By: Pat Austin
Medium is basically a blogging platform, but it seems to be a decent place to post from time to time because of the built-in audience. Launched in August 2012 by Evan Williams, one of the co-founders of Twitter, Medium has a pretty solid, worldwide following. You can read three free articles a month before you hit the paywall. It’s not clear how many subscribers have signed up for the $5 monthly subscription fee but estimates range from 200,000 to 400,000.
I kind of stumbled on Medium this spring when this article by Tomas Pueyo went viral and was showing up all over my social media. I thought the article was really well done and if that was any indicator of what kind of work was on Medium, I wanted to know more. I’ve been reading there ever since, and at some point I subscribed.
On Medium you can tailor your home screen to the types of articles you want to see by simply following specific categories. In the beginning I set mine to coronavirus articles, culture, history, humor, environment…that kind of thing. I have tweaked it a bit since then; you can also follow tags. I like a mix of things to appear on my home screen. There is a category for writing, but I’m getting too many articles about how to write on Medium that are weighing my feed down. I am going to take that one off. I took the coronavirus category off as well; I’m tired of reading about that.
The site hosts professional and amateur writers and so again, pick and choose. Famous names include Susan Orlean (a favorite of mine – I loved The Library Book), Nikki Haley, Senator Marco Rubio, and many others. Authors are paid by internal views and engagement: how long someone spends on your article, claps (which is similar to the “like” button), and shares. A writer on Medium earns zero revenue from readers outside the Medium subscription base; external views do not earn money, but in theory they can lead to more Medium subscribers. It is all about exposure and building a following.
I have concerns about spreading myself too thin but I am curious to see if I can spark up a following on Medium which would then develop into a little extra cash in my pocket, which is always a good thing. Now that I am finally retired, I know that I will have more free time for writing, and so for the moment, I think I can handle three blogging platforms. My posts at each will be quite different because the audience for each is different.
To earn money on the platform, you have to sign up for a Strip account; it is very simple and safe. Once a month your earnings are transferred into your account.
So, how much have I earned in my six months there? About enough to buy a hamburger and beer for lunch. Not a lot. You’re probably not going to make enough to quit your day job. But my revenue is growing each month, so at least it’s going in the right direction, and I’m gaining followers. Articles on Medium have “a long tail”; that is, they earn money weeks after they’ve been published because the Medium algorithm filters them back around to land on someone’s homepage depending on their interests. For example, logging on to Medium right now, I have a selection of articles from today on back about four weeks.
I’m curious if any of you are Medium readers? If not, check the site out and let me know honestly what you think about it. Like I said, you get three free articles per month.