I’ve been a content producer for Associated Content for almost a year now. While there are a lot of wonderful, legitimate opportunities out there for freelance writers, I’m partial to AC. I’ve come to believe that Associated Content is one of the best companies to write for.
Recently, I was inspired by fellow AC writers Amy Brantley, Lee Andrew Henderson, and Morgan Vermeil, and their articles about how to earn a living writing for Associated Content. I asked myself: Am I doing all I can to increase my income as an Associated Content writer?
Truthfully, I realized I wasn’t doing enough. My recent situation motivated me to look at new ways I can earn more money as an Associated Content producer. In the past year I’ve been freelance writing, I’ve never been able to earn a living as a writer. Last month, I decided to accept a full time day job and write part time; however, the job was so awful I couldn’t stay. Now I’m looking at ways I can write part time and work part time (creating a full time income from the combination). The dream: to eventually write full time for Associated Content.
I live in a very small town, I’m single with no dependents and I can live on a budget. So with enough thought and planning, I believe I can parlay Associated Content into a healthy part time income, which could grow into a full time income for me. If I lived in a big city or my situation was different, perhaps I couldn’t support myself through Associated Content, but living where I do, I think I could generate enough income from AC to meet a lot of my needs.
How do I plan to make more money writing for Associated Content?
Set a Goal of Writing 100 Articles Per Month for Associated Content
Lately, I’ve noticed that writing is like a muscle: the more you use your writing abilities, the more prolific a writer you can become. Previously, I was lucky to publish 10 articles a month on AC, but I just finished 15 articles for Associated Content this past week. It seems to me that the more motivated you are to make a living on AC, the more articles you will write (all I have to do is think of my recent day job gone wrong, and I’m at the keyboard, writing another article for Associated Content!)
100 articles a month for Associated Content is 25 per week. On a good day of uninterrupted writing, I find I can write 4 to 5 articles. On a busier day, I can finish 2 to 3 articles. Even on the busiest of days, I try to write one article per day. My plan is to write 25 articles on the weekdays and take a few moments on the weekends to submit the articles to Associated Content, and then relax and take a break!
Write in Batches of 10 to 20 Articles at a Time
I don’t have high speed internet, so it can take me a while to fill out the template here and submit an article to Associated Content. My new writing strategy is to open a folder on my PC, and write a bunch of articles while the juices are flowing. When I need a break, I’ll take some time and submit my articles to Associated Content all in a “batch.” Dial up is slow here in my rural area, so it can be time consuming to submit my finished work. I’ll look for slow times like nights when the traffic isn’t so busy here to send in my articles to Associated Content.
Yes, I may sacrifice some page views by not submitting articles right away as I complete them, but I think I’ll make up for this in increased efficiency and better workflow. In the past, I could only get two (at the most) articles written and submitted in a day. I think writing in a batch of articles, then submitting them all at once, will be a better solution for me, and increase my productivity on Associated Content (I do proofread each one of my pieces before submitting them here, which is a smart move for Associated Content writers.)
Write 7 Days a Week
I plan to write 5 to 7 days a week, sometimes writing for an 8 hour day like a full time job, and other times stealing a few moments from my busy day. Sometimes I write at my keyboard, other times when I’m not on my PC I write the articles out by hand, and word process them when I have time (typing an article that was hand written can be a time waster, but it’s better than not writing at all.) On the busiest of days, I find I can write one article per day for Associated Content, even if I hand write it on a pad of paper. Taking a break on weekends, during that quiet time at the end of the day, I try to whip out my pad and write an article for AC.
Take a day or two off if you feel burned out or totally exhausted, but try to keep a steady workflow. If you want to write full time for AC (or even make a substantial part time income here) you must write regularly, as often as you humanly can!
Write for Upfront Offers
When I first started on Associated Content, I had just taken a travel writing class with the excellent Writer’s Digest Writers Online Workshops. Ah, those were the days. We spent six weeks writing and polishing one article to be submitted to magazines or newspapers. That article I eventually published first on Bootsnall.com, and then on Associated Content (it was a destination piece about arts and culture in the city of Hudson, New York.) This article hasn’t had a lot of page views, because it wasn’t optimized for the web. I also didn’t get an upfront offer for it at AC, because it was published first on another website.
It took a while, but I’ve learned more about what Associated Content will pay for upfront and how to make my articles show up in search engine results. Now, before I write an article for AC, I search the library here to see if my piece will be unique. If someone else has already written on my topic, I move on to another idea on my list, in order to receive an upfront offer from Associated Content for my work.
I plan to write a ton of product reviews, local articles about what’s going on in the Hudson Valley, travel pieces, and seasonal stories like hot trends and holidays (for example, summer 2008 fashion trends, Mother’s Day gifts, etc.)
The occasional opinion/editorial piece won’t get an upfront offer from Associated Content, but it can increase page views and help gain exposure for my work, so I may submit a few of these as the spirit moves me. Above all, I’ll aim to make my articles of interest to AC readers and offer some unique content, with good keyword density (I’ve noticed that any more than 3 to 4 per cent keyword density makes my articles feel “stuffed,” so I’ll try to balance readability with keyword density.)
Promote your Articles
I’ve noticed something: when I’ve promoted my Associated Content articles, I’ve seen an increase in page views. The best places for me to do so are Del.icio.us and Technorati; I haven’t had good results with Digg. Submitting to directories like the website ineedhits.com is another option. I haven’t been promoting enough, and I plan to step up my activities in this area, in order to boost AC page views.
Set a Brainstorming Session and Organize Your Work
I schedule regular brainstorming sessions for Associated Content article ideas. This can be on a day you are taking a break but still want to get something done towards your goal of making more money on Associated Content. I keep a pad with a list of article ideas, and I cross off an idea when it is a finished article (therefore, if I know I need to get 5 articles done today for Associated Content, but I’m stuck for ideas, I go to my list of potential articles.)
Each month, I make a folder on my computer, called for example “AC articles for May 2008.” When I am done writing an article for Associated Content, it gets saved to the appropriate folder on my PC. I also created a folder called “AC Drafts in progress” where I keep articles that need to be finished or fleshed out (when a draft is done, it gets moved to the folder of finished articles for the month that are waiting to be submitted to Associated Content.)
I find that brainstorming and staying organized really helps when you are trying to write and submit a lot of content to Associated Content.
If I can write 100 articles for Associated Content per month, and a realistic upfront offer might be $3 to $7 per article, I’ll receive anywhere from $300 to $700 a month in upfront offers (this could be less if some of the articles are declined for upfront payment.)
I find that I usually receive $4 to $5 upfront offers for my articles. Every article in my Associated Content library was submitted as non exclusive, and I’ll continue to submit all my new articles as non exclusive also. I believe that as my clout rises and my page views go up, my upfront offers will increase. Also, the more articles I publish, the more page views, and as my page view bonuses rise, so will my Associated Content income.
I’m not sure I’ll meet my 100 article a month goal for Associated Content, as it seems rather ambitious. Also, when I find the right part time job, I’m not sure I’ll have as much time to write. What the goal does is motivate me to stretch myself as a writer like I’ve never done before. The possibility of making a full time living as a writer for Associated Content is a dream that motivates me to work as hard as I possibly can.
As a friend said to me recently: dream big, and don’t listen to any self limiting doubts. It’s a great life, the writing life, and I hope if I work hard enough, Associated Content can help me meet my goals.
This is my plan to increase my income as an AC content provider. Feel free to follow my suggestions, and let me know how it all turns out for you (I’ll update my story as time goes by, to see how my writing plan for Associated Content worked out for me.)
Best of luck in all your writing endeavors!
For more thoughts about my writing life: