Over the past year, I’ve received questions about the online publishing platform Medium.
It pays writers, who get paid according to how much attention their content receives. Increased reading time on an article increases the writer’s income.
Medium describes itself as an “online publishing platform.” Evan Williams, formerly co-founder of Blogger and Twitter, developed the network in 2012.
To be honest, I’ve been waiting for the site to founder. In its first few years, it was a real challenge to work out what or who the site was for. It looked like a streamlined iteration of Blogger, combined with a social network.
Now it says it’s an online publishing platform. It’s subscription-based, so that it can pay writers. This is a good thing.
I’ve subscribed; any site which supports writers gets my support. But… can you make money writing on the site?
Can you make money writing on Medium?
If you explore Medium, you’ll find lots of posts from writers who make an income on Medium:
I originally wrote this post in February 2019. It’s November 2019 now — a year since the month when I made $180. I’m on track to earn $10,000 from Medium this month. I did make more than $9,000 in October. That was up from over $6,000 in September.
Medium’s benefits: it’s a pleasure to read
What are the benefits of publishing on Medium? Opinion’s divided among writers.
Here’s what I like: the site is a pleasure to read because it isn’t flooded with advertising.
Moreover, I can usually find something I want to read, because the site uses human editors rather than algorithms:
Williams decided to add a human element to Medium’s editorial product… machines can detect a story’s average scroll depth, or read time, or share counts, or highlights, (but) they are bad at figuring out if that story is actually branded content or mere aggregation.
My experiment with Medium as a publishing platform
The best way to judge something is to use it.
So, I’m publishing content to Medium. Mostly, this is new content.
Over the past week, I’ve published articles including:
- You Started Writing A Novel. How Do You Finish It?
- Want To Become A Freelance Writer? Here’s My Best Advice
Why am I doing this? In a word: intuition.
There’s a mile of content online, much of it useful. A reader’s challenge is finding that content and reading it, amidst the horror of blaring video ads and jiggling GIFs.
I understand and sympathize with sites which do this. I’m a copywriter, after all. Sites plague their readers with these shenanigans because they’re desperately chasing revenue.
But — is this sustainable? I doubt it. Surely there’s a limit to the torture a site can inflict on its readers without the readers rebelling and vanishing for good?
Medium’s starting to look like an island of sanity: a site where you can read without being plagued to death — wow, what a concept.
My intuition says that Medium may be the vanguard of a new type of online publisher. Twenty years ago, I got the same impression from Blogger — years before Google bought Blogger, and blogging became a thing.
Time will tell.
I’ll let you know what I discover after three months of using Medium
I’ll report on the results of my experiment next March, and along the way too.
With any luck, I’ll have a good answer to the question: can you make money writing on Medium?
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