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.