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7 Things to Consider Before Writing on Vocal.Media

The alternate platform has unique features

By BILAL YOUSAFPublished about a year ago 4 min read

I’m often asked if writing on Vocal is worth the effort. That depends on many factors, including what you write about and your target audience. Since most Vocal-related articles are based on a few days or weeks of experience, it makes sense to look at the numbers from several months or longer.

A streamlined platform

Vocal has a more basic look and feel. It doesn’t allow for commenting or private messaging. There’s no following mechanism, though a new creators feature is supposed to change that. Primarily, Vocal is all about the content being discovered via web search and social media posts. Thus, engaging titles are way more critical, and self-marketing is a must.

Two tiers of membership

Vocal offers writers two ways to make money:

  • A free Vocal account nets you $3.80 per 1,000 reads, pro-rated; 7% processing fee on tips.
  • A pay-for Vocal+ membership provides $6 per 1,000 reads, pro-rated; 2.9% processing fee on tips.

Vocal+ costs $9.99 per month. It sounds steep, but if you can find your footing, it’s worth the price. You’d need 2,400 reads per month to break even and 5,000 reads to make the about same amount as you would under the free program.


A writer getting 5,000 views per month under the free program would make $19, while a Vocal+ member would net $20.01 ($30 less the monthly fee).

Additional Vocal+ benefits

Writers under the free program must earn $35 to withdraw funds. Vocal+ members need only earn $20.

The most attractive feature, though, is the writing challenges. Vocal randomly announces themed challenges with cash prizes.

Most challenges have awards for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places, with 1st place earning $1,000 to $5,000. The standard requirement is a 600–5,000 word count.

The (possible) downsides

Comparing Vocal to other platforms may leave you wanting more. But finding ways to embrace the differences can lead to decent earnings. Here are the most prominent issues writers may find with Vocal.

1. No super-short reads

Vocal requires all articles to be 600 words or more, translating to a 3-minute read minimum. I’ve yet to see an exception to this rule.

2. Lengthier approval process

Stories are not published immediately. Vocal has a team of human editors who manage all draft submissions. Some articles report these people edit their work, but I’ve not experienced this at all. It appears to be more about ensuring work is of decent quality and void of content that violates the guidelines.

Approval typically takes 6–24 hours during the workweek. Articles submitted Friday, Saturday and Sunday might not be approved until Monday.

3. No user-level editing options

Vocal doesn’t allow for real-time editing. This makes the platform perfect for newsworthy articles and evergreen content, but not for living documents. In-depth grammar and spelling checks prior to submission are crucial.

That’s not to say you can’t make changes. You can submit a request to Vocal, and it will revert the story to draft mode. After updating, you resubmit and await the approval process. This is problematic for works currently being featured across the web. My Parler guide needed a fix in the midst of it being shared by the company’s CEO. The link was offline for three days, leaving me no choice but to self-publish it on Medium so I can make updates on the fly.

4. Lack of interaction with readers

Vocal is all about the content. Authors don’t build a following because there’s no way to follow writers you love. While this is soon changing, we aren’t yet sure to what extent.

Vocal also doesn’t support comments, so there’s no way to know how well-received your story is except based on hearts. In my experience, few readers tap this “love” icon. My best-performing work has just seven hearts.

5. No control over where stories appear

Vocal editors ultimately decide where your work fits. When submitting for review, you can assign a community (category) and tag (topic). However, they may change during the publishing process. One of my social media articles wound up under The Swamp, and a business piece fell under Journal.

6. No control over SEO settings

Your story’s title is the SEO and social sharing title. The subtitle is the meta description, so you’ll want to format these for both search engines and platform readers.

7. No automatic saving

Take note. If you write directly via Vocal’s platform, your draft is not saved behind the scenes. If you don’t save your work as you go, you’ll lose it. It’s another reason why writers should be composing locally and then pasting edited work into platforms.

The publishing process varies across platforms. That’s not a bad thing. It reinforces the need for writers to remain flexible in how they format and submit work. There is no one best channel for everyone.

If you’re thinking of joining Vocal or Vocal+, weigh your options. Keep in mind that writing across multiple platforms has its challenges, but it can also come with many rewards.

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