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Medium’s Gold Rush Is Over — So What?

  • 8 min read

You’re part of a new era. Let’s dispel some myths that Top Writers spread.

There are Top Writers who say Medium is broken.

It’s not worth publishing on this platform anymore.

One of them is the same guy who celebrated Medium’s new CEO, kept writing even though he said he’d stop writing in 2022 with a big BANG on Medium, said Medium would be awesome, and then…. started all over again.

On Twitter, he recently shared that Medium was broken, though he still offers his (old) Medium course.

If you’re a new writer and you’re reading this, you may think:

“Is Medium really broken? Should I stop writing here (*before I even started)?”

No, of course not!

If you say…

“Cool, Kristina. Now you’ve got my attention. Tell me more!”

…please continue reading.

What’s the Medium gold rush?

If you see screenshots from Top Writers promoting their courses better think twice.

Almost always, their screenshots with mind-blowing earnings are from 2018, 2019, or 2020.

What about 2021, 2022, or 2023?

Well, the gold rush days are over.

In an interview with Medium superstar Tim Denning, Top Writer and entrepreneur Nicoles Cole shared that the absolute Top Writers, the cream of the crop, the 1% at the top of Medium, earn up to $10,000.

In the past, some writers were able to write one story, go viral and earn tens of thousands of dollars or even got a book deal.

Ex.1: One story — thousands of views

MaryBeth wrote a crazy viral story for the publication P.S. I LOVE YOU (one of Medium’s biggest pubs in the past; closed because Ev Williams cut funding): “Why Women Lose Interest — It’s Two Things”

screenshot “Why Women Lose Interest — It’s Two Things”

49k claps and 300 comments? That’s insane, isn’t it?

Mary stopped writing (except for one story she published this year about giving birth to her baby).

A few hours ago, Mona Lazar (Medium member since April 2022) shared with me: “I have a story that made $3,685, but it’s the exception, not the rule. I also think the golden era is over, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make money while waiting for the next one 😉

Ex. 2: One story — book deal

nine years ago, back in 2014, elle luna published one story called “The Crossroads of Should and Must” which went viral.

Based on this viral hit, she got a book deal.

She Wrote One Story and Got a Book Deal made in Canva with article Elle Luna and her book “The Crossroads of Should and Must”

It was Elle’s 11th Medium story. She quit her job and became an artist, inspirational speaker, and online course instructor.

Goran Vinchi shared with me: “Medium is not just a platform for writers to showcase their work, but also a place where dreams can come true.”

A lot has changed!

These gold rush days are long gone and some Top Writers are comparing 2023 with 2014–2018.

Medium is no longer the platform it once was.

Of course, it’s not easy to leave those times behind. But times change like the tides.

So let’s dispel some myths that Top Writers spread:

Myth 1: Good stories don’t get circulated anymore!

Medium often shows me old stories from 2019 in my feed.

When I click on them I see mind-blowing numbers of claps (25K+) and comments (500+).

How come?

In the past, on Medium your stories could go viral as on steroids.

Entrepreneur Chris Winfield shared in a webinar I attended, that his story “How to Work 40 Hours in 16.7” in The Startup, one of Medium’s biggest publications, was circulated like crazy and got hundreds of thousands of views.

Being a smart entrepreneur, he saw this as an opportunity and approached other media outlets outside of Medium with this topic, who picked up his story and republished it!

This was in 2015 and it was his third post on Medium.

What was it about?

The Pomodoro technique: focused work for 25 minutes. Break. Repeat.

Sounds familiar?

Well, thousands of writers are writing about this technique in 2023. It’s nothing new anymore.

In 2023, we simply have to share other productivity techniques and topics to get distributed by Medium.

Myth 2: Medium doesn’t show great content from proven creators anymore!

It still does.

Even from writers who already left the platform.

But even if you have 50k+ subscribers, only 1% of your followers will see your content.

Also, there’s a difference between having 50k+ followers when you’ve been writing on the platform for 5+ years and 50k when you’ve been writing on the platform for 2 years.

People leave the platform and new readers join.

I’d also like to add that I muted several Top Writers because they were getting on my nerves.

When Jessica Wildfire recently complained about her low views, Tony Stubblebine shared in the comments that it could be because people clicked the “Show less like this” button in the feed. She stopped writing on Medium in January 2023.

I’ve been writing here for more than two years now. I simply don’t want to read the same old and subpar stuff from several Top Writers on this platform anymore.

When you’re a new writer with 1k followers, you can earn more money than a Top Writer and your chances are higher to get the new Boost.

Why?

You add value, share personal anecdotes, unique life experiences, innovative things, and new thoughts.

According to Medium’s new Distribution Standards from February 2023, Medium’s Curators and official Boost Curators from the community are looking for constructive, original, relevant experiences and well-crafted and memorable stories.

Especially if you are an expert on a particular topic, Medium trusts you and is more likely to show your stories to more people to help you grow.

Make sure to show your expertise in your short Bio because Medium’s curators are checking your Bio. When you’re a yoga instructor, pilot, teacher, retiree, grandfather, mom, or consultant… share this!

Myth 3: On platform x, you can earn more money and be more successful

Dear Top Writer, if you think so, then why don’t you write on this particular platform?

As far as I know, most Top Writers share and repurpose their content on multiple platforms, which is smart.

But often apples are compared with oranges. LinkedIn and Medium, YouTube and Medium.

Every platform has its ecosystem. If a story performs well on YouTube, this doesn’t mean it performs well on Medium and the other way around.

There are exceptions to the rule. I know Tim Denning shared that one of his best-performing Medium stories also became a hit on LinkedIn.

But in general, you have to talk differently on LinkedIn and Medium, YouTube, TikTok, Vocal, NewsBreak, or Twitter.

You can collect all the feedback you’ve received from various platforms, test headlines, and summarize them in a blog post on Medium…. but even that doesn’t mean Medium’s readers will feel like you’re reading their minds or that Medium’s curators would say, “Wow, that’s a great topic for a Boost!”

Bottom Line

It’s often a trap to listen to platform reviews from senior Top Writers.

Why?

They can be misleading.

I also used to follow their advice but learned to write my way and do everything in my style.

When I’m sharing advice it’s coming from my personal and professional experience as well as from coaching my writing students. My knowledge isn’t from 2015 or 2019. My knowledge is from 2023.

Some new writers get Boosted or recommended.

Some (new) writers don’t belong to the Top 10 Writers on Medium but do earn more ($10,000+) than a senior Top Writer.

Some writers with only 2k followers still go viral on this platform, get thousands of views, and earn $20,000 for one story.

This platform is still awesome. You can earn your first dollar writing online here. You can compile multiple stories into an eBook and sell it, create courses, coach others…

Don’t let others tear you down! Dare to be you and share your unique voice THIS YEAR and see what happens.

I’m cheering you on, always!

Medium’s gold rush is over for the Top Writers, so what? We’re part of a new era!


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