A Writer's 20 Questions About the Medium Publishing Platform
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. So here we go:
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 of poets who relate to its various styles. When posting poems on HubPages, one has to hope that people find them via Google search.
People search the Internet for answers to questions more so than looking for topics that might be in the content of a poem. (Just my opinion).
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.
Questions & Answers
© 2020 Glenn Stok