In this series, we personally test traditional online freelance marketplaces to share first-hand experiences and honest assessments of marketplaces and resulting jobs, as many freelance writers turn to these outlets to find writing gigs. You can read all the posts in the series here.
A couple of weeks ago I told you about an experiment I was trying with Associated Content's residual earnings plan. I got the idea for the experiment when I read an article by Jennifer Claerr about how she made $573.26 in residual earnings over the course of one month on a Halloween article she wrote and published on Associated Content.
I used her article as a guide and followed her steps, which were:
- Find highly searched keywords.
- Make sure there aren't a lot of competing articles with those keywords already on AC.
- Write your articles with the keywords.
- Earn money.
Her method is not a new idea--this is how people make money on niche websites all the time. I decided to do this with AC instead of on a niche domain because I was under the incorrect assumption that page rank mattered in search results and that AC would get me more hits because it already has a good page rank. Of course I now know that this is incorrect--but either way, I wrote the articles and published them on AC.
This Is Where I Sum It Up
When I wrote the articles, I wrote them extremely fast. Like, craptastically fast. They each took me about 10 or 15 minutes to write. One was about partying cheap on St. Patrick's Day and one was about celebrating a cheap Easter. I am going to link to them here but please note--this is not quality work. This was all part of the experiment and in no way resembles anything I would give to my clients. I spend more time editing my grocery lists than I did these articles.
I didn't keyword stuff them--each keyword phrase makes up about 1.5% of the article. But maybe this is where I went wrong. Maybe I should have crammed those keywords in like I cram cookie dough down my gullet during PMS because I made next to nothing on those two articles. On the St. Patrick's Day article I earned the most, raking in an astounding $0.20 and on the Easter article I failed even more spectacularly earning only $0.05.
This Is Where I Theorize
As I looked at my dollar results, I started wondering why so many people mess with this crap. I mean, c'mon--how much time do I have to spend in the trenches before I realize that they are nothing but trenches? They are what they are--that's it. I can't make them into something else.
But then the wheels of my brain started turning and I started to think of a million different ways I could try this experiment to possibly get a different result. And then something scary happened--I started to get excited about the prospect. It's as though Associated Content threw down a gauntlet and I, the mad freelancer, want to keep picking it up time and time again. I cannot accept failure, refuse to recognize defeat and want to try over and over to create that elusive $500 article that takes me 10 minutes to write.
And that's how AC gets so much content, gets rich and keeps writers addicted.