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How I Got 75 New Medium Referrals In Two Months Alone

Two tweaks, two tweets


I’m in awe. When Medium rolled out the referral program last year, I wasn’t expecting it to have a giant impact on lesser known writers like myself. I did imagine it having somewhat of an impact on the big guns of Medium, the writers with tens of thousands of followers. I thought they’d be getting referrals easily.

Turns out I was all kinds of wrong.


The referral magic

In the first two months of 2022, I’ve gained 75 referrals alone.

To put that into perspective, the month before that (December 2021), my referral link attracted a total of 5 people. The entire month!

Now, for the majority of writers on this platform, 5 referrals is a considerable number. And I truly agree. I couldn’t have imagined crossing double-digits within a month, let alone amassing 30 to 40 referrals.

The question is how?

I’m trying to find an answer to that myself.

Here’s what I think.


A little luck

A major part in my success over the past two months was luck. I wrote a post late 2021 that picked up traction in December and has been going strong since then. That post alone accounts for a massive chunk of my monthly views in January and February 2022.

Additionally, I was lucky to have a couple of other posts explode with that first viral one.

Why? They share the topic of the first one, which works out well for the algorithm, I suppose.

With these viral stories, my monthly earnings shot up as well. Another thing did, too: The external views of these posts increased exponentially.

Here’s where the referrals come into play.

More external views → a higher chance to get referrals

In a sense, then, luck played a gigantic role for referrals.


Fine line

Another thing that helped me in getting more referrals over the past two months is the way I promote my referral link.

You might have seen the last paragraph in most of my stories. It’s a promotional paragraph to a) share my Medium subscription link and b) show my referral link.

As you know, most Medium writers these days do something similar to this. They write a couple of lines at the end of each post to promote their referral link. What it comes down to, is the appropriate wording, I believe.

It’s a fine line between interest and annoyance.

I’m not good walking at fine lines. But there is one thing I revised in my promotional paragraph at the end of last year which might have contributed to the increase in referrals. Actually, two. Let me show you!


The magic words

Here’s my paragraph:

P.S.: First, you should get my posts in your inbox. Do that here!

Secondly, if you like to experience Medium yourself, consider supporting me and thousands of other writers by signing up for a membership. It only costs $5 per month, it supports us, writers, greatly, and you have the chance to make money with your writing as well. When I started, I made $3000 in 6 months. By signing up with this link, you’ll support me directly with a portion of your fee, it won’t cost you more. If you do so, thank you a million times!

Can you spot the line that draws interest and sounds intriguing to writers who have never thought about writing on Medium, or the ones who weren’t sure before?

It’s this one: When I started, I made $3000 in 6 months.

In the end, most writers on this platform are trying to make money. Some don’t depend on it, some do it for fun, but most I know do or want to make money on Medium. I do too.

Furthermore, many of the external readers might have never heard of Medium and didn’t know that it was possible to earn anything, let alone a good amount of money. The added line targets those people.


The bottom line

Some might say this is exploitation of people who don’t know any better.

I disagree because

  1. I did earn that amount of money.
  2. I earned a lot more since.
  3. Finally, Medium has been and still is one of the best places for writers to earn money online with their craft. There’s not much more out there.

Therefore, I truly mean what I write in that promotional paragraph.

Tweaking the wording a little and getting lucky with a handful of viral posts over the past 2–3 months has led to a mind-blowing increase in referrals for me. With that, it drove reads, subscriptions, and earnings.

By the way: I also promoted my referral link in two other ways.

  1. I pinned a tweet with a simple call-to-action.
  2. I wrote a couple of tweet threads, sharing my experience with Medium. Down the thread, I included my referral link. A few writers told me they signed up because of that.

Closing thoughts

The referral program has considerable upsides. The biggest being recurring payments.

It has downsides as well. Members can quit anytime, and I’d lose the referral money. Furthermore, Medium can stop the entire program at any time.

Overall, though, I’m extremely surprised how well the referral links work with little to no active promotion. It’s easy to copy-and-paste the same paragraph at the end of every story. A pinned tweet isn’t much harder.

What’s your experience with referrals?

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