The 5 Best Reasons to Write on Medium (Even if You Don’t Earn Much Money)

My Partner Program earnings basically cover my phone bill, and that’s totally fine

Shawn Forno
May 13 · 9 min read

Like 99% of the writers on Medium, I don’t earn a ton of money through the Partner Program. In fact, since I started writing on the platform in earnest back in September 2019, I’ve only earned about $350—most of it from just four or five of the 30 articles I’ve published so far.

That’s about $12.50 per article for those of you keeping track. Not exactly my normal freelancing rate.

https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-find-better-featured-images-on-unsplash-3602880204b0
https://writingcooperative.com/how-to-find-better-featured-images-on-unsplash-3602880204b0
Stats for my highest earning article so far this month

Heck, last month (April 2020) I raked in a whopping $35.92. And my best month to date was March 2020 where I scored a staggering, $80.31.

Image for post
Image for post
How I track my article earnings and follower count

The point is, the bulk of my freelance income doesn’t come from Medium. And I doubt it ever will. But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop writing on here.

In fact, I plan to publish more articles on Medium than anywhere else over the next six months, and not (just) in hopes of earning a little more cash each month.

If you’re struggling to increase your Medium earnings or deciding whether you should invest more time on this platform, it’s important to remember that there are some really good reasons to keep writing on Medium—even if you don’t make much money (yet).

Here are the five biggest reasons to keep writing on Medium that have absolutely nothing to do with your monthly earnings.

1) Medium will make you a better writer

The first, and best reason to publish your writing on Medium is simple:

Writing for a built-in audience, competing with your peers, pitching and submitting drafts to publications you admire, managing your time and expectations, and tracking your traffic and earnings are all valuable skills that you need to learn if you want to make it as a professional writer.

Oh, and there’s the whole “establishing your own voice and building a body of published work within a specific niche” thing. Congrats if you can do that.

Simply put, Medium gives writers young and old, novice and journeyman, a public outlet for their work. And that’s amazing. When you add that to the massive community aspect of other talented creators, you have the foundation for a great writing career.

More importantly, writing on Medium means owning your public persona as a “writer.” When you click “Publish” you’re saying out loud where everyone can read it, “I am a writer.” And that’s huge.

Even if you don’t earn much money, you’re working towards your goal of becoming a writer. And in the long run, that’s going to be worth more than a couple of good monthly paychecks.

2) The Medium community is full of talented writers

Writing is often seen as a solitary pursuit, and while I like to go full shut-in as much as the next wordsmith, this current lockdown has reminded me of a simple truth that many writers have tried to ignore for years.

Writers need other people.

We need fresh perspectives and innovation to seed and germinate our own work. We need confrontation, challenge, inspiration, exploration, and yes sometimes even a little outrage to get our best work to the page. We also need accountability and the pressure of deadlines and an audience. Without all of this, you can procrastinate, stall, and ultimately lose momentum.

Luckily Medium is chock full of catalysts (like other writers) to keep you writing.

I’m regularly inspired by the fantastic essayists, humorists, journalists, novelists, poets, bloggers, political experts, tech reviewers, and travel writers on this platform. It’s easy to feel like Medium is just another content website, but when you regularly read, write, and engage with the stories and articles on Medium you realize it can be so much more.

And you get to be part of that ever-evolving conversation.

This isn’t my first online writing community (anybody remember Helium?), but it’s easily my favorite so far. And that’s largely thanks to the other writers on here.

I found some of my favorite new writers right here on Medium including:

John DeVore, Tim Denning, umair haque, Sean Kernan, Jessica Wildfire, August Birch, Darius Foroux, Kris Gage, and a dozen others.

If you keep creating, improving, publishing and submitting your writing to publications on Medium, you might even get featured right alongside your favorite writers. How cool is that?

3) Medium publications are the fastest way to build your audience

Ok, no more stalling. It’s time to get down to the nitty-gritty. The cash. The scrilla. The loot. It’s no secret that most writers publish on Medium to grow their audience, and for most writers, more readers usually equals more money.

Sharing your stories and building a community is all well and good, but you still need to earn a living. I get that. And that’s exactly why I still think Medium is a one of the best places for writers—especially unestablished writers—even if you’re not earning a lot of money right now.

As of 2019, Medium was getting roughly 100 million visitors each month. That’s banana pants. And while your stories are unlikely to get much of that traffic right away, the right story can capture a surprisingly large chunk of traffic.

You can (and should) start your own website or blog, but unless you’re incredibly lucky, very talented, a secret marketing savant, or willing to put in 18 months of steady work with little positive feedback you’re probably not going to grow your audience to anything resembling what you can build on Medium in a matter of months.

And it’s a lot easier if you get published in a few select Medium publications.

Medium publications are a fast track for finding hundreds if not thousands of new readers. Submit your work to as many Medium publications in your niche and join the larger conversation.

Some of my most popular articles were published in The Startup, The Writing Cooperative, The Bigger Picture, and Mind Cafe. They’ve each lead to more followers, some really helpful comments, and encouragement to continue writing. Plus, they’ve been my highest earning pieces to date.

Getting your work in front of new readers is one of the hardest parts of writing — especially when you’re just getting started. And while it’s great to earn money writing, it’s also valuable to build an audience of readers and fans.

And remember, the editors and publications you work with on Medium manage other websites and publications. Use Medium to get your foot in the door and you can build lucrative working relationships with dozens of publishing professionals for years of paying work.

Even if you self-publish, Medium’s editorial staff can curate your story, increasing views tenfold. You might even make it to the front page of Medium or even one of their newsletters. Talk about a wider audience.

4) Medium can get you more (paid) work

In 2017 I was contacted and eventually hired as the Head of Content for a successful startup. It paid over $80,000 a year plus benefits. Not bad for a writing gig.

When I asked how they found out about my writing (I didn’t apply for the position) they said they were offering me the job because they came across this story:

I wrote that piece back in 2016, back before I even knew anything about monetizing stories on Medium. I don’t even think the partner sharing program existed back then.

I just wrote that article because I had something to say, and I wanted people to read it. And it’s still my most viewed article.

Image for post
Image for post
stats for my most popular Medium story

I didn’t write that story to get a job or build a portfolio, but it led to a very lucrative full-time content position. And that’s the whole point.

Not every story on Medium has to earn you money from views or clicks or affiliate links or whatever “passive income” stream you’re building. You don’t have to know where every article will lead or how much money you’ll make in the future.

Sometimes you just have something to say. And if you put it out there in a way that resonates with people, you can create career opportunities down the road.

5) Medium is fun and easy to use

I’ve never really enjoyed writing on a Google Doc or (god forbid) a Microsoft Word document. Something about that blank page and the overstuffed taskbar at the top freaked me out.

And while I’ve worked with plenty of CMS platforms like Wordpress, Wix, and Squarespace, the act of formatting and publishing was always kind of a pain in the ass. And that’s the final reason I like writing on Medium so much.

It’s just really easy to write here.

The whole writing experience on Medium is so seamless and pleasant that it’s easy to forget just how good Medium really is. Seriously, think about all the upsides of writing (and reading) on Medium:

  • There are zero ads (hooray)
  • Articles feature uniform formatting for simple, streamlined publishing (and reading)
  • You don’t have to build a complicated portfolio or profile—just add a picture and start writing
  • Heck, you can even create your own professional publication in a few minutes (Here’s mine: AroundAbout)

Medium gives you a well-designed platform and profile so you can just start writing. I genuinely enjoy writing and publishing on Medium, and I’ve noticed an uptick in my productivity outside of client work, which is really important.

Medium has helped me build and foster a regular writing routine, and that more than anything is going to build more value over the long run than a few well-paying articles next week.

Plus, you’re also kind of building a working writing portfolio of your work, which is always valuable. Especially if you’re a new writer.

Medium is a great place to write

I firmly believe that the best writing helps people. If you can provide something valuable to your readers, then you are already a great writer.

That “help” can take many forms from a personal story about relationships to a how-to guide for the freelancer invoice template I use.

I’ve received hundreds of heartfelt comments from readers thanking me for helping them get started as a new writer. Others have thanked me for specific tips and more advanced writing advice.

Each comment and thumbs up keeps me energized about writing and shows me that my writing has an audience, even if it doesn’t pay a ton.

Freelance income always starts as a trickle

Would it be nice to write a “viral” article that earns $2,500 a month? Of course. But you shouldn’t give up if that doesn’t happen because there is a lot more value baked into Medium than your monthly earnings.

Writing on Medium is a great way to build an audience, reach engaged readers, work on your craft, connect with a community of awesome writers, get featured in publications you admire, get job offers, build a portfolio, and build a regular writing routine that can turn into a lifelong career.

And don’t forget, unlike tons of other platforms, Medium does share revenue with writers. If you keep at it, you can grow that trickle into a downpour.

Shawn Forno is a freelance copywriter, content manager, travel writer, and blogger. You can check out his writing portfolio or his travel articles for more helpful tips.

Aroundabout

Travel, work, and life in your own roundabout way.

Shawn Forno

Written by

A very left-handed writer | The Startup, Writer’s Cooperative, PS I Love You, Better Marketing | newsletter: aroundist.substack.com | aroundist.com

Aroundabout

Travel, work, and life in your own roundabout way.

Shawn Forno

Written by

A very left-handed writer | The Startup, Writer’s Cooperative, PS I Love You, Better Marketing | newsletter: aroundist.substack.com | aroundist.com

Aroundabout

Travel, work, and life in your own roundabout way.

Medium is an open platform where 170 million readers come to find insightful and dynamic thinking. Here, expert and undiscovered voices alike dive into the heart of any topic and bring new ideas to the surface. Learn more

Follow the writers, publications, and topics that matter to you, and you’ll see them on your homepage and in your inbox. Explore

If you have a story to tell, knowledge to share, or a perspective to offer — welcome home. It’s easy and free to post your thinking on any topic. Write on Medium

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store