Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How to Write an Article that will Sell or Make High Residual Income

Hi all,

Freelance writing is a competitive business with hundreds of thousands of people who are out there trying to make a living just like you. Some are excellent writers and some are so-so, and there are many in-between. Having an edge on the competition is the best way to increase your article sales or residual income. Below is an article I wrote for eHow, but also want to share with my blog readers. Many of you are just getting your feet wet in the freelance business, so I hope this information will help you on your way to writing success. Whether you sell your articles on a site like Constant-Content or want to earn bigger up-front money from a site like Associated Content or you are into building residual income at places like Suite101, Triond, or eHow, these tips should help you write articles that will sell well or increase your residual income potential.

Good luck and Happy Writing,


How to Write an Article that will Sell or Make High Residual Income

Whether writing articles for up-front payment sites or to earn residual income you need to know how to write an article that will be of interest to readers for a long time to come. The article also has to be informative, useful to readers, knowledgeable and give a new slant on a topic that has probably been done to death. While current topics, such as current trends or newsworthy items may sell in the short term, they are not good for residual income. Also, unless current topics are requested, buyers are less likely to want to pay top dollar for current topics knowing that they will only get limited traffic on the purchase of the article. Finding a way to make an old subject look fresh and interesting or tying a new current topic in with an evergreen subject, you are more likely to make bigger up-front income from your articles or higher residual income. Here are some ways to create an article that will sell or make high residual income.

Stay on Top of the Topics People are Interested In - Keep abreast of topics that the public is interested in right now as well as the topics that are coming up in interest. For example: green living, frugal living, the economy, health care, living healthy and weight loss are hot topics. Those are also topics people will be searching for next year. A quick glance at any search engine homepage, such as Google or Yahoo, will give you an idea what topics are the most searched. Keep an eye on topics that look like they may be hot in the future. Before the housing market went bust, I began writing articles on the housing market because all indicators pointed to it being a hot topic. Watch the news, read blogs and take note of what customers are requesting for articles so you can stay on top of the subjects that will sell.

Start with the Basics – All articles should have a beginning, middle, and end. The first one or two paragraphs should state the topic of the article and what problem you are solving. The middle paragraphs gives information on the topic that was brought up in the first paragraph and helps solve the problem. The final paragraph, the summary, should quickly summarize what the article was about and give the article a clean end. Unless the customer asks for a specific writing style, try to use these three stages when writing articles so they look professional.

Keep Your Article about one Topic – The topic in your title is the topic you are going to stick with for the entire article. Don’t let other topics seep in that will muddy the article and make it confusing or too long. Let’s say your article is on “How to Sleep Better at Night”. Give specific answers to this title such as make the room darker, close out noise, try using lavender on your pillow. Don’t start stating other facts or statistics on sleep that do not have anything to do with the article. Save that other information you learned about sleep for another great article instead.

Use Paragraph Headings – Paragraph headings help break down your article into sections so it is easy for the reader to scan through and find the information he wants. A typical 500 word article should have 2 to 3 paragraph headings to break up the article. Use key words from the paragraphs following the heading when writing the heading.

Find Reputable Sources – Any basic college writing course instructor will ask you to find at least three reputable sources for any paper that you write. That concept applies to writing to sell articles too. Use sources from reputable organizations, associations, government agencies, universities or medical facilities. For example: If you are writing an article on heart disease, find reputable information from places such as the National Heart Association, the Mayo Clinic or a reputable research article. When searching for reputable information on the Internet, use the advanced search option and key in the source area you want your information from such as .org, .gov, or .edu. This will help you find good sources without wallowing through all the other sites.

Use the Sources in Your Article – Always back up any statistics or research results by stating where you have found this information. For example: “Research conducted by the National Heart Association found that 32% of men who experienced erectile dysfunction had some form of heart disease within the next five years”. (Not accurate stats, just an example.) This gives your article much more credibility than stating, “Research found that 32% of men…..”. Also, use quotes by prominent people but always state within the sentence the source of the quote. Example: “In an article titled “Erectile Dysfunction and Your Heart” on, Dr. Emily Notingburg stated that, “Thirty-two percent of men who experienced…”. (I made up this source for the example.) For more formal articles you will want to include the link for your source at the bottom of the article page.

Write Concisely – Use as few words as possible while still getting your point across. Always proofread your articles several times to check if you could re-write a sentence to be more concise or even a whole paragraph. Don’t just add words for the sake of a word count. Instead, use your words wisely so customers don’t feel you are just padding an article with useless words.

Watch the Word Count – Unless you have been asked to write an article that contains 1,000 words, it is best to keep articles between 500-600 words for Internet sales. People who purchase articles for their website are looking for articles that fit well into their website or blog and don’t want it to be too wordy. If you have enough material for a 1,000+ word article, break it down into two different articles for twice the sale potential.

Proofread Articles – Proofread your articles at least 3 times before submitting them for sale. Don’t just count on spelling or grammar software to find mistakes. Some of the best articles can sit and not sell because the writer didn’t proofread enough and they don’t look professional.

Check for Plagiarism – You know that you wrote the article from scratch but you did use resources and read other articles to obtain your information. It is always best to use a plagiarism checker, such as Article Checker or Copyscape, before submitting an article for sale so you are not embarrassed later if you accidently copied a phrase.

Submit Your Article and Move on to the Next - Submit your well-written article and move on to the next article. No matter where you are selling your articles for up-front payment or residual income, the only way you will make money writing is by writing the perfect article and going on to the next. If a re-write is requested or the article is rejected you will already have more on the way to sell. Also, instead of getting mad about re-writes use these opportunities to hone your writing skills. The editor isn’t saying you are not a good writer; the editor is saying that you did well but need a few changes. Every writer, no matter how experienced or educated, sometimes needs help with their writing. Keep writing and soon you will be earning good money as a freelance writer.
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1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tips! I myself am just getting my feet wet in the writing department and appreciate the info! :)


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