I'm a Medium blogger who makes up to $11,000 a month. Here are my top 3 tips for monetizing your content.
- Sinem Günel is a writer who posts content on the online publishing platform Medium.
- Writers earn a portion of the Medium membership fee. Günel has earned up to $11,000 in one month.
This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Sinem Günel, a Medium writer based in Vienna, Austria. Insider has verified her income with documentation. The following has been edited for length and clarity.
I started writing on Medium in August 2018. I was running a personal-growth workshop at the time for students, and I took my workshop content, which was focused on productivity and communication, and turned it into articles that I posted on Medium. These articles were basic listicles and "how to" pieces.
Writers make money on Medium by earning a portion of the $5 monthly membership fee readers pay to access gated content. The portion writers earn is calculated by reader engagement on each article.
I published around 150 articles in my first year and a half on the platform. I didn't make a significant amount of money — the highest amount I made was $223.89 on one article which got 55,000 views. At the time this was really exciting because I was still a student and knew that I wanted to be an entrepreneur, but I didn't know how yet.
When I graduated in 2019, I wanted to narrow down the various projects I was working on, so I decided to go all in on Medium. Of my projects at the time, writing on Medium was the task I enjoyed most. I loved the freedom of writing whatever I wanted on my own schedule, and I knew it was possible to generate a full-time income there because writers I'd networked with through the platform were doing it.
I made it a goal to write on Medium every day in 2020. I mostly focused on articles about personal development. In the first few months of the year, I saw a significant increase in what my content was generating. In August 2020, I made more than $11,000. Medium is still my full-time income source. I now have 60,000 followers on the platform.
Here are three things I recommend if you want to succeed on Medium.
1. Pick a topic that engages readers
I've found that engagement is very topic-dependent, and topics you wouldn't expect to earn higher engagement from readers end up leading to higher pay for writers. I like to call these topics hidden champions, as they perform well but aren't obvious.
Stories about history or true crime are good examples. If you look at articles in these niches, they don't have that many reactions or comments. But if the article itself is good, writers in these niches can make a lot because the readers get so into the story that they spend more time reading it than something like a listicle.
2. Understand your audience
When I decided to pursue Medium full time, I let go of the personal stories that I wanted to write and focused on what was proven to work through trial and error.
Though some people can make creative writing work on Medium, most often it's not the most profitable way to use the platform.
What performs well are structured articles that look and feel very similar. It was easy for me to stick with this way of organizing my pieces because I didn't have any previous experience with writing, so I wasn't set in my ways.
3. Use Medium as a lead-generation source
At the bottom of every Medium article, you're allowed to input a call to action, or a CTA. For me, CTAs always prompt readers to join my email list. Medium has always been my primary lead-generation source. If readers like what you're writing, joining your email list will give them access to more of it.
I run two newsletters: one with 25,000 subscribers that's dedicated to personal growth, and one with 10,000 subscribers that's dedicated to writing online.
Though Medium is my main source of income, I've always been more excited about using Medium as a way to fuel other projects, like my online coaching program, rather than using it solely as a writing platform.
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