How to Write on Medium in 2023 (and Make an Easy Side Income)

25 min read

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How to write on Medium and make money
Did you know? I started writing on Medium even before I launched this blog.

I was new to writing back then; couldn’t focus on growing two things. I only had the bandwidth for one. So, I chose to grow this blog, and I don’t regret that decision even for a second.

However, even when I was focused on The Side Blogger, I never really stopped writing on Medium completely. And that’s a testament to how much I enjoy that platform even to this day. I would publish one or two stories every couple of months, get a few reads, make a few bucks, and contemplate being more serious once I had this blog under control.

And that’s exactly what I did in June 2022. Once I hit the coveted six-figure earnings from this blog and a lot of my blogging and sales activities were automated, I decided it was time to take Medium more seriously, and I’m so glad I did. It’s been so much fun!

Now, in an attempt to teach you everything I have learned about Medium, I write this blog post, and others, to help you navigate the awesome platform that is Medium.

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(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)

In this post:

What is Medium?

Medium is an online platform to read articles and write them too. Anyone can create an account on Medium and start using it. Writers can earn money from the platform when they meet certain conditions.

Medium was founded by former Twitter co-founder and CEO—Evan Clark Williams—mostly known as just Ev Williams. Ev also founded Blogger—one of the earliest blogging platforms. So, as you’d expect, Medium shares many similarities with Twitter, but like Blogger, it was built for medium to long-form content. (Fun fact, that’s actually where the name “Medium” came from!)

So now, Medium is this social media platform for medium to long-form articles with its built-in audience (well over 100 million readers, according to Medium’s homepage) and a proprietary algorithm that shows content based on what it thinks a certain user (reader) would like.

Screenshot of Medium's homepage for a logged-out visitor.
Screenshot of Medium’s homepage for a (logged-out) visitor.

How does Medium work?

The following set of key points pretty much sum up how Medium works:

  • Medium is delightfully an ad-free platform. It is supported by a user subscription model.
  • Anybody can read and write on Medium. All you have to do is create an account and start reading other people’s articles or write your own articles (known as “stories” within the Medium ecosystem.)
  • You can earn money with your writing if you join the Medium “Partner Program” and lock your stories behind a paywall. (More about the Partner Program and how it works shortly.)
  • Paid subscribers can read unlimited stories on Medium. Free Medium members can read up to three paywalled stories per month.
  • Writers in the Partner Program make money on Medium when paid members read those stories and engage (some matrices are: reading time, claps, highlights, new followers, etc.) This money comes directly from the members’ subscription fees.
  • A part of a member’s subscription fee directly helps the writers they read, and a part of it helps Medium stay ad-free. So, a paid subscription to Medium is highly encouraged. In fact, to join the Partner Program, writers themselves will need to be paid Medium members. It’s only $5 per month—the cost of a Starbucks latte, give or take a little.
  • Writers do not make money from free members’ reading times.

My Medium story

Before I go any further, I feel that I must share my own story.

As I’ve said, I started writing on Medium long ago, way back in 2017. I didn’t take it seriously back then, but I never stopped writing there either, albeit, only occasionally.

I would write whatever came to mind, some similar to what you read on this blog (content marketing, online income, audience-building, etc.), and others very different; cultural criticism, opinion, creative nonfiction, and more.

Recently (May 2023, to be exact) I created a second Medium account. I did it to separate my passion for the different types of writing I enjoy, but also to understand how a brand-new Medium user may benefit from the platform in 2023.

Now, let’s talk about how Medium works and how to get started on this platform.

Writing on Medium vs. Blog (on WordPress)

There was a time, a few years ago, when I’d yell say “WordPress” without a second thought, but this is 2023, and like all things, blogging has also evolved.

Now it’s more of a personal choice. There’s the good old-fashioned blogging with [preferably] WordPress, there’s Medium, and there’s blogging via newsletters (Substack, anyone?), to name a few.

That said, I’m biased and would say WordPress is still the best way to blog if you want to create a business and brand that is independent of platform shenanigans and algorithmic rollercoasters.

Pretty much all popular/successful writers on Medium also have their own websites (whether on WordPress or some other platform.) That should tell you not to trust any one platform too much, especially when you do not own it.

You don’t own Medium. You cannot control how Medium behaves today or how it’ll behave a few months from now. Those of us who’ve been on the platform long enough know the pain of weathering its many iterations of the infamous algorithm. But not just that, Medium can (and has in the past), at any time, change how it shows your stories and to whom, its UI, its earning model, etc.

It goes to show that to create a proper business, you still need your own home and audience. And for that, my personal recommendation will always be WordPress. And don’t forget to build that email list!

All things considered, is it even worth writing on Medium?

Is writing on Medium worth it?

 Medium can still be a viable audience-building and side-income source for you.  Provided, of course, that you understand what works best on Medium. And that requires some trial and error to get things right.

A few exceptionally good (and dedicated) writers make a few thousand just from Medium! Writer Zulie Rane, for example, shared that she made over $2k this past November from Medium. That’s not nothing!

I’d say Medium is a great way to make some side income every month.

But what if you’re trying to make more than a little side cash? Perhaps that’s when you’re better off having your own blog on WordPress or a similar platform where you have a higher level of ownership than you do on Medium. Feel free to cross-post (with proper syndication and canonical link) your blog posts on Medium, but do make sure to have your own (preferably WordPress) home.

In any case, let’s look at who should write on Medium and who should set up their WordPress blog.

Who should write on Medium, and who should write on WordPress?

Consider the following:

  • In my personal opinion, bloggers and content creators who treat this as their business should be on their own platforms (such as WordPress). Period.
  • Medium should only be a place where you republish what you’ve already published on your WordPress blog (which I highly recommend, FYI) and/or publish the kind of stories you cannot publish on your WordPress blog—something that doesn’t fit your business niche but needs a platform. (For example, I recently published a short poem on my Medium account because there’s no effing way I’d publish it here!)
  • Now, let’s say that you have an established blog already but you want to test out a new idea for a new business. That’s when Medium (with its built-in audience) can come in handy. It’ll allow you to try out your new idea, and, if you join the Partner Program, make some money on the side too.
  • If you’re not in need of creating a blogging business, but consider yourself a writer who needs a platform to share your ideas on occasion, then Medium is perfect for you.

So, there you go. Consider these options and then make your decision.

https://www.thesideblogger.com/medium-resources/how-to-republish-your-blog-posts-on-medium/

How to Start Writing on Medium

Follow these steps:

  1. Sign up for Medium.
  2. Become a paid member.
  3. Set up the basics (your bio, profile photo, about page, etc.)
  4. Follow writers and publications you like.
  5. Join some publications suitable for the type of writing you wish to do.
  6. Get familiar with basic editing tools on Medium.
  7. Make sure to write awesome titles and subtitles.
  8. Write and publish useful and/or entertaining stories.
  9. Join the Medium Partner Program so you can start making money.

Step 1: Sign up for Medium

Go to medium.com and create an account. Creating the account is totally free. However, as you’ll see shortly, you should really be a paid member on Medium.

Step 2: Become a paid member

If you want to start making money on Medium, you’ll need to join the Partner Program. And to do that, you’ll need to be a paid Medium member. So, make sure to become a Medium member. It’s only $5 per month or $50 for a whole year if you pay annually.

Step 3: Set up the basics

You should set up a few basics when you join Medium.

Write a short but sweet bio (you can edit this info from your “Settings” page.)

Set your profile photo. Your profile image can be your photo or a cartoon version of your photo or whatever, really. (In my photo, my face is partially hidden by a gigantic camera…) But the trend seems to be either your real photo, partially obscured photo, or cartoon face.

Set (or edit) your username and subdomain, etc. You can write under your own name or under a pseudonym. It’s your choice.

Step 4: Follow the writers and publications you like

Now that you’re on Medium, follow the writers and publications you like.

And also, definitely follow these guys (and by “guys” I mean writers and publications alike…) They’re affiliated with Medium and share important info periodically that you’ll find useful as a writer on the platform.

  1. Tony Stubblebine: Medium’s current CEO
  2. Harris Sockel: I don’t know what his job title is, but he works at Medium and writes either important or cool (or both) stuff. But I really just love his writing! This story, in particular, is just… amazing. And I’m so grateful for this one!
  3. Shirley Lee: OK, so, she’s not affiliated with Medium, but I’m kind of in love with her [stories] so why not, eh? She’s mad hilarious!
  4. Medium Policy: As a writer on Medium, you should always stay in the know if and when they change their policy!
  5. 3 Min Read: This is the official Medium blog, and you’ll mostly find advice, tips, and feature updates here.
  6. Medium Staff: Also shares stuff about Medium.
  7. Me! I mean, why not? 😉

Step 5: Join some publications

I’ll share more about what a publication is down below, but here’s the gist of it: Writers can publish stories to their profile directly, or, they have the option to join a publication (where many writers can publish their stories).

Some publications have a lot of followers, which can give new writers a boost with more views.

I recommend new writers find some publications suitable for the type of stories they wish to write. You can learn more about publications below, and also in this post.

And here’s a list of publications that are officially Medium’s Boost partners. Basically, the editor of these pubs can refer stories they like to Medium’s internal editors, who can then choose to recommend these stories to a wider population, helping them get more eyeballs in the process.

Step 6: Get familiar with the basic editing tools on Medium

The Medium editor is simple but powerful. At the beginning of a new line (hit enter to start a new line) you’ll see a plus sign show up to the left of your cursor. When you click it, you’ll see options to add an image, a video, embedded content, a code block, or a new part.

Medium editing tools available when you enter a new line.
Medium content tools; available when you enter a new line.

You have more formatting options when you highlight text in the editor, options like making text bold and italic, hyperlinking, making the text a header or subheader, adding quotations, etc. I highly recommend that you play around with the editor until you feel comfortable.

Medium editing tools available when you highlight text.
Medium editing tools are available when you highlight text.

Step 7: Write really good titles and subtitles

At the top, you have the title and subtitle. These are super important; these are the texts that most people see on their Medium feed. If you write good titles and good subtitles, people will be more likely to click your stories and read them.

The title and subtitle in the Medium editor.
The title and subtitle in the Medium editor.

Here’s something you should remember: Medium titles are not like SEO titles. SEO titles are meant for ranking on search engines; these are directly influenced by how and what people search for. Medium, however, is NOT a search engine. People simply see stories on their feeds based on what the Medium algorithm thinks they might enjoy. In the end, people click on titles that catch their attention.

Basically, for SEO, you’ll need to write clear titles. And for Medium, you should write catchy titles.

Take a look at these examples:

Time and time again you’ll see titles like these taking off in big ways on Medium, even though they have practically no SEO value.

I have compiled a list of 70 of the most popular titles on Medium from 2022 across 60+ topics; click here (or the image below) to get this list.

A list of 70 popular Medium titles.

Another question some of you may ask is this: What if you wanted your Medium article to rank on Google too? Is there no way to make sure a story does well both on Medium AND search engines?

Well, there is, and I’ve written about the method in this blog post.

Step 8: Write and publish your story

On your Medium homepage, towards the top-right side, there’s a tab that says “Write.” Click that, and you’ll land on the beautiful and minimalist yet powerful Medium editor. Start writing! (Side note: I LOVE the Medium editor!!!)

The write button on Medium's homepage.
The write button on Medium’s homepage.

Here’s my advice on writing:

Give value. Lots of value. Share lived experiences as much as possible, as opposed to doling out casual, curated advice that resonates with nobody. And do your best to write well-organized, useful stories. Ask yourself, does your story provide value to the readers? Is it worth your reader’s time and money?

Now, a few words about picking a “niche.”

To niche or not to niche is the question… Ahem.

So, it’s a contentious topic. Some writers will say that you should pick a niche. Others will say that it doesn’t matter.

Now, if this were a WordPress blog, I’d say yes, please, pick a damn niche!

But this is Medium. And personally, I’m on Medium partly to enjoy writing whatever I want. That said, because I already write so much about writing and content marketing on this blog, it’s easy for me to go and write the same stuff on Medium too. And because I’m trying to publish 2-4 stories (per week) on Medium these days, I naturally gravitate towards these easier (for me!) topics.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t deviate. I’ve written about books, shows, movies, and some very personal things on Medium in the past and will very likely do the same in the future.

Is it bad in any way to write about many different topics on Medium? I don’t think so! Some of my favorite (and popular, going by their ginormous follower count) writers on Medium write about a lot of different things, and their followers don’t punish them in any way.

My advice? Keep an open mind and experiment. If you really want to write about something outside of your “usual,” Medium is the perfect place to share those ideas and stories. Go at it! Have fun, and above all, write because you enjoy it!

Before you hit the publish button:

Please follow Medium’s rules.

I don’t have room for all the rules here, but do read this from Medium about its rules and then use common sense. If you do that, I’m sure you’ll be fine. But just to give you an idea, please do not write hateful stuff, harmful stuff, exploitative stuff, and stuff that may be deemed as harassment, to name a few things to absolutely avoid in your writing.

If you violate these rules, you may find yourself kicked out of the platform.

Assuming you’ve followed these rules and have written a good story, edited it, and now you’re happy with it, it’s time to hit the publish button! You can either publish it on your profile or on a publication.

Let’s assume you want to publish to your profile. That’s simple. Just hit the bright green “publish” button at the top of the screen. This will take you to a page where you can add some info before publishing. Namely, you can add up to five tags (super important that you do), if you’re on the partner program (which I’ll talk more about below), you can choose to meter your story, i.e. lock it behind a paywall, etc.

When you’re ready, hit the “Publish now” button. And voila! (Optionally, you can click “Schedule for later” to schedule it… for later, duh!)

Publish your Medium story.
Publish your Medium story.

[Related: How long should a Medium story be?]

A little about tags:

Tags are super important; that’s [one of the ways] Medium knows what you’ve written about, which helps it show your content to the right people. For example, let’s assume I write about climate change. (I don’t, usually, but that’s not the point…) If I do not tag my story properly, the algorithm may not know who to show the story to, which will mean reduced views and reads.

On the other hand, if I tag my stories correctly, Medium will know exactly who to show my story to (folks who’re interested in climate stories!)

You can have up to five tags on Medium, and I recommend you use all five. Start by typing what you think is the most appropriate topic (where it says “Add a topic…”), and Medium will automatically show you some matching tags with a number next to them. This number represents how many stories are there with that exact tag. The higher the number, the more popular the tag or topic. You want to use these popular tags!

Here’s another tip on tags: Instead of making up your own tags, check out Medium’s topic directory to see which tags best represent your story, and use them.

Step 9: Join Medium Partner Program

Now, if you want to make money, you’ll need to join the Partner Program. Note that you’ll need to be a paid Medium member in order to join. I’ll share more on how the Partner Program works below.

How do Writers Make Money on Medium

After some ninja-level snooping around, I’ve concluded that writers on Medium make money using the following methods:

  1. With the Partner Program (earning based on reading time and engagement)
  2. Tips
  3. Finding clients via Medium
  4. Promoting products on Medium

Let’s start with how Medium pays writers with its Partner Program. It is, by far, the most satisfying thing about Medium (at least for me!) You just write stories that people like reading, and voila! You make money!

The catch? People gotta love what you’re writing. As in, you actually have to be kinda good 😉.

Medium pays writers with the Partner Program

This is the most popular way to make a decent side income stream with Medium.

The Partner Program allows writers to make money directly from Medium, and the money is paid out by Medium every month.

Medium’s payment model is one of the most lucrative (if not the most) there is for similar platforms. There are Hubpages and Vocal and a few others that pay writers directly for their writing, but none of them (as far as I know) pay out as well as Medium does.

The Partner Program won’t make you rich, but if you’re committed to writing often and writing well, and you give a lot of value, you should be able to make a few hundred bucks every month.

Here’s what you need to know about Medium’s Partner Program:

  • You’ll need to be a paid Medium member.
  • You have to apply for the Partner Program: It doesn’t let you in automatically. Apply here.
  • You must be from an eligible country: Medium currently pays writers from these 42 countries. As of writing this, the eligible countries are the following: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Hong Kong, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malaysia, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and United States.

If you’re a paid Medium member and you’re from one of the aforementioned eligible countries, head over to https://medium.com/partner-program and click “Apply now.”

Screenshot of Medium Partner Program page.
Screenshot of Medium Partner Program page.

Once you’re on the Partner Program, you have to make your stories eligible to make money.

All you have to do is check the box that says “Meter your story” before you hit the publish button. Easy! (See the screenshot below.)

(Note: You won’t see this option unless you’re part of the Medium Partner Program, FYI.)

Screenshot of how to make Medium stories eligible to make money.
Screenshot of how to make Medium stories eligible to make money.

Basically, when you check that box, you’re locking your stories behind a paywall. Meaning, only paid members will be able to read your stories.

(Note: Free members can read up to three paywalled stories per month; however, this doesn’t help the writers because they only make money from paid members’ reading times. More on that below.)

Now, we don’t know exactly how Medium calculates how much a certain writer will earn, but, we do know a few things:

  • Engagement matters: How long paid Medium members read (or listen to) your stories, how many people clap on your story or highlight, and whether a reader follows you after reading your story (if they were not following you before) will be taken into account when calculating your earnings.
  • Follower bonus: If a reader is already your follower (or a follower of the publication if you’ve published your story in one) will result in more earnings on top of engagement-based earnings as mentioned in the last point.
  • Boost bonus: Medium’s internal team of human editors can “boost” certain stories if they love them. If your story gets a boost, it will reach more readers, which will likely result in more engagement, making you more money!

You can read more about how writers on Medium make money here.

Writers can accept tips directly from readers

I’m mentioning this here because a lot of writers ask for tips. Medium even has a way to set up a third-party tipping platform within its system. Better yet, anybody can accept tips on Medium, and you don’t have to join the Partner Program for it.

However, the potential for making money with tips is really, really low!

The general consensus is that you don’t really make much money with tips at all. Maybe a couple of bucks here and there, but that’s about it. Some Medium members actually hate this feature because, hey! Writers are not servers; they don’t deserve tips! (Not my opinion! Writers serve all the time; that’s literally all we do. We’re just not serving food…)

You can set up a tip jar with PayPal or Ko-fi or Buy me a Coffee. You can even use something like Gumroad (as I’ve done). But uh… I’ve never actually received any tips from anyone ever… So there’s that.

To set up this third-party link on Medium, first, create your tip jar using one of the services I mentioned above, then go to Settings > Publishing, and then click “Manage tipping on your stories.” Follow the prompts from there.

Setting up tip jar with Medium
Setting up tip jar with Medium.

Make money with freelance writing clients or by promoting your products

If you do wish to get rich off of Medium, then leveraging the platform to find freelance writing or coaching/consultation clients or sell your own products is the way to go. The Partner Program only pays so much… the highest earners make low four figures on this platform, and that’s not enough to live off of.

I know Zulie Rane gets a lot of freelance writing clients via Medium, and so do many others. The only tip I have for you is this: Make sure you mention (perhaps on your About page and/or your mini bio) that you’re a freelancer or some type of service provider, and share your email address in case someone wants to reach out to you.

The same goes for promoting your products. You can write about your products in stories (also known as content marketing; I do it occasionally and have made some sales that way) and link them on your About page and/or mini bio.

Read More Medium Resources

Some Really Important Medium Features

Now, I’m going to talk about some seriously cool features of Medium.

Profiles vs. publications

Soon after you join Medium, you’ll notice that some people are publishing on their profiles, and some are publishing on “publications.” Some writers do both. (I do both!)

What does it mean, you ask?

The profile page: A profile page belongs to an individual account holder. For example, I have a profile page. Whenever I publish a story, it appears on my profile.

A publication: Publications are shared spaces. As a Medium user, you can create publications and invite other users to join these publications and write for them. Similarly, you can join somebody else’s publication as a writer and publish your stories there.

Even if you publish a story on a publication, it will still appear on your profile page as you’re the author of that story.

I personally have a couple of publications of my own, and I also write for other publications. I especially recommend new writers to join some big pubs (short for publications because it takes too long to type it and I’m lazy…) Because bigger pubs have a lot of followers, new writers with little to no followers can ride on their coattails and get their stories in front of many more readers compared to publishing on their profile only.

Also, remember, how much you earn is directly affected by if a reader already follows you or follows the publication you’ve written for. So, being able to write for a bigger pub = more eyeballs belonging to followers of that pub = more money for the writer!

To add your story to a publication:

  • First, you’ll need to decide which pubs you want to join. You can join multiple pubs. Do a bit of research. See which pubs fit the kind of stories you wish to write about.
  • Second, you’ll need to be added to a pub as a writer. Each publication has its own set of rules for how to join, so read those guidelines carefully. Usually, you’ll find a tab that says “submission” or “write for us” or something similar towards the top of the pub, in the pub’s menu. For example, here’s what it looks like on Globetrotters (it has a tab called “Writer submissions.”) ↓
Screenshot of Globetrotters1a Medium-based publication.
Screenshot of Globetrotters1a Medium-based publication.
  • Third, submit your story to a pub. Most pubs require that you add a story as a draft as opposed to a previously published story. Make sure the story is completely written and edited before adding it to a pub. When that’s done, click the three dots at the top of the editor window, then click “Add to publication.” This will show a list of all the pubs you’re a part of. Click the one you wish to submit your story to. And then click “Submit” and follow the prompts.
Adding a finished story draft to a Medium publication.
Adding a finished story draft to a Medium publication.
  • And finally, wait! Sucks, I know. When you publish a story on your profile (or on a pub you own), you can publish it right away. But the downside of submitting to a pub owned by somebody else is the wait. Because you see, when you submit a story, a human editor of that pub will need to approve it and then publish it. This can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days (in rarer cases, a few weeks!!!) But that’s the price you pay for more eyeballs, reads, followers, and eventually, more money.

Stats

Every day (more like every few minutes) Medium updates its “Stats” page to show how many people are seeing your stories, how many are reading them, and a bunch of other analytics. Get yourself acquainted with this page, check often to see how you’re performing, which stories are doing better than others, etc.

Understanding your stats is crucial for all bloggers on all platforms, and Medium is no different.

You can access your stats page by clicking your profile photo and then clicking “Stats” from the dropdown.

From this stats page, you’ll have access to another page called “Audience stats.” It shows up as a button towards the top of the main stats page. That page gives you info on monthly follower gains and subscriber gains.

Screenshot of Medium Stats page.
Screenshot of Medium Stats page.

Partner Program (Earnings)

Every night, around midnight-ish, give or take some, Medium updates your Partner Program earnings (assuming you’ve joined the program already.)

To see your earnings, once again, click your profile photo, then choose “Partner Program” from the dropdown.

Republishing with canonical links

One thing I do is republish some of my blog posts (from this blog) to Medium. But because they’re originally written for this blog, I want search engines to prioritize my content here on thesideblogger.com and not repurposed stories on Medium.

Enter: canonical links.

Canonical link: This link is added as a rel-tag [rel=”canonical” href=”#”]. It tells search engines that in the event that very similar or duplicate content exists on the internet, search engines should rank the canonical link and not the others.

Most platforms these days automatically add a canonical link to itself after publishing. WordPress does it. Medium does it too. So, when you republish your WordPress content on Medium, you don’t want search engines to start ranking your Medium story over your WordPress post (at least, I’d assume that is the case for most people.)

So, Medium allows you to easily edit this canonical link, and change it to your WordPress blog post link.

Let me show you how I republish my WordPress posts:

  • Copy and paste your post from its original location (on WordPress, in my case) to Medium’s editor. Basically, treat it like a brand-new story.
  • Publish it like you would a brand-new story.
  • After it is published, click the three dots next to your story title and click “Story settings” from the drop-down list.
Go to story settings from a published Medium story.
Go to the story settings from a published Medium story.
  • Then, when you’re in more story settings, click “Advanced Settings” from the list shown on the left. This will take you to, you’ve guessed it, advanced settings!
  • Click “Advanced Settings” again (yeah, lots of redundancy…) to expand this section.
  • You should now see “Customize Canonical Link.” Check the box that says, “This story was originally published elsewhere.”
  • An empty field will show up where you can paste the original link of the story.
  • Paste the link, and then click the green button that says “Save canonical link.”
  • And… done!
Add a new canonical link to a published Medium story.
Add a new canonical link to a published Medium story.

Please note:

There’s another way to automatically add the canonical link without having to go through all these steps. It’s when you use the “Import a story” function on Medium.

I recommend against it!

When you import a story using the Import function, Medium automatically dates back the publish date to the original post’s publication day. Let’s say that you published a post on your WordPress blog in November. And you’re republishing it on Medium in January. When you do it using the Import function, Medium will date back the publication day to its original November date.

This is not good! Medium algorithm prefers fresh content. So, when you have a story that’s dated back a couple of months, the algorithm won’t prioritize it, and people won’t even see that you published a new story on Medium!

But when you republish using the first method I explained above, the canonical link changes, yet the publication date remains current (as in, when you published it on Medium.) And Medium’s algorithm treats it like a fresh story.

So yeah, even though the first method is a bit more tedious, it is still the preferred way of republishing your old content from WordPress (or wherever you blog) to Medium.

Engaging with writers you like

On Medium, a reader can engage with a writer in a few different ways (using built-in features): Readers can “clap.” They can “highlight.” They can leave comments. They can add stories to lists. They can share stories on their social media, etc. All of these are important and are used to calculate how much money a writer makes.

Medium shows stories to readers based on several factors. There’s actual, human-curated distribution (known as the Boost), and then there’s also an algorithm.

To make money on Medium, you need eyeballs on your stories. Now, you cannot control who the human editors of Medium will boost, aside from writing good stories and then making a wish, that is. But you, as a reader, can help the writers you like by engaging with their stories. because remember, more engagement = more money for the writer!

I know this isn’t useful to you as a writer, but karma!

Help other writers, and thou shall be helped… I think… maybe.

But here’s an important distinction: Do not follow someone hoping they’ll follow back. Do not engage with a writer hoping they’ll read your stories and engage with you too. Writers on Medium love the platform because it’s different from other social media platforms. Here we don’t do follow-for-follow stuff. I follow writers and engage with writers who do not follow me or never engage with my stories. And that’s OK. There are also writers who engage with me and follow me, and I don’t do the same for them. And that’s OK too. That’s how you keep this platform “clean” and good.

Read More Medium Resources

Some Hard Facts About Medium

HooooKkaaayyyy… we’re almost at the end, so let me wrap up with a few reminders and good practices:

Quality and quantity… but yeah… quality

Quantity is more important on Medium (and the internet in general) than quality—some folks will argue.

At times I’ve heard myself say the same thing and practice the same thing, and that is unfortunate.

The idea behind this ill advice is that the more you publish, the more money you’ll make.

That is only true when you publish really good writing all the time! I know a few writers on Medium who publish really valuable content several times a week, and that’s great! Most of these writers are veterans of their respective fields: magazine writers, journalists, educators.

I’m not that writer. Many of you reading this are not that writer.

But if you’ve decided to write—whether as a way to express yourself or as a way to make a living, or perhaps both—please, take the time to learn the craft. I know it’s easier said than done with so much noise out there telling us we need to publish daily (especially on Medium) that we start to give into this self-detrimental behavior.

So here’s my two cents:

Write every day or as often as you can. It’s good practice, and practicing daily will definitely make you better at any craft. But know that when you’re a new creator, you’re more likely to create bad or mediocre things. For a writer, it’s the editing and revising that take our stories from meh to awesome. If you publish a lot of mediocre things, you’re only practicing mediocrity, and probably starting to get really good at being mediocre too!

Don’t do that! Take some time to edit and revise. Try not to hit the publish button on the day you write something. Come back the next day with fresh eyes, read what you wrote the previous day, and I’m sure you’ll find ways to make things better.

Yes, the quantity still matters.  So, don’t get hung up on perfection. You don’t need to publish Pulitzer-level stories on Medium every single time. But learn to identify when something is mediocre and when it’s much better. Good, even! Good… is good enough to publish 🙂 There’s no need for greatness.  Try to strike a balance between quantity and quality, and be intentional about trying to polish your pieces before publishing.

Also, when you take the time to write good things, other opportunities may present themselves. I’ve talked about how some writers find freelance clients on Medium. That happens when you write good stories. I know writers who’ve gained tens of thousands of email list subscribers by writing really good and useful content, which led them to start their own businesses outside of Medium. Others have gone on to get book deals!

All of that doesn’t happen unless you take your writing quality seriously.

Why I Write on Medium

Here’s a short and sweet pre-conclusion conclusion to this rather lengthy guide to Medium.

As I’ve said before, I didn’t take Medium seriously until a few months ago, as of writing this. In fact, I am now writing on two separate Medium accounts!

The reason is simple: I believe that the folks who run Medium, seriously try their best to help the writers on this platform.

And also, because the platform is pretty fun.

I mean, think about it!

Amateur writers can start writing on Medium and start making a [side] income within a few months! If you provide value, you can make several hundred to a few thousand bucks per month! Is there any other platform out there that does it? Some have tried, sure, but none of them focused so much on the writers and their experiences.

Medium isn’t perfect. It’s run by real people, and as real people do, they make mistakes. But they try different things, learn from their mistakes, and do their best to make Medium a fun place for both readers and writers.

Can’t say the same about most businesses out there, so…

Yes. That’s why I write on Medium. And even though I haven’t made it to one of the highest earners on the platform yet, I still love it here, and above all, I enjoy reading and writing on Medium.

I hope you will too. 😊

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I write on Medium for free?

Yes. It does not cost you anything to write on Medium. But if you want to read stories that are locked behind a paywall, or make money with the Partner Program, then you will need to become a paid member.

Can anyone write on Medium?

Yes. Anyone can create an account and start writing. But if you wish to start making money with your writing, then you must reside in one of the eligible countries (check above).

Do I own my content on Medium?

Absolutely! Whatever you publish belongs to you; you are the owner of your creative property. You can write or delete your own content at any time.

Can I be an anonymous writer on Medium?

Yes. Many writers are. You do have to submit your tax information with your real name and identity when you join the Partner Program to make money from Medium, but that information is not accessible to the general public. People only see the name you have set on the front end, and that name can be anything you choose.

How much does Medium pay for 1,000 views?

Medium does not pay per view. Earnings are calculated based on many factors. You will find a more detailed explanation above in this blog post.


And that’s all, current and future Medium writers! Hope this guide will help you set up your Medium account and get going.

Of course, this isn’t all. As with most things, there’s more to this platform. But there’s only so much you can share in a single blog post. I have more Medium-related resources here, so feel free to give them a read!

Still, you should have enough now to understand how the platform works. But if you have any follow-up questions, leave them in the comments and I’ll do my best to answer.


Oh, FYI, I have something a little extra (I’m calling it a FREE Medium Noobclass 😝) Just sign up below, and you’ll be on your merry way to a 5-day email sequence on all things Medium from someone who’s been working at it, very seriously, for about 6.5 months now! Sign up ↓↓↓☺

FREE 5-Day Medium Noobclass!

Medium best practices and...

Extra resources, Medium tag lists, title lists, and things I’ve learned since July 2022, in a 5-day email master noobclass 😝

(You’ll also be signing up for my regular newsletters, FYI.)

How to start writing on Medium - by The Side Blogger

19 thoughts on “How to Write on Medium in 2023 (and Make an Easy Side Income)”
  1. Hi Maliha! I will definitely give Medium a try!! Do you think it’s still relevant and acceptable to republish content from my own blog to Medium? Following your tips for canonical tags, of course 🙂 I’ve just started a new blog, so this could give it a boost (hopefully)… but I can’t create new content solely for Medium right now… I am a slow writer eheh Thanks so much for sharing this!

  2. Your blog is a great resource for those considering Medium as a platform for their writing, and additional insights into building an audience could be an interesting addition to help newcomers make the most of their Medium experience.

  3. Thanks for the great article. I had a few questions. Can you tell me if there is any benefit to writing free articles first before joining the partner program? For example should you build up a small portfolio (ie: 10 articles) before, or just go straight into the partner program? And can you move previously free articles behind the paywall after joining? Also any benefit to creating your own publication and publishing straight to it? Seems like the better way to expand in future over just your own page, but maybe no real benefit when starting off? Would love to hear your thoughts.

    Thanks
    David

    1. There’s no right or wrong answer for any of the questions you asked. You can write for free if don’t care to make money from day-one but wish to reach as many people as possible. Or paywall all stories if you want to make money from the start. And yes, you can move previously published articles behind a paywall (Directions here: https://www.thesideblogger.com/medium-resources/what-is-medium-partner-program/) As for creating your own publications, again, that depends. Do you want to manage your own publication? Then start your own! Are you busy and do not have enough time to work with other writers? Then publish on others’ publications. It’s all relevant and there’s no single right answer, and there’s not enough room in a comment for me to consider every possible scenario where one might do one thing over another. I often say to anyone inquiring about Medium: Do what works for you, and keep an experimental mindset. In my experience, most successful folks on Medium treat the platform in one of two ways: They either treat it as a business (wherein they’ll likely create their own publication, focus on growing followers, and write the type of stories that make money through the Boost program and/or help them get customers and clients), or, they use the platform to share their experience and knowledge regardless of how much money they’re making, in which case they’re happy either publishing on their profile or on others’ publications. These are scenarios you have to consider yourself and make a decision based on your personal goals.

  4. Hi Maliha! This is a really great post, I recently just posted my first article on Medium and am excited to post more. I’m hoping I get more comfortable with writing and can flourish in the writing community! Thank you for sharing 🙂

  5. Catherine Lugo

    Hi. Thank you for all this info on medium. I’m having trouble getting my article to show up on medium and don’t know what to do. Can you help me?

    1. When you hit the publish button, you should see the story on your profile. If that’s not happening, the best thing to do would be to reach out to Medium support.

  6. Thank you so much for in-depth information. With the details you posted, I was able to post my first story. Best of luck to you on your writing journey.

  7. Maliha,

    This post is a super fine example of content that follows Google’s E-E-A-T guidelines and Helpful Content Algorithm update. In other words, bam! You nailed it. I shared your post. I subscribed to Medium. Now I must buy you dinner!

    Thank you so VERY much.

  8. Maliha really you nailed it. Everything I needed to know on Medium or/and blogging!! Thank you!
    Everything you share is a treasure for me at this starting point of mine. Thanks again.

  9. Wow! This post was awesome! Thank you so much, Maliha, for sharing. I joined Medium a few years ago because I thought that freelance writing and copy editing was going to be my new side gig. The gal that I was following mentioned writing on Medium might help jumpstart your freelance business. But once I joined, I just couldn’t think of what to write. I felt like what I had to say wasn’t that great. Since then, I have started my own blog, but find myself wanting to branch out more from my blog niche. I’m thinking Medium might be a great place to do this, while also growing my blog, too! Thanks for putting in the work for such a long post… After starting a blog, I understand how long it can take to write, edit, and post great content.

    1. Thanks, Taylor; appreciate the kind words 🙂 I’m enjoying Medium. It does have some of the same annoying things as many social media sites, but once I focus on finding the writers I love and writing and getting better at writing my own stories, things start to feel a lot better, LOL. And well, it’s been paying for my coffee shop trips for the last few months, which is cool :p

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