Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Building A Writing Portfolio And Making Money At The Same Time

Girl hurdling at Colchester Garrison Athletics Track

I am only in my first year of university and I am already at a quandary as to what I am going to do after my four years here in order keep myself of the streets. My go to career I brought up when inquisitive relatives and family friends asked how I was going to spend my time after leaving education was initially always "Journalism". This later narrowed to "sports or technology" and finally, simply "sports journalism" which was always sure to receive a plethora of encouraging nods and an enthused "oh, interesting". Yet even trying to blog is proving difficult for me despite the abundance of spare time I currently have. I worry that the creative flame I used to have for story-telling and writing in general has steadily been extinguished further and further since turning my focus to 'content'.

Content consumption is the term used between my friends and I to describe playing games, watching too many films in my case and flitting between any number of TV shows. I hate to admit it but I have spent so much of my young adult life making use of media produced through someone else's creativity that I have lost much of my own. I hope to change this with my latest venture into both money-making (important to a student with only seasonal work) and journalism - the oft-ridiculed world of top ten lists and clickbait titles. Previously, my writing has been described as well flowing and easy to read and I hope to combine that with the wealth of general knowledge I have gleaned from 'content consumption' over the years.

The end goals for these lists and this blog is that in a few years time, when I am looking for potential employers, I will have a well curated online portfolio that is easily accessible and comprehensive. Some of the sites I have looked at, such as Listverse, draw in over 8 million viewers a month and the ability to say to a company "look, here are the stats for my work- I can adapt to various niches and bring in readership". Doing this also allows me to keep my options open - very important in the current economic climate, especially considering the state of the rapidly declining journalism industry. In order to live the life I want to, it may be necessary to follow my father into the City - sounds straight forward when worded like that!

I put a fair amount of consideration into the sites that I would be submitting my 'articles' to, most of them taken from this collection from Mahesh Mahon's marketing focused A few of these sites seem more like a scam than a legitimate publisher, offering such a pittance for your work that you feel insulted just looking at the numbers. Others have entry requirements too strict for someone like myself  with little work experience. The three main ones that I chose to try and get published through are as follows:

  1. WhatCulture - I stumbled across this website myself during a session of absent-mindedly clicking through the internet. They pay 40p per 1000 views and have no minimum or maximum payout. They claim this could translate into as much as £400 per article, although I don't recall seeing a single post with the million views in just one month such a payout would require. One positive of  this company is that they're UK based, allowing me to create lists targeting specific localities that I wouldn't have the knowledge for with their US equivalents.
  2.  Listverse - This "place for explorers", which I mentioned earlier in this post, consider themselves to be the de facto place to go for top ten lists. Their monthly pageview and unique visitor numbers are both in the millions so they seem to speaking at least some truth. They are more stringent in their selection than WhatCulture and subsequently offer a more promising payout - $100 (~£70) per accepted article. If asked, they will also include a link within your article to anything which you would like to promote. In my case, that would be this blog - eight million visitors seems like a very effective way to drive some traffic!
  3. Reverb Press - This caught my eye in the Mintrest list as the author added a note specifically to point out that if accepted, this is a recurring writing gig. They expect content from you regularly which is a positive in that you can get paid regularly rather than the sporadic cashflow of the other sites mentioned. The downside of this is that you'll need to put in regular work! Rather than writing as and when you feel like it or want some extra beer money, you will have deadlines. Just like having a job, uergh.

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