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How Do Medium Publications Make Money?

So, how do Medium publications make money?

In the case of platforms like Youtube, we know how channels make money.. They mostly do it via advertising or sponsored posts, but what about Medium publications?

Well, the truth is that most Medium publications don’t make money. That vast majority, actually. But that doesn’t mean you can’t make a Medium publication that eventually gets monetized.

Maybe you’re an aspiring publication owner. Maybe you’re just researching how Medium works. At any rate, here’s a few ways Medium publications make money.

But first, let’s talk about how Medium makes money..

How Does Medium Make Money?

I’ve written an article about this before. Medium makes money from the subscription fee users pay to read an unlimited amount of locked stories on Medium. What are locked stories?

Basically, locked stories are stories that ONLY Medium Members can read. Medium Members are the ones who pay the $5 monthly subscription fee.

Medium writers make money when Medium members “clap” for their stories. The more claps they get, the more money they make. The money they earn comes directly from the monthly subscription fee of the people who clap for their stories. If you get 1 clap from someone who clapped 1 time for 4 other articles, you’ll in theory make about $1, since they clapped equally for 5 articles and they pay $5 per month for the subscription fee.

So where do Medium publications fit into all this? It would be nice if Medium publications made a certain percentage–say 25%–of the claps they generate. For instance, if a writer published an article in my publication, the Post-Grad Survival Guide, then they would for sure reach a bigger audience and get more claps (since my publication has 17,000+ followers).

Wouldn’t it make sense for publications to earn some sort of a commission here? Wouldn’t it be more fair if publications earned 10%-25% of all the earnings a writer makes with a story published in that publication?

That makes sense, right?

Well, it doesn’t work that way, but I hope that changes sometime in the future.

How Do Medium Publications Make Money, Then?

The only way to make money with a publication DIRECTLY THROUGH MEDIUM is to become a Medium Partner Publication. A few months back Medium announced they were seeking partners to “launch new publications.”

In other words, Medium offered to directly fund new publications by giving them a monthly stipend to work on stories, hire editors, and grow their publication.

The details of these deals remain unknown, but I’m guessing some publications are earning anywhere from $1,000 - $10,000 per month. It’s hard to know for certain.

That’s a DIRECT way that Medium publications earn money, but there are other ways publications can earn money, too.

How Do Medium Publications Make Money Outside Of Medium?

The same way that regular Wordpress blogs do.. via affiliate links, online courses, coaching, and other avenues.

See the link here at the top of Dan Pedersen’s “Personal Growth” publication titled “Top courses?” Let’s click on it. Here’s what it says on the next page..

Ah-ha! This is the first link at the top of his publication. I’m sure Personal Growth is making a good chunk of change from affiliate sales every month, no?

If one of those courses he recommended was his, he’d be banking a ton of money I’m sure.

My publication, the Post-Grad Survival Guide, used to have a sign-up form to a free email course called “How To Get Your First 100 Followers.”

I put the link to that course on the navigation bar at the top of my publication, and I used to get about 60 new email subscribers per month with it. Over the course of a year, I drove about $1,500 in sales of my online course through that link alone.

Not bad.

One other way Medium publications make money indirectly is through offering top placement on a pub’s homepage. For instance, if I wanted to have my article show up at the top of Personal Growth’s homepage, I’d pay Dan anywhere from $100-$500 for a 3-month placement.

These numbers aren’t accurate–I just wanted to give an example.

The problem is, this “indirect” way of making money off Medium isn’t exactly encouraged by the brass at Medium. In fact, they’ve made it clear they don’t like affiliate links of any kind on their site, and they also don’t like publications “selling” ad space on their homepage or in their “letters.”

How To Get A Partnership With Medium For Your Publication

This is difficult. As of right now, only a few of my friends have actually struck a deal with Medium to have a stipend sent to them every month.

From what I’m told, though, Medium really is actively looking for publications to partner with, and I think it may just be a matter of time before they start ramping up the amount of publications they make deals with.

I hope that answers the “How do Medium publications make money?” question!

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