Today on the BrandBuilders blog, we are going to talk about why Medium is one of the strongest content platforms on the internet, and touch on some strategies that you can use to make money on Medium.
Many writers are able to make extra cash publishing articles on the platform. This is certainly something that you can aspire towards – however, we are also big fans of Medium because of its many uses in growing your affiliate business.
Let’s talk about why writing for Medium rocks. First, we will cover the basics of the platform.
What is Medium?
Medium is, quite simply, one of the easiest ways to blog on the internet.
Twitter co-founder Evan Williams launched the platform in 2012 with a goal to allow users to share ideas and stories online with ease, and most importantly, to “contribute often or just once in a blue moon, without the commitment of a blog.”
Regardless of whether people were publishing content often or not, users became part of a thriving network where algorithms feed content to users based on their interests and engagement.
Since then, Medium has stayed committed to these ideals and has become a place where writers can create content on almost any topic. Many content creators mention Medium as a place where their content receives more views than other platforms, and some are even able to earn a living.
Today, Medium still features the same minimalist design and an improved algorithm for matching readers with content that they will love.
Making Money on Medium With Affiliate Marketing
Medium and affiliate marketing can go hand in hand effectively. There are several key ways that publishing content on Medium can be part of your affiliate marketing strategy.
- You can use affiliate links in your articles. Medium allows these links, but you must include an affiliate disclosure statement. As always, don’t post links in spammy or misleading ways, or you could end up with your account banned from the platform
- It is a great place to build authority in a niche. Medium is a platform that people go to when they are curious about a topic, and it promotes discovering great content – even if it isn’t written by the top writers on the site.
- You can use Medium as a promotion strategy. It is an effective way to funnel readers to your site, YouTube channel, or any other form of media that you are using.
But with all of this in mind, there is one important thing to remember:
Medium is not a substitute for your own affiliate marketing site.
We bring this up because, although there are some writers who have found considerable financial success with Medium, only 5.7% of writers earned over $100 in June of 2020.
This is due to the low barrier of entry to becoming a writer on the site, and the fact that all earnings come from user subscriptions. Making money on Medium is a whole different ball game, as there is just not the same amount of money to go around as there is with affiliate marketing.
However, it is still highly useful for affiliate marketers to help grow a website, where the majority of online earnings will be made.
Benefits of Medium
One of the main positives of using Medium is its immense SEO benefits.
Posting in Medium means that your content is (mostly) SEO optimized, and you won’t have to worry about checking off boxes from a long list of SEO deliverables every time you are publishing content.
Medium also has a very strong Domain Authority ranking. This means that content that you create has a better shot of ranking in the top 10 of Google for a topic compared to posting the same content on your blog.
Another advantage of Medium is the opportunity to find publishing opportunities in the community. Reaching out to established writers and publications in Medium is much easier than it is on websites, and this means that you have greater access to future guest posting and collaboration opportunities.
However, the main benefit that stands out has to be its ease of use. Everything about Medium’s interface is meant to be simple to use.
Medium’s learning curve is incredibly short compared to WordPress, and this saves you time from worrying about how to post content and instead allows you to focus on thinking up the best content you possibly can for the platform.
Now that we know why Medium rocks, it’s time to talk about how to get started using the platform.
Getting Started on Medium
Starting Your Medium Account
Medium is extremely straightforward to use, with an interface that promotes curiosity and serendipity for readers.
Starting your account should only take a few minutes. You will be able to connect your new account with an existing Facebook, Twitter, or Google account.
When you are starting your Medium account, you will be prompted to follow people, publications, and tags first. This will allow the platform to feed you content that you will be interested in – so just find some good-looking stories and start reading.
After interacting with the Medium world, your homepage will start to reflect your interests.
Visiting my Medium homepage, I see a wide range of content on history, self-improvement, and writing, all topics that I am interested in.
I also start to notice that many stories on Medium are affiliated with specific publications.
Publications on Medium
Medium publications are groups of articles that are related to a common theme, sort of like a curated magazine. Some of these can be considered general interest groups.
When I looked for publications related to furniture design, I found that medium has publications from a famed auction house, a hobby craftsman, and much more!
Keep an eye on some of the top publications in your niche. Many of these are actively looking for people who want to write on medium and contribute their work, and this should be visible right when you visit their profile – just like the Interior Design Inspiration page below. Anyways, more on that later.
Writing and Publishing on Medium
Once you are ready to create your own content, you will find that Medium’s interface for laying out a story is incredibly simple – even more simple than WordPress.
You will be able to do basic text formatting, and add media like images and video. Simple features like this allow the writing to do the talking, there’s no use worrying about how to make your story look better than someone else’s!
If you have good blog content that you want to export to Medium, you can use their Import tool to transfer content from a live URL to a Medium post. This handy tool even automatically backdates the post and adds a canonical link to avoid penalizing your SEO!
This is extremely important because it tells Google to refer to your original article (on your website) as the most important piece of content, not the version that you have uploaded to Medium. You should still prompt readers to follow your blog for related content, but you can be confident that you aren’t damaging the SEO results that you worked so hard to cultivate on your own website.
When you are ready to share your story with the world, you can hit the “publish” button and Medium will prompt you to select tags for your story. You should always select the maximum number of tags possible, as long as they are relevant for your topic.
Publishing your first article on Medium is pretty simple stuff. If you need more clarity on getting started, check out Hubspot’s guide on How to Use Medium – just make sure it’s in a new tab. Stick around for our tips on how to optimize your articles for success!
Joining the Medium Partner Program
Joining the Medium Partner Program is one of the essential first steps towards making money on the platform.
It’s also incredibly easy.
Unlike joining an affiliate program or network, you don’t need to have an established website with hundreds or thousands of monthly visitors. You also won’t need to follow a long list of policies that restrict what kind of promotion strategies that you can use to make money.
Medium’s mission is to always be looking for more writers to create content, and all you will need to get started is a bank account or credit card which will be used to process payments through Stripe.
Joining the Medium Partner Program doesn’t require any money at all. You don’t even have to be a Medium member to do so, but we recommend signing up anyways.
It’s only $5 per month, but that $5 can go a long way, especially when you use it to research trending topics and borrow some strategies from the most successful writers on the platform!
We recommend joining the Medium Partner Program as soon as you have a few articles published and are looking to elevate your chance to make money on the platform.
Money on Medium (Where It All Comes From)
So, where exactly does the money come from when people are writing on Medium?
The simple answer is membership fees. Medium charges a flat $5 per month so that readers can access high-ranking stories (which are behind paywalls). This is the same system as a monthly subscription for online news sources.
This allows Medium to keep its interface clean and ad-free. It is a premium content source without a prohibitive price, and yet they are still able to pay writers who are creating great content.
Medium used to be able to determine what qualified as “great content” by the number of reads that articles were receiving, and the number of “claps” (very similar to “likes” on Facebook).
However, in 2019, this changed. Medium shifted their model to make payments based on reading time instead of claps. Readers make a $5 payment each month for their Medium membership, and this payment gets divided up depending on the amount of time that they spend on different articles every month.
This is the simplest (but not the only way) to make money using Medium.
Strategies for Succeeding on Medium
Now that you know the basics of getting started, it’s time to start discussing how to find success writing on Medium.
When you are first learning to make money on Medium, it might seem too good to be true. It claims to take care of the hassle of starting your own blog, is super easy to onboard, and stays ad-free thanks to their subscription model.
If it’s this easy, why doesn’t everyone do it?
That’s what you might be thinking.
It’s all right to be hesitant about using an incredibly easy-to-use platform to make money online, but you might have to trust us just this once!
Read on to find our top 9 strategies for succeeding on Medium, and look out for nuggets of advice from Medium writer Bobby Powers. Bobby is a top writer in creativity, business, and advice on Medium, and was interviewed by Daniel from BrandBuilders for this article!
1. Writing Consistently
Writing consistently might be one of the most overused phrases in the affiliate marketing world. It comes from a good place, but you are probably tired of hearing it by now.
However, gaining a strong following (and earning money on Medium) depends on the same advice.
Here’s a personal tidbit from Bobby Powers about growing his presence on the platform.
“I had wanted to write my own content, not just book reviews. I published my first article on Medium last January – not too seriously back then.
Fast forward to this year, a year after I started on there, I realized there was more potential on Medium than my own website. Instead of once per month, I was doing one or two per week. I got a lot of traffic, made some money, and just enjoyed writing on the platform.”
Many successful Medium members discuss the benefits of writing multiple times per week on the platform. This may seem like a lot, but it is actually pretty manageable for affiliate marketers when compared to creating long-form blog posts for a website that can be several thousand words each.
2. Be Yourself
There is something so refreshing about reading top Medium writer Tim Denning talk about how he was able to be consistently featured in Top Stories on the platform.
As much as the affiliate marketing ecosystem tells people to be themselves and “follow your passions,” it can be easy to lose a bit of your personality when you are creating several content pieces a week and keeping up with changes in your industry.
But when it comes to Medium, I like what Mr. Denning has to say.
There’s Tim Denning who has a cookie-cutter profile picture taken by a $400 an hour photographer, with a perfectly dry-cleaned suit and an amazing bio.
He’s never missed a meditation session, goes to the gym, eats healthy food and is impeccable with his time.
Then there’s the real Tim Denning who suffered from anxiety, had a near-miss with cancer, has a fear of public speaking, procrastinates a lot, doesn’t know what he’s doing most of the time, and can be a half whit sometimes. Version two of the above is the one you want to aim for.
They want the truth. Give it to them.
Authenticity goes an incredibly long way on Medium. For affiliate marketers, that means that any content with a sales focus probably won’t do very well.
Most readers on Medium are intelligent and driven professionals. They are looking for honest and believable stories about people’s experiences. The good news is, affiliate marketers can deliver this without sacrificing their business goals!
For example, if I have an affiliate marketing site that is focused on the intermittent fasting niche, I probably won’t have much success writing product reviews for supplements and starter kits.
Instead, I should focus on sharing my own experiences, like my meal plan or strategies for dealing with the roadblocks that I have experienced along the way. A simple link to my blog at the end of the post can help convert some of my readers into potential customers or email subscribers.
Also, don’t hesitate to talk about your journey as you find new ways to make money online. This is a subject that typically sees a lot of interest from medium users, and surely you will have lots of personal lessons and anecdotes to share if you have been following the BrandBuilders blog.
3. Finding the Right Length for Your Post
If you are looking for the right word count to reach the highest number of viewers for your next blog post on Medium, you might be out of luck.
There is no perfect post size to make money on Medium, but here are a few tips that you can use to make sure that you stay on track.
Medium posts that receive the most traffic are between 7-8 minutes in length. This is significantly lower than the 2000-3000 words expected for many prized keywords in affiliate marketing niches. For this reason, Medium can be a much easier way to scale your content strategy than by posting content on your blog.
However, the rules of the game change when content creators post “how-to” guides or other comprehensive articles that are meant to educate the reader with more details.
These posts can be as long as 25-30 minutes, and can actually earn more for the author. Because Medium has switched to a “reading time” model for payment, if users are getting a lot from long-form guides, the articles will have a better chance of being featured by Medium.
This doesn’t mean that you should focus exclusively on creating longer-form content on Medium. Regardless of whether it is a short personal story or a 24-step guide to growing the perfect heirloom tomato plant, Medium users do not like unnecessary fluff.
Try to remember to focus on the reader, and only include what is absolutely necessary in a concise, easily readable format.
4. Optimize With Mixed Media
Medium allows you to place almost anything you want into your article.
This includes infographics, images, YouTube videos, and more! The idea with including different types of media on your Medium post is to keep readers on the page.
This is important because your earnings on Medium depend on how long people spend reading your article. An especially interesting infographic or YouTube video embedded in your post can make a substantial difference in your earnings.
5. Getting Author Bonuses
Could you imagine if, after writing a particularly successful blog post on your blog about air-purifying plants, you received an email from WordPress that thanks to your exceptional blogging skills, you would earn an additional $100 bonus for creating such great content?
With Medium, there is no need to pinch yourself. Money really does drop out of the sky sometimes.
As a part of their Partners program, Medium pays out bonuses to a few dozen successful stories weekly. There is no clear-cut method for determining what topics have the best chance of receiving these bonuses, but it is still something to aspire to.
To be clear, Medium bonuses are not something you should depend on as being a sustainable part of your online income. However, it is an incentive to be one of the best in writing about your niche – and it shows Medium’s commitment to rewarding quality content on the platform.
6. Collaborating With Other Bloggers
When it comes to creating content online, you will probably have more success collaborating and learning with others when compared to fighting for the top spot yourself.
Medium is no different, although it relies on slightly different methods than blogging.
You can find other bloggers in your niche by keeping an eye out for similar posts from the same publications and tags that you are focusing on. When you find other writers who you think are doing a good job, you can link to their articles and even contact them directly to share advice and content ideas.
Writing guest posts doesn’t have the same value in Medium as it does for blogging. With blogging, you are trying to leverage the domain authority of several sites in your niche to benefit each other.
In Medium, writers are much more focused on getting their content viewed more within the platform. Linking out to your site still has value, but it requires building a relationship with another writer and having a strong history of creating content.
When it comes to Medium (and your blog for that matter), it’s important to remember the value of the community.
Sharing and collaborating is one of the best things you can make a part of your strategy, and it will pay dividends in the long run.
7. Getting Your Work on Curated and Featured Lists
One of the best things that can happen to you as a writer on Medium is to have your work end up on a curated or featured list.
This can happen regardless of whether you are an established Medium user, or if you are just getting started with the platform.
A curated article is selected by Medium’s editorial team and is then recommended for any of the topics that the article is tagged with. This results in more user visits from readers who are snooping around looking for more content in their desired topic.
“Curation only happens with certain topics – it’s like getting playlisted on Spotify. Only 50 topics are big enough for Medium to curate,” Bobby says.
It’s best to work towards getting curated if you are writing about one of Medium’s top topics, like personal development or marketing.
Writing a featured article is even better, but is much harder to accomplish.
A featured article is selected by the same team but is deemed to be especially relevant due to events happening in the world at the time. It is then showcased on the front page of Medium for a limited time, leading to a ton of exposure from Medium users.
A recent “Featured Stories” section is filled with content about the dominant current events of today. If you want your content to be featured, it will need to relate to something topical and relevant in a meaningful way.
This can be difficult, but keep in mind that these featured stories change by the day. Further down the list, readers can find articles about time management, young adult novels, and rollerskating.
Just like with author bonuses, getting your article featured or curated is another incentive to focus on Medium as a part of your content strategy.
8. Build Your Reputation With Publications
Finding the right publications to join on Medium is all about playing the long game. Even an established writer can’t expect to join the best publications as soon as they join Medium.
Publications should be a part of your strategy that you are constantly revisiting. Always be on the lookout for new opportunities in your niche (and in similar niches).
Many publications will ask that you submit a draft for them, while others will just review your profile and the work that you have done in the past.
Keep some article drafts that you feel confident about handy, so you can share them with targeted publications.
9. Test Your Content
Medium provides a basic analytics interface that shows how many medium members have read your content, how long they spent on it, and more.
This is a great start. However, it is important to keep track of what kinds of articles are driving traffic to your affiliate site, and hopefully bringing you value in the form of return visits and even affiliate sales.
Make sure to track your inbound traffic on Google Analytics, and try to conduct consistent reporting on what kind of articles keep readers looking for more.
Conclusion: Why You Should Earn Money Writing On Medium
Regardless of whether we are talking about affiliate marketing, posting on Medium is a great way to elevate your content marketing strategy.
Even if you don’t want to spend time writing new articles for Medium, it is worth the time it takes to repurpose old content and post it on the platform. In addition, you can use Medium to do the following:
- Research topics for new content for your blog
- Follow top Medium writers and take note of the strategies they use to make their articles succeed
- Interact with other Medium users and build connections in your niche
Although it is not a high-earning strategy for affiliate links, Medium should not be overlooked as part of your toolkit to make money online.
The opportunities for building authority and trust in your niche are too good to give up, and you can even earn a little bit of side cash from high-performing articles on the platform.
Stay tuned for our next article on the BrandBuilders blog, and don’t forget to enter our contest with over $4,000 worth of rewards and prizes up for grabs!
Do you still have questions about how to use Medium to boost your affiliate marketing efforts? Book a coaching call with one of our experts to get you on track!