Writing| Blogging | Truth Serum | Data Analysis & Insights
I Made $1000 Dollars Writing 5 Blogs On Medium. This is What I Learned.
Can the rich reservoir of data lead the way on what truly works on Medium?
January 2021 was one of the spectacular months on Medium — my view count shot up with 24 hours of viewing time. A viral post in a truly meaningful sense. That motivated me to look back on Medium as a writing platform on four metrics — one obvious starter metric, two more evolved metrics, and finally what really works metric. The insights are based on the rich tapestry of my data.
1. Top 10 Blogs by Views Metric
Let’s start with a punchline on the metric that enamors every writer — how many readers viewed what you shared. My top 10 blogs amassed about 100 K views.
Insights studying the data
If I zoom back and look at this list — the first thing that jumps out — only 2 of the 10 were in a publication. And even among the two — one of them was added a week after I had published it. Does that mean publication does not help? Far from it, reach is a probability game and a publication readership expands the reach. All we can conclude is that you do not have to be in a publication for scale. That could be a comforting thought for those who like to publish without waiting!
Another statistic that is worthy of your interest — there is a general rule of thumb — 80% of results come from 20% effort. Based on the distribution of my data of medium blogs, I like the following metric better — 50% of results come from 5% effort. It seems to hold water at my end. The implications are two-fold:
1. 50% reminds me of this famous line “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half.”- John Wanamaker (1838–1922)
2. 5% reminds me that there is no crystal ball on which blog will take off and which wouldn’t. Like investing, you have to be consistent in your writing. No magic bullet, just consistent through put. Based on my experience:
Time + Consistency + Quality = Success on Medium
2. and 3. Top 10 Blogs by Engagement — Fans and Reads
As time evolves — the writer inside each one of us sets the metric bar higher —how many readers go the extra step and engage back? The beauty of the digital world vs. print magazine is this: digital has the option of direct feedback.
On Medium, fans/claps and reads are the metrics. Here is mine ranked ordered by fan count. The one common theme among the top 4 of 5 blogs, they were all distributed by Medium curators.
“Fans” are an acknowledgment metric — a nod of the head of a reader who found your writing at the minimum interesting and at the brim — relatable and joyous.
Medium has a better metric, in my opinion — reads. How many people took the time to read your blogs. It is a salute from the reader to the writer — your content is worthy enough to partake in my time.
My job as a writer is to make it worth its while. That’s it. And at Medium, I have been lucky with north of 50% readership.
4. The ultimate metric: Time spent reading.
One of my favorite things about Medium is that they have one thing many other platforms don’t — how many hours were collectively spent by members reading your blog.
As a data geek, who happens to enjoy writing — I feel this metric is the perfect marriage of time commitment from both the reader and writer. And Medium now pays the writer on this metric.
4 to 6 min long reads seem to be the best sweet spot — not too long to intimidate the crowd and not too short to leave them wanting.
Bonus 5. What content really works on Medium for me. (Caution: Your mileage may vary.)
If I stand back, zoom back on what resonates on Medium, few points jump out.
- Precision vs. accuracy. Good idea, well written (green in the chart above) is embraced more by the readers than the pedestrian idea that is perfectly written. Punchline — don’t beat yourself up, the audience is very forgiving on style. Your central theme and insights make it worth their time.
- Common sense vs. uncommon. On ideas, my theme — hidden in plain sight. Worked out well for me.
- Talking vs. speaking. You speak at a podium. You chat with your neighbor. I prefer the second option on Medium. Worked wonders for me.
- Instinct vs. research. Go with your instinct. Written from the heart blogs have resonated more than well-researched ones. The combination has been the ultimate bell-weather — insightful but not on the face.
- Meander vs. Message. Nobody likes to be told. Everyone is willing to hear about experiences and often chuckle at your meanders. Nostalgia works. Being relatable triumphs radiant messaging. Sharing your experience is key. Like this blog!
Hope the read was worth your time and I salute you for taking the time to read.