Cracking The Medium Code For New Writers: Lesson 1.0
I’ve turned some people on to the platform … and they are questioning why they are only earning pennies despite my raves.
Content Is King
You’ve all heard the expression before. Be it televised content required for the multitude of streaming services dominating the marketplace, or quality books essential for a publisher’s coffers, ongoing creative content is a necessity for any media.
Medium is no different. The platform will live or die on the quality of its writing and the quantity of its contributions.
In my two prior articles about this platform that I’ve included below, I presented the case that if you write a fixed number of articles a day, and post their links to as many of your social media accounts and groups as possible, you will be able to determine the minimum amount of money you will make.
See those articles here:
“I Love You, You Suck, Now Die.”
Actually, I want to help my friends. I’m just tired of the complaints.
Writing For Your Life
Catching up financially when you are exceedingly behind, with no paid projects on the horizon, is the writer’s worst…
For me, I’m practicing what I preach: I’m set to obsessively write 90-100 Medium articles throughout December. Sure that’s excessive, and no I do not expect everyone to be so obsessed. Nor do I have “all the time in the world.”
I own a television development company, am a novelist, screenwriter and producer. I need to obsessively create, or I don’t eat. Writing for Medium in the pre-dawn hours, before my wife and four-legged hairy daughter awaken, has proven a boon to not only my financial potential, but my productivity in general.
Beginning my day writing for this platform inspires me — as would a good run or bike ride — to push my professional endeavors that much further, and faster.
A) I am far more motivated to write for this platform when my goals are set in stone. B) By the end of the month, I’ll have that much more material to exploit. C) I have a certain number of readers I would like to attract from now to then. In Medium’s case, that number is measured by Followers.
I write to meet my goals; I do not write for the money.
The money follows.
I’ll do whatever it takes from here forward, and that’s the mindset required to succeed on the Medium platform. I look upon Medium as a new business now. As we get paid once-monthly, I presently work with the goal of meeting my mortgage through this writing alone.
If your goals are not so lofty, regard this site as an entrepreneurial opportunity to develop a small, secondary income stream.
Both goals can be achieved. Nothing happens, however, in a vacuum. If you do not put the work in, you’re wasting your time.
Put the work in.
Success will follow.
The following are the questions and comments I hear most from dispirited new writers on this platform:
- “How can I improve my performance and earn more?”
- “I’ve been on this platform for three weeks and I’ve made 26 cents from one article. Why waste any more time?”
- “I’m just starting out this month. How long will it be before I make my first thousand bucks?”
- “I don’t believe in writing on spec. This is ridiculous. I should be paid upfront.”
The concerns above are all valid. Let me address the first, specifically, as the others fall in line from there.
- Write longer articles. A piece that takes a reader one minute to read will earn you one cent over a month — if you’re lucky — even if the article has a few claps. The new Medium algorithm pays less for claps now and more for total reads, which includes length of time spent reading.
- Write better articles. Readers need to not only be attracted, but retained.
- Write for curation, but do not be disappointed if your piece is not selected. Write for curation in the sense that said goal can only improve your writing. As to this present article? It will not be curated, as the Medium guidelines specifically state they “don’t curate articles about Medium.”
Medium's Curation Guidelines: everything writers need to know
Our editorial curation team reviews thousands of stories every day. We have over 35 curators with a diverse set of…
However, as I am consistently speaking up this platform, sometimes sharing for the sake of doing some good is the greater reward than active site-wide distribution.
- Express honest personal vulnerability in your stories if you believe others can learn from your experiences. However, stay away from extensive personal biographies that boast of your achievements, in the expectation that your readers will be as fascinated and taken with your character as you are.
- Build your Followers list by not only the value of your articles, but also proactively building upon your existing social media connections. Link everywhere, and re-link old articles. Comment on articles you appreciate, follow those writers and also any influencers you may come across as you peruse this site, and remain interactive. The more followers, the more reads.
- Do not allow disappointment in your early numbers to lead you to quit. Patience really is a virtue. On repeat, the more you write of quality, the more Followers you will have and the more reads you will attain.
As a new writer, you can work one hour on Medium daily, or ten. What you get out of this site is based on what you put into it.
The tools are all here. It’s up to you to use them.
Strategies To Create Reader-Friendly Content
- My best friend in the morning is Facebook. I use the page not only as an excuse to interact with friends and associates (and bitch about politics), but also to check out the various news stories linked by them. Though many of us share thoughts on politics, hobbies, and recent events in fandom, Facebook is a great tool to determine, based on post responses, what type of material is also potentially most appealing to Medium readers. Other older-skewing social media pages such as Linkedin provide the same service for us gray hairs, but so does Instagram, Twitter and Reddit. Whatever your social media page(s) of note, use them to gauge your readers’ general interests and write from there.
- Be evergreen, meaning, aside from current events, write pieces that will withstand the test of time and not become dated.
- Do not be afraid to fail. Just keep writing. I have written articles here that I was certain would hit and was disappointed. Then, I wrote articles that attained hits in the thousands, that I was not expecting. The common theme of those articles were social issues with a personal slant: sexual harassment from a male’s perspective, becoming successful after a beloved parent dies, and a piece about a late former student of mine who wanted me to adopt him — but was caught up in a cycle of addiction and criminality. Consider the arena of social issues as one ripe to present from your unique perspective.
- If you believe you are writing within a personal “brand,” and no one is responding to that brand, pivot. Do your research. See what is hitting here, then channel your brand accordingly. For example, a friend of mine writes profiles of classic TV actors. The hits have ranged from poor to very good, with a lot of moderate in-between. After a while, the tone of the articles had become predictable. Rule #1.1: Never be predictable. Today, my friend is remaining largely within his brand, but tweaking the direction of his stories.
- Spur yourself on. Earning money through Medium is here for the taking. Ask yourself, “If I don’t try my best to make money from my writing and build up my readership now, will I regret it later?
I know I would have. Always spur yourself on. Motivation, at the end, is what matters.
Once more, repeat after me: The money will follow.
Thank you for reading.
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