Stop Being Medium’s Writing Whore

I know how it starts. You make your first post on Medium and it gets views, maybe a comment. Then you find a publication and submit your new post to it. Overnight you find your community of wonderful writers on your given topic(s). A month goes by, then two, and all of sudden your Medium earnings start to climb.

You read some big writers on Medium and how they’re making a living on Medium. You get inspired and write more, hoping that writing more will equal more earnings, and it does for a while.

Medium is nothing more than a pimp that lured all of us in with the promise of making money for our writing…

Then Medium changes its internal workings and suddenly your earnings drop but your views skyrocket. You can’t figure out what’s going on but Medium offers a referral bonus, so you start adding that link to the bottom of the posts. And you write more, always more, you suddenly feel tired and exhausted but you feel compelled to write more, always more.

Stop.

Stop being Medium’s writing whore. Medium is nothing more than a pimp that lured all of us in with the promise of making money for our writing, showcased those writers that are making it, and put a pen in your hand and put us out on the street to get to work.

Reclaim your whore self.

At first, being the new thing out on the street, you made money and Medium was pleased. Then the market changed, the preferences changed, Medium changed, and you have to work harder than ever to keep earning. So you write more and more and the views go up but the earnings don’t.

Now what? Quit the life?

Not on your fucking life, you built an audience. You have regulars. What now?

Reclaim your whore self.

My Medium experiment

I will be the first to admit that I’m somewhat chaotic in my writing, blog hosting, and online life. This is partly due to the startup nature of my life. I quickly evaluate what works and what doesn’t work, make course corrections, and move on.

Then my father died.

I created an account on Medium back in September 2015 and would cross-post some of my old Neural Market Trends articles there. I let them sit for a while and got a small boost to my traffic but it caused some SEO issues for me so I deleted them from Medium.

I still stayed on Medium, paid the $50 a year membership, and started reading some amazing authors. The quality of work, the topics, and the interaction within the comments inspired me.

Then, after my existential crisis, I decided to start to pick up a pen and start writing again. This time it was for me and on new topics, I was interested in exploring. Yes, all the glorious sex, relationships, and parenting topics.

Since June 2021 I started building a small audience and wrote a few low viral posts. I thought it was nice and I ended up earning over $50 in October with a 350+ subscriber count.

That gave me an idea to write a post every day in November to raise money for Movember, a men’s health charity. I did this in part because my father was a survivor of prostate cancer and I have a friend who is a testicular cancer survivor.

Then my father died.

All my plans were thrown out the window, and rightfully so.

I managed to make a bunch of posts in November as a way to write out my grief and mourning but something had changed. I changed and Medium changed.

I caught myself from replying to a bunch of low-quality shit when I realized that THIS IS WHAT MEDIUM WANTS.

I was hoping that my past month’s work and new work would push me over the $50 mark for November so I can make a sizable donation. I wanted to honor my father that way, a small token of how much I appreciated him.

At first, I was happy, my views increased over 300% but I failed to break October’s income record. I made less in November and ended up donating just over $45. A nice sum but I wished it was more.

Quality over quantity

Over the past few months, I started to notice an uptick in low-quality work on Medium. Medium’s recommendation algorithm must’ve been tweaked to give new writers views and possibly some earnings as they started their writing whore life.

I usually don’t mind new writers, hell I encourage them, but I started to notice that these were red pill/MGTOW people. The antithesis of everything I hold dear about relationships and sex. Why the hell was I seeing them? Why the hell was I being recommended them?

I caught myself replying to a bunch of low-quality shit when I realized that THIS IS WHAT MEDIUM WANTS.

It wants you to engage, generate views, and earnings for new people so it can drive MORE REVENUE AND SUBSCRIBERS for itself.

Own your content and syndicate your work.

Of course, this is all speculation on my part, but as someone who works in the AI/Machine Learning space, an engagement algorithm can be very profitable if it gets you to engage. What better way to get a person like me, a polar opposite to the shit I was seeing, to charge me up and engage with low-quality shit.

This does not sit well with me at all.

So how do I, a little writing whore, reclaim myself?

The answer is very simple. Get off Medium’s street and become a pimp myself.

Me, the pimp

I did this before with my old blog and I’m doing it now on my new blog. Own your content and syndicate your work.

Let me repeat this.

Own your content and syndicate your work.

Owning your content means you have to host your content on your domain. I’ve written before about the coming pornocolypse in my Only Fans Debacle post, but the advice is the same whether your content is SFW or NSFW.

Use Medium the same way as they used you. Use them for the traffic.

Still, if you write just on your domain you become some guy or girl screaming into the Internet void.

Unless you are a master at SEO or have some existing writing credibility, your views are going to be very low to zero.

Make Medium your whore, use it for the views but keep safeguards around your content.

Try to transfer the eyeball traffic from Medium to your site over time. Set up a newsletter service (I used Sendy), one that can charge a monthly subscription rate (if you like).

You can still make money on Medium by participating in the Partnership program but you control your work. You become an empowered writing whore and pimp at the same time.

Use Medium the same way as they used you. Use them for the traffic.

But how do you do that?

Write, import, tag, SEO optimize

My process is simple. I write my quality content, then I import the story on Medium, add the appropriate tags, go to Story Settings and edit the SEO Settings, and then publish.

What happens when you import your story, Medium automatically canonicalizes the posts by inserting code that points to your article, on your domain, as being the original.

Of course, the SEO settings on your Medium post rank higher in a Google search page because Medium has strong domain credibility BUT Google will not penalize you for the duplicate content.

This is your data, this is your work, don’t accept anything less.

Some writers will take the original post and modify it for Medium, maybe drop snippets of the post or point back to the full article on their site. This is a great strategy too but only works if you have a big enough audience.

Some writers will use a membership type of blog setup, like Ghost, to set monthly subscriber tiers. They can share all kinds of other content behind the scenes.

What matters is that YOU need to stop being used like a whore and start thinking like a pimp.

Besides, this is wise. You never know what could happen to Medium. They may IPO, they may be bought out, they may scrub all NSFW content. I’m guessing here but I’ve seen all this happen before and it will happen again.

It’s always best to control your content on your domain and build up your subscriber newsletter. This is your data, this is your work, don’t accept anything less.


Endnotes: I use the terms whore and pimp in a context to illustrate my points in this article, to show that it’s often a negative power exchange. I don’t denigrate sex work as a legitimate endeavor or sex workers as real people. I love you all.

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