As of the time of this writing, I have been an Associated Content – Content Producer for a few weeks short of one year.
In my time here, I’ve had my ups and down, good days and bad, but no matter what’s happened, there is just something about Associated Content that keeps me coming back, week after week, to network, write, earn some extra cash, and cut loose and bring back the joy to writing for myself, instead of writing for everyone else.
I’ve had some lowball offers and some fantastic ones (my offers have ranged from $3 to $50 per article). I’ve had some articles barely get 100 page views while others have been featured in the showcase, and many are well on their way to 10,000 page views, with one having already crossed that 10K hurdle.
I’m not an expert, and I’m likely not even close to having the page views some people on this site have managed, but I do consistently well on AC, and continue to increase my income as well as my readership every month, averaging about 1000-1200 page views per day for my content, and hoping to continue to grow that average over the next year.
Coming up on my one year anniversary, I decided to take a break from writing my usual content and take a look at some statistics from my own writing over the past year, and then share with you the conclusions that I have drawn from the last year worth of Associated Content experience.
Let’s start with some of my personal stats as of the last page view update.
210 Articles Total, 173 Submitted for payment, 37 Submitted for free (excluding 56 poetry and prose free submissions)
Between initial payments and the performance bonus, if I continue at the rate I am currently (average page views and average initial payments), by the end of one year of performance bonuses, I will have increased my average payment per article approximately $7.00 per article.
Assuming my page views continue to increase with my promotional efforts, that could be even more, making my average payment per article both upfront and performance based would be between $12-15 or more per article by the end of one year (and will continue growing a little every month the PB is in effect.)
Here are the categories I’ve divided my content into, in order of best average PAGE VIEW performance – the first number is how many articles I have in that category; the second number is how many average page views that category has given:
Sports – 1 / 2141
Opinion/Editorial – 13 / 1861
Legal – 5 / 1571
Lifestyle – 29 / 1507
Holiday – 3 / 1471
News – 26 / 1305
Arts & Entertainment – 10 / 915
Health & Wellness – 54 / 751
Society – 1 / 748
Writing* – 31 / 672
Business – 10 / 649
Technology – 11 / 631
Humor – 10 / 335
Local, non-news – 1 / 243
Travel – 2 / 186
Home Improvement – 1 / 158
(*This category is not one AC has – I call it my ‘writing’ category – a few of these were under technology, a few went under A&E, and a few went under education, but since so many of us do write ‘writing’ articles or AC writing articles and promoting articles on AC type of content, I separated this into my own category of ‘writing’.)
Now, here are the categories I’ve divided my content into, in order of INITIAL PAYMENT – the first number is the number of articles in that category:
Holiday – 3 / $8.67
Lifestyle – 29 / $8.33
Local, non-news – 1 / $8.00
Business – 10 / $7.18
Technology – 11 / $7.08
Home Improvement – 1 / $7.00
Health & Wellness – 54 / $6.72
Legal – 5 / $6.80
Travel – 2 / $5.50
Society – 1 / $5.00
News – 26 / $4.04
Writing – 31 / $4.00
Arts & Entertainment – 10 / $3.94
Opinion/Editorial – 13 / $1.97
Sports – 1 / $0.00
Humor – 10 / $0.00
I don’t have enough information to draw any statistically accurate conclusions, because I don’t write in all categories AC offers, and some of the categories I did write in don’t have enough articles to draw statistically accurate conclusions.
For example, my sports article did very well page view wise without any promotion, but it was submitted for free, three days before the super bowl and was about the super bowl, as well as being a ‘Showcase’ article – so I have no idea how it would have performed if it wasn’t featured or how much I would have made on it if submitted for payment.
Writing articles were spread out over several different categories, and therefore, I can’t accurately assess them, since I don’t know in what categories AC ended up putting them.
But after almost a year on this site, these are the conclusions I have drawn that may help new or even seasoned Content Producers make the most of their time here on Associated Content.
Poetry and Humor don’t pay upfront, and they don’t perform well comparatively. These types of articles, unless you already have a really big fan base or think you can draw a really big fan base, are likely to knock down your overall average for both page views and initial offers. I personally will not submit poetry to AC again, because a freelance writer should know their market, and AC is not a poetry market.
However, I may still submit a humor article now and again, but I will ensure my humor articles can also provide some relevant information, so they can be placed in a category besides humor and possibly receive an initial payment, or at least earn more page views.
Opinion/Editorials are a shoe-in for page views if they are well written and non-ranting. I have one that is ranting, and its page views are low, but the rest are doing pretty good.
The problem with Op/Ed, as I see it, is that AC rarely pays anything for them upfront, or if they do, it’s rather low, and the page views, while they look great, aren’t enough to cover the loss of initial payment vs. page views.
Now, I’m not saying don’t write Op/Ed pieces. They have a purpose and help draw a readership, and if page views are important to you to help increase your average page views, Op/Eds that are well written will definitely give you a better page view average, but they are going to lower your overall average payment.
My Op/Ed recommendation? Save your Op/Ed pieces for things you feel very passionate about that you don’t mind writing about even if you don’t see a penny, and then write them in a compelling manner.
Content Special Offers are special offers Associated Content provides that allow content producers to write an article on a specific topic and receive a guaranteed minimum payment that is usually a bit higher than what they normally would receive for the same type of content.
CSOs will help raise your overall average initial payment if you take advantage of them. I have only written four CSOs the entire time I’ve been here, but clearly, the categories I did them in have a higher than normal average payment.
Discussing this with other Content Producers who have written CSOs, I’ve found CSOs probably align well with advertising, which is why AC pays a bit more for them, but I don’t see a significant increase in page views for doing a CSO – just an increase in initial payment averages. Your mileage may vary, but this has been my experience with CSOs.
Well written and well promoted news that is properly indexed by Google in their News channel consistently performs in the several thousand page view range for me, and I have heard other CPs tell me that News that is properly indexed continues to perform above average for them too.
The challenges I see with News are threefold: 1) you have to write very timely topics, 2) you need to get page views in quickly after publishing to index in the Google news channel, and you need to index HIGH in the Google news channel, and 3) you are limited to a maximum payment – so if it doesn’t perform well, AC’s maximum for News isn’t all that much.
Yet, some of my News articles have hit over 2,000 page views in less than 3 day’s time – and still get trickles of page views and comments even several months after publishing.
If you are going to write News articles, write good ones – timely, interesting topics, good titles – and promote the heck out of them IMMEDIATELY upon publication.
Holiday articles perform well if submitted timely enough. My Christmas Holiday gift guides have done quite well with ZERO promotion from me. A friend of mine is a CP on this site, and he’s written Halloween articles that are by far his best performers that came out October 1 and October 6. Another CP here has comment that her best performer is a Halloween costume article. Another friend of mine write an Romance and Intimacy article right before Valentine’s Day that is her best performer.
Holiday articles that are about standard, mainstream, popular holidays seem to do well if you have good keyword density, snappy and informative titles, and get them out about four weeks prior to the holiday in question. These should also perform well again around that holiday every year, especially if you promote them again every time the holiday rolls around.
At first, I was really surprised how well the Legal category performed as far as page views are concerned, especially considering I’ve done nothing to promote the articles in that category.
Being the closet geek I am, I sat out to find out why they had performed so well with no help from me. I realized soon enough why that is-the legal information arena is a virtually untapped writing niche!
There are tons of websites about finding an attorney, legal aide counsel, sales and solicitation sites for legal services, but there are very few quality legal information articles out there. Of course, one reason for this is because laws vary from state to state and even city and county. However, there are many general topics in the legal field you can write about at the ‘federal level’ and then simply use a disclaimer: “Federal law says XXX, but your local or state laws may be more stringent. Be sure to check your state or local laws for any changes to this information.” Or something like that.
The Legal category might very well be a veritable treasure trove of an untapped market that people ARE searching for! Also, since Business articles seem to perform decently, if you can mix some Legal and Business together into one article, and promote it well, you might just have a winner.
Arts & Entertainment performs well on page views, but is awfully low on initial offers most of the time. This is likely due to the fact that it doesn’t align well with advertising. If you happen to touch on a very timely, charged topic, you can probably get a good initial offer, but if not, chances are your initial offers in this category will be low.
However, unlike Op/Ed pieces that the performance bonus does not make up the difference in the lost initial offer, my experience with Arts & Entertainment pieces is that the performance bonus will likely make up for the difference, and since they help increase your average page views per article, I think that writing quality, long-lasting, and highly searched for A&E pieces is likely worth the trouble.
Lifestyle articles perform well and perform well consistently, with slightly higher than average initial offers, especially if they are evergreen Lifestyle articles. Under the lifestyle category heading, the Dating & Relationships sub-category seems to perform the best both in initial offers and in page views, and Parenting doesn’t do half bad either, but overall, the other sub-categories in Lifestyle perform well for me too. The one thing I notice about Lifestyle articles is that I see a quick influx of several hundred page views, then a steady stream of page views every month thereafter.
Health & Wellness is a broad category, with many sub-categories that some perform well and some do not. Diseases & Conditions do acceptably well if promoted properly. Drugs & Medication don’t perform quite as well, but Beauty seems to do well consistently. You won’t see a large influx of page views upfront with the Beauty sub-category, but every one of my Beauty articles are receiving a steady stream of page views every week. Beauty articles also tend to align well with advertising, which may account for the slightly higher than average initial offers in this sub-category too.
Of course, there are many categories on Associated Content that I’ve never written for, such as Politics, Seniors, Automotive and Recreation, among others. These and a few others I cannot speak to, because I haven’t had experience with them.
As I said earlier, these are by no means statistically accurate conclusions, but rather, conclusions I’ve drawn based on my past year here with Associated Content. Again, your desire to earn, your writing and promoting ability, your understanding of keywords and search engine optimization and the time and effort you put into your time with Associated Content will all make a difference in how your writing on this site performs.
Associated Content is not your average freelance writing gig. Some freelance writers might tell you that the amount of money paid on Associated Content is small in comparison to what is available in the freelance market today, and I cannot disagree with that. As a freelance writer, it is not unusual to make anywhere between $25-1500 per article in print venues.
Because of this, many believe Associated Content is not a good place to write for an established freelance writer, and is better left for those who are just wanting to earn some extra money or to break into the writing field and get their feet wet before jumping on those larger offers.
However, when writing for other publications and sites, a freelance writer has to write what that publisher is looking for, the way that publisher wants it, on the topic that publisher needs. Associated Content allows a freelance writer to write on whatever topic they enjoy writing about, submit as little or as much content as you desire, and to write in just about any style that you want to write.
Not to mention, one content producer made over $300 one month in Performance Bonuses alone, not including the initial payments she may have received. Another Content Producer this month will earn over $300 for the page views received on just one article that happened to go viral and really take off in the first few hours of it being published, and that’s not counting any additional performance bonus or initial payments received. There are plenty of other success stories just like this on Associated Content. The ability to earn good money regularly does exist.
Yes, it’s a great way for an inexperienced writer to break into the field. Associated Content is also a great way for a non-writer who enjoys writing and wants to make some cash to do so, and for some people, Associated Content is even a part-time or full-time income replacement opportunity.
To the experienced freelance writer, like myself, I use Associated Content as a playground, an experimental lab with a public audience of sort, to see what draws attention, what is getting page views, what brings in good comments and what brings in constructive criticism, not from an editor, but from the very people who are the target of my writing – the readers.
Armed with this information, I can then use that to market my higher paying articles and content to other publications, and know that I am writing what the public wants and needs. Additionally, if I want to write about a topic but can’t find a market that caters to that type of writing specifically, I know I can always submit it to Associated Content and make some money for my time.
Plus, it’s fast publication (usually within a few days to two weeks), it’s quick payments (usually within 2 weeks from the day I submitted the content, and sometimes much faster), and in the writing world, that’s nearly instant gratification. The reader feedback is fabulous, the performance bonus is a nice chunk of change every month I wouldn’t ordinarily receive, and most of the Content Producers on this site are fabulous people.
There is just something about this site that has kept me coming back day after day for the last year – and in a few weeks, I’ll celebrate my one year anniversary with what is likely to be my largest performance bonus ever on Associated Content.
If you are already an Associated Content CP, I hope you found some value in what I’ve written, something useful that can help you direct your writing and optimize it for both page views and initial offers.
If, however, you are not an Associated Content CP, but you want to make some extra money every month, write about things that interest you, inform the public, receive feedback on your writing or opinions, or just want to have a good time, I urge you to sign up today to become a Content Producer for Associated Content by clicking this link. If you have any questions about what I’ve written here, please leave me a comment below and I will answer it as best and as quickly as I can!
Here’s wishing me a happy one year anniversary with AC! I’m looking forward to many more.
As always, Keep Writing!