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New Medium Is A Jackpot For Writers

How to monetize it for higher reads and payouts

Ann Venkataraman
Oct 20, 2020 · 6 min read

I love the new layout and features on Medium.com — this is basically a jackpot for quality writers, irrespective of your following size or previous experiences with monetization!

I wrote about the “Hooked” model that product designers use, but Medium just took it to a whole new level! And this can potentially translate to big bucks for good writers.

This post is a breakdown of how writers can use the new features to get more reads, higher reading time, and eventually larger payouts.

The Hooked Model Background

The “Hooked” model is a concept from Nir Eyal’s book of the same name. I wrote about it before (link below), so won’t go into detail again. Basically social media apps use powerful psychology principles to keep us going back for more.

The book uses Twitter as a perfect example of highly addictive products that users love to use. Did you know that the CEO of Medium.com was the co-founder of Twitter? Why would he not replicate his success again, and give us another product we simply cannot live without? :) The new features take the app to a whole new level of awesome, addictive content!

How does the new layout apply?

Trigger — The email and app notifications were already brilliant, to begin with. However, within the new app, you can also see the number of stories on the writers and publications you follow. The new “avatar” notification is an excellent tool for writers.

Action — You can now clap for articles even without reading! The infinite scroll combined with story previews helps you decide whether to skip or dig deeper. Almost like a large buffet with an infinite number of tempting delicacies- choose what you want to eat!

Variable Rewards — The articles are a healthy mix of (1) trending articles, (2) articles from publications and writers you follow, and (3) topics of interest to us, even if we do not follow those publications and writers. This third point is brilliant for writers who want to lure new readers.

Investment —The site has already hooked us with its never-ending gold mine of brilliant content.

How Writers Should Leverage The New Features

As a reader, I find the new app layout amazing and the content seems customized perfectly, letting me find posts from folks I follow and new recommendations to suit my interests. (Algorithms at their best)

But as a writer, I love it even more because it presents new opportunities to shine for your existing followers and to attract new readers.

The site is supposed to have more features coming in, but below are some of the ways I think writers can leverage the new rollouts to increase their odds of monetization:

  1. Notifications
  2. Newsletters
  3. Infinite Scroll
  4. Tags

1] Notifications:

New format of notifications within the app [Image courtesy author Ann Venkataraman]

The new layout shows a number of avatars (aka logo or profile images) of folks and publications you follow. This number is the count of new stories we are yet to read. Bingo, this is a jackpot for writers who write consistently and regularly as you get more chances to show up in your followers’ feeds. The more you write, the higher the number — obviously making the reader click and look.

Bonus, the algorithm seems to favor engagement, and follower counts when showing these notifications. (See image below) So I see notifications for both Niru posts (with <1k followers) and a publication like Better Marketing with 80,000 followers. Niru writes consistently and presumably has higher engagement from her followers (like me). This is fabulous news for newer writers and levels the playing field for quality writers who are still building their tribe. Excellent motivation to build an engaged and loyal subscriber base.

Bottom Line Post regularly.

2] Newsletters:

Photo by Stephen Phillips - Hostreviews.co.uk on Unsplash

The site also allows you to send email newsletters to folks who subscribe to your publication. Please, USE it. Personally, I have seen a reasonable measure of success with newsletters, even though I don’t have a large following.

For example, I send out my newsletters on Saturday. Normally my weekend views are pretty low. Since using the newsletter, these views and reads have doubled. Plus, the newsletter counts as a brand new story, so your notification counts also increases! Win-win!

If you write for multiple publications, you can add links from all of them and send out to readers from the current publication. This is a novel way of cross-pollinating your stories and getting higher reads and views.

Newsletter s— underutilized, but powerful features of Medium!

You could also take the link of this “newsletter” story and broadcast to your social media accounts. Tips that worked for me — add a short summary of the article, so people can quickly decide whether to read or not. (Newsletters do not show preview or SEO description) Also, try to limit the number of stories you in each newsletter, ideally 5 or less. Too many links causes the email newsletter to look spammy and fall into the “Promotions” or “Spam” folders.

3] Infinite Scroll:

Photo by Becca Tapert on Unsplash

With the new layout, readers can take advantage of the “Infinite scroll” and sample the previews to choose what to read. Plus, there is now the ability to clap or bookmark without reading the whole article. So readers can come back to view more.

So writers need to be convincing enough so readers click on the “Read more” buttons. Obviously, if you have more content, the button shows up for multiple posts on the same page. This increases your odds of earning more!

One way of doing this is to go into the advanced settings of each post to check the “SEO description” as well as the “preview” description. The default is the first 2–3 sentences of your post, so make sure you add a meaningful synopsis. This is an extra step, but totally worth it!

4] Tags:

According to the new homepage (without login) Medium is where good ideas find you. True to their motto, I find my feed is now filled with interesting new content that I WANT to read more of!

As I mentioned earlier, the algorithm is showing me posts from topics I follow, including writers with content similar to what I already read. Even if I do not follow the writer or the publication it was published in, if any.

How does Medium recommend with such accuracy? Parsing the wording might be one way, but “tags” are more likely. So use your tags wisely! It will truly help you get found by more people looking for those topics.

There are some articles going around which suggest you add tags from low-volume categories just to get the “Top Writer” status. Please do not fall for such nefarious tactics. You may get the status, but readers will either skip your articles or abandon without reading until the end. Both affect your earnings which I assume is more important than the vanity status of being a Top Writer.

Not to mention the Top Writer status seems to be missing on some profiles, so I assume Medium is planning to get rid of it soon with the new profile page changes. Either way, be mindful what you use for your tags.

Summary:

  1. Post Regularly.
  2. Use Newsletters to get into people’s inbox and increase your views and followers.
  3. Infinite Scroll — make sure your preview content captures the readers attention enough to make them hit the “Read More” button.
  4. Use the 5 “tags” wisely!

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