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.
If you spend any amount of time online reading the many freelance writer’s blogs that dot the virtual landscape, then you have probably run across a post or two that sing the virtues of Associated Content’s residual earning program.
Now, I’ve spoken out about residual earnings and how they affect the time value of money before, as has Jenn. Essentially, earning residual income from other outlets (rather than your own blogs, e-books and other products) is pretty much never the best plan. If you happen to get a lot of traffic on your residual pieces, the online outlet may pay you a big enough chunk each month to keep you happy but you have to remember that:
a) They are sharing earnings with you, which means you could have more earnings on your own without sharing.
b) The company or website may not be there forever, and then your future residuals will be gone…gone I say!
c) Sometimes you have to work really hard to get traffic to a site that’s not only NOT yours but is also only paying you part of the ad revenue for the traffic you bring.
What I Did Last Month for Residual Earnings on Associated Content
Since I closed down my own freelance writing blog, I decided to throw my old, previously published posts up on Associated Content for residual earnings. It is important to note that I was paying freelance writers to write on my freelance writing blog and I was doing next to nothing to promote it—so I had lost money rather than made. This means that I am actually making more on Associated Content than I did on my blog…but that's just because I handled my blog stupidly, not because Associated Content’s residual program rocks.
I posted the articles between 12/04 and 12/21. I set up an automatic feed from my Associated Content account so that it announced on Twitter and on Facebook when I had a new article posted and I did let the 30 or so members of the Freelance Writerville Ning community know that I was moving the articles there. That is all the promotion I have done.
The Results and How I Plan to Retire
By far, my most popular article was How to Increase Your Freelance Writing Rates for Existing Clients which was the last article I posted. It has gotten 110 views. Not too shabby for little to no promotion. That has earned me a whopping $0.17. That means I make roughly $0.0015 per visitor. Nice. I think I just found my new retirement plan.
The next most popular (posted on 12/06) is 5 Things to Do Before You Quit Your Job to Freelance Full Time. This high performer has gotten a total of 49 views and made me $0.07. Third most popular was the first one I posted (on 12/04) 6 Ways to Improve Your Freelance Writing Portfolio’s Conversion. There we have a total of 34 views and $0.05.
The rest have between 24 and 12 views each. In total, I have made $0.46 on the 9 articles I posted in December. Let’s say they had NOT been previously published on my blog and I had just sold them for non-exclusive rights (you can get significantly more for exclusive rights) to a blogger like Jenn at a rate of $25 per post. I would have $225 busy working for me--earning dividends or interest in my brokerage account, earning money and affording me a tax deduction in my SEP, reducing my interest and paying down principal of my home…really, there are so many better things I could have done with these articles.
If you want to spend the time to build up traffic to the articles you post on Associated Content (or Examiner and Suite 101 for that matter) then you will make more money but at $0.0015 per visitor, wouldn’t you be better off spending your time learning how to spin the cat hair on your sofa into yarn for clothing? I think you would.