You’ve probably come across these familiar sites, but what exactly are they? Helium and Associated Content are writing communities that pay writers for the content that they’ve uploaded. Basically, you upload your article content (exclusive or non-exclusive, depending on its publishing status) and get paid by the traffic that it generates. What a great way for freelance writers and bloggers to earn some cash! Sounds too good to be true? Err…yes and no.
Too Good to be True
Uploading your articles to Helium and Associated Content is a fairly straightfoward process: you type in or paste your article in the field provided, fill in the appropriate information, hit submit, and off you go (AC has an approval period for fresh providers, though). The articles you’ve uploaded earn money for you indefinitely as long as the website doesn’t close, which makes for a great long term earning vehicle which I’ve personally dubbed article investment.
Once on the site, your articles are reviewed by the community and are ranked (in the case of Helium) or simply rated on a scale of 1-5 stars (in the case of Associated Content). Your ranking on Helium determines how far up the ladder your article stays at, and the top articles at the site generally get more views.
Not Too Good to be True
Although Helium and Associated Content really do pay you for your traffic, don’t expect to make a load of cash in an instant. Both sites are examples of venues for passive income (perhaps even a low-risk/low-return long term investment?), and you’ll only really see positive results a bit later down the line. Since freelance writers and bloggers might need immediate remuneration following a service rendered, generating earnings and a sizeable profit solely from these sites through article investment may not be a viable option. This is mainly because both Helium and Associated Content pay you very low amounts for a given number of clicks to your article/profile (check out the sites to find out their payment schemes).
The peer ranking system of Helium isn’t a yardstick by which your articles are truly measured as regards quality simply because the “panel of judges” are writers such as ourselves. Although your well-written and concise article may be worthy of editorial acclaim in glossies and broadsheets, you may find your work ranked lower than a clumsily verbose article simply because the community liked it better. In other words, don’t expect the ladder system of Helium to be a professional opinion of your writing style and technique.
How this relates to you as a freelance writer
Given the pay dynamics of both sites, the budding freelance writer and career blogger should use both sites in a manner that is advantageous to his or her freelance career. Instead of using these sites as a primary means of earning, Helium and Associated Content should be used as freelance writer/blogger’s tools for making their exclusive and non-exclusively written articles work for them ad infinitum, which is the main concept of article investment.
Suppose that your freelance writing schedule involves you working on client related projects for the first half of your day, and the latter half getting some social networking and creative/initiative writing done. Your non-exclusive projects could be uploaded to Helium and Associated Content, allowing these to earn you some dollars in the distant future (if you’re unsure about licensing and other legal matters, it’s always a good idea to consult with your client first before posting to these sites!).
For your creative exercises or initiative freelance writing work that haven’t been commissioned, you may put these up on both Helium and Associated Content (under a non-exclusive license) to get them to earn for you instead of sleeping quietly in your hard drive. If you’ve got older articles that were rejected by clients or were offered as samples (provided you own the content 100%), put them up as well! The best way to earn money from passive income is to let your past works do the earning for you! Article investment is all about consistently building your article portfolio every chance you get to allow you to reap some distant future benefit.
Freelance writing and career blogging has its ups and downs financially, and the only surefire way you could protect yourself against a dry spell is to have some cold, hard cash on hand to get you through it. Your earnings from Helium and Associated Content, though admittedly not as much instantaneously as your freelance writing or blogging work, may one day prove to be sizeable, especially if you’ve got a collection of articles in the hundreds (or even thousands!). Imagine if these articles each earn a penny a month!
I’ll be writing about ways to promote your Helium and Associated Content articles in my next post and how to maximise your article investment earnings for both sites. For the meantime, don’t hesitate to check out our own Associated Content and Helium pages!