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Unique Articles: How to Work Out What to Charge?

Your opinion please...

1:34 am on Nov 8, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Hi all,

I posted in this forum a couple of months ago with a question regarding allowing another site to use my articles, and received a lot of helpful answers, so I'm coming back with further developments and more questions.

A little background first - my website is a smallish (100 pages) site devoted to a particular sport that isn't all that high profile. I run it as a player, coach and enthusiast, and sell the occasional DVD of match footage or pay per download of matches - nothing huge at the moment - less than $50 per week. The website is a hobby more than a business really.

As an enthusiast and coach, I also write articles on the more advanced techniques and tactics of the sport. I like to write, so in the last 9 months or so I've managed to put together a collection of articles that I can safely say is probably unmatched around the web - especially from one writer. Being a lower profile sport this is not as hard as it sounds, but it did take me a lot of time (we are talking hundreds of hours here!). I am hoping that my collection of articles will also help attract a bit of traffic which will also help me sell a few more DVDs, pay per downloads etc.

OK, now to get to the point. My site is currently in the google sandbox (nowhere to be found for a search of the sport keywords), and ranking about 910 or so in Yahoo. I firmly believe that eventually it will be able to move up pretty high in the rankings and traffic will improve - but who knows when.

I've got two of the top 10 ranking sites for the sport wanting to use my articles - like I said there really isn't anything else out there like them (oh, the modesty!). One site simply wants to use the articles and is willing to give me credit and a link back to my site. The other site (which was using my articles on a donation basis from their readers, which we are renegotiating) is asking me what would I charge for exclusive access to the articles (just my site and theirs). They currently want to know how much I would charge per 1000 words. The problem is I have no real idea what to charge - I know they use the articles to help with selling equipment for the sport etc, so they must be making some money that way. Also the articles themselves give them excellent rankings on many keywords - as I've seen in Google. But as a top 10 site, they would probably get a ton of traffic anyway.

Finally, here are the questions -
What is the going rate for a 1000 word article in a lower-profile sport?
Should I allow one site exclusive access, or simply allow both sites to use the articles provided I get full credit, copyright and a link back to my site?
Would I be better off waiting to get out of the sandbox etc (at least 5 months and counting so far) and only putting the articles on my site? (These are top 10 sites and could send a lot of traffic my way - and I don't know how long it will take to start to rank where I should be based on quality).
Any other ideas or thoughts?

For those of you with the patience to get this far, thanks and I'm looking forward to any help you can give.


[edited by: engine at 3:16 pm (utc) on Nov. 9, 2005]

6:59 pm on Nov 16, 2005 (gmt 0)

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My to bits. Sell the articles to the big boys, you cannot charge to much since it would be to easy for them to hire someone cheap to paraprase your articles.
Offer 10c per word without byline, 5c per word with byline (name and link).
If they are willing to pay more for exclusivity then do that.
Then rewrite the articles with enough updates for it to be considered a new piece and publish on your site.
In the long run, links are more valuable in this situation than the xhunderd dollars you could make.
2:03 am on Nov 17, 2005 (gmt 0)

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You are not just selling your writing, you are selling your name and your "authority" in this sport. Don't equate your work to that of desparate freelancers who are happy to work for $1 an hour plagarizing other people's work and calling it their own.

This is journalism not site content/SE manipulation. So take a professional approach to it all. How much does a jounarlist get paid? Why not enquire at a sports magazine? Why not sell them to a sports magazine?

And if they don't want to pay your price, then you lose nothing.

4:30 am on Nov 18, 2005 (gmt 0)

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A little background first - my website is a smallish (100 pages) site devoted to a particular sport that isn't all that high profile. I run it as a player, coach and enthusiast, and sell the occasional DVD of match footage or pay per download of matches - nothing huge at the moment - less than $50 per week. The website is a hobby more than a business really.

Greetings and gidday from Dowununder folks

Greg, speaking from a professional web site content/designer/free SEO ranking viewpoint, as Danny (Sullivan), Jim Wilson (RIP), Jill Whalen (High Rankings) and many other pioneers have oft stated "Content is King".

And without getting into a whole "what do you want to do with your life" dissection, I'm assuming you don't intend to become a professional journo/sports writer, and just want more traffic to the site to get a few more sales, then my advise is as follows:

1. Try to find out/figure out why you're in the Google "sandbox" (as opposed to the "aging delay" algo now in place to get around reciprocal/link farm page rank boosting). If it's aging delay, you'll just have to sit it out (and there are advantages to this, as you'll have time to develop you site content/profile and links strategy). If it's sand box, well, other people might be able to help you out there.

2. Get listed in Wayback/Alexa machine for regular independant/3rd party archiving of your site for plagarism/scrapping violations. (And keep regular backup and archive copies of the site yourself, if you don't already.)

3. If all you want is to get more people to buy your DVD/match downloads, products etc. off the web site, then "content is king" in getting inbound links, specialist subject and general traffic to the site.

And good web site design and "calls to action" will help with site visitor conversions, and there are heaps of resources here at WW and elsewhere that are avilable for that.

4. To protect unique content, check out Creative Commons License options, and if this idea suits you, offer some (not all) of your existing or adapted articles on the site as content, and for re/use (under your Creative Commons License terms) for other web sites and media outlets.

This will get you "natural" inbound links (the best kind) from sites without even knowing unless you study your referral statistics logs, and Creative Commons Licensed article/content links, thus increasing your "niche/expertise status" as other posts have mentioned.

This also gives you some standard measure of control, you can do (or pay for) plagiarism checks and send violators an invoice for use, or nice request for acknowlegement/link (whatever your CC terms are).

Then, as soon as you're out of the Google "sandbox" or "aging algo", you are good to go!

5. If you do the above, then you should also be prepared at some point to have requests for you to write articles, and that's already covered here about the market rates etc.

And as a niche expert, (with all other things being equal, and you've done everything even half right), don't be surprised when you get asked to do TV/radio/web interviews (dunno what the payment protocol is there. From what I've seen of Brett and other here at WW, it's part of the "PR" budget and as such you wouldn't expect any $$ for it).

But you might also get a request to coach or inspire teams, and for talks or presentations at dinners/seminars/conventions etc.. These are a different animal altogether and require serious market place research/consideration, in the event that you get these sort of requests. But some "bluesky" forethought never hurts! ;)

Just my thoughts. Hope this helps.


11:35 pm on Nov 25, 2005 (gmt 0)

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Where do you guys find writers at $5-$10 an article?

My 2c worth, DON'T hare your material. I let a site run an article in exchange for a link - they get top 10 in Google for my keyword from it and I am nowhere to be seen :-(

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