In this Associated Content guide we identify the pros and cons of becoming a Associated Content writer, discuss successful Associate Content tips to making money writing articles, and share case study data collected on actual Associate Content contributors. For those not familiar with Associated Content, it’s one of the freelance writing sites that pays writers for their articles. As AC continues to add new features and changes its payment guidelines for Associated Content contributors, we’ll continue to update this guide to reflect such amendments and take comments about such changes so they may be shared with other potential AC writers.
How Does Associated Content Work?
Anyone 18 years of age or older can join and submit articles on just about any topic of interest. If the article is well written, the writer may be paid upfront and receive approximately $1.50 to $2 per 1000 page views depending on their “clout” (i.e. AC writer ranking). Associated Content’s upfront payment to the writer may range from about $1 to $15 depending on the article quality and the writer’s clout level.
Associated Content Versus Pay Per Word Writing Jobs
AC provides a great opportunity for someone who wants to gain some writing experience but the pay is minimal in comparison to a freelance writing position that pays on a per word basis. That is, if you can write well, you can easily make more money writing for an actual website rather than the one to fifteen-dollar upfront payment plus the maximum $2/1000 page views that AC pays most well established “contributors”. As an example, let’s say you are paid $0.05 per word for each article that you write for a small niche website. At that rate, a single 1000-word article would therefore earn you $50 upfront. If you wrote just one article per day, you’d earn about $1500 per month in steady, dependable income. In comparison to similar article directories and publishing platform sites like AC, you do not receive payment on a per word basis and therefore it wouldn’t be in your best interest to publish articles longer than the minimum required length. If you had instead wrote those 30 articles/month for AC you would have only earned $150 upfront and $0.002 per page view ($2/1000 page views). In order to make the same amount of money you would earning $0.05 per word, you’d have to attain 675,000 total page views for that month on AC. Now that number of page views is not entirely impossible but it’s not very realistic either. Let’s say that instead of the 675,000, you actually achieve an average of 1000 page views per month for each article (30,000 total page views); a difficult task but it is possible. In that case you would earn about $60 in revenue from monthly page views and a whopping total of $210 ($150 + $60) for the month. That’s a far cry from the $1500 you could generated writing for a decent website that sets your monthly pay based on the length of the articles you publish.
Let’s take a closer look at some actual data to get a feel for what you can plausibly earn writing for sites like Associate Content. Since AC displays the writer’s total page views on their personal profile, it’s easy to estimate the potential earnings for a writer. Last month I randomly selected two writers and logged the page views that were displayed on their Associate Content contributor profile. Yesterday I logged the same data to calculate the number of page views they had generated for that time frame. In the case studies listed below you’ll find the actual number of page views per writer and some estimates for month earnings. I’ve kept the writer’s names and links to their profiles private as there is no need to divulge such information. If you question my results, feel free to randomly select writers from AC, gather similar data for yourself, and then compare your results with mine.
How Much Does Associated Content Pay?
Case Study #1 – Writer number one started publishing articles on AC about nine months ago. The page views logged for this writer on the first day of observation were 582,648 and the page views logged on the 28th day were 645,134. This means that this writer generated 62,486 total page views during those 28 days thereby earning an estimated total of $124.97 ($2/1000 page views) or $4.46 per day. At the time of the initial data collection, the writer had published 166 articles in total and by the 28th day of observation he/she had increased this number to 179 yielding an average publication rate of less than 3 articles per week (0.39 articles/day). The average number of page views/article/month that this writer had attained in total since joining AC was 400 (645,134/179/9).
Case Study #2 – Writer number two had been publishing articles for one year on AC and generated 237,977 (6,614,513 – 6,376,536) page views during the 25-day period of observation. If this individual’s pay rate was set at the reported amount of $2/1000 page views, he/she earned a total of $475.95 for the month or $19.04 per day ($475.95/25 days). This writer increased their total number of published articles from 1,243 to 1,268 by the final day of observation; an average publication rate of one article per day (1,268-1,243/25). The average number of page views/article/month that this writer had attained in total since joining AC was 435 (6,614,513/1,268/12).
As I previously indicated writers are usually paid upfront for their articles and but that upfront payment amount can vary quite a bit depending on their experience. Another factor not included is any bonus payments they may receive for attaining certain goals or milestones. These for example may be something like a $10 bonus for your first published article or a $20 bonus for reaching 1,000,000 total page views. I can’t confirm that writers indeed receive $20 bonuses for accumulating that many page views but AC does suggest such they award bonus payments. If you have any insights into this and would like to provide specific milestones and exact bonus amounts that are paid to AC contributors for reaching such milestones, feel free to comment on this please.
Given that Associated Content’s performance based payment rate is less than what you’d receive from a standard per word agreement, there are still several good reasons to give AC a chance. This is especially noteworthy if you’re new to writing. Below we’ve created a list of some of the advantages and disadvantages of publishing articles on AC. Please feel free to submit your own thoughts on this topic using the comment page referenced near the top of this article.
Associated Content Advantages
Great distribution platform – AC’s content is syndicated elsewhere and it pulls in over 9 million unique U.S. visitors per month. That’s a heck of a lot of potential page views for you to accumulate compared to a smaller site that receives a lot less visitor traffic.
Low barrier to entry – You don’t have to have a professional degree or be well established as a writer to start publishing articles on AC.
Passive income – Okay, it’s really not that passive since you do have to actually write the original articles but as long as you keep your AC account in good standing, you’re pretty much guaranteed about $0.002 per page view for the life of the article/site. That is, unless AC ever dies off or decides to close your contributor account.
Associated Content Disadvantages
Much lower pay – Pay rates for these kinds of article directories and publishing platforms is much less in comparison to other alternatives like the pay per word rates that the smaller, more original websites/blogs pay.
Loss of article ownership – Once you publish that article on AC and relinquish ownership it’s no longer yours. You can’t publish it elsewhere nor can you remove it from AC.
No link credit – You are not allowed to link to your own site or to any of your own articles elsewhere. They don’t even give you a website link on your own AC contributor profile which is pretty common these days.
No control over AC’s integrity – Because Associated Content’s page views are largely dependent on its relationship with large search engines like Google, you’re success as a AC writer largely depends on how AC manages it’s integrity for providing quality content. So if article quality control begins to slide search engines could dock it such that AC articles don’t perform well on that search engine. As a result, your articles’ rankings fall in the search engine results pages and you receive less page views and therefore earn less money.
How To Get The Most Out Of Your Associated Content Articles
Create useful original content – Publish helpful content that you would actually want to read yourself. Don’t simply crank out tons of paragraphs and articles that are essentially verbal assaults on the English language. Excellent, well written content that is insightful and provides something of use to the reader always rises above the average run-of-the-mill articles that plague the search engines rankings.
Keep articles short and sweet – Create a well written article that gets to the point right away and offers a true perception of value to the reader. The minimum length for an article is 400 words and there’s no payment incentive to make them longer or to include images or videos to enrich the articles.
Don’t edit too much – Give each article a good look before submitting it for publication to ensure that there are no grammatical errors and that it reads well. Beyond that however, don’t spend too much time tweaking your articles as you won’t earn any more money for doing so.
Choose your topics wisely – Write on very popular topics to get lots of page views. Pop culture stuff like celebrity news gets tons of traffic usually. If that’s not to your liking, try searching on AC for relatively new writers with lots of page views. Look at what their writing about most often to identify the potential topic that’s bringing them such large amounts of traffic. Then target that topic yourself with a post or two to test the waters.
Promote your articles – You can get the word out about the articles you published through several mediums. Being active in the AC forums with other members and subscribing to your favorite AC writers encourages them to reciprocate. Off-AC article promotion may be more direct such as sharing your content on social networks (Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, etc.) and social bookmarking sites (Digg, Delicious, Mixx, Yahoo! Buzz, etc.).
Be prolific – Write and publish as many original articles as you can each month. The more you write, the greater the potential to earn more money.If you liked this article, please take this time to share it with your Facebook friends using the Facebook button (see Facebook post button to the left) or retweet it using Twitter (see retweet button to the left). You may also want to follow us or subscribe to the site to stay up-to-date with this article. If you'd rather follow us from your Facebook account, join our Facebook fan page or subscribe to our NetworkedBlogs profile.
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