My first Associated Content article was published on October 25, 2010 and I immediately set two goals. First I wanted 100 articles and 1000 pages views in the first ten days. I missed that by one day but (with encouragement from Curtis Carper and R.C. Johnson) I decided it was still possible to reach my second goal: clout 8 in 30 days or less. Here is how I did it.
I have hundreds of articles laying around on my computer that I have written for local newspapers or some other print publication. Many of them are 5,000 to 10,000 words long and so not really appropriate for Associated Content unless they are serialized. However, the newspaper articles are around 550 words – a pretty good fit for AC. My object was to place 200 of those articles in AC as quickly as possible in order to take advantage of the 200% boost in clout they provide.
The second prong to my “30 days to clout 8 challenge” attack was page views. I needed 33,334 page views along with the 200 articles to achieve clout 8. Here is the explanation provided by Associated Content:
” *Clout Score = Your total number of page views on Associated Content from Yahoo! PLUS a 1% bonus for each published submission (max bonus = 200%). Example: A Contributor with 10 articles published on Associated Content and 5,000 total AC page views has a Clout Score of 5,500 (5,000 views + 10%), which translates to a Clout Level of 5.”
**PPM = Payment Per Thousand Page Views (“M” being the Roman numeral for one thousand). It is the rate we will pay you for every thousand (1,000) page views your content generates on Associated Content from Yahoo! Your current PPM is calculated by taking the current baseline PPM rate of $1.50 and adding any Clout Bonus that you’re eligible for. Example: A Contributor with 50,000 monthly page views and a Clout Level of 8 will receive a $80.00 performance payment ($1.60 x 50).”
The first ten days went by and I realized I was not going to get 33,334 page views in 30 days with my existing material. That’s when I turned to Google Trends for help.
Google Trends provides a frequently updated list of the top twenty internet searches. At this writing, “Oprah’s favorite things 2010” happens to be in the number two position. I decided my job was to write articles addressing subjects suggested by the top ten searches in the Google Trends list. At the same time, I wasn’t going to write about things of no interest to me (like “Oprah’s favorite things 2010”). Nonetheless, I was able to find three or four worthy subjects almost every day for two weeks. Since I have too many irons in the fire already, I decided to devote just an hour a day to the “30 days to the Clout 8 challenge” – with some extra time in the evening when available. This meant I would need to check the hot searches on Google Trends, choose a subject and write a decent 250-400 word article in about fifteen minutes. It soon became clear I would be doing more writing in the evening than I had anticipated. Yet, the page views began to add up. This morning, November 20, 2010, I broke through the 33,334 barrier with a total of 33,838 page views. Mission accomplished.
Two hundred articles in 27 days would have been virtually impossible without an existing catalog to draw from. However, four articles a day six days a week will net 100 articles a month and that is doable. Therefore, clout 8 in 60 days is within the grasp of any writer. So, if you want to go from clout 1 to clout 8 in 60 days, you need to write four articles a day, six days a week using Google Trends to guide your choice of subject. If you have an interest in “Oprah’s favorite things 2010” you will have no trouble finding readers.
(BTW, I didn’t do any outside promotion during the “30 days to clout 8 challenge.” I don’t have a twitter account, or a myspace page and I never do anything with the face book page I set up a few years(?) ago.)