How To Exponentially Increase Your Online Writing Income While Pursuing Your More Legitimate Writerly Endeavors: Practical, No Bullshit, And Not For Whiners.
Repost and link. Rinse, dry, repeat.
Writing and posting daily has something to do with it. Being smart with your time is the Reader’s Digest condensed version of the rest.
Let me share with you what I did, and how a simple experiment led to a wholly unexpected but always welcome side income.
I’ve enjoyed posting on Facebook for several years. I’ve also read a great deal on social media about writers being paid by re-sharing their longer Facebook entries on sites known as “content mills,” pages where writers can park their work and earn pennies for their posts on a per-click-basis.
Nothing upfront, to be clear.
I co-own a legitimate LLC; a side income was not someting I was looking for. Further, the thought of actively pursuing anything along the lines of writing stories for the internet was off-limits to me as I thought it would be difficult to maintain professional credibility. I concentrated on my own professional responsibilites, which took up the bulk of my time anyway.
Then, a surgery beckoned.
In the winter of 2017, I was diagnosed with severe arthritis in my left knee. A torn meniscus, zero cartilage, and increasingly excrutiating pain led the doctor to recommend a knee replacement. Truth is, though I have a high pain tolerance, I was barely able to walk.
The second opinion I attained was no different than the first. I scheduled the surgery.
Emotionally, my larger issue was one of focus. I wake every morning between 2 and 3AM, and write until my wife and dog wake at 8. Those several hours have long been my treasured creativity time. Yet, my knee pain became such that I couldn’t write my novels. Focus was near-impossible. I couldn’t write my screenplays. My legitimate business is a production company, Council Tree Productions, and I was scheduled to attend the National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) in January. The annual trade show was in Florida; my company was new, I’m Los Angeles-based, and as a writer-producer by trade I had multiple meetings scheduled to acquire and sell product.
Calls were not an issue, though, and I figured I’d reschedule those meetings over the phone after the conference once everyone was back.
I canceled, reluctantly. Doctor’s orders, stressing I could do more damage to my knee.
Wife’s orders, as she was nervous about the doctor’s orders.
In the weeks prior to the surgery, I figured I’d experiment a bit. I’d go online and check out some of those pay-per-click writer’s sites I’ve read so much about. I wanted to see what was real, and what was not, and I intended to share those results with my Facebook connections. Facebook, being my favored social media page. I had no better way to pass the time — most everyone I needed to speak to in my business day-to-day was preparing for NATPE — and so I got to work.
Three sites in particular had the most visibility, and seemed to have the most success, when it came to paying writers based on successful performance: Vocal.media, Hubpages.com, and Medium.com.
I joined Vocal.media in December of ‘17. I wrote several articles over a period of three months, including several during my March 2018 rehab from the knee surgery.
Once the knee was healed, work resumed and I forgot all about Vocal. I had some catching up to do regarding Council Tree.
In November, nearly eight months since I last visited Vocal, I received an email from a friend. He asked me, “Wasn’t Vocal Media the site you were writing for when you had your surgery?” I told him it was. “How much did you make?”
I had no idea. It’s been eight months. So I visited the page and looked at my numbers.
One of my articles, “The 10 Greatest Comic Book Stories of All Time,” had nearly 9500 hits. I was stunned. I, of course, didn’t make a fortune on the story — $35 or thereabouts — but I literally had left it dormant for the better part of the year.
The remaining 20 articles all had views when I was actively writing for Vocal, and they all had hits during my eight-month sabbatical with zero marketing or promotion. You get paid on the collective, and the hits for those stories ranged from 10 to several hundred each in that eight-month period.
The numbers added up. Vocal pays approximately a penny per three hits, plus readers have the option to tip the writer. The pay is nothing, let’s be honest, but … it’s ongoing passive income. The more you write, the more exposure, the more you make.
Not exactly rocket science.
I had an idea. I’ll post the Top 10 Comic Book Stories article to my Facebook. That was December 4. Today, as I write this, is December 28. I checked Vocal.media this morning. The story has now attained, at the time of this writing, nearly 11,000 hits.
An increase of approximately 1500 hits in 29 days — on that page alone. I had also posted it here, on Medium, a week ago. Hundreds more hits. Medium pays through a whole other algorithm that I cannot yet figure, but whatever they do my Stripe account appears already well higher than nearly a year of Vocal.
All told, about 2300 hits on an article I simply shared with Facebook.
I then followed with posts on Reddit and Quora. You need to be careful there, by the way. Reddit will ban you for the slightest hint of what they consider “spam” — articles from Medium, as an example — and Quora needs to be phrased in the form of a question with the link for context.
I did this with all my stories. I shared both new and recycled articles I had written on Vocal.media, Hubpages.com, and Medium.com with Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Reddit and Quora.
I checked my numbers, and do so daily.
Today I see exponential increases from what I was earning when I did this as an experiment. Again, Medium pays the best and is in many ways the most supportive. I started writing articles again, and posted another 10 or so over the last week. I began the usual sharing.
All of my articles are receiving hits. Just yesterday, I attained a high of nearly 2000 hits in a single day on Medium.
More surprises. I wrote an article about WWE’s failing television ratings (5 Reasons Why the WWE’s Domestic Television Ratings Have Taken a Nosedive). My wife and I went to a play. Before the play began — before I imported the story from Vocal to Medium and shared exclusively with Reddit — the article had 5 hits. I checked again four hours later when I returned home.
Nearly 100 more hits in four hours.
I did the math. Now, again, no one is ever going to get rich writing for content mills. But if you regularly add content to your selected page — today, mine is Medium almost exclusively—you will most certainly earn a side income that can rival a part-time or even full-time job based on your output.
And let’s be fair. Medium is not a content mill. May of the site’s writers are well-established. It breaks from the mold, which is why it’s my preferred outlet.
- Build up your social media daily. Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Reddit. Join groups. Post for attention and followers.
- Post your new stories here, on Medium, after opening an account.
- Share that story with all of the above social media accounts. Make sure you “import” older articles of yours from other outlets, as anyone who clicks will be led to this page. Sign up for a free Medium account, join their “Partner Program” which will allow you to get paid for your work, then click on “story,” which in turn will open a window to import a previously published story from another website. Follow the instructions and watch as old internet posts begin making you money.
- Find any other social media outlets that accept articles, and share there too. Make sure, in all cases, you are linking back here. BUT, be sure to walk that fine line between spamming, and sharing.
- “Re-fashion” and/or expand old Facebook posts as new articles. Doing that has been one of my largest successes.
- Do all of the above, always watch your numbers, study what does and doesn’t work, pivot accordingly, and write more articles.
You can earn yourself a nice passive income writing for online sites. You have to write diligently to make it work, but if you do, you too just may have stumbled upon a side business.
You earn while you sleep. Check your total views before you go to bed, and when you wake up. Just last night, on Medium, I received another 1000+hits while dreaming about … none of your business.
If you do not write, you will not earn. Don’t cry about it. That’s, as they say, “on you.” If you give up too early, without building a reader base, you’d have wasted your time. Writing and patience will win the race.
Most importantly, you may be able to, in time, exchange your job income with online writing income. In time. It won’t happen right away. Always work towards your professional goals. Continue to write your novels, your journalistic articles and/or your screenplays daily. Always practice your true craft, if internet articles are a means to an end and not an end in and of themselves.
Online income is real, and it can be a boon to your bottom line. And, some day in the future based on your efforts, it just may pay the following month’s rent or mortgage.
Some final words, and they’re important. You do indeed risk writing for free on these sites, if you simply post and walk away. You also have an above-average opportunity to earn more on these sites — and on an ongoing basis — than in a simple rights deal. This is your decision. As a writer who emphatically does not approve of writing for free, I’m comforted in the money I’m making being up to me.
All of that aside …
Please, never lose sight of what makes you a writer to begin with. Another immensely important point. Never lose sight of your dreams as you pursue this option for a side or replacement income.
We need your voice. That hasn’t changed.
Excuse me now while I get back to my novel.
If you have found the above information helpful, feel free to recommend and share this article with your followers. Be sure to also follow me here, on Medium.com, where I publish new stories daily on a variety of topics.