If you live in the US or any Western country for that matter, the money you potentially make from Medium won’t make you rich or pay your rent. But it can still bring in a bit of side income.
Writers who’ve put in the work to grow their following and influence on Medium can make four figures on the platform with their words alone. Take Zulie Rane, for example. She used to publish daily, sometimes multiple stories a day. And now she can publish anywhere from 3-6 stories per month and still make 1-2k per month on average.
But remember, to get there, Zulie and other top earners on Medium have worked diligently for at least a year, some longer.
In any case, whether you make a grand or chump change, you need to join the Partner Program first.
So, in this blog post, I want to give you a breakdown of what the Partner Program is, how it works, and how you can join.
What is the Medium Partner Program
The Partner Program is Medium’s revenue-sharing program by which Medium pays its writers—those who join the Partner Program—once they’ve met the criteria for joining.
How the Partner Program works
To understand how it works, you must understand the system from the point of view of both a reader and a writer on the platform.
From a reader’s perspective:
- The articles published on Medium are either locked behind a paywall or available to read for free.
- Anyone can land on Medium and read a free article, known as a “story” within the Medium ecosystem. There’s no limit on how many free articles someone can read on Medium.
- However, a reader can only read up to three paywalled articles per month for free. If they wish to read more than that, they’ll need to become a paid Medium member, which costs $5 per month when paid monthly, or $50 per year when paid annually. This unlocks all the paywalled stories for the paid member.
- Part of their subscription fee goes to Medium (cost of running the platform, keeping it ad-free, etc.)
- And part of their subscription fee goes directly to the writers they read and engage with.
From a writer’s perspective:
- A writer on Medium can join the Partner Program if they meet certain criteria (more on that in a minute.)
- Once they join the Partner Program, writers gain the ability to lock their stories behind the paywall, if they so choose to. Meaning, only paid Medium members/subscribers are able to read these paywalled stories (unless it’s one of their three monthly free paywalled stories, as mentioned above.)
- When a paid Medium member reads or listens to a story and engages with it, the writer makes money. Basically, how much they get paid is directly related to a reader’s engagement by way of the following: reading or listening time, claps, comments, etc.
How to Join Medium Partner Program
If you wish to write on Medium and join the Partner Program to start making money, then follow these steps:
- Create an account on Medium.
- Become a paid member. To join the Partner Program, a writer must be a paid Medium member.
- You must be from one of the approved countries. This may change in the future to add more countries, but unfortunately, writers outside of this list cannot currently join the Partner Program. As of August 1, 2023, the eligible countries are: 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.
- You must have a Stripe account. Medium pays via Stripe only!
- Once you meet the above criteria, go ahead and apply to be on the Partner Program here.
- Once you’ve been approved, you’ll receive an email with your acceptance into the program and some action steps. Basically, you’ll be asked to accept their terms, set up payment with a Stripe account, and fill out tax forms.
And, off you go 🙂
How to lock stories behind the paywall
Once you’re in the Partner Program, you can start to “meter” stories, which is Medium’s way of distinguishing paywalled stories from free stories. This is the first method by which a writer can make money directly from their writing.
You can meter a story before you publish it. Or, if you’ve already published a story, then you can still meter it. I’ll show you how.
How to meter an unpublished draft:
When you click the “Publish” button (or the “Submit” button if you’re submitting your story to a publication,) you should see the option to meter your story. Make sure to check the “Meter your story” checkbox.
How to meter a published story:
Now, let’s say that you’ve already published a story but forgot to check the “Meter your story” check box before publishing. Or, maybe you’re a brand new writer and have recently joined the Partner Program. But you want to go and meter all the stories you published before you joined the program. In any case, it’s simple to turn on metering even after a story has been published.
To turn on metering for a published story:
- Go to the story page.
- Click the three dots below the story title, and then click “Edit story” from the dropdown.
- Then, in the edit window, click the three dots on the top again, and then click “Manage meter setting.”
- This should pull up another option. Click the checkbox that says, “Meter your story,” and then hit the “Save button.” And done!
How is the Earning Calculated
The finer details are unknown to me or anyone else aside from folks who perhaps designed the earning model over at Medium’s headquarters and coded it. That said, we do know a few things, and that’s enough, in my opinion.
Here’s what we know:
- Engagement: Much of the money is calculated by way of readers’ engagement. As is, how long are they reading or listening to your stories? Are they clapping? Are they highlighting? Are they leaving comments? Does a reader choose to become your follower after reading your story?
- Exiting followers: As mentioned just now, if a reader becomes a follower after reading your story, it’s counted as engagement. Which makes you money. But what about existing followers? Well, you still make money based on your existing followers’ engagement on your story, and the earning model adds a multiplier to your engagement-based earning for each existing follower who reads your story. On top of that, if you choose to publish your story on a publication, then if a publication follower reads your story, that’s also counted in this model.
- Boost: Medium has a team of internal editors. They review stories and if they deem a story high-quality, then they might “Boost” it. Boosting gives a story more exposure and reach. Basically, more people will see that Boosted story, resulting in, hopefully, more reads and more engagement and more new followers. Which will then result in more income for the writer. Read Boost criteria here.
Well, that is all you need to know about Medium’s Partner Program. If I missed anything or if you have further questions, feel free to leave a comment below.
Also, here’s a guide to all things Medium for total beginners:
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