Medium is the most popular blogging platform on the internet.
It has a huge community and audience.
The best part about Medium is that it’s a platform that’s easy to start on.
Just sign up and start writing blog posts.
But monetizing is another thing. It’s easy to earn some pennies every now and then.
But to make a living on the platform, there are lots of things to consider.
In this guide, I will show you exactly how you can make money on Medium and what to keep in mind when doing so.
⚠️ Spoiler: You can make money on Medium. But it requires hard work (~30-40 hours a week) to make a living on it.
Only a very small fraction of Medium authors earn over $100/mo.
I started blogging on Medium back in December 2020.
I had never blogged before. I’m not a native English speaker. I just wanted to start a side hustle.
My passion was programming.
I had read a lot of coding stories on Medium before just because those tend to rank on Google.
So I decided to give it a shot. I wrote one simple coding tutorial in 2-3 hours.
Just a couple of days later, I got a message that said I needed to update my tax information because of non-zero earnings.
I was like: “Wait a minute… there should be no earnings yet”.
Then I checked my Medium dashboard and it showed $0.21 for yesterday.
That felt amazing!
One of the best moments of my career. I just made money online for the first time.
It didn’t take longer than 3 months and about 100 stories and I made my first $1,500/month on the platform.
But that came with hard work. I had to write about 30-40 hours a week and post 1-3 posts every single day.
#1 Setting Up for Success
First and foremost, you want to create a Medium profile that stands out.
Remember, people want to read stories from other people.
Especially in the day and age of AI, it’s really hard to stand out just with text.
You need to be a real person.
Add an image of yourself to the profile. Use your real name. And tell very briefly about yourself.
That’s all you need to do!
No fancy colors, images, or themes are needed! So don’t worry about the design aspect.
Most successful creators use the built-in theme of Medium.
Once you have your profile ready, all you need to do is write a ton of content.
Medium Partner Program
To make money on Medium, you need to get accepted to the MPP (Medium Partner Program).
After you’re in, you can start putting your stories behind the membership paywall which will earn you money based on reading time, engagement, and other such factors.
The idea for earnings is simple.
A member pays $5/month for Medium to read the members-only stories.
If a member spends a while reading your blog post, you will earn a fraction of their monthly membership fee.
I’ve made about $10,000 with 800k views (not reads). So the average earnings per 1,000 views has been about $12-$13 for me.
How to Get Accepted?
Before earning, you need to get accepted to the Medium Partner Program.
The requirements to join the Medium Partner Program are as follows:
- Be a Medium member: You need to have a Medium account and be a member. There are two types of memberships available: Monthly and Annual.
- Have published a story within the last 6 months: (The story must adhere to Medium’s rules.)
- Reside in an eligible country: The Partner Program is available to writers residing in specific countries, including but not limited to the United States, United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and various European countries.
- Be at least 18 years old.
When you’ve been accepted, you will earn based on engagement (i.e. how people read and react to your stories.)
Also, stories should be put behind Medium’s paywall to be eligible for earnings.
Tip: Set your first goal to be able to earn the membership fee back during your first month as a partner 🙂
#2 How to Get Reads
To make money on Medium, you need to have a ton of readers and reading time.
You need not only to write a story that people open but also stories that people read from start to finish.
So using misleading tags, overpromising images, or clickbait titles simply won’t cut it.
You need to provide value and entertain at the same time.
Every word and sentence should make the visitor want to read more and follow you.
Look at this programming-related post that I wrote. It’s very plain and simple.
Yet this is my best-performing post. Literally nothing too impressive.
A Word about Niche
You don’t need a niche on Medium—at first.
Instead, play with different topics and see what’s working and what’s not.
I happened to choose a niche in coding because that’s something I’m good at.
And that happened to be good and work fine as the first niche I tried.
But I’ve since tried a bunch of niches and none of those have worked.
For example, I’ve written posts about blogging and how to succeed as a blogger, but those don’t seem to get attention on Medium.
I think the best way to find niches on Medium worth experimenting with is to see what others have found success with.
Are there popular writers or publications about your topic? If there are none, then think twice because those might not have demand on the platform.
If you want to write about hamsters, that’s cute, but there are probably not more than 100-200 people interested in those on Medium.
On the other hand, if you write about AI or Business, there are tens of thousands of people interested.
1. Compelling Headlines
Make your headlines compelling and easy to understand.
Let’s consider these two headlines:
- These 15 tools are going to replace ChatGPT this year
- Bye Bye ChatGPT: 15 Better AI Tools You Must Try
The first headline is not compelling.
First of all, the title has no title case. In other words, it doesn’t have all the nouns capitalized as they should.
But that’s not a big issue.
The biggest problem is that nobody will read that kind of headline to the end while surfing their Medium feeds.
The second one is much better.
You don’t even have to read the title before you can already tell what it’s probably all about.
Also, the FOMO factor kicks in with the second one.
It feels like you have to open it to learn more. Otherwise, you might be left out of the AI hype and stick with ChatGPT while others are using those more advanced tools.
So make sure your titles are compelling.
But make them relevant to your topic.
Don’t try to clickbait or cheat the readers. The algorithm can very easily tell if a title is good or not based on the reception the story gets.
2. Importance of Visuals
Don’t just write a wall of text.
Include images that support the learning or delivering your message.
Nothing looks more boring than text after text without any breaks, structuring, or images.
These days, seeing just text makes it feel more like AI written piece of content.
What’s cool about Medium is that they have integrated Unsplash directly into the editor.
But here’s a hot take.
I wouldn’t recommend using stock images. Those look so generic and usually don’t fit into the context that well.
Instead, include original and unique images that truly help the reader.
These could mean graphs, charts, visualizations, illustrations, infographics, and whatnot.
But the idea is to write unique and original content—not just to repeat what other stories have told.
That’s where unique images stand out.
3. Story Structure
Break your text down nicely.
This makes it more enjoyable to read. Also, it gives a feeling of consistency to the reader.
Use headings and subheadings Use bulleted lists and numbered lists.
You can even use code snippets if your topic is technical.
Then, of course, use those images and visualizations to help the reader understand what you’re talking about.
One of my favorite blog post formats is the listicle format. Most of my best performers are listicles.
This is because listicles are usually short, actionable, and easy to read and digest.
One can read a 3-minute listicle much quicker than in 3 minutes by just skimming through.
That’s the gist of it.
To provide quick, actionable, and insightful information.
4. Leverage Medium Publications
Medium publications are spaces where people share a common interest.
It’s very hard to make money on Medium without publications. Especially at first.
I have published about 80% of my stories in Publications.
Based on a quick data analysis I did on my stories, I learned that my stories got about 9 times more reads on publications than if I self-published those.
By the way, here’s some food for thought: If there’s no publication where your story could fit in, that usually means there’s nobody interested in your topic.
That’s just the harsh reality.
One thing I don’t like about Medium is that every publication seems to have its own rules and methods for applying.
To get accepted into publications, make sure to read this post first.
5. Use Descriptive Tags
Medium allows you to describe your story with 5 tags.
I must mention that I have not seen any impact with tags on my stories.
(I always use them, though.)
I have stories that still get like 20-40 reads even with the most accurate tags.
But then again, the tags take 10 seconds to lay down, so it’s such an easy task to do that it might still be worth it.
Just remember to use accurate tags.
Don’t choose the most popular tags. That can only hurt your performance.
#3 Use Publications
There are lots of super popular publications with 100,000+ followers on Medium.
I’m not going to list those here simply because the list gets updated all the time. Instead, you can find one of those curated lists of best publications from Google.
Here’s one for example.
You can find the best active publications from those curated lists that people keep up to date.
So make sure to read one of those if you’re interested.
#4 Build a Strong Audience
Once you find what’s working, start building a community.
Make sure to respond to every single comment you receive.
I always spend a good while answering my readers’ questions.
During the past couple of years, I’ve spent at least 50-100 hours responding to comments. 🙂
This makes you relatable and builds the community.
If you just post but never respond, people won’t be able to connect with you on a deeper level.
Also, don’t forget to leave comments on other authors’ content.
That can be a nice follower boost and has worked for me nicely.
But don’t just spam.
Add comments that are actually useful and that represent your take. Don’t comment for the sake of getting followers.
#5 Diversify Income Streams
The Medium Partner Program is not the only way to earn money on Medium, though.
There is one way to make money directly on Medium without having to be a partner.
That is affiliate marketing.
If you’re new to affiliate marketing, check this post where I teach the ins and outs of affiliate marketing.
In a nutshell, it means placing affiliate links to your blog posts.
Then if someone purchases through one of those links, you will earn a commission.
There are affiliate programs in almost every niche.
Better yet, anyone can join those with a simple application form and a bit of time.
You just need to ask them if it’s fine to promote on Medium.com (most products are 100% fine with that).
However, if you start doing affiliate marketing on Medium, I’d call it a completely different ball game than traditional Medium blogging.
Instead of writing compelling stories, you need to write long-form reviews of products that rank high on Google search results.
But because Medium is an established platform, you can find success a bit more easily. Just write a bunch of affiliate posts and some of the might start ranking on Google.
But it’s really not that simple. You need to read an affiliate marketing guide first to know what it’s all about.
#6 Don’t Promote
To make the most out of Medium stories, one might think that you need to collaborate with other influencers or bloggers.
But I’ve found that not to be the case.
The most important thing to do is just write.
Medium’s algorithm is good enough to recommend your stories to people.
You don’t need to share your content on social platforms.
Those visitors that originate from social media won’t make you money because they are not paying members of Medium.
Long story short: Don’t spend time promoting your Medium stories.
#7 Results and Case Studies
Let me share with you my best-performing stories.
This is something that most authors would keep a secret. But I think this is valuable to know and easy to share so why not?
This is my top-performing story. It has about 45k reads and has made just a little bit shy of $800.
It took only 2 hours to write. I wish this happened every time I write, though.
As a matter of fact, out of the 200+ stories that I’ve shared on Medium, only 17 have made more than $100.
Here are the posts that have earned me more than $100 if you’re interested. 🙂
As you can see, just a handful of posts. And only 2 of them have made more than $500. Both of which took like 2-3 hours to write.
Every Post Is a Lottery Ticket
Making money on Medium requires super hard work.
If I had to do it again, I would spend 30-40 hours every week for 3-6 months before expecting anything significant.
Meanwhile, I’d not just write but also read a ton of stories to get inspiration and examples.
Even with a good strategy, the success rate of a post is small.
Each post is like a lottery ticket.
There’s a 5-10% chance for a random post to earn $100 assuming you write quality content.
Write 1,000 posts and you will have a boatload of well-performing stories.
But write just 10 or 20, and there will probably be no posts that are doing good.
I had no idea what I was doing when I started. Thus, it took 50+ posts before one of them made $100+.
#8 Think Twice
Medium is a wonderful place to start blogging/affiliate marketing.
But I think it’s not worth the grind in the long run.
By working full hours every week, you might make it to $2,000-$3,000/mo. But to sustain that, you need to put in time. If you stop, your earnings will drop immediately.
Today, I only earn $40/mo from my 150+ pieces of 2-year-old stories. (I’ve been relatively inactive for a long time now.)
For most, Medium.com will never be a profitable side hustle.
You either grind all day or don’t make money at all.
But don’t get me wrong here.
A very, very small portion of Medium writers just publish 5-10 posts a month and still earn decently.
But those are outliers.
Don’t expect to see similar results without working hard for years first. At the end of the day, that’s what got those people there as well.
It’s always about that hard work. There’s so much competition and so many people with internet access that there are simply no free lunches on the table.
So just write a ton, and don’t give up!
And that’s a wrap! Medium.com is a wonderful place to get your hands dirty with blogging.
Just sign up and start writing.
The platform has a huge built-in audience and a relatively easy-to-apply partner program.
With the right kinds of trendy topics and the right publications, it can be relatively easy to have a story go viral and make a decent income for a couple of days.
By working full-time, I was able to earn closer to $2,000 from Medium monthly until I called quits on it and started my blog.
I think it’s possible to make some income from Medium. But it requires a ton of hard work. Potentially hundreds of stories.
If you want to learn more about Medium, I highly recommend watching my full tutorial on how to write on Medium.
If you want to start your own (non-Medium) blog, continue here.