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Introducing The Medium Friend Links (With Case Study)

  • 6 min read

You need to know about this powerful promotion tool to earn more and broaden your reach.

I see many writers who are missing out on the chance to gain more views and reads.


⚠️Because they don’t utilize Medium’s most powerful promotion tool — the Medium friend links.

To be honest, most new writers don’t even know they exist.

What’s the Medium friend link?

In essence, the Medium friend link allows anyone — even non-paying readers without a Medium membership — to read member-only content for free.


That’s insane, isn’t it?

What’s Member-only content?

A few days ago, I shared what the new golden “star icon” on the preview really means.

star icon

To sum it up, it means that it’s a “Member-only” story.

When you’re a paying Medium member and part of the Medium Partner Program you can put your story behind the paywall to earn money.

You only need to make sure to have checked the box “Meter your story” when you publish your story or submit it to a publication.

meter your story

In general, only paying members can read this story.

But there’s an exception to this rule.

Non-paying members have access to up to 3 locked articles per month.

That’s the notification that will pop up once the non-paying member has read the first story of the month:

free reads

Once he or she read three stories, he only will be able to see a preview but not the whole story anymore.

I don’t know about you, but I read at least 10 Medium stories per day… so 3 stories per month isn’t that much…

… and this is where the Medium friend link comes into play.

How I use the Medium friend link to boost my success

I’m one of the Top 1,000 writers on Medium and a Top Writer in multiple categories.

Utilizing the power of the Medium friend link definitely is one pillar of my success.

Here’s how I make use of it:

1 — Click on the article you want to share with friends, family, and anyone else on social media.

2 —Either click on the three dots in the lower right corner of your post…


on the chain icon in the top right corner

3 — Click Copy Friend Link or on the chain icon to copy the link.

4 — Once it's copied you can share the newly generated link with friends and family and via your socials to promote it and drive traffic to your story.

Bonus tip:

Share your story directly via Twitter, Facebook, or Linked by clicking on the icons in the lower right corner of your story or via your newsletter.

Medium’s founder recommends sharing your friend link on other socials — the more the better

Medium’s founder EV Williams and co-founder of Twitter suggest:

Promoting your articles on other social media platforms too. The more the better.


Because sharing your stories outside of Medium helps you increase your views.

Case Study — Pornhub

Let me give you an example of one of my latest viral hits which I shared on Twitter as a friend link:

This is the impact of my story — 26K views to date — 10K external views.

story impact

Here you can see a list of socials where the story got shared:

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.


When you’ve already done “the work” and know how to get paid on Medium, I know what you’ll think right now:

But Kristina, you won’t get paid for external views from non-members.

Well, my sweet friend, let me share with you another secret:

Yes, you can earn money with friend links.

Here’s how you make money with friend links

Sending your story to friends and family plus sharing it on social media really helps as you could see in the example above.

There are three ways to earn money:

1 —Paid Members: If you share a friend link on social media and the reader is already a paying Medium member, opens and reads it, you will get paid for their reading time as if it wasn’t a friend link.

2 — More Reads: If they like your story and start reading more of your articles, they will support you as well with their reading time. Plus, you’ll win more followers.

3 — Referred Members: If the person isn’t a member yet, and your story compels the reader to become a member using your referral link, you’ll win a referred member and earn a recurring income of half of the membership fee, around $2.

4 — Member Joins Later: Even if the person does not or can’t use your link (for instance in the apps it is NOT available), you can still earn when the person becomes a member within 1 month after reading your story. Like with every reader, you’ll earn a small portion of his $5 per month — depending on the reading time and how many other stories the person read.

Final Takeaways

Writers automatically receive friend links for every story that’s behind Medium’s metered paywall.

The Medium friend link gives anyone free access to your story — your family, your partner, friends, newsletter subscribers, and colleagues and they can share this specific link with others as well.

Anyone who has this link can see your post behind the paywall for free. That’s the beauty of it.

So make sure to share your posts with your friends and family and via other socials such as LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, or your own blog.

What do you think about the friend links on Medium?

© Kristina God

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