I first joined AC on Oct. 18, but didn’t actually submit an article until a couple of weeks later. I had no idea what to expect in terms of whether to ask for pay or not, how long it would take to get an answer, nothing really. So I winged it, writing an article on fantasy football, something I know a bit about. I had been writing for a site, www.footballjerks.com for a month or two as a staff writer, so I did a little research and voila!, out popped Fantasy Football: Oxygenic or Oxymoron. A week or so later, I got an offer of $5. I felt like Steve Martin in The Jerk, running around in circles yelling “the new phone book’s here!, the new phone book’s here!”
Then, I was hooked. However, I didn’t have a clue about promotion of my work, page views, etc. For all I knew, page views were something Mark Foley did with a pair of binoculars peering into a boy’s dormitory, or on some seamy website. Spurl could have been an amalgam of the words “spit” and “hurl”, referring to something some will do in pub crawls in an alley on St. Patrick’s Day. Raw Sugar could have been the Hooker caught with Hugh Grant a few years ago or some “exotic dancer”. Blogspot could have been a stain left by our new puppy on the carpet. Okay, I did know what a blog was. A Squidoo Lens could have been an underwater camera to see through ladies swimsuits for all I knew. You get the idea by now, surely.
In any event, to say I was green in the ways of writing for the internet would be an understatement. I still am, I suppose, but like Billy Joel said in a song years ago (before he started crooning elevator music like Uptown Girl): “I am the entertainer and I’ve had to pay my price, the things I did not know at first I learned by doing twice”.
I started trying to find articles on AC about promotion, increasing page views, etc. and there are some good ones out there, CP Tori Thompson has some informative articles, for instance. That young lady has come up with so many different ways to make money, I just wish I had time to implement more of them.
Paula Neal Mooney has some good tips, as well. These comments are totally unsolicited, I’ve never had any contact with either of these ladies. Not to slight anyone, I’m sure there are many others with great tips, it’s just that the tips I happened to find were theirs.
It seemed like I was staring at that single purple ball forever, but after applying some of the tips mentioned above and grinding away for awhile, I jumped up to a Clout 5 shortly before the recent AC changes went into effect. As for the changes, I find them very useful, although I was a little surprised at some of the numbers. There were some articles that I put more time and research into that went over like a Kevin Federline CD. Then there were others I put out in 20-30 minutes, slow typist that I am, that got hundreds of page views
Go figure. That got me to thinking:duh., maybe I should choose my topics a little differently. Instead of just indulging myself, maybe I should write for the reader? My first brush with the editor’s picks was a little piece written on the fly on a Thursday night: Calling in Sick From The Office. I took a few hits for my view of the show, but it got 200+ page views, not bad. It was a little rough, several typos, which I’ve learned to watch more closely. Never a bad idea
Then in early December there was a piece that took maybe 20 minutes called Deal or No Deal The Case Of The Arkansas Entrepreneur that got over 400 pv’s. It was of particular interest to my wife and I because we were at the audition from which the rather rotund fellow on the show was chosen. I still can’t imagine what possessed the producers to choose him over many better qualified entrants.
There were others too: 10 New Year’s Resolution Suggestions For Britney Spears did okay. I might even go back and read that one in light of recent events. I was pleasantly suprised by the success of a piece Funniest News Story of 2006: Police Chief Loses Job Over 300 lb. Wife’s Nude Pictures.
Then there is the other side of the coin, which we won’t go into detail about. These were the written equivalent of William Hung’s singing as far as the readers’ were concerned. Far too many articles were avoided in droves, but like the old Kinks’ song Misery said: “if you can’t laugh at yourself you’ll never come to any parties down at my house, and if you go on like this, the only house you’ll ever visit is a nut house”.
The most popular article thus far is another that didn’t take long at all: Miss USA Tara Conner: Yet Another Celebrity Scandal which was inspired by watching The Donald’s presser seen at a local restaurant on my wife’s Birthday. Of all the things I’ve learned, perhaps the most valuable has been not to overthink and do articles that require a lot of research. Just sit at the keyboard and let it fly, and spend as much time promoting as writing. It isn’t nearly as much fun, but it does no good to write a classic if nobody reads it. Beginners, and that’s who this piece is for, take note: try to strike a balance between what you like to write about and what the reader wants to read and have fun.
I’m aware that the old clout is only at 5 (for now), but if you do even some of this and look for other articles to get ideas on what to write, promotion, etc. you too can move up in the World of AC. Oh, one more thing. Always include a picture. If you don’t believe me, just check out the undiscovered content. See what all the articles there have in common. If you don’t know what kind of picture to use, come up with something.