How I Made $327 With 1 Post On The Medium Partner Program

A couple days ago I got a beautiful email from the Medium Partner Program. It looked liked this:

Medium Partner Program

Gosh, it’s like looking at an oasis in the middle of the desert. It’s nice to have some income trickling in while from the Medium Partner Program as I work full-time.

This article isn’t about how I made $500+ in one month, though. This is about just one article, and how Medium’s changing beneath our fingertips.

What Is The Medium Partner Program?

If you’re a blogger and don’t know about Medium yet, you really need to take a cold hard look at it.

In short, Medium is like Twitter for bloggers. Instead of posting tweets, you post full articles–you can even follow your favorite authors and get followed as well.

The Medium partner program allows you to post “locked” stories, which only those who pay $5 per month to be a Medium Member can read.

If these Medium Members “clap” for your story (the equivalent to “liking” on Medium’s platform), you get a portion of their membership fee.

It’s pretty awesome, and since I spent the last 16 months building my audience to 18,000+ on Medium, I was in insanely good position to make money from the Medium Partner Program.

By the way, if you want to get my free 5-day email course on how to get 1,000 followers on Medium, sign up below!

Before I get into it, let’s talk about what’s happening over there with the Medium Partner Program.

Medium Is Favoring Locked Stories Now

A couple weeks back I wrote an article called Fuck These Medium Statistics.

It got 96 fans, and in said article I talk about how my performance on Medium — specifically the views and “fans” — seemed to get sliced in half overnight.

I wondered why.

Without anything to go off of, I chalked it up to Medium was making more room for the “little guy,” which I was completely okay with. Heck, some people have 10 times the amount of followers I have — I’M the little guy here too.

The problem? This wasn’t what was actually happening.

Medium is actually, my friends, advertising more locked stories on the homepage:

 Medium Partner Program

Three of the four stories under the Technology section of my homepage were locked. In basically every other section recently, I’ve seen at least 1–2 locked stories mixed in with free content.

This is a dead giveaway (I mean, it’s right in front of our FACES) that Medium is pushing more locked stories, which is no doubt driving down views, reads, and claps for the “free” articles.

Let’s do a bit of a case study, shall we?

As I mentioned in Fuck These Medium Statistics, back in the old days I used to get one recommend (or fan) for every 10 views I got. That was just the ratio that kept coming up.

Let’s take a look at the stats below:

Medium Partner Program

For my locked post, I have 79 fans, which means I should have about 790 views. But I don’t, I have 572.

For my free post at the bottom I have 44 fans, which means I should have 440 views. But I don’t, I have a measely 246.

45 days ago, before the changes, I would’ve had 440 views for that one easy.

In the above example, it’s clear the locked post is THRIVING while the other free posts are fizzling out despite them having a disporportionate amount of fans-to-views.

What am I getting at?

Medium’s favoring locked posts over free ones.

This is just what’s happening.

And why wouldn’t they? They’re the internet’s first open paywall. They want the word to get out that the Medium Partner Program can seriously reward writers who publish locked content here.

Heck, if I can keep this show going, I’ll be making an extra $6,000 per year. Not bad.

The crazy part? I didn’t even publish my first locked post until later in October. I can probably make $800 next month if I really try.

The moral of the story?

Your locked posts will actually get you MORE exposure, not less.

I know, it’s crazy, but the numbers don’t lie.


How Much Is A Fan Worth In The Medium Partner Program?

Ahh, this is the million dollar question. Here’s what my calculations told me:

On average, 1 Fan = $1.26

I estimated this by doing weighted averages (thanks college Statistics) of all my posts. I basically just divided the amount of fans each post got by the amount of revenue it generated.

I’m pretty damn confident that’s a reliable number, too. I analyzed 404 fans.

How Much Is A Clap Worth?

In my experience, one clap equals $.20.

How I Made $327.69 With One Article

Okay, finally! This is what you’re here for, right?

I had to set the stage for what’s happening with the Medium Partner Program because without their new support of paid posts I wouldn’t be making this much money.

My article, 10 Things You Need To Know About Introverts, is based off a viral article I wrote for the Huffington Post a year ago. It’s definitely not a copy, it’s just INSPIRED from it.

Here’s the statistics on that article:

How did I do this? Let’s get into it..

Take What Works And Run With It

What are some of the best articles you ever wrote? How well did they do? Have any idea why they did so well?

In my case, writing about introverts was logical. I am one, my article about them went viral on HuffPo a year ago, and it speaks to a very specific group of people.

We love hearing about ourselves. We love reading articles that make us nod our head and say “YEP, that’s me!”

That’s why that article did so well, but it was really born out of me just using a previous article as the basis for my locked one.

Promote It To Your Email List

“The money’s in the list” has NEVER been more true. Every week I send a letter to my publication and an email to my list shouting out my latest locked article. I normally get at least another 50–100 eyes on it, which most times amounts to an extra 8–15 fans.

Don’t be afraid to shout out your locked posts. It’s $5 to be a member on Medium. Like, that’s less than a large Frappuccino at Starbucks.

If people are really pissed they can’t read your article, all they have to do is pay $5 and get unlimited access. To be honest with you, if you’re posting regularly on Medium, you should be a member and supporting this place the best you can anyway.

It’s $5.

Mention It In Free Posts

I feel like I’m teaching Medium 101. Don’t throw apples at me.

Another cool way to get eyes on your locked posts is to mention it in your free ones. Keep a list of all your locked posts in some sort of a Google doc somewhere so you can keep shouting them out in all your future articles.

Treat them like products. They’re kind of like products if you think about it.

Heck, I just made $300+ for an article that took me two hours to write.

That’s insane.

Feature It At The Top Of Your Profile

One more thing to do is feature your locked article at the top of your profile. You’ll get a couple more clicks this way and, more importantly, fans!

Just Get Posting On The Medium Partner Program

The most important thing is to get posting. Medium has shown it’s favoring locked posts published under the Medium Partner Program FOR NOW, which means you have a better shot than ever to make money at this point in time.

You never know when the algorithms will change, so get going.

Want to build an audience of your own on Medium? I have a free 5-day email course called “Your First 1,000 Followers” that will teach you how I did it! Sign up for it right here to start making money with the Medium Partner Program!

By |2020-04-20T08:03:04+00:00March 7th, 2018|Make Money Blogging, Medium|24 Comments


  1. Gabrielle Schaefer April 11, 2018 at 12:52 am - Reply

    Thank you for this post. It’s very informative. I just started posting on Medium and am still ignorant of its concept. I hadn’t looked into the Partner Program yet, but I will be now. I have just finished all five of your email lessons and arrived here through the link you have on your fifth lesson. I will be watching your webinar. You’re very helpful with this whole Medium thing. Now, I just need to make sure that my posts are worth reading. That’s another subject. I’ll be reading more of your posts for more info until your webinar. Hopefully, I’ll be able to put some good or even GREAT content out there that’ll be helpful to many people. I like what you’re doing! Keep it up! –Gabby

    • Tom May 25, 2018 at 2:26 am - Reply

      Thank you Gabby!!

      🙂 Just put your heart into your articles. Even if one person reads, that makes the whole thing worth it. Don’t underestimate 1 view.

  2. d mayfryer April 29, 2018 at 1:47 am - Reply

    Thanks for this.

    • Tom May 25, 2018 at 2:26 am - Reply

      No problem at all. 🙂

  3. Lisa Z. May 22, 2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

    Thanks so much for the Medium 101. I would never throw apples at you! I was raised right by parents not on their cell phones. Humor aside, the info was super helpful.

  4. Anne May 31, 2018 at 5:06 am - Reply

    Hi Tim! Thanks for that wonderful explanation. I joined on someone’s recommendation and had not explored the site. I will now.


    • Tom June 2, 2018 at 1:36 am - Reply

      Anne, you won’t regret it. 🙂 Welcome to Medium!!

  5. Donald Felix June 15, 2018 at 5:16 pm - Reply

    I once read a piece titled ‘1000 True Fans’
    and now all the things you wrote here
    started connecting some dots in my head.

    Thanks for sharing this.

    • Tom June 21, 2018 at 3:12 am - Reply

      No problem Donald!! 🙂

  6. Steve Ochieng June 18, 2018 at 5:09 pm - Reply

    This one again is great Tom. I’m going to walk every step until I achieve my goal. This’ the right way, I think!

    • Tom June 21, 2018 at 3:14 am - Reply

      Yes sir! That’s the right way for everything. 🙂 I’ll continue to show you the way moving forward in my blog posts/videos/etc.

  7. Nupoor raj June 29, 2018 at 3:23 am - Reply

    Thanks for the info! That was helpful!
    I have 2 doubts however, what is the difference between a ‘clap’ and a ‘fan’?
    Also, what does ‘Medium 101’ mean?

  8. laura July 27, 2018 at 1:20 pm - Reply

    Great post, Tom! I’ve just started playing around with this and earned my first $6! It’s not exactly life-changing but I’ll take it!

  9. Jacks August 18, 2018 at 3:07 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this, and your emails Tom. Been trying out your suggestions and am very please to say they work ! Not huge numbers as yet, but got some really lovely followers and getting to read/share some really great stories.

    Here’s one of mine in case you fancy a read.

    • Tom August 20, 2018 at 1:38 pm - Reply

      Congratulations!! 🙂 Happy to see your progress! Just read and clapped for it. 🙂

      • Jacks August 20, 2018 at 1:47 pm - Reply

        Boo will be delighted ! Thank you. Claps = snacks !!

  10. Ida Adams August 23, 2018 at 5:23 pm - Reply

    Really enjoyed your five day free course. The information you gave was concise, well set out and valuable.

    I’ve been writing on Medium for quite some time but only started the “locked-in” bit in July. 41 followers since then, not bad for one moth, I guess. Before that, can’t find the stats anywhere and not prepared to spend time looking for it!

    Thank you and good luck with your writing.

    • Tom August 27, 2018 at 1:00 am - Reply

      Thank you Ida! 🙂 Keep at it. How many times did you post in July?

  11. […] have a strict set of processes for opening up Medium and writing a piece of content, but for videos I, […]

  12. Hollie Phillips March 11, 2019 at 6:45 pm - Reply

    Hi Tom,

    I recently started publishing articles under the “UX Planet” publication (incidentally, I’d like to get your thoughts on these publications on Medium, and if or how they play into the Partner Program), and I came across this article while researching Medium. You seem like you have some interesting insights, so I looked for a means to follow you on Medium from here. Ironically, although your blog is titled “findingtom,” I found no clear way to find your Medium presence, short of just clicking one of your article links. 🙂

  13. Michael Hannigan March 21, 2019 at 8:53 am - Reply

    Your logic is backwards. When you say you have x number of fans so you should have x number of views, that’s not right. You should look at it as “I have x number of views and x% of them became fans”. You have no way of knowing the reader’s reason for coming, but what you can quantify is when the reader does come, do they convert to a fan? If you do, you’ll see your free article actually did much better than your previous article. This just means that Medium is getting better at targeting the right content to a particular audience. And this seems to be across the board for you which is great!

    • Tom March 21, 2019 at 9:56 am - Reply

      But my original math works the same. I’m not exactly getting your point here. I’ve worked it out in my head that 10 views typically equals 1 fan, and vice versa. It works both ways. There’s no backwards or forwards, it works both ways. I don’t need to know where the reader is coming from. Typically when 10 people read my work, I know I’ll get a fan out of it. I know it’s a little bit of a stretch to imagine the numbers being so reliable but trust me I’ve written 200 blog posts and racked the numbers on all of them and it basically always shakes out to the ratio I mentioned in the article. I just need to know one of the variables.

  14. Charles May 6, 2019 at 9:51 am - Reply

    Hi Tom,

    Do you recommend their Membership? I know that I can find those articles on the web, but I’d really like to read through their app. It’s very handy when you are traveling and you want to read something on the go. What are your thoughts? Worth the 5 bucks each month?


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