Medium Seeks Partners to Launch New Publications

We are looking to fund more great editors, writers, and publishers

Photo by Alex wong on Unsplash

Every day, millions of people read unique, thought-provoking stories on Medium. And every day, more people subscribe, via Medium Membership, in order to access an unlimited number of those stories, ad-free, for just $5 per month. As more people subscribe, Medium is able to fund more great content, which we do in three ways:

First, our open publishing platform creates an equal playing ground for anyone with a perspective to share. It is used by thousands of people for free, daily. The best of these articles are curated and distributed to millions of readers each month.

Second, our in-house editorial team both commissions stories from celebrated writers and journalists and works with new voices they discover on the platform. Among other efforts, this team is building new publications like OneZero and Human Parts (with more to come).

Finally, Medium partners with third-party editors and publishers to offer stories under their own publications as part of the Medium bundle. This includes both licensed and original content.

Today, we are announcing our plan to significantly expand our partner relationships and putting out this call for applications. Specifically, we are seeking partners to create new publications on Medium, which we will help fund and distribute. If you are a current (or aspiring) editor-in-chief, an expert in your field, or an existing publisher with extra capacity, we’d love to hear from you.

Here are more details:

What’s a “publication” in Medium parlance?

A publication is a digital magazine. There are several thousand publications on Medium today. Readers can follow publications (as well as individual authors). Readers also see stories from publications in their feeds and email — even if they don’t follow that publication — if those stories are relevant to them. The Medium publication feature set includes back-end editorial controls, newsletters, stats, and other things you find in most content management systems.

What types of publications are you looking to fund?

People turn to Medium to help them understand the world more deeply and find worthwhile ideas they can apply in their lives. So we are looking for quality publications that can do these things across all areas of knowledge and human experience (at least those that people want to read about).

When we say quality, we mean more than good writing (though we like that a lot). We also mean information quality — accuracy, insightfulness, and offering something uniquely valuable to the reader.

Lastly, focus helps. Our members read about almost every topic under the sun. But there is power in specificity. Niche works. If you’re able to own a conversation, that’s better than offering a soon-forgotten rehash on the biggest news of the day.

What we won’t do: We are not interested in publications with ads or that are really thinly disguised marketing. For now, we are limited to English-only. (This will eventually change, so feel free to drop us a note if you want to do a non-English publication so we can get back to you when we’re ready.) Also, our focus right now is nonfiction, so we’re not likely to fund fiction and poetry at this time.

What is the benefit of partnering with Medium?

Our philosophy is that, in an incredibly crowded and noisy media environment, it makes sense to join forces with others who are aligned. While the publishing world is moving to paywalls, there is likely to be a relatively small limit on the number of subscriptions most consumers will tolerate. By working together, we can offer people far more flexibility and value, which will get and keep them subscribing.

How does this affect the Partner Program?

It doesn’t. We are as excited and committed as ever to the writers in Medium’s Partner Program.

Total payouts have increased, as our subscriber base has grown. Last month, we paid out 168% of what we did just six months ago.

How does the money work, and how much are we talking?

We will pay a revenue share based on readership. (We will offer more specific details on how this is determined with partners. The aim is to make it straightforward and as predictable as possible.) In some cases, we will offer a minimum guarantee of $5–50k per month to help publishers get started and lessen the risk.

Deals will vary widely, dependent on the track record of editor/team, subject area, and the potential to build an audience.

If we do a deal, can you promise you won’t stop funding my publication in the future?

No. We are looking for long-term, sustainable partnerships. But, naturally, not all new projects are likely to work. Therefore, we will sign contracts that range from three to 12 months. We will renew (or renegotiate) those that work and say thank you to those that don’t, giving as much guidance ahead of time as possible.

What if I already have a Medium publication?

Well, that certainly makes things easier for both of us. If you’d like to explore a business relationship, we’d love to talk.

What if I am not a professional editor?

We have the highest respect for the editing/writing professions and we believe great ideas can come from anywhere. Some of the most powerful ideas on Medium come from individuals who are not professional writers but who have unique perspectives and knowledge to share. One of our biggest needs is “editors” with deep expertise — especially among technical topics — who can curate the best of these writers and help them find their deserved audience. If there’s a topic you know a lot about that deserves a great Medium publication, please let us know.

What if I already have a publication that’s not on Medium?

We’re also happy to talk. If you have a proven track record of publishing good stuff and getting people to read it, we may be able to help you monetize.

Hasn’t Medium done this before?

We have done deals with third-party publishers in the past. We fulfilled those contracts but did not end up renewing them. At the time, we did not have our subscription offering and were not able to make the numbers work. To be clear, like any business deal, there is still risk involved today. However, we are in a much different position, with a proven model, and we’re excited to enable a new breed of editors and quality content to thrive on Medium.

How do I apply?

Click here to fill out the form. We will review every application and get back to you when we can.

Thank you.

News and updates from the staff at Medium.