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How to Write Medium Articles That Will Earn You More Money

5 ways to write longer articles people actually want to read

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

Are your Medium articles getting thousands of views without making significant money? You’re not alone. I recently explained how many Medium writers are experiencing this baffling situation with their stats, and why.

The monetary value of an article is determined by the total “reading time” of internal, paying Medium members only.

So, let’s say your article has 50k views. First of all, congrats! But let’s say only 10k of those views are “internal.” That means 80% of your potential “reads” are coming from non-paying readers who won’t earn you a single cent. Despite your article’s popularity, it won’t be very lucrative.

What’s worse is that your article is a 2-minute read. Although you’ve had 10k paying eyes on your work, those readers aren’t sticking around long enough to boost your total “reading time” or income.

Longer articles earn more money on Medium, but that’s only true of high-quality content that keeps readers within the platform engaged.

So, how can you do this? Here are five strategies to help you lengthen your Medium articles while maintaining your writing’s integrity and value.

5 Ways to Write Longer Articles People Will Read

Step 1: Use a strategic structure

Outlines are a great way to organize your thoughts and turn your ideas into pieces of work. Not only do outlines help you beef up the sections you can afford to elaborate on — thus building longer articles — but they also assist in structuring your articles in a way that will keep readers engaged.

The bare bones of that structure should function like this:

  1. The What? — Introduction to a problem
  2. The Why? — Details supporting why it is a problem and why the reader should want to learn the solution
  3. The How? — The solution to that problem

Articles that offer the solution during an introduction tend to lose readers right away. Imagine your article is a film. If you give away the ending during the first scene, people might leave the cinema. This structure presents a problem, convinces readers they need a solution, and then slowly reveals it.

Step 2: Weave a personal narrative

I love anecdotes and Medium does too. Beginning articles with a personal story is a great way to build a relationship with your followers and establish credibility. Readers want to know why they should listen to you. What makes you the right person to handle this topic? Anecdotes are a simple, effective way to prove you’re a reliable source.

Anecdotes can be brief as long as they play a supporting role in the problem you’re solving. Consider the ways in which you have personally struggled. How did you fix it? How did your life change since you found a solution? Personal narrative acts as a catalyst that drives the story forward.

I rely most heavily on my own experience during the introduction and conclusion of my articles. This helps wrap a story up into a perfect bow.

Step 3: Inject useful, supporting research

Another way to densify and legitimize your work is by referring to scholarly studies that support your claims. Injecting research into your articles helps prove that 1) others share this problem and 2) your solution works.

Academic journals are the best source of credible information. You can find journals relevant to your topic with a simple Google search. Other credible sources include websites registered by government and educational institutions (.gov, .edu), recent articles written by well-known authors, academic databases, and Google Scholar materials.

When directly quoting or summarizing information from these sources, be sure to hyperlink to their origin, as I did above. If you fail to give proper credit, Medium will not “further distribute” your article. You should also make sure to avoid unreliable sources including out-of-date studies (published over 10 years ago), social media posts, Wikipedia, message boards, and blogs.

Step 4: Add imagery

Another great way to support your claims is by embedding screenshots, charts, comics, videos, or photographs. These add length to articles and create visual breaks that help keep your reader’s attention. They also illustrate your point better for the more visual learners. This media must be elaborated upon, which will inevitably lengthen your story.

Step 5: Build follower engagement

The most important strategy for writing longer, more lucrative articles is choosing topics that truly resonate with you, topics that easily flow from your fingertips, topics you loving talking about, topics you could write about in your sleep. You should choose subjects that you know will spark interest and open a discussion among readers.

While click-bait titles are forbidden on Medium, you can entice readers with intriguing content as long as you deliver whatever your title promises. Controversial, relatable topics strive here. Not only do they get views and reads, but they also boast high engagement rates via comments that often lead to shares and exposure within the Medium community.

Conclusion: A Balance of Short & Long Articles

Articles that take 1–4 minutes to read are “short.” Articles that are 5 minutes or more are what I would consider “long.” These longer stories tend to be the ones that earn more money on Medium. You can view the length of your drafts before publishing them under your “Stories” page.

Screenshot by author

This is not to say that shorter articles are useless. Although I made less money during the month that I published more short-form articles, my Medium follower list grew more rapidly than any other.

Some articles are more powerful and efficient when they’re kept short and sweet. It’s good to have a mix of longer and shorter work under your belt. This way you can still cater to your readers with shorter attention spans while pleasing the readers who crave a bit more depth.

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Liv Mello

Liv Mello

Relationships, psychology, and freelancing advice. Check out my work at livmello.com