Medium requires constant attention to keep earning from paid readers, quite different than receiving ongoing revenue with organic traffic.
The following is a Q&A session I’ve had with an inquisitive writer who asked significant questions that are invaluable for all authors considering the Medium platform.
1. Do you find writing for Medium beneficial?
Yes, but it’s very different from HubPages. Medium content needs to focus on Medium subscribers who pay for access. That’s much more difficult to attract than writing for organic traffic that comes through Google search, as is the case with HubPages.
If you write content that answers questions people may search for online, then I recommend staying with HubPages. But I found Medium to be a useful niche for content that relates to the specific desires of people who are willing to pay for access to that information.
2. Is it true that there is no way to get compensation unless readers happen to have a subscription?
Medium does not place ads on articles. Revenue comes from reader subscriptions. They pay $5 a month to read unlimited across the Medium platform. Recent changes now allow retroactive payment to authors if a reader buys a subscription within 30 days after reading your content.
Funds from subscription fees are distributed to writers who join the Medium Partner Program. It’s free to join.
3. Do you think you still create a good following to earn enough to make writing worthwhile to you?
It’s only been a year since I began posting on Medium, and only a few articles on Medium attract good readership.
Nevertheless, I had the same experience with HubPages when I started writing on their platform ten years ago. After two years I finally began receiving monthly residuals consistently. Writing is not a get-rich-quick business. One has to be patient and continuously work hard.
4. Do you have outlets where you can share so Medium members can find you?
If you want to put the effort into promoting your content, first make sure that you put more attention to the quality of your material. I believe in writing stellar quality content that offers value and can build a ranking on its own.
After that, you can consider sharing your work on social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn.
5. Do you have to rely on Medium to share your content?
That’s how it works on Medium. In the same way that HubPages features only the best content on their network of niche sites, Medium curators look for quality too.
Medium also shares your content with everyone who follows you and with those who follow the topics you specify as “tags.” So you have some control over where your content is featured.
6. Do you rely on other members finding your work and wanting to follow you?
Yes, and if you write quality content that meets curator’s published guidelines, then your articles will be featured on Medium’s home page and shared with readers via email and on Twitter. (Medium was created by Twitter’s previous chairman and founder, Evan Williams).
7. I'm also curious to know if you have found that some niche's do better than others.
That all depends on one’s authority. If you are an authority figure in a particular niche, then you will do well concentrating on that niche.
That’s not crucial with HubPages because people find your content with organic search. However, writers do better concentrating on a single niche when they publish on Medium. That’s because they build a following of readers interested in that specific topic.
8. You mentioned elsewhere that poetry would do better on Medium than it does on HubPages. Why?
Poetry does better on Medium because it attracts a following who relate to its various styles, and who pay to read. Medium has publications dedicated to poetry followers.
When posting poems on HubPages, one is dependent on people finding them via Google search.
People search the Internet for answers to questions much more than they look for topics that might be in the content of a poem. Therefore, poems don’t necessarily show up high in the SERPs.
9. Do you find that it's easier to get your articles accepted by Medium’s editors, compared to HubPages’ niche sites?
It’s the same with both. One needs to write stellar quality content to do well anywhere on the Internet. Writing platforms that didn’t care about that had gone out of business, such as Bubblews and Squidoo.
Both HubPages and Medium have curators and editors that look for quality. I believe these two platforms will continue to grow for that reason. Of course, that includes Maven.1
10. Is it better to keep your articles on their home page? I'm assuming you publish on both of Medium's home page and in publications.
By “home page” you mean under your account. Another option would be to submit articles to a publication. Medium has hundreds of niche publications.
It’s definitely better for new authors on Medium to publish in a pub with a large following. However, authors who already have many followers can do just as well posting directly under their account.
11. How to you get published in a publication?
You first need to get approved by the editor of a pub. Each publication has its own rules and requirements. They usually post their method to register as an author with their pub. Once approved, you can submit your drafts when you complete them.
Most pubs only accept drafts, which means unpublished content. However, some allow you to submit content that you previously published under your account. All your content will be listed under your profile no matter where it’s published, just as is done on HubPages.
12. Do articles eventually disappear?
Articles don’t disappear, but if they don’t get much traffic, they eventually get pushed way back and don’t show up much anymore in listings, suggestions, etc.
The algorithms will always keep useful articles in view to be found by new readers. That’s based on a decent “read time” by present readers. If read time is short for the number of words, it means it’s not of value.
13. Do you use the paywall?
I use the paywall because I want to receive income for my efforts. Some authors don’t care to make money, so they list their articles with free access.
You need to join the Medium Partner Program (MPP) to get paid for the time people spend reading your articles. MPP is free to join.
14. Could you explain the paywall a little bit?
Non-subscribers can read three articles per month anyway. If they subscribe within a month, you get paid retroactively for the time they had read your articles.
You can also provide a “friend-link” on social media or for your friends to read your articles. Of course, you won’t get paid for those views. However, if a paid subscriber follows the friend-link, you will get paid for their read-time.
15. Is there a benefit to placing your content behind the paywall? Does it depend on the type of content?
Curators will only consider articles for featuring in various topic lists if the author had placed it behind the paywall. I assume that’s because Medium does not make money from your work if it’s free to the reader. That makes sense, doesn’t it!
It’s beneficial to place everything behind the paywall, in my opinion. That’s as long as your content is written within the guidelines. Articles need to be ad-free.
If you include ads or links to an affiliate marketing site, then your article does not qualify for being behind the paywall. The reason for that rule is that people pay a fee to read content without being besieged with ads.
16. From my understanding the only reason to use the paywall is to keep non-members from reading your content. Is that correct? Am I missing something else?
Why would you want to block anyone from reading your content? Non-subscribers still can read up to three articles on Medium. However, those articles may not necessarily be three of yours. In addition, you can always give non-subscribers a friend-link, as I discussed earlier, to read even after reading three other articles.
17. Do you find that article length is important?
Article length will bring more revenue because you get paid for read-time. However, there is a catch to consider.
Some people shy away from reading lengthy articles. The average read-time is posted at the top of all articles, so people know what to expect before they begin reading.
If you are good at holding a reader’s attention, then a lengthy article could work well for you. However, if you fill it with useless content, or go off on tangents, just to increase the number of words, you will quickly lose your readers.
18. I'm honestly not sure how read-time equates to the number of words in an article.
That’s an honest question. Everyone reads at a different speed. The algorithm uses an average standard among the English reading population. It’s roughly three minutes for 600 to 700 words or nine minutes for a 2,000-word article.
19. Last question, I promise! It sounds like Medium might be worth a try, but I was curious about how you like the site now, compared to when you first wrote your article about it.2
Medium has changed a lot in the year that I’ve been contributing content there. I like how they continually upgrade their platform.
Even the payment method was recently improved—paid by read-time rather than applause. I find that method much more accurate, and it favors those who engage readers to stay to the end.
The staff is also very receptive to author’s suggestions. They listen, and they respond.
20. I appreciate any more insight you can offer! Thank you.
See the home icon on my HubPages profile for more insights and tips for writers on both platforms. Thanks for your thoughtful questions.
- "What I Learned at the 2018 Maven Coalition Conference With Hubpages" - toughnickel.com
- "How to Make Money Writing Without Ads on the Medium Platform" - toughnickel.com
© 2020 Glenn Stok
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on August 08, 2020:
Phillip Davidson - It’s worth considering. Medium doesn’t compete with HubPages since it's a venue for a different kind of writing, the type of content that readers pay to read.
Christopher Hundley from Pennsylvania on August 08, 2020:
This and your other article on Medium are really useful. Writing on Medium was something I was considering as well. Thanks.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on July 22, 2020:
Abby Slutsky - That's your choice. They can’t pay you unless you provide tax information so they can report your earnings to the IRS.
Abby Slutsky from America on July 22, 2020:
I just signed up for them, but I am undecided if I am going to go forward and put in the tax information. Thinking about it though. By the way, thanks for your help again. I am getting the hang of the Amazon inserts now. I had never done them before.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 21, 2020:
Dora Weithers - Thanks for confirming that the Q&A type of article helps. I do have additional information here as compared to my first article about Medium.
Dora Weithers from The Caribbean on January 21, 2020:
Thanks for this introduction to Medium Publishing. I appreciate you sharing from your personal experience. We learn much from the questions and answers.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 20, 2020:
Heidi Thorne - That’s why I said that I like how they continually upgrade their platform. They knew people were gaming the system.
I avoided the Facebook groups for that reason once I saw what was going on. But now, as you noticed, they eliminated payment for “applause” and replaced it with payment for read-time. My income increased when they changed that, because many people don’t applaud—but they do read.
Per your last point, I don’t think it’s difficult to change reader behavior. Many people pay to subscribe to magazines. Why is it any different on the Internet? Medium already has 100 million monthly readers as of November, 2019.
Thanks for your comment, and Happy New Year to you too!
Heidi Thorne from Chicago Area on January 20, 2020:
I'm not a fan of Medium and don't post there. What really turned me off years ago was the "applause" factor which is a system that can be gamed. I even saw a friend on Facebook suggest that everyone join Medium and we'll all applaud for each other's work. Cheating! So I'm glad to see that they've addressed that factor with read-time measurements.
It reminds me a bit of Patreon, but with less need for creators to individually hustle up paying subscribers.
In my opinion, the Medium subscription pay-per-view model is too little, too late in the development of the internet. Unfortunately, the internet got built on the sponsorship-advertising model, like television and radio. So now it's much more difficult to change reader behavior.
This was a great review of Medium. Thank you and Happy New Year!
Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on January 19, 2020:
Thanks for all the information about Medium. This was all new to me.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 19, 2020:
Thank you for explaining that Glenn.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2020:
John Hansen - It doesn’t cost anything to sign up with the Medium Partner Program to get paid when subscribers read your articles. Even with two or three, it can pay enough for becoming a member as well, so you can read more than three a month.
When I wrote my first story on Medium, I earned $5 from it in the first month. So I put that right back in and subscribed as a member, knowing that the income at least covered the cost to read more than three a month. The other writers post a lot of interesting and useful material.
Glenn Stok (author) from Long Island, NY on January 19, 2020:
Thank you, everyone, for being the first several people to read and comment on this Q&A article.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on January 19, 2020:
This was interesting and helpful Glenn. I am a member of medium (unpaid) and have two or three items published there but haven't published anything in some time. I usually read my allowed three articles per month. I may have to look at it again as a place to post poetry though I already have a lot of other venues.
femi from Nigeria on January 18, 2020:
I came across medium only last year when i did a search on top websites in my country. The system seems a little complicated and completely different from hubpages.. I love to write and write everyday but hate promoting my work on social media.
FlourishAnyway from USA on January 18, 2020:
Great information. Thank you for sharing your experience.
manatita44 from london on January 18, 2020:
Thank you, Glenn.
A lot to take in but very useful
Liz Westwood from UK on January 18, 2020:
I hadn't come across Medium until I read your earlier article. The Q&A format is a great medium for explaining the site. I have learnt a lot from this article.