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Boosting Is Not the Best Way to Earn More On Medium

Here’s what works every time

It’s been a rough couple of months on Medium, I am not going to lie.

Many of us have experienced dwindling views & fewer $$$ from partner program payouts as a consequence. Even the referral members (at least for me) are on a steady downward trend.

The light at the end of the tunnel for many? Medium’s Boost, which is a few months old at this point.

I have had boosted stories since then, and let me tell you, they did decently well compared to others, as you can see below.

Screenshot by author

Boosting helps, but it’s not the solution we’re looking for. Not entirely.

Here’s why!

Manual labor

Boosting is entirely driven by human editors from various publications. Kristina God gives a handy list here.

While some human intervention is good, it comes with its problems:

  1. Editors can only do so much in their time. And that’s disproportionate to the number of stories submitted. That means many boost-worthy stories won’t make it.
  2. A few have power over everything. This isn’t ideal, IMO.
  3. Editors are just people. They have their likes and dislikes, and what one may consider boost-worthy, the next will not.
  4. Boosting won’t guarantee success. Even if a story gets boosted and subsequently shown to more readers, the readers still need to read them, therefore be interested in them in the first place. And that doesn’t happen just because of the boost.

Because boosting doesn’t compare to this ↓

What’s better than boosting

So, then what’s the solution if not boosting?

Medium still has a large advantage over other writing platforms or other types of blogging: the built-in audience of millions of readers.

To attract those readers, the best tactic is, has been, and will be writing about trending topics.

Yes, that’s not a sexy answer. And for many, this sucks because they want to write about whatever the heck they want and not consider the latest trend.

I get that. I’d love to live in a world like this, too.

But it’s not how it works.

Every online publishing platform (built on algorithms) is driven by trends. Medium, YouTube, TikTok, newspapers, and magazines, they all need reads, views, and engagement. And to get that, they require trendy pieces.

Boosting a story that isn’t trendy might help a little, but it won’t break the algorithm.

Boosting a story about a trending topic might do so.

The bottom line

Boosting on Medium is not the best way to earn more money, as it is driven by human editors who have limited time and personal preferences.

Instead, the best tactic is to write about trending topics to attract Medium’s built-in audience of millions of readers. We’re all driven by trends.

What’s trending right now?

Making money stuff still is, hustle culture is. AI is booming. But trends come and go. A few years ago, self-help and productivity were all the rage. Stories about those topics did well. I know, I had some hits.

Today, not so much.

Do you have to go with the trends? Obviously not. Some writers make damn good money writing about what they want. But this is the exception, not the rule.

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