The Struggling Writer

The chronicles of a freelance writer as he tries to make a living.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Is Examiner Worth It?

Aspiring writers out there maybe be wondering if they should follow my example and write for Examiner or similar ad revenue sharing sites. To misquote Reverend Lovejoy from The Simpsons, "Short answer no with an if, long answer yes with a but."

Short answer: No. If you are serious about being a writer, low paying sites like Examiner are not effective ways to make money or build your clips. Buy a copy of The Renegade Writer and skip the entry-level assignments.

Long answer: Yes, but know what your real goals are and be prepared to do all the work involved, not just the writing.

There is more to life than money and there is more you can get from an assignment than a paycheck. I'm excited by this opportunity and I am happy to have the chance to provide advice to parents of special needs kids from Phoenix or anywhere else. However I'm fully aware this is going to be a junk income stream which will pay less than half my minimum writing fees. I can't devote much of my time to it.

If you write for Examiner, maximize your hourly rate. I looked at the Phoenix Special Needs Kids category and immediately a hundred ideas popped into my head. I can write article after article with no research, banging out each in matter of minutes. This means I can easily keep up with 4 articles per week and ideally I will do one a day.

Don't ignore marketing! This means networking with people face to face or through forums. You don't have to be obnoxious, but be prepared to tell people about what you can offer. I meet with therapists and doctors every week and can spread the word through them to Phoenix parents. I plan to attend meetings and classes where I can find other parents. I allow people to follow me through Twitter and email alerts. I share my articles through sites like StumbleUpon and Digg.

Learn SEO and by that I mean the whole thing, not just keywords. Learn about cross links, about how to write for the web, about how to build interest in your site. This is not just about writing a few words and waiting for the money to roll in.

Think of other ways to generate income. Become an Amazon affiliate and provide links for products you mention. Write articles on flat fee sites like Demand Studios designed specifically to drive traffic to your Examiner site. Revenue sharing jobs require you to squeeze every penny out of them to be worth your time.

Overall, have a plan. Don't just join for the sake of joining. You don't have to be a full-time writer to take your writing income seriously.

If you do decide you are ready to to join Examiner, tell them sent you.



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