Medium Features & Best Practices

How to Support Your Favorite Medium Writers (5 Practical Ideas)

5 min read

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When you first start writing on Medium, you realize this one thing pretty quickly: It’s harder than it looks!

If you’re trying to make money on Medium, gain followers, get more views and reads, then you have to do a few things:

  • You have to write pretty good stuff. Ideally useful or entertaining or both.
  • And you have to write and publish often to stay relevant.

And even then, it takes time to take off. At the time of writing this, I’ve been publishing well over 10 stories every month for the last six months, and the most I’ve made in a single month is $196.

So, yeah. Not easy.

But, if you’re a reader on Medium (and perhaps a fellow writer too; most writers are also readers, after all), you can help the writers you like. Here’s how:

How to support your favorite Medium writers:

  1. Become a paid Medium member
  2. Follow the writers you truly appreciate
  3. Engage with stories you like by clapping and highlighting
  4. Share the stories you enjoy
  5. Become a paid member using a writer’s referral link

1) Become a paid Medium member

Medium doesn’t work like most publications or magazines. Other websites run ads, and they have teams of people securing funding or driving up subscriptions. Medium, on the other hand, does not run ads. Its operating costs, including the sum they pay out to writers, come directly from members’ subscription fees.

Other publishing sites, whether that’s The New Yorker or the Popsugar, pay the writers a pre-determined rate. The writers know exactly what they’re making from these gigs. But not on Medium. Here, writers make money only when a paid Medium member reads their stories.

So, the best way to support writers on Medium?

Become a paid subscriber and read!

But hey, no pressure! If you’re someone who stumbled on this article by sheer coincidence and you have no plans of spending any time on Medium whatsoever, then you have zero obligation to sign up!

It’s only when you spend time on the platform—and especially if you’re a writer on the Partner Program—that you really should sign up for a membership and assist fellow writers.

2) Follow the writers you truly appreciate

Blindly following a lot of writers left and right does nothing for anyone. But if you follow the writers you truly love, then they’ll be on your “Following” feed every time they publish a new story, and you’ll get to enjoy reading them.

Medium "Following" tab allows you to see chronological feed of all new stories published from the writers and publications you follow.
Medium’s “Following” tab on the homepage allows you to see a chronological feed of all new stories published by the writers and publications you follow.

Doing this will improve how much you read on Medium. Remember, your reading time is directly tied to how much these writers get paid. So, the more you read your favorite authors, the more you support them financially. And let’s face it… most of us write on Medium because we’ve got bills to pay. It’s not a hobby; it’s a livelihood.

Except for a few writers… there are always a few exceptions to the norm, huh.

3) Engage beyond just reading by clapping and highlighting

Recently, I was reading something Medium CEO—Tony Stubblebine—published on 3 Min Read, Medium’s official blog. (If you’re a writer on Medium, go ahead and read what he said!)

In it, Tony shares a lot of important nuggets, including some predictions for the future of the platform.

But the most important thing he shared is this, and I’m paraphrasing:

Medium wants to show readers the most useful, valuable, and entertaining stories on the platform. And to understand which stories fit the bill, Medium pays close attention to stories that get a lot of claps and highlights. 

In other words, if readers do not engage with stories, then Medium doesn’t bring a whole lot of traffic to those stories either.

Yes, how much time you spend reading a story is useful, and it matters. But so does your engagement, i.e. your claps and highlights.

So yes, please clap (you can clap up to 50 times!) if you’ve enjoyed reading a story. And please highlight if you particularly enjoyed/found value in a certain part of a story.

These are community signals that Medium uses to boost the stories and show them to a larger audience.

And a larger audience usually translates to more reads, more reading times, and more money for the authors.

To clap, find the “palm” icon at the end of every story or the screen. To highlight, select a portion of the text, and then click the highlighter icon from the options that show up.

Highlights and claps on Medium.
Highlights and claps on Medium.

4) Share the stories you enjoy

Beyond reading, clapping, and highlighting, also consider sharing the stories you loved reading on your social media or inside your own articles (if you’re a writer), etc.

In the linked article above (from lé CEO), he also suggests that authors who promote their stories on social media or emails will also see a boost in visibility.

But that means anyone can share the stories and give the authors a boost! If you love a writer, you can help and give their stories a boost too! By sharing those stories with your own audience, wherever they may be.

5) Become a paid member using a writer’s referral link

All Medium writers on the Partner Program have access to their own unique Medium referral link. When someone becomes a Medium member using that link, the referring writer earns a commission, and they keep earning a commission as long as the member remains a member.

Basically, if you sign up for a monthly Medium membership using my referral link, then I’ll continue to earn a monthly commission that comes directly from your subscription free.

Maliha's Medium referral page.
Maliha’s Medium referral page.

^^ That’s what a referral page looks like. Just click “Become a member” and follow the prompts from there.

Writers on Medium spend a lot of time and effort trying to help readers in one way or another. But they’re not guaranteed a pre-determined payment for their work. Their compensation entirely depends on the readers themselves. So, if you’ve ever found something of value or entertaining to read on the platform, consider helping the many writers who labor away to make some extra cash.

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