Every Guide to Making Money on Medium in One Post
I honestly can’t tell you how many Medium posts I’ve seen about how to make a killing off writing here. They all offer a list of pro-tips for doing what many think is impossible. Few of them seem to tell you how long they’ve been writing here, what kind of audience they had prior to starting, and how much they’re making on average, but they’re quick to make you feel like you are in control of making a windfall of cash just doing what you’re likely already doing — with their help, of course.
It probably looks a little something like this.
Use an engaging title.
Because you were about to use a boring one on purpose, right? Of course, you need an engaging title! This is elementary, my dear writers. Having a title that is appealing without being obviously click-bait is an important part of what we do.
Choose a strong image.
Or, to go another route, use a dull image — something that won’t interest anyone. See how obvious this is? Of course, you should choose a strong, appealing image. You probably didn’t need me to tell you that. You already knew how important this is, and that it’s equally important that the thumbnail image is as good as the full one.
Clean up you’re work.
See what I just did there? It’s driving you crazy, right? It’s driving me crazy, and I did it on purpose. If you can’t use “your” and “you’re” correctly or get confused at “there”, “their”, and “they’re”, by all means, get an editor (or even a close friend) to give it a once-over before making us all cringe reading it.
But it’s more than correct spelling, grammar, and punctuation. Using clear formatting is also important. Look for pro-tips on that if you need help or ask around, but don’t bog us down with every kind of style trick in the book. It’s an unnecessary distraction from your work.
Write what you know.
If you don’t know what you’re talking about from personal experience, writing about it isn’t all that helpful. Worse, some articles add insult to injury by being preachy about what others “should” be doing. Mind your business. Offer suggestions. Be a help. Don’t be a condescending know-it-all, and don’t write about something you know nothing about just because it seems like it’s trendy.
Build a following.
This is another obvious one for the books. If you want to make good money on Medium, it helps to build a strong following of people who want to read your work. Being active across all social media helps, and it also helps when you actually respond to readers (and, yes, I know I run behind on this). Shameless self-promotion is just the name of the game, but this is how we build strong audiences for our work. Start a mailing list or group, but do whatever it takes to connect your audience to your work regularly.
Don’t expect to write one or two articles a month and rake in big amounts of cash. It’s unlikely to happen, although I suppose it could. However many articles you intend to write each week or month should be consistent so that your audience knows what to expect.
Some may advocate for writing consistently with topics, but as a writer myself, I don’t support this notion. Sure, some people have an area where they clearly excel. Fine. Let them stick to one subject if that’s what they like. But I think we should all stretch as far as we care to in order to explore what we have to say on various subjects. They may not all be gold, but as artists, we should be pushing our limitations, not shoring them up.
Keep improving your craft.
Whether you are new to writing or not, you can always improve. Read about writing, or simply read other work and see what’s out there. Keep your senses open and leave your house once in a while. Learn something new that has nothing to do with writing. Fall in love. Get your heart broken. Live!
Everything we do helps us improve our craft if we use it. Staying open to learning more and continually improving helps us grow as writers. Part of that growth comes with accepting rejection and feedback.
Support other writers.
First, let me just say that if you pull up an article and clap without reading, it’s not really of value to anyone. Read. The. Article. If you want to support other writers, read their work before clapping. Highlights and comments can’t hurt either.
Supporting other writers is a great way to improve our craft, build a network, and show each other some love. But doing it just to say we did without reading a single word? Who does that help? Joining groups to support others is great, but that support should actually extend to occasionally reading, engaging with, and sharing their work not just following them.
Participate in publications.
Publishing your work within publications can help expose your writing to a larger audience than you may currently have. Most publications have a built-in audience that can help you increase your own following. While they can’t guarantee you a certain number of reads, it can’t hurt to be included among their other writers.
Of course, being curated by Medium is enormously helpful. But it’s also mostly out of our control. Simply producing great quality work consistently can help, but telling others to go get curated isn’t exactly a good pro-tip for making a huge wad of cash doing this.
Not one of these pro-tips really tells you anything you didn’t already know, and not one of them can give you the perfect formula for suddenly making a killing on Medium.
I can absolutely encourage you to keep improving your craft and looking for ways to make your work better on a technical and an aesthetic level, but that doesn’t mean I can guarantee you’ll make a big fat paycheck off it.
All these guides leave off luck and the whim of trends. What will engage a reader is difficult to gauge, and honestly, it shouldn’t be our primary concern. Which, yes, I say as a full-time writer. Of course, I want my work to earn money. Of course, I want my work to do well. Would I love a viral hit? Sure.
But I write because I have something to say and because I think some of my experiences could help someone else. I don’t write for claps, and I don’t write for anyone else’s approval. I write because I’m a writer with stories inside me.
I do make a living off my writing, although I’m not sure anyone would call it a killing. I could suggest that you learn to get really good with managing your finances if you want to make it in this business without having to hit the lottery on a single article. Decreasing your overhead and learning to budget couldn’t hurt.
So, I can’t give you the formula for success. I can’t tell you how to make $10,000 in a month writing on Medium. I’ve never done it. I can’t tell you how to make $5,000 off one story. I haven’t done that either.
But I can tell you that if you write something great, maybe you’ll get lucky. Maybe it will be the runaway success story that leads you to give us yet another list of pro-tips on writing content here. Or maybe it won’t be.
Or you could just tell us your story and say what you need to say. Maybe it makes you $50, but it changes someone’s life. Maybe it makes you $500 but doesn’t really change anyone. Who’s to say? But I hope you write what you want to write anyway.