Recently, I nominated Jan Peterson for the next Associated Content Best New Source Award. According to her Associated Content Source page, she signed on with Associated Content on March 11, 2009. As of this writing on June 19, 2009; she has published 61 articles on Associated Content and received 87,079 page views. Additionally, she has risen to a Clout 8. These are remarkable accomplishments for a new Associated Content Source. It is for this reason and for the fact that Jan’s articles are well written and fun to read that I decided to nominate her for the Associated Content Best New Source Award.
I am pleased that Jan Peterson has agreed to answer some questions that I have posed to her. I hope you enjoy this interview.
1. How did you discover Associated Content?
I had just retired from a 30 year banking career in February 09 and, since I have always loved writing, I noticed an advertisement for another online writing site and decided to start writing for them. During the research process, I kept running across great articles in AC, and decided I should check AC out as well. The rest is history!
2. Do you publish articles for other online sites or in print?
Yes. I started on Suite 101, expanded to AC, and since I was in a discovery mode as far as online writing goes, I even wrote for a few others such as How to.com, Helium, and Hubpages. In time, I decided to keep my writing efforts focused on Suite 101 and AC as I feel these two sites offer me the best financial rewards.
3. How would you describe your first three months writing and publishing on Associated Content?
That “shopping” I did in checking out other sites, has really made me appreciate AC. I have thoroughly enjoyed the writing process and seeing my articles in print under the AC banner! I jump up every day now eager to check my stats and get another article in the works!
4. Have the articles that you published more recently outperformed your first few published articles?
Not necessarily, however, I think I am getting better at coming up with articles that contain information that a wide audience will be looking for. I am also working hard at the SEO principles, using keywords in my articles and using discoverable titles. As well, I am trying to write every article as “timeless” as possible, so that it will be relevant for years. I want to build on my page views, not just turn them over.
5. Do most of your articles perform consistently well with page views? Do you have any articles that standout with exceptionally high or low page views?
I have a few mega star articles and a few bombs. The rest are throughout the range. Sometimes I am surprised how well an article does, such as my “Graduation Songs 2009” which is my biggest money maker. I wrote it March 15th and it has had over 58,000 hits! The second best is “Mafia Wars Loot Guide” with over 13,000. It really helps to land those diamonds!
6. Which of your published articles on Associated Content are your personal favorites?
I wrote two articles, inspired by my mother who is 88 this year, and there were moments I cried writing both of them. They are “Seven Ways You Can Help Your Aging Parents” and “Five Things I’ve Accepted About My Aging Mom”. I don’t know if I’ll ever make a dollar on the two combined, but I don’t care. Writing them helped my heart.
7. Your Biography states that you have loved writing since you were eight years old.
Who are the people that you would credit for fostering your desire to write and for helping you learn to write well? I don’t really remember when I first realized I loved writing, but my Mom has always encouraged me in anything I’ve ever been interested in. I also had many teachers over the years encourage my writing. It was at eight years old that I actually wrote a book on yellow construction paper, fully illustrated with yarn binding. Mom saved it and I have it today!
8. How do you come up with ideas for articles for Associated Content?
Now that’s a good question; TV, my grandkids, books, memories. I also write songs and I get that question about my songs as well. Once I started writing songs, I found my antenna always up, catching funny things people say and watching situations around me. The muse just lives in my home, I guess.
9. Do you have a written list of article ideas that have you have yet to write?
I have a few things scribbled down, but usually I write whatever hits me that day. I think that is the beauty of being a writer…the freedom to create what is inside!
10. How long does it typically take you to write an article for Associated Content?
I probably spend 4-5 hours on each article, but not necessarily in a concentrated form. I can spend more or less, depending on how much research I do. I am a perfectionist at heart, so that slows me down sometimes. And I love finding perfect pictures for every article, and I can get crazy about that sometimes.
11. Which Associated Content Sources do you like to read the most?
I don’t have any specific favorites right now, but there are lots of great writers in Associated Content
12. Do feel as though you have bonded with anyone within the Associated Content Community?
You and Dan Reveal have read more of my articles than anyone else, and we have shared messages, but other than that, I am not much of a blog person. I am starting to read more articles of others and join in the forum occasionally, so maybe that will happen in time.
13. What has given you the greatest satisfaction so far in your three months writing and publishing with Associated Content?
I was very excited when I hit the level 7 and then 8! Also I have gotten some very nice comments on a few of my articles, which is satisfying. I love getting comments!
14. Have you had experienced any disappointments in writing and publishing with Associated Content?
I am not always clear why an article isn’t higher in the search rank when I’ve used a clear, searchable title and keywords as well. Not knowing what I could have done differently disappoints me. I wish AC offered more tools to understand this, so we could improve.
15. Have you been sad that you have not yet won the Associated Content Best Source Award?
I don’t expect anything, but I am unclear what the criterion is. Prior to Darnell posting my milestones recently, I had been a bit disappointed that none of my accomplishments or articles had warranted attention. But, I don’t really write for that, I write because of what I feel inside. I just think AC might want to come up with a system that catches milestones automatically and recognizes them on a consistent basis with all of us. For instance, on Suite 101, section editors will award an article that reflects what they consider a high standard of writing with an “Editor’s Choice” award that is reflected on the article. I have received three such awards there, and each time I was thrilled!
16. If you were to win the next Associated Content Best New Source Award how would you feel?
Wonderful. Validated. Appreciated. Encouraged. Proud.
17. Some new Associated Content Sources write an article or series of articles about their initiation into the world of writing and publishing for Associated Content. Can you see yourself writing some similar types of articles that detail your experiences to date in writing and publishing for associated Content?
Possibly, I am already working on some articles about writing online in general, since I’ve tried several sites and now understand the process.
18. What do you like best about writing for Associated Content?
The freedom of topic choice, formats available (I’ve done a few slideshows that were fun), the AC community and seeing those numbers growing!
19. What do you like least about writing for Associated Content?
Most of the time article review is timely, but when it isn’t that drives me crazy.
at are your greatest frustrations or challenges in writing for Associated Content?
I wish AC would supply us with the search terms readers used to find our articles and real time numbers. I get that at Suite 101 and it really helps. Also I wish I could edit my articles after they are published to correct typos, etc.
23. Do you ever get writers block and if so what do you do to overcome it?
This doesn’t happen to me often. Every now and then I just accept a day off :-)
24. Where do see yourself on your first and fifth anniversaries with Associated Content?
First anniversary – 200 articles, and hopefully at least $500 a month revenue
Fifth anniversary – 1000 articles and 1 million page views (I hope!)
25. What are some of your interests outside of Associated Content?
My puppy, sugar pie (a Maltese, shiatsu, poodle mix), my grandkids, games and songwriting.
26. What are your favorite memories outside of Associated Content?
Birth of my kids, grandkids, and the first song of mine that got cut.
27. Is there anything else that you would like to add to this interview?
Just two things that I am doing that I think really helps total page views on both Suite 101 and AC:
1) I write holiday articles on both sites which make for a nice spike during those months, and
2) I cross link as many of my articles to another article of mine (and cross sites too) as often as possible. I think that is helping my page views on both sites.
Thanks, Han, for being interested. Networking and friends are important in this solitary job of writing!
Here is a link to Jan Peterson’s homepage on Associated Content: