Friday, April 27, 2007

Freelancing: Writing for Associated Content

Now this is an interesting business model.

You, as a writer, write an article on a topic of your choosing. It must contain 400 words or more. Preferably, it has 3% to 5% keyword density, which means that 3% to 5% of the total number of words in the piece are the keyword--or target word or term--for your article topic.

You then go through a 5-screen upload process, and submit the article for review. The company offers you an upfront fee of anywhere from $3 to $12. You accept their offer or reject it. Within days, the article is published on their site, and you receive a PayPal payment for the agreed-upon amount.

Associated Content debuted in late 2005, but really gained steam at the end of 2006 and into early 2007. I joined in February of 2007 and have been earning a steady stream of income. Income is earned in two ways: "initial" payment, and a page view bonus. For instance, when I joined in February, my average payment for articles was $7.50. For a 400 word article, that's not quite $.02 per word; this is not the lap of luxury. However, for quick writers, a 400 word article takes 15-20 minutes, and my hourly rate was quite good.

In March Associated Content revealed the "page view bonus" plan. Over the past month, "initial" offers have dropped dramatically; my average is now somewhere around $5, although I recently received a $6.25 offer (bring on the caviar!). Page view bonuses are paid out at $1.50 per 1,000 views. Yes--every time someone clicks on your article you earn $.0015. Don't spend it all in one place.

To be fair, if one were to write 2 articles per day, at an average of $5 each, that's $300 per month, plus page view bonuses. I have earned--steady yourself--$9.70 in page view bonuses. 6400 views on my 105 articles, for an average of 63 views per article. My highest page view article has over 1,200 views: click here to read it (humor me)

My second highest:

And, inexplicably, the third most popular article:

Unless you are the parent of a gifted child who drinks gluten-free beer and takes thyroid medication, none of these articles is remotely related, and yet you just clicked on all three and made me $.0045 richer. Thank you.

Pros of publishing with Associated Content:

* You have no deadlines, no bosses, and no critics (I ignore comments. If the president can ignore his critics, so can I. It's the American Way).
* Once an article is accepted, you are paid within 5 days, via funded PayPal.
* If you're a struggling writer, it's a writing credit, and helps to establish a portfolio.
* You can publish "nonexclusive," leaving you free to republish the content on your blog, in print publications, etc.
* It's quick and fast money.
* You are approved or rejected within 2 weeks. No long waits.

Cons of publishing with Associated Content:

* The pay is low.
* Your article may be rejected (about 20% of my articles are rejected, although I now know how to reduce rejection rates, and for the past few weeks my rejection rate is 5%).

In addition, twice a month or so Associated Content offers special content situations where, for instance, there is a guaranteed payout of $8-$10 per article for product reviews, or videos, or whatever other topic the powers that be choose. One of my better performing articles was this review of our Honda Civic Hybrid:

for which I earned $8. Which bought me 2.6 gallons of gas. I was able to drive 121 miles with that gas.

To sign up for Associated Content, and open an account, sign up under ME! I use the pseudonym Lea Barton (you can use a pen name):

I do not earn a penny from this referral. It simply increases my clout, which apparently means nothing financially, but the little planets next to our names get bigger, so I'd love to go from Mars to Jupiter.

Some of the writers on Associated Content publish 5-7 articles per day. I'm plugging along at 2-3 per day, but at my peak easily managed 6-8. Tailor your output as you see fit. So far it's been a great way to gain some extra money, but as with any Internet income source, consider the fact that it may dry up at any point. Enjoy it while you can.

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