Some writers are earning thousands in passive income every month with the Medium Partner Program.
Why not you too?
Whether you’re looking to write full-time, or you just want an extra writing gig on the side, this post will teach you everything you need to get started with the Medium Partner Program.
Let’s get started with a quick overview…
What is Medium?
Launched in 2012 by Ev Williams, co-founder of Twitter and Blogger, Medium is an ad-free blogging and publishing platform — open and free to anyone (provided you follow the rules).
If Twitter is fast food eaten in your car, then Medium is a slow meal enjoyed at a table full of scientists, business leaders, poets, and social commentators.
Do you need to be some high-falutin expert to publish on Medium?
Not at all.
But you will need to bring your “A” game.
How Medium Works
Non-members are limited to reading 3 free stories each month. The rest fall behind a paywall.
To read more Medium stories, the subscription fee is $5 per month or $50 per year, giving you unlimited access and a few other perks.
Readers engage with articles by:
- Highlighting passages
- Clapping (similar to likes)
Writing On Medium
Medium’s clean interface is a writer’s dream.
Its simple design minimizes distractions and keeps you focused on writing.
And it’s super easy to insert and format images.
Medium allows you to browse an extensive library of free Unsplash images right there on the page (attribution is automatically placed in a caption below).
Want to add a great quote?
You have two options: block or pull-quotes.
Or you can embed a podcast, YouTube clip, or tweet.
And when your post is all shiny and ready for the world?
- Add a meta-description
- Include 5 topic tags
- Let Medium know you want to get paid for your work
- Hit publish!
How Do You Make Money with Medium?
You make money writing on Medium through Medium’s Partner Program.
It’s free to join, and the process is straightforward (details below).
Then it’s time to write (a lot).
That’s because you make money based on how much time paying Medium members spend reading your articles each month.
You won’t make any direct income from non-members unless they become paying members within 30 days of reading your work.
According to Medium’s blog, “If last month a member spent 10% of their monthly reading time on your story, you will receive 10% of their share.”
Earnings are deposited via Stripe into your bank account around the 8th of each month, and you can see daily updates in your dashboard.
How Much Does Medium Pay Per Clap?
Medium moved away from factoring claps into writer’s payouts in October of 2019.
Instead, they decided that reading time is a better measure of reader engagement and appreciation.
However, claps are stats that do factor into how well your story ranks, which gives your article more opportunities to be read (and for you to get paid).
How Much Can You Earn From Medium?
In 2019, Medium paid more than $6 million to over 30,000 writers.
According to their September 2019 update, a top writer earned $30,638.81 that month.
And in November 2019, a single story earned $7,384.22.
That’s a lot of dough, right?
But now for the buzzkill…
The vast majority of Medium writers make less than $100 per month. In fact, only 7% to 9% of writers earn more than that.
That’s because your results will depend on factors like skill, commitment, existing assets (email list, social media following), timing, and, yes, luck.
But don’t despair — making money on Medium is doable for real people like you and me:
After months of hard work, freelance writer Zita Fontaine started earning over $1,000 monthly in November of 2019.
Megan Holstein made over $10K last year — breaking the $1K mark in December 2019.
Shaunta Grimes, author of Viral Nation, reported earning over $1,000 per week.
Brian Rowe, editor of The Partnered Pen, hit the $1K monthly mark last year.
If they did it, so can you.
How Do You Join the Medium Partner Program?
I’ll walk you through all the steps to sign up for:
- A Medium account (super easy)
- The Medium Partner Program (a little more involved)
Although you do need a Medium account, you’re not required to have a Medium membership (with the monthly/annual membership fee) to sign up (although it’s nice to give back to other writers on the platform, if you can swing it).
Set Up Your Medium Account
Creating your free Medium account only takes a few minutes:
- Go to Medium’s homepage (medium.com) and click “Get started.”
- Log in using Facebook, Google, or another email address.
- Go to your inbox and click the link to confirm your email.
- Complete your account setup by entering your name (pen names are allowed), and click “Create account.”
That’s all there is to it!
Now you can sign up for the partner program…
Join The Medium Partner Program
Joining Medium’s Partner Program requires a few more steps (and more information), but it’s nothing you can’t handle. Here’s what you do:
- Click on the profile image icon in the upper right corner of your screen, and click “Medium Partner Program” in the drop-down menu.
- You’ll be taken to a page promoting the partner program. Click “Join the Medium Partner Program” when you’re ready.
- You’ll then be asked to agree to the terms of service. Give them a quick read and then check the box.
- Next you’ll be asked to select either the Stripe Express or Stripe Standard account.
Note: If your country isn’t served by Stripe, you won’t be able to get paid through the partner program.
If you don’t have a Stripe account, you can sign up for an Express account through Medium.
Be ready to provide them with details like:
- Legal name
- Business address
- Business phone number
- Type of business: Individual, sole proprietor, or single-membership LLC
- Business website
- Routing number
- Bank account number
Also, you should know that if you set up a Stripe Express account through Medium, you won’t be able to connect that Stripe account to any other services. If you plan on using Stripe for other facets of your business, it probably makes sense to set up a Standard account instead.
- If you already have a Stripe account, select “Stripe Standard account,” and then click “Set up payments on Stripe.”
- You’ll be taken to the page shown below. Click “Sign in” in the upper right corner.
- Two buttons will appear. Click on “Connect my Stripe account.”
- Then sign into your account.
- Congratulations! You’re on a roll. Why not take care of some tax documentation while you’re at it?
You don’t have to enter your tax info now, but you need to fill it out to get paid.
Fill Out Tax Forms (So You Can Get Paid)
Want to get this tax stuff out of the way?
Keep in mind, your tax forms may differ from those shown here:
- If you’re not already on the Taxpayer information page, go here to enter your info.
- Choose the appropriate tax form and click “Complete Form.” This page will help you decide which to choose.
Note: Most US Citizens will use a W9 (confirm with your accountant). The W-8BEN and W-8BEN-E forms are for non-resident aliens.
- This is the W9 form:
- And that’s it!
Remember, you forfeit earnings if you don’t submit tax info within 180 days after the Sunday of your first week earning.
Get. It. Done.
12 Tips for Earning Real Passive Income with the Medium Partner Program
You’re well on your way to earning your first buck on Medium.
But, if you want to make real cash, you must learn how to make the partner program work for you.
Let’s look at some strategies other writers are leveraging to succeed:
1. Write your best content
Success on Medium requires your best work.
Content should be informative, original, engaging, well thought out, and free of typos and grammatical errors.
It should be aesthetically pleasing, with great images and good formatting.
Never plagiarize, and always give credit and links where appropriate. And make sure you deliver on the promise of your headline.
2. Craft great headlines
Do yourself a favor and write at least a dozen headlines for every post.
Good headlines get clicks. And clicks lead to reads (and pay).
Great headlines should:
- Generate curiosity (don’t go “full clickbait,” Medium doesn’t like it)
- Elicit emotion
- Leverage number psychology
- Contain power words
- Demonstrate a clear benefit to the reader
- Feature a keyword (especially if you’re trying to rank in search engines)
3. Produce consistently and prolifically
According to an analysis conducted by The Startup, writers who earned the most were consistent publishers.
Because, as your audience grows and your content is increasingly found, read, and shared, your earnings compound over time.
Some of the most successful earners post multiple times per week, and have been doing so for months or years.
By writing more, you will:
- Build skills
- Increase your chances of writing a winner
- Gain clarity about what works
Quality always trumps quantity, so don’t publish half-baked material just so you can stick to a schedule.
4. Please Medium’s curators
If you meet Medium’s curation standards, there’s a chance the Medium editors will promote your content across their platform (including their email list), giving your story tons of exposure.
Medium recently suggested these articles in my inbox:
Articles deemed exceptional are featured on Medium’s front page (cha-ching!).
Even if you don’t get curated (often you won’t), your post will still be eligible for earning through the partner program. You just won’t get nearly as much traffic.
5. Optimize for search engines
Medium has millions of readers.
That doesn’t guarantee your post will get the attention it deserves. And having your posts rank well in search engines will drive tons of views (and more income).
This strategy requires keyword research and a basic understanding of SEO principles.
Make sure your post includes:
- A great headline that includes the keyword
- Alt-tags for images
- Proper header tags: H1, H2, H3
- Custom URL
- Customized meta description
6. Engage the community
Medium is a place for people to gather around ideas.
From the beginning, you should build relationships by leaving thoughtful comments on other writer’s stories.
Follow writers you like.
Mention and link to them in your articles when appropriate.
And if someone takes the time to leave a legitimate comment on your post, make sure you reply.
7. Leverage your connections
Give your Medium articles a boost by sharing them with your email list, in Facebook groups, LinkedIn, Reddit, Twitter, and on other social media platforms.
But remember, the connection goes both ways.
Connect your social accounts to Medium to gain new followers. Link out to your blog in your Medium bio.
And don’t forget to link to your Medium posts from other articles you write, either on Medium or other places (like your blog).
8. Publish with publications
Medium’s top publications are followed by hundreds of thousands of readers.
Writing for them can dramatically increase your reach.
And there are thousands of publications on a wide range of topics that you can submit your work to.
To submit your work, go to their Medium page and click on “Write For Us” or “Contribute.”
9. Go long, but no fluff
According to Medium’s Data Lab, the optimal length post takes 7 minutes to read (that’s approximately 1,600 words).
But remember, quality always trumps length.
The more time readers spend on your posts, the more you get paid. But, just making content longer isn’t enough. If you can’t hold readers’ interest past the first paragraph, it doesn’t matter how long your post is.
10. Profit from popularity
Where attention goes, money flows.
Study successful Medium writers and their stories. What’s working?
Write about popular subjects, like:
- Artificial Intelligence
- And many more
Popular topics have large pools of readers. And that means more exposure for your work.
The bigger the pond, the more fish you can catch.
11. Add layers of interest
Yes, write about popular topics.
But don’t be a clone.
Draw upon what you know — areas of expertise or things you have some deep interest in or connection to.
What unique perspective can you bring?
Dare to be different:
- Provide some historical context
- Take them on a journey through your senses
- Write about real people in real life situations
- Be vulnerable and humanize a topic
- Add color with personality
- Elicit emotion
- Go big on research and data
- Take a contrarian stance
- Give them a glimpse into a hidden world
12. Lead your reader
Tell readers what to do next by giving them actionable advice.
Providing them with some amazing insight or new perspective is great, but what do they do with it?
How can they go out and put it into practice today?
Have the courage to not only share ideas, but also lead with them.
The Medium Partner Program Pays
Can you make serious coin on Medium?
You know it.
It won’t happen overnight (for most of us, anyway).
But that’s okay!
Every piece of content you write is an asset — an investment that will compound your earnings over time. That means your articles will keep working for you, even while you’re out there hustling for other paid writing gigs!
And that’s really the key here.
Plan on writing a lot over a significant period of time. Plan on learning and pivoting. And always plan on failing along your path to success.
Why not start that first article today?