Medium is a great place to write and get paid, but if your content doesn’t get viewed and read by paying Medium members, you don’t earn anything. Especially if you joined Medium with the hope of earning money for your writing, the idea of your content not getting the views it needs to bring home the bacon isn’t exactly a fun one.
While views don’t directly correlate to getting paid by Medium, your Medium content won’t earn anything without views. So I’d like to take a look at a few reasons why a story on Medium might not be getting views and how to fix them.
You’re new to the site and unknown to readers.
While it’s not difficult to get started on Medium, it does take time to be discovered and start racking up views to your content. This is where many new Medium writers go wrong. They assume that all they’re content will go viral after having written on the site for a month or two.
That’s just not likely to happen.
If you haven’t been writing on Medium for long, chances are you don’t have many followers yet, and your writing isn’t being shown to a huge audience. Those who have hundreds or thousands of followers didn’t get there overnight. They worked hard to develop that audience and following. And you need to do the same.
Don’t expect to be hitting 10K views a month in your first month of being on Medium. Is it possible in theory? Sure. Is it likely? No. Not really.
Especially when you’re just starting out you need to spend time learning who your audience is and creating content that is tailored to them. And as you create that great content, be patient. Remember that just because you post excellent content doesn’t mean you’re going to be flooded with views immediately. That’s true on Medium and any other platform. Be patient.
Your topics are too broad.
One of the great things about Medium is the fact that you can write about nearly any topic you choose. If you want to write about technology, health, fitness, marketing, etc… you can do that.
The problem is, some people try to write about everything under the sun and never get around to defining a niche. At no point do they settle on a few related topics to run with, and that make it hard to truly develop an audience.
Think about this with me. What kinds of successful writers do you follow? How many of them write about anything and everything under the sun? Probably not many. Instead, those who have carved out an audience and developed a following have done so by sticking to a predetermined set of topics and built a community of people who care about those topics.
This is true in any type of content creation – video, text, and audio.
For example, one of the YouTubers and writers I follow, Mark Ellis, writes about technology and some about side hustles and mindset. But he’s not churning out articles talking about geopolitical issues or knitting. Why? Because those aren’t his niches. Those topics aren’t what he’s built his audience around.
If he were to write a blog post or Medium article about knitting, his audience would probably be quite confused. After all, that’s not the kind of content they signed up for.
Instead of trying to write about everything, choose one or just a few related topics and start churning out high quality content in those interest areas. This helps to do a couple of things.
- It helps to establish you as an authority on a subject. Think about this. If you have 50, 100 or more pieces of content on a topic, the natural conclusion is that you have some idea of what you’re talking about.
- It attracts and keeps followers who are interested in that specific niche. Let’s say I want to attract an audience that’s interested in technology. I should write a bunch of great content about technology – and not try to branch out into something completely unrelated.
While some people say that you don’t need to pick a niche for Medium, I don’t agree. While that doesn’t mean that the sky will be falling if you write a story or two about something else, in general you should stick to one or a few related areas of expertise.
You’re not providing value to your readers.
One thing I’ve tried to hammer home here on Side Hustle Road and elsewhere is the fact that good content is valuable content. You can’t just type a bunch of words or hit record on a video, hit publish and then expect a truck load of adoring fans to instantly materialize.
That’s not how it works.
Think through the needs of your audience and create content that speaks to those needs. Knowing your audience goes a long way, and this isn’t something to ignore. This is true for Medium and any other content platform. People are attracted to value. Period.
What do I mean by value?
That can take several forms, but most often it means you’re answering a question, solving a problem, or saving them time or money. And that basic formula applies to just about any niche.
Think through the problems and questions your target audience has. Learn what questions they’re asking that you can answer or what problems they have that you can solve. Think through ways to save them time and money and create content that achieves that goal.
These problems, questions and time and money saving tips will vary by niche, of course. And someone who is into bike riding probably won’t be as interested (if at all) in content that’s intended for gardeners, for example because it most probably doesn’t address his needs.
Getting this right requires learning a fair bit about your intended readers and gathering information as best you can. But so that you’re not writing blind to some amorphous target audience, you need to find out more about the people you’d like to reach.
For example, I know my target audience member for my Medium writing is typically someone who is interested in technology or being an entrepreneur. I have in my mind a general idea of what this person wants, and I can create content that answers those wants. I have a general idea of what kinds of questions or problems these people have, and I can think of ways to save them time and money.
That’s what you need to do with your content for your audience. I wrote about this in a bit more depth here: If You Want Views, Stop Creating Selfish Content
Your chosen topic isn’t interesting to your audience – or maybe at all.
Certain topics tend to do better than others on Medium as a whole, but more specifically, a lot depends on your personal audience. For example, my audience probably wouldn’t care much about gardening. Since I write mostly about technology and being an entrepreneur. Gardening is certainly a great topic, and there is an audience for it, but those who follow me didn’t follow me because I talk about gardening.
They’ve followed me because they’re interested in what I have to say about Apple, technology and building a side hustle. If I were to switch things up and start talking about something completely different, they’d no doubt be a bit confused and possibly feel a bit betrayed.
It’s also possible that you’re writing about something for which there just isn’t much of an audience on Medium. That isn’t to say that there isn’t one anywhere, but we need to consider what does well on Medium.
Some topics do very well on the site. Others, if they’re more obscure or less popular in general, may not get as much traffic. So if you’re not getting views on Medium, do some searches and see if there are many other stories in that niche. Use the search feature and see if you can find other people writing about the same things in the same ways as you are
If you find some, check to see if their content has more than a few claps and responses. If they don’t, the odds are they aren’t getting much traffic either – and maybe you should consider a different topic. If they do have a decent number of claps and responses, then the odds are something
Medium views go up and down constantly.
If there’s one thing that I’ve found that’s a constant on Medium, it’s change. From month to month, even the most experienced veteran writers know that their views might be up or down, and earnings might be great one month and a little disappointing the next.
It happens to us all. If your views are down this month, understand that it’s not abnormal for there to be some fluctuation. Some months the swing is more massive than others, but knowing that the ups and downs are normal has helped me tremendously. If you understand that next month could be better or worse – and that it’s normal for it to be up and down from month to month – you’ll be less likely to get discouraged and give up when you should persevere.
While you’re not likely to go from thousands of views one month to no views the next, it’s important to understand that even if you’re writing excellent content that provides value, some months your views will be better than others – and some months they’ll be lower.
Some individual stories will get more views than others.
I have found, in the case of my own writing, that some stories I post get more views than others. I can spend time crafting what I think is a great piece of content and hit publish only to find that it wasn’t nearly as popular as I had hoped it would be.
On the flip side, some seem to go nuts and get far more than I had expected. I think the reason for that is multi-faceted.
- Some stories are better written than others. Some of what I’ve written is better organized and goes more in depth than some of the other stories I’ve written. That’s a factor.
- Some topics are more popular than others – even within the same niche. I could write two articles each reviewing two Apple products, for example, and one might do way better than the other. That’s pretty common. More people are going to care about the next iPhone than a new HomePod. So even if I spend hours and hours organizing my content and carefully presenting facts and helpful data with images and engaging information in each post, the post about the iPhone is probably going to get way more views. As you write more about your particular niche, you’ll learn which subtopics in your own niche are more popular than others as well.
- Some stories are linked to by other stories, sending them traffic. This is actually a great strategy to build traffic and increase your views. From each story you write, link to one or two other stories that are relevant.
- Others, just inexplicably get more attention – or seem to be ignored – for one reason or another. Whether it should be chalked up to the Medium algorithm or something else entirely, some pieces of content seem to either get tons of views or very few at all. It can be frustrating, but I’ve come to expect the variation.
Be patient if you’re not getting views on Medium. It takes time.
This is one thing that I really want to get across to you, dear reader. Understand that it does take time to start getting views on Medium – especially if you’re new to the site or if you haven’t been writing much. Don’t rush this, and give yourself time.
Make sure the content you’re writing is high quality and provides value to your intended audience. Don’t spread yourself too thing across topics – pick one and go for it. And make sure that there are other people writing about your chosen topic because if there aren’t, there might not be a market for it on the site – at least not yet.
But please understand (as I say this again just to drive the point home) that even if you’re doing everything right, it will take time to get to a number of monthly views that feels substantial.
Don’t rush it. You got this.
Patience is part of a healthy mindset, and when it comes to your side hustle – whether that’s selling t-shirts or writing on Medium – your mindset is very important.