Hi there! Welcome to Associated Content! If you’re wondering how you might succeed at writing for Associated Content, you’ve come to the right place! I have some ideas and suggestions that might help you get you off to a good start while also establishing good work practices from the very beginning. These tips and suggestions are based on writing for AC for 6 months and also on one year of freelance writing experience. See if any of these tips and suggestions help you too!
1) Watch your spelling and grammar! Associated Content places a premium on correct spelling and on correct grammar. So much so that it’s very, very important that you check your spelling and your grammar before you submit your work for submission. From bitter experience I can tell you it’s very frustrating to get a piece of work returned to you as unpublishable because the grammar and the spelling were not good enough for publication!
I therefore beg you to please your Spell Check. It can only help you! Spell Check should be available on almost all word processing software packages. Associated Content is also nice enough to give you a spell check platform on their text editor. With these options available, there’s no excuse for turning in a piece of work that is filled with misspelled words!
If you’re having trouble with grammar issues here is a link to a website created by Susan Salzmann who works at the University of Illinois’s Intensive English Institute. This web site can help you fix your dangling modifiers or your misplaced antecedents. Best of all, it’s free to use and easy to understand!!
Oh yeah! Don’t forget to re-read your article one more time before you submit it for publication! It’s a good habit to develop early on in your writing career because sometimes Spell Check will “correct’ words and phrases that don’t need to be corrected. Be careful and re-read your article to be sure that it says exactly what you want it to say.
2) Remember to correctly cite your sources! It doesn’t matter if you’re writing about a news event or if you’re writing an editorial pontificating about the wonders of baked beans. Correctly siting your sources is an absolute must because incorrectly citing one’s sources can lead to questions about your integrity and honesty. Don’t let that ever happen to you! With practice it’s actually pretty easy to correctly site one’s sources. I’d suggest you take a look at the different formatting choices that are available and find one that works best for you.
If you need some help learning how to site your sources or need help deciding on which formatting style is best for you to use, here is a link to the website for the University of Purdue’s writing lab. This great web site has resources that can help you learn how to master APA formatting, MLA formatting or ASA formatting. Try it out and see if it works for you! If you don’t like any of these styles,
3) Never ever, ever plagiarize! Not only does it lead to a life-time ban from writing on Associated Content, it could lead to possible legal action against you. I’m not trying to scare you but we are still living in a time where journalists are lowly regarded in society. Their ethics and motives have come under fire because of the actions of a few journalists who didn’t take the time to cite their sources or copied another person’s work. Please use common sense and write original work!
4) Find your own writing style and stick to it! There are lots of people who will tell you that only one writing style is acceptable. They would like you to believe that a formal and stuffy writing style is the only way to write. That’s nonsense! This isn’t the 19th century. Besides, it’s much more fun and much easier to write about something when you don’t have to worry about what you writing style is. If you realize this from the very beginning of your writing career, you’ll have much more fun writing and stay motivated enough to keep at it!
I have learned that the best way to find your own writing style is to practice, practice and practice some more your writing! If you practice your writing often enough, you’ll find a style that is not only technically correct but also your very own! In today’s homogenized world, having a voice of your very own is wonderful!
5) Try to write from personal experience about topics that are interesting to you. Have you ever noticed how Associated Content tries to ask for content that is based on first-hand or first-person experience? Associated Content likes content that comes from first person (or personal) experiences because it gives a different point of view that you can’t find on CBS or from an Associated Press story. Using personal experience gives your articles a different perspective that people can find engaging and thought provoking.
Furthermore, I have found it much easier to write about something that I have some personal experience with. It’s nice to be able to write and not have to stop to think about what you’re trying to convey to your reader. It’s also neat not having to stop to find articles or books to support your statements, too!
Since writing from personal experience is such a blessing, I’d suggest to you that you sit down and write a list of topics with which you have had some personal experience. They can become the basis for your first articles. Not only will you find it easier to write about those topics, you’ll also get the confidence you need to continue writing. About 95% of writing is having the confidence in yourself to believe that you’re good enough to write about things that other people would want to read about. Once you get that confidence, the sky is the limit on what you can do!
6) If personal experiences don’t give you enough ideas to write about, check out Associated Content’s main page for ideas. If you can take a second to do it, take a look at Associated Content’s main page for a minute. If you look at the top of Associated Content’s main page you’ll see a section called “Popular Searches”–Do you see it? The “Popular Searches” section can help you find topics that many readers are reading about. Maybe you could write an article about one of those topics? Maybe it will give you some ideas to come up with your own topics? Try it and see!
7) Learn how to promote your content and use keywords effectively after you have learned to write well! Yeah! I know! We are all writing on Associated Content, Helium.com and other places to earn an extra few dollars or to make our livings by being freelance writers. While this is a great aim, I think that you should first learn how to write well and learn how to produce quality content before you try your hand promoting your content on such places as Myspace or Twitter. I think learning how to produce quality work should come first because it is much easier to promote your content if it’s content that is actually worth reading.
Here’s the rational behind my thinking. Why bother to promote your work if it’s full of grammatical errors or if it’s stuff no one wants to read? You could promote the dickens out of your work but if it’s not very good, no one will read it no matter how much your promote it. It’s sort of like promoting a bad singer or a bad boxer. If the singer or the boxer is bad, no one will watch that boxer or singer no matter how much the Don King’s or the Kasey Kasem’s of the world promote them. Save yourself some frustration early on and learn to write well before you jump into the promotion side of the game.
8) Understand Associated Content’s payment policies and content submission guidelines before you dive too deep into writing for Associated Content. Did you know you need a Paypal account to receive payments from AC? Did you also know that you need to be a verified user before you can receive any payments. Gosh. There’s even some rules about how performance payments work. Wait? Do you know what a performance payment is? Don’t worry. Associated Content has a page that can help you figure all that stuff out.
There is also a good page that can help you with any questions you may have about AC’s content submission guidelines. Don’t try reading all of the stuff that’s on these pages at once–it would drive you nuts! Just know that it’s there if you need help with a topic.
If that doesn’t help, post a thread in the forum section of Associated Content. A lot of “sources” are always eager to help a newbie learn these things!
9) Remember, success on Associated Content doesn’t usually happen overnight! Associated Content uses something called a “Clout Index” to measure your success on the site. It ranges from 1-10 and is based on the number of page views and the number of articles you have written. According to http://www.associatedcontent.com/clout_index.html, Associated Content’s page explaining the clout index, the index is figured as follows, “(It’s the) total number of page views PLUS a 1% bonus for each published submission (max bonus = 200%).”
Here’s an example to show you what Associated Content is trying to say. Say you have 1000 total page views and you have written 10 articles. Your clout index rating would be the 1000 page views + 100 extra page views or 1100 total views since10% of 1000 is 100 and you get a 10% increase in page views for having written the 10 articles . 1100 views is equal to a clout index of 4. That’s not bad!
At first, your clout index will be low and therefore your offers for your first articles will be small. But as your clout index rating goes up, so will the offers on your articles and your performance payments. It takes time, dedication and a lot work but in time your clout index can reach 10 if you’re diligent enough and want it bad enough.
Oh yeah! Don’t forget that you’re still learning about how the writing process works and how it applies to Associated Content. It takes time and some effort to understand how the writing process works and sometimes you’ll make some mistakes. Even more experienced writers like myself make lots of mistakes. Don’t worry about it! Keep writing! It gets easier the more times you publish content for Associated Content. I promise!
10) Finally. Have fun writing! If writing about different things isn’t your idea of fun, don’t do it! Go find something else to do instead! There’s no use in doing something you’re not having any fun doing in the first place!
Let me know if these tips helped you in any way at all ! Thanks for reading this and good luck and happy writing!
Associated Content (date of last edit unknown). “Clout Index” page. Retrieved March 30th, 2009, from http://www.associatedcontent.com/clout_index.html
Associated Content (2009). “Payment Policies” page. Retrieved March 30th, 2009, from http://www.associatedcontent.com/payment_policies.html
Associated Content ( 2009). “Submission Policies’ page. Retrieved March 30th, 2009, from http://www.associatedcontent.com/guidelines.html
Salzmann, Ann (2005). “English Grammar Review” homepage. Retrieved March 30th, 2009 from http://www.iei.uiuc.edu/structure/structure1/salzmann_index.html
The University of Purdue (2008). “MLA Formatting and Style Guide”. Retrieved March 30th, 2009 from http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/resource/557/01/