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What Happens to Most Medium Writers?


Analyzing the holistic enterprise with stats and generalities.

I started syndicating my blog content on Medium around 2017 with my first account, which has gone by the wayside since.

The account I’m using now is my second account which I started around August 2018. I posted around 12 articles here from then until December 2022.

Like a long-lost treasure realized, I started writing seriously on Medium around early December 2022. I’ve now been writing regularly here for around 5 weeks.

The total article count I’ve amassed is 46 at this point in my Medium journey.

When I came back to Medium after 4.5 years of neglect, I had 34 followers and wasn’t a member. I became a member and then soon enough reached the 100-follower threshold to apply for monetization. I really appreciate how quickly Medium approves this part of the journey.

At this point, I have 242 followers and am up to 1,580 views in the past month.

I’ve been keeping track of the pennies rolling in and I make around .05 to .40 cents per day. For some reason, I made $1.50 one day, but this is an anomaly so far.

While I haven’t done the follow-for-follow method, I do have a methodology for interacting and gaining followers. In this process, I’ve noticed some patterns I’d like to analyze with you.

First I’ll share the methodology. I’m sure it isn’t new, but it works for me.

Essentially, I go to a favorite writer’s profile and look at who they are following, then go down and choose the writers I find interesting from the list by right-clicking the link into a new window.

After I click on around 30 writers, I then examine each profile. What I look for are four main factors:

  • last post date (have they been active in the last few weeks?)
  • type of articles and about page (do I like their content?)
  • if they are a member or not (will they help me make money?)
  • how many people do they follow (what is the chance they’ll follow me back?)

If all four of these factors check out then I’ll follow them. There are two exceptions to these rules that may apply:

  • if they don’t follow hardly anyone yet I like their content
  • they aren’t a member yet the other factors check out (heck, they could conceivably become a member through my link).

I’m following 438 writers now, yet I’ve looked through at least 1,000 in the process.

If someone follows me, I’ll sometimes follow them back without this process, yet I’ve learned to check out these factors. Essentially, I only want to follow writers that have content I’m interested in reading.

From what I’ve gathered through some research, there are:

  • 175k writers on Medium
  • 750k paying members

These writers produce around 47k articles per day (2020).

These stats are from a 2020 article by 

Out of these writers, only around 10k make over $100, and around 116k make .01 cent or more.

Around 6% of writers make over $100.

Although these are somewhat old statistics, they give me a good basis for my analysis. I’m sure Medium has grown since then, but not as much as the growth before then.

For instance, his article explains there were 119 M unique visitors in Sept. 2020, and Similarweb says in Nov. 2022 there were 142.1 M.

I just think it is interesting to try and understand the dynamics here at Medium.

Now, what I’ve noticed from my following methodology is the different types of writers and members. Gauging from the estimated 1,000 profiles I’ve examined, here are some things I’ve found.

Interestingly, many accounts are ghosted. I would estimate nearly half of the accounts I look at have writers who haven’t posted anything for months or years. Not being members anymore, they seem to have tried hard for a time and then moved on.

The rest of the accounts that are active are either top dogs who don’t follow anyone and have thousands of followers, or those who either follow around what they are followed by or follow a lot more writers than they are followed by.

You can tell a lot about a writer by looking at how many people they follow and how many followers they have.

For instance, I think some writers start out following a lot of writers and then slow way down to following hardly any.

There are also about 5% of users who haven’t written anything, which makes sense if there are 750k members and only 175k writers. The strange thing is there should be many more of these accounts.

Now, out of the users who follow me, around 30% of them have just started and are looking for a follow for follow. Most of these aren’t members yet and about half of them have started just days or weeks before and filled up their profiles with content already. I’ll follow them if I like their content, yet I wonder how long they will last.

There are also those who follow a lot of people, get a certain amount of followers back, and then unfollow people later on. That is just rude. This one user was doing that and I wondered how she had nearly a thousand followers in just a week or so, especially with only a few pieces of content and a low follow count.

The writers I like to find are those who are active, follow as many or more as they are followed by, have good content I like, are members, and appreciate the writing community at Medium.

Conclusion

Every once in a while I like to talk about Medium for anyone who wants to listen. This is my experience so far.

My main takeaway is how many writers come and go. Writing here is like a marathon and most writers fall away within the first weeks or months. My profile from before I started writing here seriously told this tale, yet I’ve come back and others may do the same.

Not everyone has the time or the discipline to come and write or even syndicate content here regularly.

Speaking plainly, I think most writers find out how hard it is to make money here and leave frustrated.

Out of the 175k writers, I’m guessing there are only around 25% that are consistent writers and active users. That would equal around 43k writers who write the majority of the 47k articles per day.

Out of those 43k, there are only about 10k who are marathon runners making $100/month or more. The others are just jogging here and there or using it as syndication and exposure mostly.

What I gather from my rough analysis is, if a writer is willing to run the marathon for a year or longer, they will emerge from the pack and become successful on Medium.

They may never make much more than $100/month, yet if they can find the time and justification to continue, this amount would be worth it.

Really, it depends on what a person wants out of the site. If they value the writing community and like to read other writers’ articles and interact, then the site serves a purpose beyond just making money. Besides the top dogs, it seems these are the types that emerge from the pack and become successful here at Medium.

Only time will tell if I can keep up the momentum. I plan on writing here consistently for the next year and being an active member, so it will be interesting to see how I do.

I don’t have high expectations for making money and can viably fit the writing into my day job schedule, so I have a good chance of making Medium work for what I need.

I’ve been blogging now since 2013 and know how the ebb and flow of content creation goes, so I’m familiar with the game.

Medium is one of the eggs in my online writing basket, in addition to HubPageseBooks, my website, and NewsBreak (if they approve monetization for me — it’s been about 10 days since applied).

Overall, Medium is a great place and I find it a privilege to be here. Blessings in your efforts.

Originally published at Medium

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