Fellow and Aspiring Freelance writers,
Did anyone else watch that new show on A&E called Beyond Scared Straight? Fascinating, wasn't it? If you didn’t catch it, a lot of others did and it garnered record ratings for the network. The premise is just like the original movie from the late 70’s: juvenile delinquents are taken to prison and meet lots of convicted criminals who started off just like they did. The hopes is that a trip to jail will make these kids think twice before committing offenses, and perhaps turn their lives around.
I love this kind of stuff and I have some experiences related to the show. No, I’m not a juvenile delinquent and I don’t have any in my home (so far). But I’m going to show you how to try and make money the way I like to: Take something everyone’s interested in, write about it, and include your own experiences.
I’ve already taken the first step and submitted my review for publication with one of my online publishing clients: Associated Content. I wrote about something I did and put a spin on it involving my experience and expertise. I’m almost done with my Masters in Counseling/Psychology degree and I have a lot of experience working with kids of all ages and backgrounds. So I reviewed the show AND included why or why not a scared straight program could help another troubled teen.
I titled it that way because I think that people might want to know beyond watching the show if it works on every kid.
I didn’t want to wait for an upfront payment because I’m trying to strike while the iron is hot. It’s a new show and they are going to promote the mess out of it to catch even more viewers. If I wait 2 weeks for an extra $5 or $10, it may prove costly in the long run. So I went for the immediate publishing. That means I only get money so long as people click and read the review.
Promote via Links.
Onto promotion. I submitted the URL to two links: Bing and Google. For Google you can add keyword search tags. I tagged things like “beyond scared straight, beyond scared straight review, beyond scared straight effective.” That way when people search for those terms, my article bubbles toward the surface.
Promote via social networks.
I always promote my articles on Facebook to the friends that I think would be interested in them. I don’t promote some from another client because I don’t get residuals. So why waste the work?
This time I also hit up Twitter. I have an account that I use 95% for promoting only. I know that you’re more effective if you intersplice personal with that, but that also depends on what you write and how often you tweet. Beyond Scared Straight was a “trending” topic and so was “Diabla”, a prisoner on the show that, well…you just have to watch.
Finally, I joined a “Beyond Scared Straight” fan page on Facebook. This is where promotion gets tricky. Some pages will allow you to post links, but most only allow administrators to do so OR you can post one on the wall. If an admin doesn’t find it relative and just sees it as spam, they will delete the post. Otherwise, they will let it hang. But if enough people start posting on the wall, your link gets buried. So what I will do is go to the “discussion” board because links almost never get buried IF they are relevant to the discussion.
It just so happened that one discussion about the show was started and several people chimed in on how they felt about it. I chimed in as well, but also posted my link. You can see the post here.
So lets see how this goes. So far I’ve garnered 96 views and made $.19 in two days. Obviously that isn’t a lot of money, but I’m counting on a by-volume and longevity approach to see what I can make off of watching a show I was going to watch anyway and writing about it. The first day I had 3 views and the next I had 93, so that’s a huge jump.
The show debuted on the 13th, had a weekend rerun on the 15th, and I published on the 18th. Ideally it would have been good to review it immediately after the debut, but I didn’t want to do just a TV review. I wanted to review AND put my parenting spin on it.
Some other factors play into this as well. For one, I was just approved as a Parenting Expert for Associated Content. That means my works will be pushed to the top of the Parenting category everytime someone views it. if I’m lucky, my articles will end up on Yahoo!’s Shine site. This could be a good thing. If someone reads one of my articles and likes it, they will most likely read another.
On the negative, the show could tank. It could be a one-season or one-hit wonder where people grow tired of it. In that case, why read what I have to say about it?
I still want to follow my article and show everyone else where it goes. Chime in if you have ideas as well. I’ll try to post updates once or twice a month to let you know what I did. Again, this is just the basic outline of what it takes to get that residual money. Other techniques outlined in the book show how else to ramp up those earnings without paying a dime. I have articles I posted YEARS ago that still earn me cash. Stay tuned!