Friday, July 30, 2010

Writing for Associated Content Gets the Versatile Blogger Award

I'm thrilled to doing this again.  Thanks to Suzanne Alicie at Work From Home for handing this award off to this blog.  This little peer-driven award has been making the rounds all over the place.  A month or so ago, I got it for my author's blog.  It's exciting for it to have found it's way around to another one of my blogs.

The rules of the versatile blogger award state that I must tell everyone 7 things that aren't commonly known about me, and then provide a list of those I'm handing the award off to.  Because I've done this before, I'm gonna cheat and list what I listed on my other blog.

1. I enjoy a some cartoons like "Phineas and Ferb" and "The Penguins of Madagascar".
2. I have to mentally restrain myself from being a control freak.
3. Ice cream (most flavors) is the best food ever concocted.
4. I have to have something to do with my hands while I watch TV like sewing (even though I can't really sew that well).
5. I have a bad habit of twirling my hair.
6. I used to be a smoker.  I've been smoke free for almost a year now.
7. I am smack dab in the middle of four sisters.  The oldest is 5 years older than me, the youngest is 5 years younger than me, the next oldest is 4 years older than me, and the next youngest is 4 years younger than me.

There you have it.  I'm sure you were on the edge of your seat for that info! LOL.

Now for the blogs that I am passing the award off to...

Again I'm backtracking this to Suzanne Alicie for Marriage Examiner - In Depth.  This is a newer blog and the potential in it is great.

Marie Anne at Write, Wrong, or Indifferent.  Marie has started this blog off great.  As an Associated Content contributor herself, she knows the ins and outs.  She's already gotten a great interview up with AC's own Jelena Woehr.

Angie Mohr at Timeless Foods.  This is one of the most unique food blogs I've seen.

I know it's only 3 but that's all I really have time for.  The others that I had considered either hadn't updated in a really long time or are the same ones I had passed it to before.

Once again, thanks for all the support!  Have a happy weekend!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

A New Blog for Writers

I signed up with Associated Content in September of '08. (OMG, has it really been almost two years?)  I didn't write for a few months and then I came back in January of '09 and began pounding out articles, learning what works, what doesn't, and still to this day I'm learning.  In May of '09 I started this blog as a way to promote my work on AC and to share things that I've learned.  I never would've guessed that it would be a source for newbies or that it would have a ranking of 4 (!) on Google.

As Associated Content changes and grows, this blog will be in service for a long time.  With the fairly new Yahoo! acquisition, things will be changing here and there so I doubt I'll run out of topics anytime soon; especially since many contributors are picking up assignments for the Yahoo! main network of sites, too, like Shine, OMG, News, and more.  It's all very exciting.

As some of you may be aware, another site I write for is  I have a couple of Examiner posts on this blog only because I know that there are many ACer's who also write for Examiner.  But Examiner is a very different beast from AC.  There's a different organization to it, there are different rules of the road.  Now that I've been writing for for almost 10 months now and write on 2 different topics, I can say that there are many things I've learned, some things I haven't, and yet other things that I think would be beneficial to having a better place for Examiners to network and share thoughts.  This blog has been good in that respect for AC and now there will be a blog for writing, too.

If you're an writer, or considering being one, feel free to hop on over to my brand new blog, Writing for  I'll have the first blog post up very soon.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Best Choice in Car Repair and Information

Not long ago I came across while writing an assignment for another client.  This site is so huge that there's no way I can go over the whole thing in just one post so I'll try to show you the various uses of it instead.

First, let's say your stranded in San Diego and you need to find the nearest auto repair shop.  You can go to and search for San Diego auto repair and there you go.  Or you can search for an auto shop anywhere.  After hitting "search", you have a Google map that comes up marking the nearest shops to your location.  You can also see the shop's rating in the listing.

Second, let's say you're considering buying a Ford F-150 and you'd like to read up on customer reviews, ratings, any recalls on parts, or really anything you can think of before you buy it.  Look it up on the site and there you go.  You have everything on one site that you can possibly want information on.

Third, say you want to know what that little click in your engine is or what it means when your check engine light comes on.  That information is there, too.  The great part is if the article misses anything, you can scroll down to see user comments which is often helpful as well.

This site is impressive.  It has everything about automobiles that you can possibly imagine.  From repair to shop locations to technical information to reviews, everything you need, even if you are in a bind, is there for the browsing.  I've recommended it before and I do so again.  PP

Monday, July 26, 2010

Computer Shopping

I'd never heard of before.  Apparently, they are a shopping site and not too shabby either.  They sell everything from clothes to computers.  For me, I'm always in the market for a computer.  After all, as a content writer, much of my life is online so I've got to have reliable hardware at a price I can afford (even on a content writer's pay).

So far, I like the site.  The layout is simple and not to crowded.  It's very easy to use, too.  All you do is just click on something you're interested in to see the product details, read reviews... and what's better is that many of the listings have price comparison for different sites.  Take for instance this MacBook Pro Notebook listing.  What could be easier then that, right?  In addition, you can put in your email address in order to get an alert when the price drops.  Pretty impressive.

So it's not everyday that I go out looking for a new computer or laptop.  But computers and laptops is not all they carry.  They also have accessories... tons of accessories.  If you look at this category here for computer accessories, they have over 20,000 items listed.  This tells me that they might just have anything you may need.  And if you'll take a look at the left column, you can easily search by brand, ratings, and more options.

If you're on the lookout for computers and accessories, maybe you should head over to the computer side of PP

AC Etiquette: Spam-Flattery Will Get You No Where

I could've sworn I wrote a post a few months ago about how PMing other contributors and asking them to check out your work was bad AC Etiquette but I can't seem to find it so we'll say it now: PMing a variety of contributors and asking them to check out your work is bad AC etiquette.  There.

With that said, there's another form of bad AC etiquette.  It's called spam-flattery and gauging from the number of people who said, "Oh, thank you," back to the contributor who practiced this, a number of writers were fooled.  Read on for more.

A number of contributors received a message on their contributor profile last week.  The message read something along the lines of, "I've read some of your work and you truly are a great writer.  I can only hope that someday my short witty poems will be as good as your writing."  That's not word for word but that's the gist of it.  So I'm sitting there saying, "Oh, that's really nice."  I go to this person's profile only to find that several others have left thank you comments on his page.  Hmmmm. Something about this was amiss.

After a little investigating, I found that this new contributor was leaving the same kind of comment on every profile he could find.  When I left him a comment on his profile to the tune of "Thanks for your comments and I was almost flattered but I see you left the EXACT same comment on many, many, many other profiles. That's about like spamming but I welcome you to AC anyway and wish you luck with your writing."  Within seconds, my comment was deleted so he knew exactly what he was doing and it couldn't be blamed on AC newbie-ness.  I then PMed him.  "I appreciate that you want more page views but spam-flattery isn't the way to do it. Other contributors are already aware of your tactics so it might be wise to stop the spam before you end up getting reported to AC. Just some friendly advice. I did take a look at some of your work and it's a lot of fun. I hope you keep it up. With time and persistence, it will do really well. Just practice good AC etiquette and you'll get along with everyone very well. You'll also get more readers and more respect that way. Welcome to AC."

The same message goes out to all those new to AC who think they can get away with this type of behavior.  AC writers are connected across several networks.  We Twitter and Facebook when we see things like this happening and we don't like it when someone tries to take us for fools.  You're not as clever as you think you are.

In addition, when you do this, your page views may go up briefly, but if you're not writing quality content, that will be the extent of the spike in your views.  It not only turns off those who would've become your readers if you'd behaved properly to begin with, it won't do any good in the long run with page views anyway.

As always, practice good AC etiquette when dealing with other contributors and if you have any questions, go to one of AC's very helpful and knowledgeable community guides.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Why it's okay to publish creative writing on Associated Content

Creative writing doesn't bring in a lot of page views.  Associated Content just isn't a venue where many people will search for it.  When people search, most often they are looking for information, not entertainment.  But that doesn't mean you shouldn't publish creative writing.

If you're in it for money, you'll be disappointed.

Because it's not a highly searched thing, if you expect to come into AC to get rich from your creative writing, you've got another thought coming.  Even if you're super good, it takes time, networking, and patience to build an audience.

So how do you make money from it?  Write for AC as a content writer first and think of publishing creative endeavors as secondary.

The most common complaint I hear from contributors is that their poetry or short stories aren't bringing in page views.  One way to get page views is to get on Facebook and Twitter and network the link.  However, even networking, it is unlikely, unless you're super popular, that you'll get the rockin' page views that you'd want, but it shouldn't deter you.  As you build up more content, you should revisit those links that aren't getting as many page views and tweet them out every so often.  But to be honest, very few people on AC who write short stories or poetry ever get the outstanding page views they want.  So why continue to do it?

Why should I write short stories and poetry if I'm not getting the page views?

Associated Content is an excellent platform to get your feet wet in that area of writing.  Not only do you get the practice that every writer needs, you get feedback from fellow writers.  (Please note that you can't get feedback if you don't network so get out there and network yourself!)

Be aware, though, once you publish your story on AC, you lose first publishing rights.  For me, this isn't a big deal as I am constantly churning out story after story.  But many writers have a problem with this so that's why I'm sticking it out here.  But I feel like if musicians and artists are expected to put themselves out there in order to get to the top, it should be the same way for writers.  There are a number of people out there, though, who believe that writers should keep their work hidden away and wait for the big offers.  But I feel like if you aren't willing to put yourself out there, learn, and grow, then you're going to have a hard time getting noticed anyway.  But that's my opinion and I respect that others feel different about it.

Having creative writing on my page that isn't getting the page views like my other content is dragging down my page view average.

(Say that three times fast!)

This is another common complaint and one that I can't say whether it has much merit or not.  I've even heard contributors say, "If this poem doesn't get more views by the end of the month, I'm deleting it."

First, if you're simply writing your creative writing for the money of it, like I mentioned before, you'll be disappointed.  Second, and this is another opinion of mine, why write fiction or poetry at all?  When you're thinking of dollar signs even as you write the words, it will reflect in your writing.  You should never write creatively for money alone.  You should write it for the passion of it first.

As long as you're writing good evergreen and popular content, then publishing a poem or short story maybe once or twice a month won't make a bit of difference.  Page view averages, as long as you are writing consistently and well with other articles, rarely make much of a difference in upfront offers or other page views (not that I could see anyway).

Getting a break from the routine

Associated Content is one of the few platforms (and is the best among it's peers, IMO) where you can sign up and write about ANYTHING you want.  Many of us make a business of it by writing evergreen and popular content.  Other popular sites are topic focused and that editorial we may want to write about the election has no place among our other pages.  Being an AC writer lets us have that voice and break from the routine.  This is the same with fiction and poetry.  We are lucky to have an outlet where if we're struck by the muse, we can write our creative piece and (unless you are brand new) can publish it immediately, satisfying our need to be read.

As always, every writer on Associated Content has very different goals and dreams.  What may work for one doesn't always work for another.  I offer this post as just one view of many.  Ultimately, it's your choice but I just wanted to show that it isn't always a bad thing to have your creative writing published on AC.

If you're interested, I have a Creative Writing column on  Join me and subscribe if you'd like.  I cover almost everything writing related.

(ETA: 12/01/10 - I noticed this old post was getting hit quite a bit lately so I wanted to add that I no longer write for (Hence the removed link).  Instead, you can keep up with what I'm doing in creative writing on my Author Site.  The blog there basically serves the same purpose that my column on did plus it's also my personal blog.  Thanks for reading!)

Monday, July 12, 2010

Content Rights on Associated Content - Deciding How to Publish

I thought I'd break this down just a bit further than what I've done in the past due to some chatter on public forums that suggest this is one of the hardest things for newbies to understand. For video tutorials by theBarefoot of how to submit content and a breakdown of each step, click here.  Otherwise, here's a quick break down of the rights and how to decide what you should do.

First and foremost, you need to decide if the content should be submitted for upfront or not. You can click here for info on that subject.

Once you've decided if the content meets the standards and requirements for upfront pay, then you need to decide which rights you would like.

  • Exclusive - This means that the content belongs only to AC now.  You cannot reuse the content or republish it anywhere else.
  • Non-Exclusive - This means you retain the rights to your content.  AC is allowing you to display your content on their site and earn money but you can reuse the article, post or sell it to other sites if you want.  However, you can't remove the article.  See Display Only below.
  • Display Only - Don't get Display Only and Non-Exclusive confused.  Display Only cannot be used if you're going to submit for upfront.  Display Only is the only option where you not only retain the rights to your work but also can remove it from the site at your leisure.
How should you publish your work?

I started on AC publishing everything as Exclusive.  Why?  Because at the time, I really couldn't see that I would have a need for it otherwise.  I could make more money by offering it as Exclusive, right?

While others may disagree, I have never seen a significant difference in upfront pay between offering content for exclusive and offering content non-exclusive.  Beyond that, I later got a gig as an associate editor for a parenting site.  When I realized that I could've reused my parenting articles that I'd published on AC if I'd only offered them non-exclusive, I could've kicked myself.  I could've made more money off those articles by retaining the rights then I could have by offering it exclusive to AC.  It is my advice that when submitting for upfront, you chose non-exclusive.  You never know what situation or gig you'll get in the future where you can make more money from those articles.  I, myself, used to run a site and was constantly on the lookout for articles on AC that I could display on it.  I would write the contributor, offer money for the article if the rights were non-exclusive or display only, and was shocked at how many people didn't know that I wouldn't be able to use the article if it was exclusive.  They lost out on the money I was offering.

Okay, so exclusive and non-exclusive is covered.  What about Display Only?  In situations where you can't get upfront for an article (like for creative writing, poetry, opinion, reviews), I would suggest offering those for Display Only.  This way, you have the power to remove them at some point in the future should you need or want to.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

How to Keep Readers Interested in Your Articles

How to Keep Readers Interested in Your Articles
If you expect to make money in online article writing, you need to develop an audience. First, you need to draw readers in via promotion, SEO, and the like. But once they are there, you need to figure out how to keep readers interested.
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Why Am I Not Making Money at AC? Page Views, Offers, and More

Another great one from Lynn Lomasi...

Why Am I Not Making Money at AC? Page Views, Offers, and More
Struggling to make money writing for AC? About to give up and decide it just isn't for you. Maybe you just need a quick refresher on writing for AC and the web in general. As an experienced AC Contributor and web writer, perhaps I can help.
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