What is Vocal Media? How can writers use it to make money? How does Vocal Media stack up against similar sites, like Medium? Is it worth signing up to become a Vocal Plus member?
In this article, we will answer these critical questions about Vocal Medium and more. We’re basing our review of Vocal Media on five years of experience in freelancing writing and learning everything we can about how to make money with writing. We’ll be covering the good, the bad, and the ugly with this platform.
What Exactly Is Vocal Media?
Vocal Media is a publishing platform started by V Media Services in 2013. It welcomes writers in any genre and from all walks of life to share their content. There are multiple communities on Vocal Media, where writers can publish content on topics they know well.
Open to Every Genre
Almost anything you want to write will fit into one of the communities on Vocal Media. Whether your preference is to write for Beats (music), Blush (beauty), Cleats (soccer/football), Criminal *rue crime), Earth (everything about the planet we call home), Education at all levels, Families of all kinds, Feast (food of all kinds), Fiction, Filthy (sexuality), Futurism, FYI (facts), Gamers, Geeks, Horror, Humans (relationships), Interviews, Lifehack, Longevity, Marriage, PetLife, Photography, Poets, Potent (cannabis lifestyle), Styled, Chain (blockchain), Swamp (politics), Trader (investing), Unbalanced (the world of sports and the culture around movie, TV, and politics), Viva (what it means to be a woman), Wander (travel), or Wheel (cars), you can find a home for your writing on Vocal Media.
Vocal Media is a membership-based platform. There are two tiers of membership.
Free members can publish as much as they want, although they have fewer options for monetization. Free members are paid $3.80 for every 1000 reads of their articles. They pay a 7% commission on their tips, and they need a minimum balance of $35 for withdrawals.
Vocal+ members pay a $49 annual fee, but they are paid $6.00 for every 1000 reads of their articles. They only pay 2.9% on their tips, and only need a $20 balance for withdrawals.
Vocal+ members get a Vocal+ Badge. They can compete in Vocal+ exclusive challenges. There is a quick-edit option for their articles, and they can receive pledges from their readers. Vocal+ members will soon be able to customize their creator page and publish to it directly.
How Do You Make Money on Vocal Media?
One of the reasons Vocal Media is so attractive to so many writers is that they offer a lot of monetization options.
Vocal Media Challenges
Perhaps the biggest draw for writers is the Vocal Ready Challenges. These are writing contests that award a significant sum of money to their winners. The platform does an incredible job of making sure there are always two or three challenges members can enter.
The challenges themselves vary a lot. Challenges can be for short stories, non-fiction pieces, and even poetry. Vocal typically awards prize money to the top three entrants, and the grand prize ranges anywhere from $1,000 to $25,000.
Vocal Media’s Pay-Per-Read Structure
Another way writers can make money is through Vocal Media’s pay-for-read structure. Free members earn $3.80 every time 1000 visitors to their page read one of their articles and paid members earn $6.00 every time 1000 visitors read one of their articles.
Does this rate seem a little on the low side?
It’s really not. If you put up a video on YouTube, you might earn $10.00 (or a little less) per 1000 impressions—but to get that rate, you would have to create a video. Visual content on Instagram might earn about $8 per 1000 impressions. Articles earn a lot less, as little as $1.00 per thousand reads if you monetize with AdSense or up to $6.00 per thousand reads on some other platforms.
With Vocal Media, you are probably earning a little more than you would on most other platforms for the same kind of content, or maybe a lot more. Plus, you don’t have the hassle of both publishing your article yourself and dealing with one or more advertisers.
Vocal Media Tipping Feature
At the end of every story you publish on Vocal Media, there is a little bar where readers can heart the story to show that they like it. They can also donate a tip.
Vocal Media Creator Bonuses
Vocal Media’s creator bonuses are one-off payments for certain kinds of achievements or milestones. For instance, Vocal Media will award you $5 just for reading other creators’ work and liking it.
Vocal Media will pay you $5 when you post five stories, and another $5 when you post 10 stories. They will also give you $5 if your piece gets selected for a top story.
Writing a top story gets it featured on Vocal Media’s home page.
When Vocal Media writers publish their 50th story, they receive a $50 bonus.
Vocal Media Pledges
The latest monetization feature Vocal Media has implemented is something they call “pledges.: If you activate the pledges feature, your readers can pledge $2.99 a month.
Vocal has hinted that they are planning a feature similar to Quora+, which puts some content behind a firewall for which readers have to pay an access fee of $5 a month or $50 a year, or the Creator Page option on Patreon.
How much you earn from pledges depends on your following. Great SEO skills can draw the crowds you need for substantial earnings from pledges on Vocal Media.
Vocal Media has some workable monetization strategies, but what is it like to actually write on this platform? Let’s review the pros and cons of writing for Vocal Media, beginning with the cons.
Challenges in Writing for Vocal Media
There are a few features on Vocal Media that will require special attention to make them work for you.
Small Internal Readership
Probably the biggest drawback to writing for Vocal Media is that it has a very small internal readership.
It’s not like Medium, where you can write for Medium, and you probably spend a lot of time reading articles on Medium, too. Almost anything you publish on Medium will get a few hundred views relatively quickly, without any promotion on your part.
Vocal Media operates on the principle of BYOA, bringing your own audience. To succeed on Vocal Media, you will need some real skills in self-promotion.
However, that’s not necessarily a bad thing,
Every writer needs to be able to find their audience. Vocal Media is a good place to develop those skills if you don’t have them already.
When you build up an audience through on-page SEO, and especially when you build an audience with off-page SEO, you create channels that can bring readers to your writing on multiple sites. Your audience on Vocal Media can become the core of your readership for your books on Amazon, for example.
Stringent Editorial Standards
Vocal Media’s Moderation Team reviews every single post before it is published. If you are a professional writer, you probably welcome the input of reviewers who will catch any of the mistakes you rarely make. If you have serious issues using English grammar and don’t know how to use spell check (or if you don’t disable an autocorrect feature that adds mistakes to your work), then you may find that Vocal Media can lose patience with correcting repeated mistakes.
Vocal Media’s Moderation Team usually achieves a 24-hour turnaround for reviewing submissions. Occasionally, an article will be in moderation for several days. Unless you are writing about a time-sensitive topic, you really should regard article moderation as a benefit, not as an impediment to your work.
The Creative Bonuses Aren’t Unlimited
Earning lots of money from creative bonuses should not be your goal on Vocal Media. Once you hit all the major milestones, you will need to focus on other revenue streams. Unless you are continuously getting a top story, you will stop seeing bonuses after you reach 1,000 views or after you submit your 50th post.
Winning Vocal Media Challenges Is Hard
Vocal Media attracts some very talented writers. Don’t depend on Vocal Media challenges to give you continuous positive reinforcement.
You may do a six-month stretch in which you enter every challenge you can, and you don’t place a single time. This would not be because your writing is bad. You just need to remember that your entry is one of hundreds or even one of thousands, and the judges were drawn to other entries more than they were drawn to yours.
Benefits of Writing for Vocal Media
Those were the cons. Now, let’s consider the pros.
You Can Use the Pay-to-Read Feature to Your Advantage
Vocal Media doesn’t just pay you when other Vocal Media members read your articles. Reads by anyone on the Internet count toward the thousands of impressions for which you will get paid.
If you know how to get your page ranked on the first page of results on Google for a valuable keyword or long-tail phrase, which you don’t even have to use in your article, you can rack up enough reads to get a good paycheck from Vocal Media.
It’s a little more challenging to get high Google ranks on Vocal Media than it is on Medium because Vocal Media’s domain authority is a little lower (for now, anyway). The Vocal Media moderators don’t have as many tools for optimizing your content as the editors for Medium.
Nonetheless, some content creators on Vocal Media have mastered the SEO skills that got their pages ranked on Google. Your earnings from Vocal Media can go from a few dollars a month to a few hundred dollars a month with great SEO.
You Can Take Advantage of Social Media
Another way to make money with Vocal Media’s pay-for-read feature is to take advantage of social media. For example, you could write an article about the latest episode of Star Trek or a cutting-edge medical advancement, or an exciting football match, and then share that article in a large Facebook group. Traffic back from social media drives the reads of your article.
There is a kind of etiquette to posting in social media. Avoid spam. One post per group per day is enough. And don’t be that group member who only visits the page when she has something to promote. Contribute to healthy social media pages with a variety of posts that do and do not have monetization potential. Get to be known as a real friend of the group.
The Challenges Aren’t All About Their Cash Prizes
If you are a professional writer, you have to be serious about your income streams. You can’t just write for fun. However, whether you are just beginning your writing journey, or you have been a professional writer since 1962, there is likely room to improve your writing. Entering Vocal Media challenges can help you develop your skills as a writer, no matter where you are in your career.
Vocal Media’s challenges are intended to stretch your skills as a writer. They are intended to give you a chance to reinvigorate your career. Many members of Vocal Media find the challenges to be valuable for that reason alone.
Vocal Media Is a Great Place to Syndicate Content
If you already have a blog, or you have been publishing for a while, you have a massive library of content that you can adapt for Vocal Media. Even though Google does not necessarily penalize duplicate content, Vocal Media moderators recommend that you update and refresh any part of your articles that haven’t proven to be evergreen. By repurposing your content, you will quickly get a creator bonus, and you may be able to develop an SEO strategy that draws readers to all of your content, not just to isolated pages.
Vocal Is Constantly Adding New Features to Support Content Creators
There is always some new feature on the drawing board or coming into beta-testing at Vocal Media. Vocal Media is growing into a great way for writers to earn a consistent income, especially if they have taken the time to create their own audiences.
Frequently Asked Questions About Vocal Media
Can I post affiliate links in my content?
Yes, but they must not be spammy. Affiliate links must not detract from your storytelling. An affiliate disclosure must be included.
What is the major difference between writing for Vocal Media and writing for Medium?
Medium will promote your content for you if their editors like it. Vocal Media leaves acquiring an audience to you, but you aren’t limited by the moderator’s personal preferences.
What is the top difference between writing for Vocal Media and writing for Newsbreak?
Newsbreak compensates writers with a portion of the ad revenues from their pages. When you are writing for Newsbreak, you want to inspire readers to click on an ad (without breaking Google AdSense rules!). When you write for Vocal Media, you are writing to keep the site visitor reading your article.
If there aren’t any ads on Vocal Media, how does Vocal Media make money?
Vocal Media gets a platform fee when you join Vocal+. It gets a tiny percentage of your tips. It also runs a content studio called Vocal for Brands that produce branded content.
Do I own the rights to my stories on Vocal?
Yes! You are always free to publish your work elsewhere and to remove it from Vocal at any time. You give Vocal Media a limited license to promote your work and share it on social media.
Are there any quality standards for submissions to Vocal Media?
A. Great content comes in many forms, but Vocal Media is looking for submissions that meet these standards:
– Word count. Vocal Media publishes long-form content. Articles need to be a minimum of 600 words, and poems must be at least 100 words.
– Title and meta-title. Vocal Media requires both a title, of course, and also a subtitle to help the moderates categorize your article.
– English-only. At this time, all content submitted to Vocal Media must be in English.
– Featured image or video. Add interest to your content with visual content.
– Respecting content. Don’t plagiarize content or images! Wikimedia images are OK, but you are more likely to find an image that adds value to your article at a stock image platform like Unsplash.
Can I submit anything I want to Vocal Media?
A. Vocal Media does not accept content that is Not Safe For Work. They don’t want photographs of full-frontal nudity, although Vocal Media usually accepts non-photographic artistic depictions of naked bodies. Any suggestion of underage sexual activity or sexual violence is prohibited. Solicitation of sex is also prohibited.
Vocal Media does not accept content that encourages or glorifies violence. Repeating racial, ethnic, religious, or sexual slurs in reporting may be accepted, but writers are asked to accept the decisions of moderators when they are asked to remove these terms.