Article writing has become a great source of income for some online writers in the last decade or so.

Content writing and/or creative writing online offers tremendous earning opportunities for people who possess good thematic, organizational, and creative skills. Prolific writers, who post quality material, can earn thousands from writing articles.

However, for every blogger or online scribbler who is making good money writing there are many others who struggle to make money from their efforts. These people would like to make as much money as the successful writers are making.

So, the question of “How to get the best out of article writing?” is an important one. While there are plenty of sources available discussing questions such as “How to earn money from articles?” they almost all boil down to one point:

Article writing should be viewed as a business, because basic business management principles apply

From that simple tenet, the new or struggling online writer can make changes to his/her approach to writing to help earn more money on articles written.

Business in General

Following are generic, albeit oversimplified, truths about any business:

  • It takes two parties, a buyer and a seller.
  • All people buy certain things, and at some point in life all people sell something.
  • A buyer rationally only buys those things necessary, or perceives a need for (or a “created” need for via advertising)
  • A seller tries to convince the buyer of a need for a particular item.

A salesperson (selling vacuum cleaner, for example) can be successful by virtue of either or both of the following:

  • The customer already needs a vacuum cleaner
  • Marketing skills of the salesperson are good enough to convince a target client of a need for that particular vacuum cleaner, even though the target already may own a perfectly good vacuum cleaner or perhaps a slightly older model of the one being pitched

Article Writing as a Business – Analogy

All people have needs.  Writers may be on this or any other site not just because they enjoy writing but because they want to earn money. 

Readers of articles that tell how to earn money by writing come to such articles to learn.

While those motivators are rooted in a similar topic—writing and how to earn money from it—the reader and the writer are not the same. In a sense, the writer (as in a business) is the “seller”, with the reader in the position of “buyer”. As a customer will only patronize a certain sales outlet or sales person if he/she was guaranteed his/her needs would be fulfilled by a particular purchase, so, too, a reader would only go to a certain article and read it thoroughly if, based on a summary or Web feed block, he/she would find either entertainment, or a solution to a particular problem, or an answer to a specific question.

“Selling” Articles

Articles can be sold under contract on a per-word or per-article basis. For example, a person may contact a writer and ask for a thousand words on a particular subject and pay an agreed-upon rate for that writing work.

The majority of online writers, though, are “selling” their work through an intangible and ephemeral method, readership. Following are “buyers” who “consume” online writing:

  • Those who read
  • Those who “like” (indicating an active response, whether through a comment or an “approval” button of some sort, dependent upon site)
  • Those who click ads on an article’s page (generating ad-share revenue for the writer)
  • Those who become referrals on a particular site, someone spurred to sign up for that site based on something a particular writer may have put out (leading to potential earnings from work the “reader” may elect to create in the future for the “referring” writer)

Article writers, then, are actually selling something; their viewers are buying it. Viewers give away time, ad-clicks, “likes”, etc. The ad-clicks are critical as that is where the most money is made (via ad-revenue sharing). “Likes” generate additional exposure and ranking on search engines—thus, with enough exposure from a smaller pool, an article can be ranked higher over time to be seen by a wider audience with the potential to generate more revenue from readers.

These reader contributions are all as important as earning money directly (writing an article, being paid for it one time by the buyer, and never seeing another cent from it over its lifetime).

The writer, in a sense, “sells” content to viewers. Most writing sites allow people free access to their server space in exchange for a small percentage of ad revenue that writer may earn from readers. Thus, the writer is also the “buyer” of the Internet site’s services as well as being a “seller” to readers.

Article writing can be “persuasive” as in oration (speeches are designed to persuade, inform, or motivate dependent upon the rhetoric used). Thus, a writer tries his/her best to write in such a way that readers will “like” an article, send links to it to their friends to read, etc. These outsourced referrals are invaluable—with social networking an otherwise obscure article can suddenly generate millions of views (if written well and hitting its targeted audience) which can translate into thousands of dollars of revenue for the writer.

How Article Writing is a Business

In the end, basic business practices must be applied to writing online:

  • A writer has to decide, through research, what to write (understanding readership demands).
  • A writer has to use marketing skills to engage readers long enough, via quality writing and social networking, that what they are reading is something they should read and like.

The analogy presented here points out that writers should take their online publishing efforts as seriously as one takes any other business; the basic principles leading to success are the same.