How to Write for Yahoo! Voices

Get Paid to Write and Build Clips

Photo by hisks
Photo by hisks

A Good Site for Beginners

When I started Web writing professionally, the only clips I had were print clips and press releases. I needed article clips that had been published online and that showed my skill at writing engaging Web copy.

This was a few years ago, and at that time, Yahoo! Voices, then called Associated Content, paid a decent upfront price for articles. It wasn't unusual for me to get $10-15 per article, and each article was written about whatever the heck I wanted. There were several people who wrote for the site full time and actually made a living doing so.

Since that time, the payment structure for the site has changed dramatically. But, even if the pay isn't quite what it once was, Yahoo! Voices is still a nice, no-pressure site for freelance writers to get a few Web clips to show to prospective clients. Here's how to make the most out of the experience in order to get more clients and make more money.

Yahoo! Voices Requirements

There aren't many requirements compared to many other online publishing sites. The main rules are:

  • a minimum of 400 words per article
  • no plagiarism
  • credit any photos you use

As you can see, this gives YV writers a huge bit of latitude. The writer is in complete creative control over the work as long as these basic rules are observed.

Each article is read by an editor that must approve it before it appears on the site. It is run through a plagiarism tool to make sure that no parts of it have been stolen. If any part of it is found to be plagiarized, the writer is immediately suspended from the site and can no longer submit articles.

Oops

Photo by Nazreth
Photo by Nazreth

How to Avoid the Mistakes I Made

The only thing I had to recommend myself to online clients was a few print press releases and a couple of links to years-old print news articles. I wanted fast clips so that I could put my skills to use in Web content. That, unfortunately, led to a few problems.

I had no problems coming up with ideas for articles. What I did have problems with was the format. Used to print writing, I was also used to having someone look over my copy before it was sent to press. A copyeditor is something that's easy to take for granted, but you won't get one on Yahoo! Voices.

I mentioned that an editor reads the article, but the editor doesn't actually edit your work. He only checks it for adherence to the rules. That's where YV gets its bad reputation for crappy writing. And a lot of it is bad. Really, really bad. Does that have to affect you? No. If you're building clips, you are not on trial to establish the overall quality of the site. You are only there to do the best you can with your topic and to demonstrate your own writing skills.

Unfortunately, without a copyeditor and being new to Web writing, it didn't occur to me at the time to write each piece in Word and then to copy and paste it into the article space. Instead, I wrote articles directly into the YV publishing area, eyeballed it to make sure it looked Ok and then sent it through. The results, for several articles, were disastrous. Misspellings, spacing errors- you name it.

You can avoid this problem by using Word every time you write something for YV. You may have to change the formatting a little once you have copied and pasted the article, but at least you'll know that nothing is misspelled and that all of your sentences actually end instead of trailing off because you meant to add something but forgot. Ahem, not that I did that or anything.

If you want to write for the site for the money rather than for the freelance writing clips, be sure to capitalize on keywords. Use a good keyword tool to find the best words to use in your articles. Yahoo! Voices is actually very well ranked in the search engines and if you use a few good keywords you may do very well with your traffic.

The site pays a residual amount based on the number of people who read your articles, so every reader counts. I have a keyword-conscious article there that has had more than 135,000 views and another with more than 80,000. In contrast, my non-keyworded articles generally have a few hundred views each.

Photo by penywise
Photo by penywise

How to Get Paid by Yahoo! Voices

There are three ways to get paid by YV:

Upfront payment: This is an initial payment of a few dollars for an article to appear on the site. If you haven't written for the site for awhile, this is not as high as it used to be. I hear from some freelance writers who still use the site that the typical payment is about $4. The last couple of items I wrote for them got me about $6, but that's not the last payment I will get for these articles because of the residual payments. Not all articles will get you an up-front payment. If you want to be guaranteed an up-front payment, go to the Assignment Desk and choose a job that offers one.

Residual payments: These are the continual traffic payments that are paid directly to the writer for the amount of traffic the articles have gotten during the month. This starts at $1.50 per thousand views and then goes up to $2 per thousand views as you get more traffic. Even if I never write for them again, and I haven't in a long time, I will still receive a payment from them every month as long as I log in at least every three months. If you stop logging in, it will cancel your payments. To make it easier to remember, log into the site every time they send you your monthly payment.

Distribution payments: A distribution payment is a payment for every time the site allows another website to reprint one of your articles. Occasionally a site will come along and ask YV for permission to reprint an article that I've already sold to the site. The site then pays Yahoo some possibly ungodly amount to reprint it. YV then pays me a measly few bucks. It sounds weird, but I'm not complaining about it. The last time I got a reprint payment it was for an article I wrote over a year earlier and had already sold with full rights to YV. Therefore, they weren't legally obligated to send me anything at all for granting reprint rights. It also gave me a nice new clip, complete with byline, on a site that is more prestigious than YV.

Photo by tulp
Photo by tulp

What to Write About

You can write about any darn thing you want. You don't even have to write articles- Yahoo! Voices also accepts poetry, short stories and essays. I used to write articles occasionally about random stuff that bothered me before I discovered HubPages and started creating hubs.

If you want freelance writing clips, stick to your niche topics or write about a broad range of subjects to show your versatility. If you just want to get paid to write for the site, choose popular topics that have the best chance of interesting readers. Controversial topics always attract fast traffic, as do current events. For longer-lasting traffic, choose topics related to pets, parenting and medical conditions. Those have been my highest-traffic topics by far.

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Comments 11 comments

Kate Downs profile image

Kate Downs 8 years ago from New England

Oh thank you for this wonderful article! I am a freelancer with a limited amount of time. I haven't been able to invest enough time to even figure out how Associated Content works, let alone write for them. This article is super helpful to me. BIG thumbs up!


Beaks 8 years ago from USA Author

Thanks! I was hoping that someone would find it helpful.


Sabah K. 7 years ago

Thanks for the tips Beaks! I've been publishing on Associated Content for over three years and have found it to be one of the highest-paying writing opportunities on the web. It's great to be able to write on anything you want and get paid both an upfront payment and residual payments.


Beaks 7 years ago from USA Author

I agree- I like that it offers both up-front payment and residuals. I think it's probably the only site that I know of that does that.


Seva8 profile image

Seva8 6 years ago from Australia

Thanks is a very usefull information,all the best.


Jeri 6 years ago

Thanks so much for the helpful advice. I definitely want to maximize my AC writing. I have been paid anywhere from $1.50 to $3.88 per article but of course I didn't know about keywords and other useful writing tips that you have. Thanks!


Beaks 6 years ago from USA Author

I hope this will help!


RGraf profile image

RGraf 5 years ago from Wisconsin

Here is my issue. I have written on a variety of topics for AC and they have paid me upfront for a handful at about $2/article. I keep getting rejected for upfront payments for the oddest reasons. The biggest reason is that my titles do not match the content. I ask many of my friends who say that my titles could not be more clear on those pieces. Another said that they would not accept it because it had grammar and punctuation mistakes. A review my several people could not find the issue. I'm making money at other places I am writing, but AC is giving me nothing. I don't know what to do.


Beaks 5 years ago from USA Author

That really is strange. Do you think it;s because of the transition? With the Yahoo buy out, I think that there are a lot of kinks that still have to be worked out. They may have new reviewers that aren't well trained.


Rayda Jacobs profile image

Rayda Jacobs 4 years ago from Cape Town, South Africa

Valuable comments and helpful to newbies. It really is a jungle out there with the number of sites one can choose from to write - should be inspiring to writers.


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 3 years ago from Long Island, NY

I also wrote a few articles for Yahoo! Voices. With one I received a $10 prepayment. But I agree with you that they are difficult with certain things. As an example, one article that was assigned to me had a requirement of 400 words. I went over that and they rejected it based on the fact that I did don't stick to the 400 word limit. They also constantly assign projects that are not in my niche. So I stopped watching for assignments.

It's true that I could write about anything I want rather than just assigned projects, but then I don't get the up front payment. I may as well use HubPages for those.

Besides all that it definitely is a place for writers to experiment with. I would like to have looked for your articles on Yahoo! Voices, but don't see what name to look for you there.

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