Free e-Book on Writing for Helium

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4 Responses

  1. Hi there, and thanks for the link!

    Let me add one element that’s missing from your analysis, though: those articles continue to earn money. If Helium continues to perform as it has, in 5 years time that $15 an hour (I didn’t write for Helium on the weekends) will be $70 an hour. (I detail how that works here.)

    Yes, there are some risks. Helium could go under tomorrow, and I’d have my lousy $15 an hour. But if their model continues to perform, the potential for long-term income is significant.

    Why do I think that the Helium model will continue to perform when the article directory marketplace is so crowded? Because there are significant unique elements – the marketplace, weekly contests and the ratings system, just to name a few, that set Helium apart from the others.

    Thanks again for the mention!

  2. Dustin says:

    Bob: That residual income is a fine thing, but is it all that realistic to think it will continue to flow for 5 years without any further input of work? Maybe it will, I’m not asking rhetorically. Maybe there’s a kind of “tipping point” on Helium where your work starts having its own momentum. But from my own (admittedly limited) look into Helium, what I see is a system that isn’t really designed to deliver the high payout you’ve received consistently over time — but I heartily recommend people check out your e-book, for two reasons: 1) Maybe there is a way to be in that top 1% the system isn’t designed for but allows, and you’ve found it, and b) I think a lot of the advice you offer applies to web writing, and even offline writing, more generally. How to market yourself, make yourself stand out, attract attention — these are a big part of today’s writer’s lives, and so long as article directories are part of that landscape, it is worth knowing about how they work.

  3. @ Dustin – One can certainly hope for 5 years. 2-3 years is probably most realistic, based on my experience with the other directories. Again, I think Helium’s unique features, while they are far from perfect and need some polishing, may be able to carry it ahead of the pack.

    2 years still gives a fair residual rate, and getting a paycheck from something I finished long ago makes me smile. Writing timeless content helps, and the consistent payout assumes a certain volume.

    I like what you’re saying about a tipping point. The volume issue may indeed be the tipping point. I may try to do some more experimenting along that line to see what I can come up with.

    I readily admit that article directories aren’t a means to a full-time income, not by a long shot. They’re a great way to draw attention, especially for a blogger in the writing niche like me. I’ve gained a good number of regular readers for my writing blog via Helium. Admittedly, other directories like EzineArticles tend to draw more attention than Helium, but also draw less money.

    Article directories can also be a good place to dabble in content areas you enjoy but can’t monetize elsewhere. They’re also a good place for new web writers to experiment and to cut their teeth, especially when there’s peer review.

    At any rate, I had a blast with my little Helium experiment. I’m sure I’ll continue to write there, even if it’s just a handful of articles a week in a contest, for a while. I’m intrigued by the Helium Marketplace, but have yet to crack that particular code effectively.

  4. Dustin says:

    Bob: I looked at Helium last year, and I admit, one thing that seems to ahve changed is that I’m starting to see some Helium results in the first few pages of search results at Google (which is unfortunate, from a search standpoint, as the results are rarely all that good — nothing against Helium specifically, it’s true every time I come across an article directory piece in Google. From a writing standpoint, though, that’s a good thing, since it means the pieces are generating more traffic, which means more attention for your bio and (hopefully) more links to your home site (or whatever else you’re promoting).

    Here’s what I fear, though, where new writers are “cutting their teeth”: getting any sort of attention on Helium is hard. Add to that the “tyranny of the masses” effect that Helium’s voting system adds to the mix; one of my own pieces was voted to the bottom of the chain, when it was clearly better than several of the ones above it. No big deal for me; I make a pretty good part of my income writing, so I don’t need the validation, but what a terrible thing for a new writer wondering if s/he can make it in the big bad world out there to experience. Hopefully, a book like yours gives those writers the tools to work that part of the system and avoid that (or deal with it) but it’s daunting to think that, given the small reward Helium offers, you’re going to be spending a lot more time building up relationships on the site than writing for it.

    The other thing, of course, is that writing a single 800-word article a day that gets published in even a 3rd-tier magazine will net you about $3-4000 over the same 45 days. It’s about the same degree of crapshoot as Helium, I think, though you do have to query. Helium and other article directories (and there are one or two that look really appealing to me, if I ever find time to really put them through their paces) might be a good way to fill the gap while waiting for those queries to start paying off.

    And of course my inner Bob Bly tells me that you could make $4000 in an afternoon with the right corporate client. Maybe Helium helps new writers get there — I’m willing to suspend judgment, for now.