- HubPages Tutorials and Community
Are You Writing For Money
Why Do You Write
If you write only for the enjoyment and care not for the monetary aspect, then the odds are good you wouldn't be reading this article. So, we've already established that part of the reason you write is to make money, and that's not a bad thing. After all, poets get paid to write, novelists het paid to write, and reporters get paid to write - so why shouldn't you?
The argument often given is, 'Because you're a worthless hack looking to make a few pennies off of writings that would never sell elsewhere'. Powerful, persuasive, and full of untruth! The fact is, some people are better at article writing than other forms of writing, just like poets are better at writing poetry. So to say you can't be a good article writer because you failed at other forms of writing is just pure ignorance of the field and how it works!
Of course, like any other field, there are prerequisites that must be met. And if you can't, or are unwilling to meet these, then you will inevitably fail. In fact, not knowing these prerequisites is the reason that most article marketers cry over their lack of success. You see, it's not about putting good words on a page (although that helps) it's about marketing what you write, and this article will help you to discover just how that's done!
Article Marketers Are Salesmen First - Writers Second
This might seem reverse of the logic you might have expected, but it's the inevitable truth. Need proof? Very well, we will perform an experiment together. Write down ten items on a page and lay it in under the cushion of a chair. Next, have someone come into the room and sit down in the chair, and then offer them $100 if they can name every item on your grocery list - but they get only one shot at it.
Inevitably they will take a stab at it ($100 is good motivation) and then balk at you when you say they guessed wrong. It's a totally unfair experiment. Why? Because it would entail the person being able to see into your mind or having the person know where the list is hidden. And when you tell them the list was underneath them the whole time they'll really get mad, as $100 sat below them, just waiting to be found.
Sadly, we do the same thing when we write our articles. We spend all of our efforts writing something that's worth $100 to someone else, and then we push it under the rug, allowing them to walk over it everyday. And then, we have the audacity to be mad when they can't find it! Well, if we told them it was under the rug all along they might have pulled up the rug to find it, but we never stop to think about it until we're slapped across the face with the notion!
That's why we need to be marketers. We need to toss our articles around in places where they can be found. And even then, we must make sure those that are looking for it will know its important when they pick it up.
The Title Must Come First
Well, yeah, that's sort of obvious. After all, you don't place the title after the article, right? Thanks for the sarcasm, and not for the stab back ... if the title is so important that it must come first, why do we spend so little time writing it?
For example, let's say I wrote an article about Fly fishing in Maine. Should I just title it 'Fly Fishing In Maine'? After all, that's what it's all about, right? Well, you're wrong ... very wrong. Just as with this example, I could have titled this article, 'You Need To Market Articles To Sell Them'. Now, who on Earth is going to read that?
Instead, I pulled a suggestive title. 'Are You Writing For Money'. There's no question mark, but it's inferred. And the question, while very simple, does raise some curiosity. Will this article tell me that I'm not? Will this article tell me how I could do it better? Will this article be useful? Regardless of the question that forms in the mind, it does require one to read further to find out if they were right - just like you followed the link to this article ... because you had to know if you were right.
Going with our previous example we could title the article, 'Looking for Excellent Fly Fishing Spots In Maine'. So, is it an inquiry? Is it an article that will tell us where they are? We need to read to learn more - isn't curiosity a wonderful thing?
Remember this: Good titles will describe the article that follows it ... Great titles will pull the reader in to read the article.
The Promise Must Come Second
Article marketing is about profit and profit is about getting people to pay you forward by interacting with the ads on your page. As such, getting the reader to drop by is only half of the battle. You need to fight for their attention to prevent them from immediately clicking away. To that end, there is a formula that does just that!
Your first paragraph is your hook. In this paragraph you will tell the reader what your article will be about, but you won't go into any real details. It's all about pulling them in with a promise that you will deliver the goods they came for. So, if you were writing the fly fishing article you might tell the reader that you will be presenting the best fly fishing spots in Maine.
Remember this: Offer *no* real information at the beginning of your article. Offer a promise ... nothing more ... and make sure you intend to deliver on that promise.
Making Good On Your Word
Once you know you have the reader in your grasp, make good on your promise by offering as much detailed information on the subject as you can. Be the expert! And if you aren't the expert, make yourself the expert!
Read other articles related to yours. Compare articles to be certain your information is as accurate as possible. Never give a reader information that could easily be contested. You want the reader to know that you've done your homework. And as they read on and grow to trust you, they will consider you a valuable resource for information.
And what form should this valuable information take? Well, if you can provide pictures, then do so. If you can provide some videos, add those too. Add whatever you can to bolster the accuracy of the information you are providing. In fact, it's often best to consider yourself on trial, and as such, you are forced to present your case to the jury, making them believe you are the topical expert you claim to be.
Cut Them Loose
Having done all of this, you would think the whole process is done - but it's not! For you see, you need to cut your reader loose. By this, I mean, you must get them to decide you have offered all you can to them and that there isn't anything more to be learned.
One of the best methods for doing this is a simple 'Well, that's all I have on this topic, but I welcome any questions you might have'. In saying this, you are telling the reader they might need to go elsewhere for more information, and that's where the ads come in. As Google tries to place ads that are relative to the topic on the page, this is pretty much cutting the reader loose to investigate them. In this closing you are admitting to the reader that there could be more info, but it's not yours to give out. And in doing so, you are providing the perfect outlet for them to take in - your ads.
Remember ... You're writing to make money, not to gather a following of believers. As such, you enjoy people reading your work, but you admire them more when they help pay your bills. Again, don't look down on yourself for thinking this way! After all, the auto mechanic isn't as impressed with you enjoying the great repair he did on your car as he is with the nice big check you just handed him for his efforts.
Remember this: We all get paid to work and article writing is hard work!
Making The Invisible Able To Be Seen
We followed all of the rules above, and yet, we're still very invisible. What did we do wrong? Well, if you'd look above you'd remember a discussion I had with you about hiding your list under the cushion of the chair. In a sense, I just did the same thing to you. Did it make you angry, frustrated, or upset? Good! Then perhaps I have convinced you to never do the same to your readers! Now read on and I will tell you how to fix this situation.
With the example of the chair, you need only place the list on top of the cushion. The guest would have then sat on the list, picked it up to look at it (out of curiosity) and then realized its importance as you asked for the names of the items on the list. And just as in this example, we must do the same with our readers ... placing our lists where we know they will sit.
This is social networking, whereas we share with the world the existence of our writings and allow them to come see what we have to share. And to do this, we must sign up for many social networks and provide links on them that point back to us.
This is only a small list of what is available out there, and all of these sites allow you to post a link to your article, and in some cases, a small blurb describing what they are all about.
The Art Of Backlinking
When people speak of backlinking their articles, this is what they are talking about, advertising to the masses through social bookmarking sites.
Its often as simple as sharing the title, the link to your article, and a small blurb of what it's all about. And if people deem the topic important, they will read it. However, you must also realize the size of your audience.
On sites like Myspace and Facebook you are only sharing with your friends. So, if your friends list is short, you aren't going to get many guests. The solution? Make many friends! In fact, create an account on each site, just for this express purpose!
Of course, there are also those sites where its not about the friendships, so much as it is standing out above the crowd. Sites like Reddit, Snipsly, Shetoldme, and Xomba give you a chance to grab the audience, and if you do, you'll get tons of hits over short period of time.
However, all of this backlinking isn't about getting hits from these other sites. If it was, you'd might as well give up now. In fact, it's all about getting Google's attention!
Google Is The Watchman
With an eye that never sleeps, Google watches the activity revolving around your article and determines if it is causing a stir or not. If it is, then there is a good chance it will be moved higher up in the rankings. And a higher ranking in Google can bring on even more traffic!
In fact, Google's goal is to make the #1 ranking site for each keyword the most popular one. As such, they do favor those pages that get a lot of activity. That's why bookmarking is so important, as it kickstarts the process to move your article up in the ranks of Google, which inevitably will also get your more and more pagehits.
This is the reason an article will often languish for months with no page hits and then all of a sudden take off! Another thing to remember is that Google makes its money from its advertisers, so when it can marry off a page that gets a lot of hits with an advertiser that gets a lot of hits, you can bet Google wants them high up that ladder. And as we are marketers for Google, we already are on a good path.
So Many Ways To Win
This article is designed around building a profitable writing system for any writer, but there are many more advanced systems that exist. Some actually work, while others are pure scams. And the litmus test is always the same ... there is no zero work system that will make you money!
If you find yourself working hard to get paid then you're almost certainly on the right path. However, by working smarter you find yourself ways to profit more. One of these is in recognizing that certain articles are worth more to advertisers than others. In fact, I wrote several articles on this, including one one finding profitable keyword phrases ... and they're still all valid today. How? Why? Well, as much as Google changes their mission remains the same, and all of the SEO tricks I hand out revolve around satisfying their mission of keeping the best articles on top of the Google ladder.
Remember, not all topics are created equally. Some will pay nothing, due to the fact that advertisers chose not to pay much for them. Others will pay plenty, as they are in high demand. By knowing how to find these topics and incorporating them into your titles you can set yourself up to win.
It also pays off not to write so much about trendy or fad topics. If something will be here today and gone tomorrow, then so will the money associated with it. As an example, consider an article on making Christmas stockings. Yes, you might get a lot of hits around Christmas time, but what about the rest of the year?
Try to write most of your articles around things that will be of interest throughout most of the year, allowing your income to spread out over time. This will provide a better foundation, allowing you to see your base income rise over time. Remember, as long as you write about topics that are good year round, your income will continue to rise over time.
And with that, I find myself finishing another helper topic for Hubpages. And the reason I write these? Consider it paying it forward ... for all that I have earned from my stay here. Some of it might be considered selfish as well, for out of these topics some new information already arises as they are discussed in the comments section. I'm not against learning something new and neither are you ... or else you wouldn't have read this article. And while I don't have all of the answers, I do have a strong sense of what works and what doesn't, but I still leave my eyes open to learning more, as I know life is a journey of never ending experiences!
Good luck to all! May your coffers grow full of money over time! :)