Blogging on Medium: A Beginner’s Guide
Improve your writing skills and potentially boost your income by sharing your ideas and expertise
What is Medium and how does it work?
Medium is a publishing platform where people can discover new ideas, read insightful stories, and learn about a large range of interesting topics. It’s also place where individuals can share their knowledge and ideas about subjects that matter to them. The platform has over 170 million readers and, according to TechCrunch, there are approximately 30,000 writers.
You can join and write on Medium for free and you can potentially earn money from your work by joining the Medium Partnership Program. Only articles or stories that are placed behind a metered paywall are eligible for payment. For readers who are not subscribers of Medium, they are limited to 3 free articles or stories each month. Medium charges $4.99 per month for a monthly subscription, or $50 if you pay for the entire year at once. You do not have to be a paying subscriber of Medium to join their Partnership Program or to write on their platform. You can read more about how Medium calculates your earnings by reading this post.
If you want to learn more about the platform, Medium provides a detailed description on their About page.
Signing up to become a writer or reader on Medium is simple. Like any other website, you simply provide your email address and create a password. You are not required to create a profile to read articles, especially if they are free. You can read more by reading through their tips on Getting Started.
Before you get started on Medium, you should know that the Staff at Medium regularly review your articles and stories to ensure that they meet their Rules, Ad-Free Policy, Content Guidelines, and Curation Guidelines. If they think you are producing high-quality content, they may promote one of your posts on their website or through their app or newsletter.
Getting curated is like going viral on TikTok. If you’ve been living under a rock for past couple of years — and I don’t blame you if you have, given the state of the world right now— TikTok is a popular social media platform where you can share short videos with friends, family, and complete strangers. It’s also like a black hole so I recommend making sure you have a good block of time that you can waste if you’re about to log on to the app for the very first time.
Anyway, all writers should aim for curation because it could bring you serious name recognition. Below, I’ve provided a quick summary of rules for writing on Medium and some additional considerations if want to get curated. I recommend reading through their Rules and entire Curation Guideline and Distribution Guideline for more details.
Summary of basic requirements:
- Proper headlines should use title case and sentence case for subtitles. When applying title case, you should capitalize the first letter of every word in the sentence. When applying sentence case, you should capitalize the first word in each sentence, in addition to proper nouns like a person’s name, the name of a city, etc. If you’re not sure, you can check with free sites like this one. Note that these requirements do not apply to headlines within the body of the text. If you’re writing for a publication, follow the Editor’s style guide and recommendations.
- Do the best you can to minimize the number of grammar and spelling errors that are in your stories and articles. Basically, proofread your content before publishing.
- You should include at least one image and cite its source in your story or article. Make sure that you have the legal right to use the image. That just means that you should strictly avoid re-posting someone else’s photos without asking for permission first. Medium has partnered with Unsplash so writers can easily add images with proper citation in all of their work. If you don’t like the images that are available to you on Unsplash, there are plenty of other free sites that provide stock images, such as Pexels or Pixabay. You generally want to make sure that any and all media that you include are free to share under a Creative Common-license or they are your own.
- Get into the habit of providing the source of any media you share and citing articles and books that you reference. Citations increase your credibility and they also credit the original author or creator for their hard work as well.
What else to consider if you want to increase the chance of curation:
- Is your writing clearly organized and easy to follow?
- Does your piece have a clear conclusion?
- Are the images or media that you used relevant to your story?
- Is your writing over 150 words? If not, your piece will be considered shortform and will not qualify for further distribution. You can read more about shortform writing here.
- Have you completed your profile and bio information so that readers can learn more about you and your background?
- Would your piece be considered an inflammatory review about a business or person? If so, maybe publish that on your personal website.
What Not to Do
The process of judging the quality of a person’s work can be a subjective process but there are some things that you should clearly avoid. I provided a summary below but make sure to read through Medium’s Rules yourself.
General rules to follow:
- Usually, I would not feel the need to write this but given what happened last week: Don’t use, promote, or trivialize hate speech and violence. Also, don’t harass anyone. Whether you’re sending a message to someone, commenting on a story or article, or publishing content, demonstrate kindness and respect for others, please.
- Do not plagiarize others’ works, infringe on trademarks, or violate copyright laws.
- Do not publish content that is not backed by facts.
- Do not republish content that has already been published, which is a violation of Medium’s rules on duplicate content.
- All content should be non-offensive — e.g., no nudity, violent images, or profanity.
- You must disclose any affiliate links that you include in your post. Failure to disclose affiliate links that you have included for promotional purposes is a violation of the law.
- Do not write about Medium.
- Do not start a story on Medium and require readers to go to a different site or platform to continue reading.
If you see a violation, report it to Medium.
If you are contacted by Medium about something you were unaware of or if you do not get curated immediately, don’t take it personally. It’s easy to make mistakes. Review their guidelines and keep improving your work.