I started the new year with the idea of generating some passive income. The goal was to publish to lots of different content spaces and receive ad revenue. I’ve encountered Medium a lot in the past ten years but writing for Medium was a different story.
Medium looked like a good fit. Its writing tools were adequate for the task. It provided its own partner program to share revenue. Most importantly, it had a large audience.
The partner program held two requirements. You need to have at least one hundred followers. You also need to have published some content.
I’ve been working on the internet for a long time. I’m not naive to the ways of content creation. Making money for online content means grinding out content every day. With good search engine optimization and enticing articles, your audience will grow. It just takes time and A LOT of work.
When you first start producing content – whether for Medium or WordPress itself – you start with zero viewers. By producing daily content, you eventually build an audience.
Medium has a huge audience comprised of hundreds of thousands of active readers. Yet, with the publication of my first article, I saw only two visitors. I had expected five visitors. Maybe ten.
I juiced the numbers with my own social network promotion. That one article ended up acquiring 17 views. And the revenue…drumroll, please…
Zero dollars and zero cents.
The future seemed bright indeed.
I didn’t expect to make any money off my first article. That was the freebie article. It turns out, you can’t paywall it after the fact. To make money, you must publish a “member’s only” article.
I took to writing my next article. This time, I decided I would not do any marketing. I also bought a Medium subscription for five dollars.
Once published, I awaited the results. I only gleamed two views for a total of zero dollars. There was no traffic from the rest of the site. Its only future rested with Google searches.
This raised the question: what content does well on Medium? I did some research on my own and watched lots of different videos. In summation, clickbait lists and technical articles.
Take a look at these titles:
The Release of Flutter 3.3 – Our 7 Favorite Updates
My Dead-Simple Content Strategy to Make $100,000 Part-Time in 2023
5 Amazing Sites that Pay $50 to $500 per Article
I made $2500 in 2.5 months building micro-products
Earn $100 per Hour by Reading Books
In short, bullshit clickbait lists. On top of this, the top creators of the platform push you into their content stream. Funny enough, there were lots of articles also about making money on Medium itself. I gotta say, those articles felt weird and a little scammy.
There was one last experiment to do. I would write my own “list article named, “5 DIY Tips for Home Recording”. I wrote about 300 words and stopped. Something didn’t feel right. I went to get some coffee. On return, I sat down and canceled my Medium account.
Writing for Myself
At the end of the day, I wasn’t disappointed with my experiment. All it told me was that to be successful on Medium meant doing lots of content grinding and content promotion.
In my short experiment, Medium did not provide me with an audience. Nor were there any built-in promotion mechanisms. I needed to promote my own work and build my audience.
This begs the question: why even use Medium in the first place? A new WordPress site is as obscure as a new Medium account. At least with WordPress, you can incorporate ads without having to jump through hoops. Yes, it takes time to grow your audience on WordPress. But WordPress allows for a deep level of customization by way of plugins. This means you can craft a unique reading experience. This is something that just isn’t available on Medium.
It was a fun experiment. I’m sure I missed something about the platform. If so, let me know in the comments. Unlike Medium, you didn’t need a membership to view this post. Likewise, you can post your comments for free. Cheers!
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