog. So even though I believe Medium is amazing on its own, you have to compare it with what else is available. And that makes answering the question easier. Is writing on Medium in 2021 still worth it? Absolutely, especially when you start to consider where else is available for writers and bloggers to earn money today.
Writing on Medium means you get paid to build your business.
This factor makes it more obvious than ever that it’s still worth it to write on Medium in 2021: you can use it to build your business, you can quickly and easily start getting a very respectable number of views, AND you’ll get paid to do so.
Consider this: if Medium never paid me a penny in 2021, it still would have been responsible for allowing me to grow my newsletter by a couple of thousand subscribers (you can sign up here to get your free 5-day Medium starter kit ), start an exclusive writing advice newsletter with three other incredible writers, promote my YouTube channel , gain several consulting clients , and a couple of freelancing clients.
It allowed me to do all that because I know how to use publications, curation, and calls to action. But Medium also paid me to do all that! I’ve earned nearly $7.5k this year from writing on Medium alone, all the while building my business and tons of other revenue sources.
The real power of Medium is that it’s a landing pad to build your portfolio, your business, and your writing skills. And it’ll pay you to do that, all the while.
That factor kind of combines factors 1 and 2, really cementing my answer to the question of if writing on Medium in 2021 is still worth it. For me, it’s a very solid yes. If you’ve got this far and you’re not convinced, let me know!
Is writing on Medium in 2021 still worth it? Even though I’ve seen a huge reduction in views and Medium earnings, for me the answer is still a very easy yes. First, the power of being able to segment and understand your audience is vastly underused. Publications especially should be viewed as a tool to access a specific audience that you’d normally have to pay for. Here, you get paid to do it.
It’s also by far the best alternative. There’s no other blogging platform where’s it’s possible for beginners to pick up and start easily earning money by writing, whether $1 or $1,000.
And finally, it’s the only platform where you get paid to build your business. Every experimental post, every nerve-wracking story, every article you’re convinced will do awfully, it has a chance to earn money when a paying Medium member reads it.
All in all, I can safely say writing on Medium in 2021 is 100% worth it for bloggers and writers of any experience level.
What Does Medium’s Buyout of Its Editorial Team Mean For Indie Writers?
This blog post structure can help you overcome writers’ block (and even editors’ block).
Easily create and style blogs, publications, and newsletters. Find and connect with readers through built-in features like responses, emails, and stats.
You do not have to be vetted in any way to write on Medium. You don't have to apply or take a writer's quiz, or send a piece in to be considered. All you have
As a publishing platform, Medium allows you to share your stories and ideas with the world. If you're new to Medium, you can learn here about features
Signing up is very straight-forward and shouldn't take more than a few minutes. You don't have to be approved or apply — everyone who signs up
Anyone who has a Medium account can write for Medium — there's no other vetting process involved. To get started, simply sign up for a free
Medium is a place to read articles and write them too. Anyone can create an account on Medium and start using it. Writers can earn money
Starting to write on Medium is child's play. You can create a profile within 15 minutes, and boom — you're ready to write and publish your first
Writing on Medium is the journey, not the destination. ... Even before the sharp drop, Medium could be a very hard place for beginners to crack.
How to Start Writing Articles on Medium & Make Money in 2021? | Medium Partner Program & Publications ExplainedSECTIONS: (00:00)
... I'll show you how to 1. create a FREE account on Medium using your ... Interested in becoming a writer on the Teachers on Fire Magazine?