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Dear New Writers, Here’s How Medium Calculates How Much Money You Make

  • 5 min read

with a step-by-step guide on how to use your stats dashboard

Publishing articles on Medium is free — Good!

If you’re interested in earning money you can join the Medium Partner Program for free — Better!

You have the option to lock content you create behind Medium’s paywall and earn money $$$ — Best!

You get paid for engagement

Dear new writers, everybody can join the Medium Partner Program. It doesn't cost anything. You don't need to be a paying member.

The Medium Partner Program allows new writers to earn money for the content they publish on Medium.

The earnings are based on the so-called ‘engagement’ from Medium members.

Engagement = views, claps, likes

Medium hasn’t revealed too much about its algorithm.

Still, my experience and the experience of other more experienced writers is that there’s one more key performance indicator (KPI) particularly important.

This and the other indicators you can find on your so-called ‘story stats page’.

Let’s have a look at it together.

How to use your stats page

Your story stats page is a great dashboard.

Medium’s graphical user interface provides an at-a-glance view of the above-mentioned performance indicators.

Here’s how to use your personal dashboard:

  • Click on your profile picture
screenshot by Kristina God
  • Choose ‘Stats’
screenshot by Kristina God
  • Scroll down and you’ll see a list with the metric ‘views’. Views = the number of people who have looked at your post. In my case, it’s 2.3k people.
screenshot by Kristina God; Bad News for Pubs
  • Let’s click on ‘Details’ to get further information.
screenshot by Kristina God; Bad News for Pubs
  • Voilà! Here’s the story stats page. You see the views, earnings, and the ‘average reading time’ specifically for the story you’ve chosen to take a look at.

As I said in the introduction of my article, Medium hasn’t revealed too much about its algorithm.

Still, in my view, the ‘average reading time’ of an article is the most important metric when it comes to how much money an article will make.

As you can see here…

screenshot by Kristina God; social proof of my content library on Medium

I’ve already published 278 articles within 10 months. I know my way around a little.

Let me explain more about the key performance metric when it comes to earnings.

The average reading time

You’re writing on Medium. Here you get paid primarily based on ‘average reading time’.

Average reading time = the average amount of time all readers (who have looked at your post) spent actively reading your story

👉 The more minutes (paying) members actively spend reading your article, the more money you’ll earn.

As far as my above-mentioned article is concerned, it’s a 5 min read and I’ve received an average reading time of 3 min 53 sec, which is great.

This means about three-quarters of the text is read.

But wait, there’s more for you.

Additional insights

On the story stats page, you can also see…

the ‘lifetime member reading time’ = the total amount of time Medium members spent reading your story in the selected time period

screenshot by Kristina God; in total people spent 64hr reading my article

Moreover, scrolling activity, gaps in time, coffee breaks are taken into account too when calculating the reading time.

Medium will also pay you for reading time from non-members if they become members within 30 days of reading your story!

That’s why I recommend at least to twitter your story in order to get more views.

Let’s connect on Twitter here.

Final Takeaways

In the early days of my writing journey, I was overwhelmed and confused too.

I saw my earnings but couldn’t figure out how Medium had calculated them.

I read a lot of articles that writers get paid for ‘engagement’. By checking my stats on a regular basis, I realized it’s not all about views, claps, and comments.

It’s more about the actual amount of time readers spent actively reading your story.

Of course, your payout depends on whether it’s a long-form post with 3 min plus or a short form post with 1 min.

Still, the most important thing is to find ways to keep your reader’s attention, for instance by making your article easy to digest and scan.

© Kristina God

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