Get your voice heard through Associated Content

After seeing the COS Productions book video trailer for Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel, a novel by Mark Stuart Ellison and Eli Ellison, I purchased the book and have found it engaging and educational. I wasn’t the first person to suggest it could be adapted as a screenplay. Stuart Ellison has been actively marketing his novel, and he agreed to share his experience using Associated Content to raise his profile as a writer.

—Robin

Guest blogger:
Mark Stuart Ellison

Mark Stuart EllisonYou have solid writing skills and are building a portfolio of articles. Perhaps you’re writing that first book or have already published one. While quality work product is a must for any serious writer, effectively marketing yourself is equally important. Associated Content can help.

Most blogging sites charge a monthly fee for their hosting services. Associated Content, which I use, is different. It is an online community with hundreds of thousands of members. Associated Content is more than a blogging site. Content producers inform readers on various topics in addition to editorializing and discussing their personal experiences. Membership is open to anyone over age 13.

In contrast to sites like suite101.com and About.com, where you have to produce a minimum number of articles in a given period, you can write for Associated Content as often or as little as you wish. Unlike the typical blogging site, Associated Content is free and it pays members to produce. However, you must be over 18 in order to receive money.

There are two ways to get paid. The first is to submit an article for “up-front payment review” by the Associated Content staff. If your article is approved, you are paid anywhere from $3 to $20. If it is not approved, you can still post your article for “performance payments only”—assuming that it is not defamatory or obscene. A performance payment is a monthly bonus based upon the number of page views of all your published content. Funds are typically deposited into a PayPal or other online account you specify for this purpose.

Review is supposed to occur within five business days, but I’ve found that it sometimes takes up to two weeks. For new members, articles submitted for “performance payments only” will appear online within two business days. After you have published three articles, material submitted for “performance payments only” goes online immediately after you submit it. This is particularly helpful if you are publishing time-sensitive material, such as commentary on breaking news.

There is a word processing program in which you can edit text. You do not have to create content in one sitting. All material can be saved indefinitely in draft form until it is ready to be submitted.

Associated Content works best with the Microsoft Internet Explorer browser. You can view content and navigate the site with Netscape Navigator or Mozilla Firefox, but you’ll need Internet Explorer to create and submit content, check your messages, and network with other Associated Content members.

If you want a lot of fancy graphics and special effects, Associated Content is not for you. That said, you can upload multiple images to enhance your entries and are encouraged to do so because they help draw traffic.

You can also publish standalone collections of images, audio, and video. However, there is no payment for these submissions.

Make sure your content is original and not infringing upon anyone’s copyright. Be aware that it is possible to infringe upon a publisher’s rights to your own work. If you have published an article somewhere else and wish to put it on Associated Content, get written permission from the original publisher. Be particularly careful with images. Associated Content has banned members who publish images without the permission of the copyright holders. As a general rule, images from government websites are in the public domain. When in doubt, get permission or leave it out.

Once you publish an article, you should promote it for maximum exposure. One way is to build a network of subscribers. This is done by reading the content of other Associated Content members, contacting those authors, and adding them to your subscribers list. You can also make non-members subscribers by entering their email addresses in the “My Subscribers” area of your account. Readers of your work can also add themselves to your list. All subscribers are automatically emailed a link to your latest article when it is published.

Another way of getting yourself noticed is by entering a synopsis of your content on social bookmarking sites. You will need to register on each site on which you want to promote your articles. There are buttons on Associated Content with links to about a dozen of these entities. My personal favorites are del.icio.us, Furl, BlinkList, Netscape, and Digg. I also have an account on Gather, where for each of my submissions on Associated Content, I post the lead with a link to the entire article. For efficiency, I save the leads of each of my Associated Content articles and related keywords in a Microsoft Word document, then copy and paste them into each bookmarking site.

Write with an eye to keywords and employ them often without sacrificing style. Many sites have a limit on the number of keywords you can enter, so choose wisely.

One caveat: don’t expect to get rich off Associated Content. Some members have reported performance bonuses of $600 per submission. That is exceptional. Over the past 21 months, I have published 42 entries on Associated Content that have produced aggregate income in the mid-three figures. On the other hand, my exposure from Associated Content has been significant. For example, my article on the NAFTA Superhighway has received over 8,000 hits. My article on illegal immigration has snared about 5,500 views.

To join Associated Content, go to the New User Signup page. There, you will find many helpful articles, tutorials, and other community resources to help you get started.

Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel, by Mark Stuart Ellison and Eli Ellison
Mark Stuart Ellison has worked as an attorney, reporter, and freelance writer. He is an author of the award-winning novel Dear Mom, Dad & Ethel: World War II through the Eyes of a Radio Man and can be contacted through his website at www.MomDadandEthel.com.

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