There are a lot of places where you can publish your writing online. You can set up your own blog, submit guest posts for other publications, or even use online platforms such as Medium. The advantage of that last approach is that with Medium, there’s a better chance that people will be able to find your content.
With Medium, you also get access to a ‘partnership’ program that rewards writers. In other words, you can get paid for your work, which is one of my favorite things in the world (and it should be one of yours too).
In this article, we’re going to talk about how that partnership program works and how much it actually pays out. We’ll also break down if it’s a practical option for freelance writers. Let’s get to it!
How Writing for Medium Works
Medium is a free platform for online writers and readers. It’s important to understand, you don’t write for Medium but for its audience. Anyone can create a free account on the platform and start publishing:
In some cases, Medium curators can choose to highlight your story, which can help drive massive traffic to it. If you’re an engaging writer or you manage to tap into subjects people are looking for, it’s entirely possible that your content will get the spotlight.
One of my favorite aspects of Medium is they believe in paying writers for their work. The platform offers a partnership program that anyone can join, which pays you depending on the level of engagement your posts get. Before you get too excited, though, let’s talk about how that model works under the hood.
Can You Earn Money Writing for Medium?
The short answer to this question is yes. However, it’s a very rare breed of writer who can actually earn a consistent income from Medium and that’s mostly due to how its payment system works.
Medium’s reward system for writers is, to put it in one word, a mess. Here’s how it works:
- Users sign up for a $5 a month unlimited membership.
- Paying users can ‘clap’ on content (the equivalent of hitting the ‘like’ button), which gives money to the author.
- The author (you) gets a percentage of the $5 from that one user, proportional to the number of claps they give in a month.
Let’s say, for example, you’re bored and you have a lot of free time, so you end up reading 100 Medium articles in a month. If you clap on each of those articles, each author would get $0.05 from you.
To put it another way, it’s entirely possible to find a massively popular Medium article with thousands of shares and hundreds of claps, but that only earned its author a pittance.
There are authors that manage to make that system work. For example, if you publish a lot of content, or it gets a lot of attention, you can get some big paychecks. However, the model makes it extremely hard for new authors to succeed unless they already have a following. For example, authors who have large numbers of followers on social media or email lists can usually drive a lot more views and claps.
On top of that, Medium only supports payments using Stripe. That means if you live in a country where that payment processor isn’t available, then you can’t collect payments from the platform.
Why You Should Start a Blog Instead of Writing for Medium
As you probably know, I’m a big fan of telling people to start their own blogs. Building a blog and growing a following from the ground up isn’t easy, but then again, neither is making money using Medium.
With a blog, you get more options. You can monetize your content using ads, affiliate content, selling online services, and much more. You also have full control over the editorial process, the content you publish, and how your blog looks.
Optimizing content for search engines using Medium is also more difficult. That means, even with a large library of content, getting organic traffic from search engines is an uphill challenge. For claps, you depend almost exclusively on social media and being lucky enough to get the spotlight from Medium curators.
That’s not to say that you should never use Medium. Personally, I’m a big fan of the platform. It’s a fantastic place to publish opinion pieces and other types of content that don’t fit into any niche I work with.
If you’re a freelance writer, Medium can also be a great platform to help you put together a portfolio. One thing Medium has going for it is excellent article formatting, which makes posts a pleasure to read.
More importantly, even though Medium is a free platform, it looks a lot more professional than other options where you can upload content for free. That means if you want to build a portfolio on a budget, it’s a great place to start.
Personally, I’m a big fan of Medium. The platform has enabled me to find great content from writers I would’ve otherwise never met and they regularly send me email lists full of interesting posts. However, as a writer, it makes little financial sense to limit my content to Medium or rely on it for an income.
A very small number of writers and publications earn a decent income from Medium. It can be a good option if you’re already internet famous. However, in that case, you can make a lot more money by starting your own blog and bringing your audience there.
What you can do is use Medium as an online writing portfolio, to help you find freelance work. Although, in that case, you’ll want to make sure your articles are public.
Do you have any questions about how to start your own blog? Let’s go over them in the comments section below!
Image credit: Pixabay.