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Medium Adjusted Your Earnings One More Time — This Is What You Need To Know

  • 6 min read

Reading time is back and the Boost loses a bit of momentum.

Do you also have headaches from all those changes on Medium?

The other day, I read a comment where someone stated that he read more news about Medium’s CEO, Medium’s strategy and vision, than in his corporate job.

I was laughing out loud. That’s spot on.

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I’ve been writing on Medium for about three years now, gained Top Writer badges in more than 40 categories and still… often don’t have a clue what’s happening again.

We all try to keep up with these changes and understand what’s going on. But it’s super hard. That’s why I, as a writer who loves to keep you up to date in regard to all Medium news, was a bit quiet and invested more in my Substack and YouTube channel.

I was also in the middle of creating a Medium online course for new writers as the next change came.

So I said to myself:

I need to stop this for a while and just talk about the meta changes, not all the tiny updates here and there.

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So I’m back with the latest news now because I already see a positive trend in my stats and earnings and my students and fellow subs also shared with me they are seeing positive changes.

So here’s the latest news in regard to earnings that I think you (as a new writer) really should know about — besides all the other news and pivots:

Boost Bonus and the comeback of reading time metrics

No matter whether we’re freelance writers or part-time creators, it’s comforting to know there’s a system rewarding our hard work — financially and through exposure.

So when Medium recently announced changes to its Partner Program incentives, including the Boost Bonus and reading time metrics, I took notice.

It’s not just about numbers. It’s about what those numbers signify in your journey as a writer.

The love-hate relationship with the Boost Bonus

When the Boost Bonus was introduced, it felt like a writer’s dream come true.

Your story gets nominated, approved, and voilà!

You not only get a distribution lift, helping your writing reach a broader audience, but you also get a financial boost.

It was as if Medium was telling you:

“We see you, and we think your writing deserves more eyes.”

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At least for those who got Boosted or became nommers!

A lot of (seasoned) writers left the platform, switched to Substack, or stopped writing.

Why?

They didn’t feel valued anymore because their stories only earned a few cents although they used to earn (at least) dollars.

Or they applied to become nommers but were turned down.

Multiple paths to making money

Within the past weeks, it felt like:

all or nothing, the winner takes it all (thanks Michelle Teheux)

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That means either you got Boosted and earned sweet money and got seen and read or you were talking into the void.

Of course, there was also something between these two scenarios but that’s how most writers felt.

Now Medium is trying to create a more balanced ecosystem where there are multiple paths to making money.

That means whether your strength lies in

  • creating pieces that readers spend a lot of time on,
  • or engaging your devoted followers,
  • or getting that coveted Boost, you’re covered.

As Buster Benson from Medium shared in the official statement:

  • Reading time now contributes more to earnings. Read time numbers will be coming back to the Story Stats charts soon.
  • The Boost bonus now contributes to a smaller percentage of total earnings, while still contributing the same amount to added distribution.

But there’s more…

Reading time is celebrating a comeback

What’s really interesting here is the shift towards valuing ‘reading time’ again! Yeah!

Medium is essentially saying that if someone spends 10 minutes reading your 2000-word think-piece on a topic you’re passionate about, that’s as valuable as getting a quick Boost that attracts a few hundred skimmers.

Yes, you heard that right.

The Boost is driven by humans. Nommers from the community (there are more than 100 at the moment) and curators who are employees of Medium.

“Taste” differs.

So often I saw stories getting a fat Boost BUT people just skimmed them and didn’t read them because they didn’t like them.

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They simply popped up thousands of times in their feeds and they thought:

“Okay…. it’s the fifth time I see it, let’s click it”

But that’s not the type of readers we want, am I right? We’re not getting paid for impressions as on X or for views as on YouTube.

What it means for you and me

It feels personal because it is personal.

Each word we write is a part of us.

Now, there’s an additional avenue for you to explore:

Can you create an article that not only grabs attention but also holds it?

This system isn’t new. It’s old. It’s a system I love/d.

Reading time is a fair metric. Engagement is not.

Tech articles tend to get less engagement for instance. Love, sex, mental health and relationships, true crime stories get more comments and engagement. This doesn’t mean one is better than the other. The target group is different.

In general, on any social media platform only 1–3% engage with your content.

I’ve seen this tens of times as a Brand Manager for various personal brands and products.

Final thoughts

Last but not least there’s only one thing I know: the story must go on!

A silver lining is that Medium is about to reach 1,000,000 paying subscribers (paying 50 USD per year).

This means 50,000,000 USD is in the pot!

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There’s a lot of potential.

This is your time to write on Medium!

Thoughts? Let’s discuss them in the comments.

For more, check out my Medium tutorials and interviews on YouTube:

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