Associated Content Tip of the Day 6 May 2007: Ad Alignment


Often echoed in the AC forum is the question, “What does Associated Content want?” Many complain that their articles are rejected though they’ve followed all the rules, suggestions, and advice. It’s time for advanced AC training.

What AC wants is right in front of you. It’s in every article page on the site. We as writers tune it out because we are reading the article. You better believe AC hasn’t tuned it out and neither does the casual browser. What is missing from your article formula that AC covets? Advertising.

Advertising alignment is arguably the second most important component in getting a decent offer from AC. Here’s how your AC education program is laid out:

  • AC 101: Writing well. If you can’t provide well written content just give up now. Spelling and grammar are the cornerstones.
  • AC 201: Keywords. Most people got the point about the importance of keywords early in their internet writing career. Good keyword density is the prime component to a decent offer.
  • AC 301: Topic variety. One must be able to provide a variety of topics to AC if they expect to keep the cash coming. A good carpenter can build a chest or a house. Their skills are transferable to other projects. So must a good writer’s be.
  • AC 302: Promotion. Naturally, a little promotion can’t hurt. Frankly, the author who says, “I’m just the writer. Promotion should be someone else’s job,” just doesn’t stand a chance in this venue. I have no sympathy for such a person when they complain about not being offered decent money. Why would AC take a chance on your writing when you won’t?
  • AC 401: Advertising alignment. This is the class most CP never take. Are you ready for your senior thesis?

Advertising pays the bills
When the question “What will AC pay for?” is asked, the answer should always be, “Well written, interesting articles that align with Google Ads.” AC won’t come right out and say it because advertising is not the be-all-end-all of their goals, but it’s key.

It’s all right there in front of you. There are ads on every page. That is what AC wants. They want your article to bring the ads. Google ads are placed there by computers not humans. You have to have the topic and keywords right or the ads aren’t going to fit.

Toothpaste conquers all

Why does AC love product reviews that use the product name? Because they align with the advertising for the product. You can make $5+ for a toothpaste review, before making one dime for the most brilliant insight into the meaning of life.

Some are dismayed because a quick and simple article on a basic topic like stress reduction is offered more than an article they spent over 8 hours researching and writing. This is an important point. Just because you put hours of research into and article, even a topic that is not well covered on AC, does not mean that it is of the same value to AC. The old saying, “Everything is worth what the buyer will pay” holds true at AC.

For example, an article on stress aligns very well with internet advertising. Stress reduction techniques such as meditation, medication, herbs, and aroma-therapy are all over the place.

An article on the history of Moldavian tyrants is not going to see many matching ads. Moldavian tyrant action figures aren’t doing so well on eBay at the moment. Here’s where preparing a topic list can save time and effort.

Who’s your daddy?

Instead of using your time researching one article topic, use some time preparing multiple topics. Take a few hours and Google. Poke around AC and pay attention to the ads, specifically how they relate to the article topic. Create a topic list of common and not-so common products being sold on the internet. Bookmark the sites you find for future reference. Find out who is trying to make money on the internet. Those are the people who are going to help you make money. Write an article that aligns with their ads and AC will pay you.

Check out sites for television channels. Look for new trends and shows. For example, the History channel is pushing a new show called “Cities Underground” where they travel the globe and show the city below the city. Now, AC isn’t going to pay for a show review, but the History Channel’s ads are going to show up in an article with keywords about the topic. You just have to slant your article while still using the keywords “city,” “underground,” etc. Maybe an article on the London Tube or the Paris Metro. How about the bunkers of Nazi Germany in Berlin? That show was actually on last night, hence the example.

Pander to the advertisers using keywords without being obvious and while still remaining interesting. The complaint about not knowing what AC wants is common, but I think everyone overlooks the fact that AC needs to make money. Advertising pays the bills.

If you’ve got the basics under your belt, it’s time to really research ad alignment. Once you get the hang of it, you can move your tassel.

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40 Comments

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  1. If there were an award given for the best teacher at AC, you and Michelle would come in first and second. Good, useful material as always.

  2. I forget about the ad alignment and usually focus on writing, my bad. As usual, this is very useful info. Can’t wait to learn about AC’s “graduate” topics :)

  3. You know, that needs to be an AC article.

    Well done!

  4. Good stuff. I’m pretty new to writing for the web, and I don’t always play up KD or think about ad alignment… but I recognize that, and if I don’t get good offers or if my articles don’t get a lot of views, I know why. It’s not AC’s fault that I don’t know what I’m doing, it’s mine. Thanks for writing this… more CPs should read this, and maybe the AC forums would have a lot less of the same complaints over and over and over. :)

  5. Excellent advice ever so clearly explained. Thanks.

  6. captdallas2 May 7, 2007 — 16:16

    Great adice Randy! I’m still working on 101 but I ain’t quittin’.

  7. I don’t think about ad alignment either! Clearly, it’s time.

  8. You got it in a nutshell there Randy. Very good advice.

  9. Nice article about ad’s thats good to know.

  10. Kirsten Van Detta May 7, 2007 — 17:25

    I wish CPs would come read this. It’s what most of us have been trying to say for so long. AC is not a publishing site, per se. They are in the market of ads and clicks. Anything other than toothpaste is purely for the benefit of your readers. Once CPs realize AC is more of a marketing tool than your way to financial freedom and Grisham status, they’ll be better off.

    Good stuff Randy. :)

  11. Thank you Randy! This undoubtedly explains all the angst, sturm und drang, and overal whining about offers dropping … AC now can tell what quality of advertising bait you have provided and pay more for good bait than bad bait.

    BTW, if you are doing AC 401 well, AC 302 is an extra-credit class.

  12. Wow. Who’d a thunk? I had no idea. That explains a lot why I got so much more for my second article than my first. I had keywords aplenty. Drug companies must love me.

  13. I never thought of aligning with ads. Let me jump on the bandwagon to say thanks for writing this blog.

  14. Christine Bude May 8, 2007 — 15:48

    Really excellent advice. Nicely presented.

  15. Jamie Wilson May 8, 2007 — 17:55

    As always, great advice. I wonder if there’s a publicly-available listing of which industries spend the most money on internet advertising? I suspect drug companies are up there because they spend tons of money on all advertising, but beyond that. . . ?

  16. Sarah LaReau May 9, 2007 — 04:30

    Yay!
    Thank you for the great info. It really is different writing for the web. Most of my writing training has pounded into my head to not use words more than once. I am slowly breaking that habit.

  17. Dreamweaverr(Laurie) May 9, 2007 — 04:46

    I actually like to see what ads they do post with my articles or other people’s. Some don’t seem to fit at all when I first look, but click through on some and it is interesting to see what comes up. It is a good lesson in how to pick your five words or phrases to use for search, on the article submission pages at AC. I’m new at all this online advertising from a sellers viewpoint, so I’m drinking it in like a dry sponge.

  18. Thank you Randy! Read this a couple weeks ago and took a look at the ads on my highest paying articles, gave the keywords a go and every single article came back with really great offers. Bumped my average offer up by a dollar this month!

  19. Thanks! I just started reading your blog. This was a great article!

  20. Randy, you are one of the wisest people on AC! Thanks for this information. I am going to take it and roll with it.

  21. I never thought the ads did align- in fact they misalignment is often extremely hysterical. But I guess they are supposed to…

  22. As with a lot of you, I had no idea! Now I will be paying attention to those ads and working around the thoughts. Thanks for the help!

  23. Very early on, I tried to tried to explain AC to someone who had never heard of it. I said I was a hired hand on an ad farm. Funny how things turn out…

  24. Randy,
    You’re really right on point. I have to agree with the above. If AC gave awards for teachers, Michelle and you would be battling for first place.
    I’ve noticed too that a lot of my higher paying reviews had to deal with what AC was advertising at the time.
    For example, livestrong, Lance Armstrongs organization advertising just came out of the blue when people started doing reports on Lance’s organization.

  25. Excellent article…As someone who blogs for a living and uses Google Ads as a source of income, I understood this from the get-go. Thanks for spreading the good advice!

  26. Great stuff! Thanks!

  27. Thanks for pointing me to this article. This will go a long way to help find the right content for my articles.

  28. I can barely read the writing. Maybe it is my computer, tried to enlarge it but it still did not work. Anyways, after squinting my eyes I found some really great tips on here. Thanks a million for your tips of the day and keep up the writing. I may not comment much but that doesn’t mean that I don’t read your work.

  29. Oh My God!! You devil you! What a great informative and helpful article. I am really pretty computer illiterate. I love to write, but hate the technical stuff. You know I write stupid and useless, so this is very very helpful. Now if I can wrap my brain around it , the left one that is, it will really help me. sincerely shana thanks Randy!

  30. The best way to see which keywords are strong on AC is to search for those words or phrases through associated content. If ads sprawl across the top and bottom of the search results, you should use those keywords as your search terms.

  31. I’m new to computers and the internet (VERY new!) This clears up alot of questions I’ve had for a while about keywords and stuff.

  32. Thanks for this. I’ve been working on 101- 302- but hadn’t even begun to work on 401!

  33. excellent tips. thank you!

  34. How about an article on why Moldavian tyrants should have used toothpaste???

  35. it is a good job guy :)

  36. i use your tips , but please notify me with any updates

  37. Common sense . . . but all too often overlooked. This applies to blogging as well.

    Thanks!

  38. Lots of good tips, thanks.

    I have almost been at AC for a month, finding my way around, and looking for ways to get extra pageviews and to earn up front payments to boost my earnings. There are quite a few good pointers here that I hope will help.

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