What It Takes To Thrive On Medium
The thoughts of someone who hasn’t made it but has read some who have.
At the time of writing this, I have earned exactly $900.98 (USD) thus far through MPP. This is a substantial amount for me, but not as vast as others who make what I’ve made so far in only a month’s time.
And I know there are more out there who talk about their earnings whether it’s large numbers like what Shaunta and Zulie or even smaller numbers than Tom and Luke’s.
And I believe that’s a great thing to be talking about. Especially since this article is one of those types of articles.
But what’s more important than that is talking about the lessons that we learned. Whether you’re making pennies every month or making thousands, there is always a thing or two we can learn from one another rather than be jealous or envious of others earnings.
So here is my take on what it takes to thrive on Medium.
Be In A Mindset Of Money (But Not Too Much)
Thriving on Medium these days means being part of the MPP. Of course, there are still benefits on writing for free on Medium, but since the introduction of this feature, I see it as a smart move to get into the program if at all possible.
Medium is literally paying you to learn how to write good posts and build an audience. That’s something that no other platform is providing.
But when you start earning money from any kind of source, it’s important to have an attitude about it. Just like with our writing performance stats, we can obsess over them and can lose our momentum over time. We do have expectations after all.
But I feel that it’s important to look at our expectations in a different way. When they’re not satisfied, we need to keep going and learn to adapt.
But at the same time remind ourselves of what we’re here for. As Zulie explained in her earnings post:
“In a very real sense, I write for money and I don’t want to be ashamed of that.”
And we shouldn’t be ashamed. Artists deserve to be paid for the work that they do. And when we don’t earn what we expect to, especially in cases where our earnings are based on our performance, we look back to the performance itself.
Be Personable And Write A Lot
For the past few weeks now I’ve been training myself to write a set number of articles every week. Last month was 4 per week, now it’s 5. And while many feel like you’re bound to be running out of topics eventually, that’s not really the case.
It depends on how you are writing it.
Another thing Zulie mentioned was that she doesn’t try to copy other articles that are performing well. Instead, she writes what’s currently on her mind.
This has allowed her to write many articles and it’s something that I can get behind. In recent months I’ve been struggling to figure out what to write about.
As a result, I made publishing a certain number of stories a goal I have to work towards. I’m forcing myself to teach myself how to generate topics faster.
But also topics that I’m passionate about.
I’ve been looking deeper into my days and figuring out what I can write about based on what I’m seeing, listening, and reading and then sharing my thoughts.
I believe this style works well as it’s easier for us to flip between sharing our thoughts and the best course of action to present ideas and arguments. After all, people read here to look for new ideas, perspectives, and advice. There’s no point in just saying things and leaving people hanging.
But another reason I vouch for being personable rather than mimicking what’s working for others in terms of their content is that being personable allows you to create a lot of articles.
Since taking this approach I haven’t run into any issues in writing more articles. In fact, I have 8 other drafts with titles, subtitles and links for future stories. Not to mention I have more article ideas on my phone and in another document.
But this plays into what every other person is talking about.
In order for us to be thriving, we need to be creating. That much is obvious. But we need to be writing content that’s personable to us and that others still find interesting.
Whether it’s talking about a controversial topic, or even stepping up our marketing strategy like what Shaunta suggests, the idea is to do more and to go in deeper than we have before.
Don’t Focus On Followers, Pay Attention To Fans
Each article I linked above talked about consistently publishing content. Whether it’s 1.3 articles per day, 4 or 5 per week, or 3+ articles a day. Consistency is a common theme.
But another common theme was the ‘fans’ stat.
From what I’ve read, our earnings can be based on reading time, the number of fans, and how many times they clap. But at the end of the day, I feel the number of overall fans an article gets is a little more important.
This is important than raking up thousands of followers. Hell, I’m 2.5K followers and I’m not even close to making a living on this platform compared to those who have slightly more or double what I have and are thriving.
Having a bunch of followers is how Shaunta puts it, an ego boost. Yes, it’s definitely nice, but it’s not necessary. So if you think that dedicating a good chunk of time to following people is a smart move, it’s honestly not.
You’re better off sitting down and reading a few articles from that person rather than follow them in hopes they follow back.
I’ve said in the past people will follow you if you write things that person is interested in and that’s the attitude I have. I don’t track how many followers I have, instead, it’s smarter to look at the fans of the articles I publish.
Because these are the money makers. These are the people that’ll help us thrive.
So if our numbers are down, it’s key for us to figure out why and what we can do differently.
Maybe that’s putting an effort to get your articles curated. But as Zulie pointed out, some curations work wonders while others don’t do as well.
Maybe it’s looking back and changing the title to make it more interesting.
Or maybe just republishing the article. Sometimes it can get picked up by curators and distributed the second time around. Curators are people after all and don’t always see every single piece.
But no matter how you look at it, paying attention to the fans is the equivalent of looking at things a bit deeper and taking those extra steps. Stop focusing on the overall forest (the followers) and look at the individual causes that are stalling your growth (lack of fans on your posts).
And the strategy I mentioned above is something I believe can help with that. But also one more thing.
Think A Little Like Your Audience
Whenever I write about Medium, one thing that I talk about is how Medium is now bringing in readers. Medium used to be a place where other writers read other writers work and that’s still true. I can imagine you’re a writer/business owner and here you are reading an article on audience growth.
The benefit of these articles is that these strategies are still applicable on social media platforms as well. They’re helpful on Quora, Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and more.
I just have a bit more experience on Medium specifically.
Anyway, the thing is that each audience behaves differently. From our own individual following to how we engage on the overall platforms.
It’s why people recommend a follow strategy here. Because that strategy works well on places like Twitter and Quora. The only thing is it doesn’t work on here because the content we deliver on here is typically longer than what you’ll find on Quora and definitely on Twitter.
This means that we have new behaviour and it’s up to us to figure out the best strategy.
We still need to be making content, but we also need to be mindful of what’ll help us get fans (not necessarily followers). And sometimes the best way to do that is to behave a little like one.
Take some time to read and clap other peoples articles and even strike a conversation with them. Talk to them about why you enjoyed this article or highlight a key point. Maybe even expand on their argument.
You might not be getting a follow back, but there are other people who read the comment sections. I know some of my comments I’ve made on other peoples stories have gotten some claps and highlights. And better yet those people may become fans of your content.
And what’s nice about this is that you don’t need a large amount. As Shaunta mentioned in her post, getting 250 fans a day for her is enough. And that’s not just on an individual article.
That over all of her articles.
I feel that would be a good benchmark to work towards steadily. Using our fans over the course of the day as a means of measuring our articles performances. Follow that up by behaving like our audience and asking questions. Looking beyond whatever the topic that was written and looking at the style or how ideas are presented.
This is how we form our writing style and that in itself will attract the audience we need to thrive in due time.
So have some patience, keep writing, and focus on the depth rather than trying to go wide. I feel that is how we can thrive on Medium.