So, everyone and their mothers are blogging on Medium? And you want to break through it and make some good money writing?
Well, if the answer to the question is yes, then carry on reading.
Medium is a great place to be as a writer. It is a place for writers to write about anything or everything. You already have a blog which is focused on a particular topic, but you still want to write about other topics, Medium is your answer.
Some of the biggest names in recent history use Medium to share their opinions. Amazon founder took to Medium to share his thoughts. Netflix shares its technological secrets on Medium.
But what is Medium?
Medium is a kind of opinion sharing platform, but it is much, much more. You see, when you want to start a blog to write, it comes with certain baggage. It needs a domain, hosting and a certain level of understanding of the technicalities which helps to run a blog.
In Medium, they have got rid of all the baggage. They have let go of the formatting and setting up a blog, and instead focused on one purpose- writing.
With Medium, you can concentrate on just one thing and that is writing. And the best thing about it is that it gives you the feel of belonging. The Medium community is closely knitted, and they support you by reading and offering their thoughts.
Medium is much more than just a blogging/writing platform. It’s a mechanism that is created for anyone with an opinion and wants to share it. And that is why there is no dearth of topics that you can read and write there.
In this guide on blogging on Medium, we are going to talk about everything about Medium, how to get started, what to write, how to write and how to grow yourself as a writer using Medium. Of course, we are also going to talk about how to make money out of Medium.
How to Get Started with Blogging on Medium
It started with defining your goal. You already have a successful blog, or you already are making good money out of freelance writing/books. Why do you need another platform to write when you already have so much on your plate?
From what I have learned from my year-long stint on Medium, people join Medium so that they can
- Promote themselves as a writer and join a community.
- Make money and write for some of the huge online publications.
There is also a third kind of writers who belong to the elites of Medium with a strong community and making huge money by blogging on Medium.
Your goal or aim to join Medium can make or break your Medium journey. Medium is a different world. The general blogging rules do not apply here. It does not have space for ads. It hates clickbait titles. It does not allow you to over self-promote. Yet people are making $1000-$20,000 per month from blogging on Medium.
Because, unlike any blogging platform, Medium pays you to write there.
Medium, since its inception, has followed some basic rules. First, it will always promote quality content. Second, people do not value free things, so nobody can browse Medium for free. Yes, they offer a few articles per month for free, but the real value is behind the Medium paywall. You need to join Medium membership to read everything.
As the members are paying to read (not write. You do not have to be a member of Medium to blog there. It’s always free), the revenue problem for Medium is already sorted.
So, Medium, the company, does not need to dwell in displaying ads or running in-house ads (Like Facebook) to earn money. As the money is sorted, their whole attention is given to its users and their interest.
But Medium has gone further to help their writers. They have introduced their Medium Partner Program (MPP) to support the writers. Anyone who is a part of MPP, whether they are Medium Member or not, earns money from their posts.
See, Medium Member and Medium Partner are two different things. You do not need to be a Medium member to be a Medium partner. You can just sign up for Medium and start writing. If you feel that your blog posts are getting a good response, then you can join MPP and start earning. There is no need to be a member.
Personally, I am a Medium member and I pay $5 per month to read unlimited articles on Medium. and trust me people, this $5 is the best money I invest in myself every month.
Now, How to Join Medium?
First, you sign up for Medium. you can sign up with Google or Facebook. It will take only two minutes and your Medium account will be created. Once you sign up, they send a verification email to the email you have used like any other online platform.
Once you verify, Medium will prompt you to follow people on Medium. Choose wisely as it will set your Medium homepage. You can change it and follow/unfollow people and publications at any point in time.
Second, you create your Medium username. Now, it is easily customizable and can be changed later. But there is a downfall of changing your Medium username later. It will redirect to your profile within Medium, but it will not redirect to you outside Medium. I chose to use my name- https://medium.com/@dpuspanjalee (I would love if you follow me there!)
Third, set up your bio. Like Twitter, Medium also has a character limit for the bio section. It may be because both the platforms are created by the same person, Evan Williams and he has this habit of making people express more with fewer words.
Anyway, Medium has 160 characters limit for the bio section. Use it carefully to define who are you and what do you write. If you want people to join your email list or visit you on other platforms, this is the place to ask them.
And don’t forget to put a nice headshot of your smiling face. (And no, you do not have to wear a business suit. Just don’t put a flower there)
An interesting thing about Medium followers is that if you follow someone on Twitter, they will be followed on Medium too if they have a Medium account.
But fortunately, the number game is yet to reach Medium. It is one of the reasons that I fall in love with it. It cares about quality than the number of followers.
The Fundamentals of Blogging on Medium
Now, what is the first step to getting started with Medium?
It is easy, silly! Read till you drop.
Reading is essential to any kind of writing. But to start blogging on Medium, it is essential that you read and grasp the style of Medium.
Medium follows certain styles. Before you start writing there, read as much as you can so that you are well versed with Medium’s style.
A typical Medium post will consist of three things, title, sub-title, and the story. (We will delve into them soon). Some of them are lengthy (more than 10 minutes read), some of them can be read within 5-7 minutes and some of them are short (3 minutes or lesser).
The posts are published by individual writers or/and under publications. Medium has an array of publications which are owned by either Medium or an independent publisher.
Every publication has its own niche and columns. Read and grasp the essence of these publications. Publications are important to blogging on Medium as they will amplify your reach, help to get more views and make more money.
Search for your writing niche on Medium. it will come up like the picture below. Now check the publication tab and go through the publications listed there. You may also want to check the writers listed in the people tab. Follow the ones that suit your interest.
Select publications and writers based on your own niche and start reading. Note down what topics they choose and how they approach those topics. I love reading Forge, FFWD, Zora, Better Marketing, the Start Up, the Publishous, the Writing Cooperative, Elemental, Mind Café etc.
Personally, I write about digital marketing, SEO, and online writing. So, obviously, my chosen publications deal with these topics. I read them regularly and engage with the writers. It has helped me to secure a column with Better Marketing and writing gigs with several other publications.
Now comes the engagement.
Engagement is a vital part of Medium’s mechanism. It helps us to grow us as writers. The engagement part of Medium is fun and a little different from any other blogging platform.
Here, you can clap, highlight, respond with a comment and leave a note to a Medium post.
Now, what is clap?
A clap or applause is a way to tell the writer that you liked their post. It is also a way to tell Medium what kind of stories you like.
To applaud any story, click the hand symbol seen at the bottom of any story. Please note how the number of claps is displayed.
However, what is more, important to any story, whether it is written by you or others, is the highlight and comments aka response.
When someone highlights a story, it shows that people have found value in those posts. It is also displayed on a Medium user’s profile like this.
It is like Facebook share or a retweet. The more people highlight your story, the more chance your story has to reach people beyond your network.
When you highlight a line or a passage, it gives you the option to share it on social media or leave a response. The fun thing here is that even your responses have the chance to go viral on Medium. One of my simple response to an article got me more followers than any of my articles.
So, even your highlights and responses to other people’s posts will give you visibility on Medium. This is something that I did before I start writing seriously on Medium.
I have been using Medium since 2015 but I became a paid member in August 2019. I started writing there only in November 2019. I spent 4 months to read and interact with the writers understanding what the readers on Medium want and how they want it.
Now, get let’s familiar with the Medium writing dashboard.
How to Start Blogging on Medium: The Basics
Once you set up your Medium profile and understand how Medium works, you are ready to write. In this section, we will learn about the writing interface of Medium.
The writing interface is also quite interesting and easy to use. Unlike the blocks on WordPress, Medium’s writing board is easy to use. Here is a screenshot from my Medium dashboard.
So, basically, these are the things that you need to understand to blog on Medium. As I have mentioned earlier, every medium post has 3 essential parts, the title, the subtitle, and the post. You can add images, quotes, page breaks, links within the post to make it interesting. Let us know how to do that.
Medium hates when you make the title clickbait. A simple line that offers an idea of the post will suffice. Now, here rises the question. Are the headlines important for Medium?
As bloggers and writers, we know that the first impressions always count. How many of us have clicked something just because it intrigues us?
The same thing applies to Medium posts too. 99% of the posts published on Medium are quality posts, so you need to stand out with your title to grab eyeballs. Here are a few tips to write better titles for blogging on Medium.
Effective Tips to write attracting blog titles
- Your title must give a clear, precise idea of what the blog post has to offer. It needs to be crispy and eye-catching so that people are willing to click it.
- Never write a vague title without the keywords you are using for the blog post.
- Always keep in mind that your title should not be too short or too long.
- A perfect blog title or blog headline is a product of some in-depth research and features. Blog titles require some thoughts to consider before you give your articles a title.
- Here are the 5 features of Blog titles which bring lots of traffic to your blog.
- Keep the blog title specific.
- Your headlines should give the exact idea of what your blog is all about. Be honest with your readers.
- Make the blog title catchy. Catchy. Not click-bait. There is a thin line between catchy blog titles and click-bait headlines.
- Catchy titles include some phrases like ‘ultimate guide’, ‘foolproof ideas’, ‘how to do’ etc. These phrases catch people’s attention easily and the click rate is higher than that of the simple headlines.
- Always use the keyword. In fact, you must create a headline centring the keyword.
- Optimise for social networks.
- Use numbers whenever you can.
Also read: How To Be More Productive
Subtitles are an essential part of a Medium post. The purpose of having a subtitle is to explain what the post is all about in a few words.
This is crucial as the homepage of Medium generally shows the subtitle under the headline and in most cases, you click the post based on what the subtitle explains. So, it can play quite a strong role in people reading your post. If you are a blogger, consider it as the meta description.
The subtitle can be an explanation of what the title implies, or it can be an alternative headline itself. In any case, pick a line that can help to pick curiosity and interest. Here are a few tips to write effective subtitles for Medium posts.
- Explain your title.
- Pick curiosity.
- Highlight your intention behind writing the post.
Images are necessary for any kind of online content. Medium is no exception. However, Medium is peculiar about giving the proper credit to the image. If the images are taken by you, write “images by author” or if you are using a stock photo, give the due credit.
It also comes with a feature that let you take photos directly from Unsplash. When you use it, your image is used with proper credit to the photographer of the specific image as shown in the image above.
How to Write on Medium Dashboard
In this section, we are going to learn how to blog using Medium dashboard in a step by step pictorial guide. There are two ways you can post on Medium- you can import or you can have a fresh start.
Click on your picture on the right upper side of the Medium homepage. A menu will appear. Now, select the stories. It will lead you to the stories section.
Now, on the right side, there will be two buttons, Import a story and Write a story.
If you want to import the story from your blog, click on the import button. It will show you this.
Now, copy the URL of the particular blog post on your blog and paste it in the bar as shown on the picture above. Now, click import. Your story will be imported to your Medium account.
Now, if you want to write a new story, click on the write a story button. You will lend on the page as shown in the picture.
Write your title on the space designated for it. Now, there will not be a special section for subtitles. You need to create one yourself.
Below the title, write/paste the line you have chosen as your subtitle. Now, select the whole sentence. A sub-menu will appear there. Click on the smaller T. Your subtitle will be created.
You can change the selected words to bold or italic, add a link or create quotes by following similar steps.
Now comes the image. You can use your own picture or choose one from Unsplash. I generally, add an image below the subtitle. Majority of the Medium articles follow this style.
Now, you want to embed another Medium article or videos to support your Medium post. How to do that?
Medium doesn’t come with lots of fancy options. But they do come with some sophisticated one. You can add images, videos, embed a link or add a page break just by clicking on the + sign on the left side of your dashboard. It appears whenever you click the enter button.
To create a subtitle within the post, simply follow the steps as shown in subtitle section.
Once you finish writing and formatting the post, it is time to hit publish. But there is a tiny step before you publish.
Tags are essential in Medium success. A writer requires to add tags to every post. In fact, Medium will prompt you to use tags even if you are responding to someone’s post. These tags help to distribute your articles all over the Medium.
Now, what are tags and their significance?
Bloggers use keywords to make their blog posts visible. The social media influencers use hashtags to reach a wider audience. Similarly, tags help a post to get discovered across Medium.
When you search for something, Medium offers a section for tags too. Yes, they are that important. You search for anything, it will also show the related tags for the search term just like Google does for keywords suggestions.
That’s why you required to add up to five tags so that people can discover your posts. A little keyword research helps to get the right tags for your post. Choose the ones that describe your story properly. Medium generally prompts with suggestions which I found helpful.
The tag page is dynamic and it lists the popular articles and featured authors for the tag. Medium rewards the author with Top Writer when your articles are read by a larger audience. The top writer tag is also displayed in your profile.
However, it is removed if you stop writing about the topic. I got a tag of a top writer in social media but a month break from Medium snatched it away from my profile.
Once you add your tags, and you check the box to allow Medium curators to recommend your story, hit publish. If you are publishing on your own, just click the publish button.
If you are publishing via a publication, here are the steps involved. (will discuss how to write for publication later in this post).
How to Submit Posts to Publications
Click the three dots near the publish button. Now, select the Add to publication.
Once you click it, you can select the publication you intend to select and continue.
After this step, the Submit button will appear instead of publish. Click it and your post will be submitted to the publication.
Where to Write on Medium?
Till now, we have learned how to blog on Medium, what are the best practices. It is now time to learn where to write and how to monetise it.
On Medium, you can choose to write for yourself as a blog and/or write for publications. I call it the triumvirate of Medium.
The first tier, you sign up for Medium and then just start writing. It will be like any free blog with WordPress or Blogger. Your posts will be read by your followers and if some of them are curated by Medium editors, you will get featured on Medium homepage. You can join Medium Partner Program and start earning from your posts.
Now, apart from writing on your own, you can also join publications on Medium. There are two tiers for the publications, independent publications that chose Medium to publish and Medium owned publications.
The second tier, independent publications are an integral part of Medium. It includes publications like Better Marketing, Better Humans, The Start-Up, The Writing Cooperative, Publishous, The Mind Café, Towards Data Science, UX Planet etc.
Anyone and everyone can start a publication on Medium. In fact, Medium encourages you to start your own publication and newsletter to attract followers. Almost all the top writers on Medium has their own publications. Apart from them, top companies like Netflix, Swiggy, AirBNB, Walmart have publications on Medium where they share their posts.
Independent publications offer to write for them to anyone on Medium. If you pitch to them and get selected, you can publish your posts on these publications. It’s a kind of guest blogging. If you write regularly for a period, these publications also approach themselves to write for them.
Most of these publications pay you through Medium Partner Program. However, some of them also offer a flat fee for the post.
Independent publications are crucial in blogging on Medium. Writing for these publications help you to get noticed, get more views, earn money, and get curated by Medium editors.
Medium curates the best of the content under any topic on their homepage, app, topic page, and newsletters. When a post is curated, it grabs more views and results in making more money. Some of my posts are curated and it brought me writing opportunities for other pubs too.
The third tier and the best place to break through on Medium is their inhouse publications. Medium has several pubs like One Zero, Gen, Forge, Elemental, FFWD, Marker etc. These publications are the crème de la crème of Medium and they pay well for any story they choose.
Some of these pubs offer up to $1 per word. (Yes, you earn $1000 for a 1000 words story!!) If you are published with them and you are also an MPP partner, you get money from MPP too.
So, you can choose to write anywhere in Medium and make good money every month. Now, let’s dive into how you make money blogging on Medium.
How to Make Money Blogging on Medium
Medium Partner Program
Medium Partner Program or MPP let you earn money from your writing on Medium. As I explained earlier, Medium has a paywall for its readers and the revenue earned from it are also shared with its writers.
When you join MPP, your content is published behind the paywall. When people read your content, you get paid based on the views you get for your posts.
The logic behind MPP is quite simple. You create high-quality content for Medium members, you get paid with good money. Here is how it works.
- You join the Medium Partner Program
- Set up a Stripe account. (Medium uses only Stripe to transfer money to its partners.)
- Share your tax details within 180 days.
- Publish your new posts behind the paywall.
- You get paid when people read your posts.
When a piece is published behind the paywall, a Medium curator reviews it and recommend it under topics based on the tags used in the post. The more posts by you are curated, the more popularity and money you get.
You can read more about Medium curation in this article by Medium editors.
But writers from several countries including India can not join MPP as Stripe covers only a few countries worldwide. Neither Stripe nor Medium explains the reason behind it except that Stripe is still in beta phase in India.
So, how do Indian writers get paid to blog on Medium?
You aim for the top publications, both independent and inhouse publications by Medium that pay outside MPP. They offer a good sum of money per piece (ranges between $300-$1000). Here are top publications that you can write for.
Publications that pay through MPP
Better Marketing is one of the popular publications on Medium. It focuses on ethical marketing to grow a business. You can check their submission post here.
Check my column with Better Marketing.
If you write about starting a business, entrepreneurship and marketing, this is your publication. It has more than 600k followers making it one of the popular publications on Medium.
Their submission guidelines
This pub focuses on everything related to personal growth. You can approach its editor Dan Pedersen to become a writer for Personal Growth.
The Writing Cooperative
For everything related to the craft and business of writing, this is the best pub on Medium. It is one of the most popular publications on Medium.
Check their submission guidelines.
Towards Data Science
It is one of the fastest-growing pubs on data science. It is dedicated to everything related to data science and its intricacies.
You can check their submission guidelines here.
This publication is for all the UX and product designers. With more than 350k followers, each post with UX collective gets lots of views.
Check their submission guidelines here
It deals with everything related to writing and publishing. Check out their submission guidelines.
P. S. I Love You
One of the most popular publications on Medium on relationships. You can check their submission guidelines here.
This publication publishes posts on self-help, first-hand account and personal growth. Check out their submission form here.
It focuses on writing, editing and promotion of written pieces. You can find the submission guidelines here.
A publication that focuses on food and its relationship with everything else. Check their pitch guidelines.
Medium Publications that Pay per Piece
An inhouse Medium publication whose focus is on black and brown men. They accept pitches on topics that concentrate on these two broad topics and their constant struggles and ways of improvement. Pitch to email@example.com
It is one of the first inhouse publications by Medium. Marker’s focus lies with business and related topics. Pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org
An inhouse Medium publication that deals with the issues related to the women of colour. You can pitch to the editor, Zolie A. Doggett at email@example.com
Medium’s inhouse publication that focuses on the science of health and wellness. Pitch to firstname.lastname@example.org
Gen is another inhouse publication by Medium. Its core focus is politics, power and culture. The pitches should be sent to email@example.com
This Medium publication deals with issues of daily struggle and how to improve it. Check their requirements and pitching guide here.
An independent publication that accepts pitches about making better humans. Check their guidelines here.
This publication focuses on the future of video marketing. Its pitching guidelines can be found here.
Few! That’s one giant piece of a blog post I have written. I would love it if you share it with anyone who wants to start blogging on Medium. if you have any question on Medium or blogging, do write to me in the comment section.
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