Writing Articles That Sell…

So you like to write. You’d like to do more of it. You’d like to make a few bucks in the process. And if you could pay your mortgage writing, you would. Well, obviously the only way to do that is to make sure that what you write is actually of interest to enough people to make it financially feasible.

Obviously our initial inclination is to write about things that interest us. Which is fine, but profitable only if what interests you is also of massive interest to scores of other people. One of my interests is miniature aeronautics, or model rocketry, and while I find the hobby fascinating, any article I write on the matter would probably sit largely ignored online and refused flat out for print (unless it was in the two or three hobby related magazines that maybe five people in North Dakota read).

You need to look for subjects that are of interest to the most people, and write your articles or materials accordingly. For me, I’ve found a veritable gold mine in writing material related to our nation’s current bad economy, such as how to vacation on a budget, live well on a budget, create wealth in an economic downturn, etc. People flock to that because now more than ever, folks want to know how to get the most out of every dollar that they spend.

People not only read these articles, but they also get picked up and reposted on other blogs, directories, websites, etc. increasing your viewership and readership, and if it’s a paid gig, putting a few more cents in your pocket.

You can peruse the headlines looking for subject matter inspiration. Just today I found a headline article on Yahoo entitled “10 Reasons Couples Therapy May Not Work For You”. While I have no desire to write my own article on that subject, a quick glance at the side bar will reveal several other related subjects such as “10 Things You Didn’t know About Sex”, “A Prettier, Happier Life”….other subjects that may spark inspiration for an article.

You can also pick a subject such as “vacation” or “cars” and do any number of variations on the subject, such as “10 Best cars For under $20,000” or “Prime Vacation Spots in the Southeast”. I have to write about four articles a day, so picking a subject that may be successfully mined keeps me focused and on target.

You can also break down articles into series. Look for elements in a specific article that may lend themselves to additional installments broken down by gender, age, location, income level, political class….the possibilities are endless. I have wrangled as much as a week’s worth of articles out of a single subject before.

Avoid biased writing. Articles that take only one side of a given issue (particularly if it is a controversial one) decreases your opportunity for publication by exactly half…namely the half that will agree with you. If you take on a subject that has more than one point of view, ideally give equal time to all sides. That way you stand a much better chance of it getting picked up by more sources.

You also always want to include a link to your home page or blog. As the article is redistributed, hopefully your link will be kept intact. This increases link juice to your site and raises your visibility in the eyes of the Google search engines.
Unfortunately there is no way to insure that those who repost will extend the courtesy of leaving your link intact. Almost every day I find articles of mine that have been rewritten slightly, links removed, and credited to somebody else. Don’t bother trying to chase down and deal with these crooks because you’ll end up spending your entire day doing so and not getting anything else done.

Figure out how to post the same article in multiple sources. Many article directories don’t like duplicate content, and if your article is posted elsewhere, it will get flagged and refused. However, posting the same article to multiple directories, with similar turnaround times between submission and acceptance, makes it much more likely to be able to get an article on several different sources at once.

Now go therefore and write well….

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