AC Nuggets: Seven Deadly Mistakes of Writing for AC

In AC Nuggets on January 28, 2008 at 6:00 am

Struggling with developing just the right article?

When you’re searching for topics, crafting your story, and filling your masterpiece with just enough keywords, make sure your hard work will pay off. Many new CPs are turned off writing for AC when they start stocking up more declines than attractive offers, and it definitely can lower the motivation to keep writing.

Still, there are ways to avoid the ‘we cannot accept this…’ message by avoiding the top seven deadly mistakes. Here’s how:

Deadly Mistake #1. The dull and boring headline

Solution: Become an attention-seeker. Writing for the web revolves around the perfect headline, so do your homework and work on your headline writing skills if you have to. According to Copyblogger’s post on Magnetic Headlines, 8 out of 10 people will read a headline (which equates to clicks in AC world), but only 2 out of 10 read the rest of the article. This means you need to play attention-seeker at all costs – even if it’s just for a minute or two. And of course, make sure your headline includes at least one keyword or keyphrase to grab the attention of the search engines.

Deadly Mistake #2: Forgetting to search the AC library

Solution: Run a title and keyword search on your topic before proceeding. Avoid running into rejection mode when your ‘topic is too common’ or someone else has simply beaten you to the punch. Just run a quick search on AC’s handy dandy internal search engine to make sure your idea is truly unique.

Deadly Mistake #3: Submitting news a few days too late

Solution: Stay one step ahead of the news and trends by doing extra research, creating unique angles on a story, and avoiding the rehash of a press release. New stories can rake in the page views when they’re timed just right. It takes practice to get your news story published at just the right time to stay ahead of the media, but it is possible.

Deadly Mistake #4: Skipping the spellcheck and formatting guidelines

Solution: Run the spell check and run it through a simple editing process – reading your article out loud. It’s amazing how many errors you can catch simply by reading your article out loud; your copy will be much better, more clear, and free of spelling errors even the spellchecker may have missed. AC does look for quality, especially in those C4Cs, so take the time to perfect your article whenever possible. Also steer clear of bulleted lists; AC doesn’t seem to like those too much.

Deadly Mistake #5: Writing a C4C on your own

Some CPs have reported that AC has ‘stolen’ their topic ideas by sending out C4Cs after their articles were sitting in their queue. It’s likely this is simply coincidence; both AC and CPs are searching for the latest ‘hot’ topics and trends, and turning them into article topics. Just don’t pull a C4C that you’re not claiming and turn it into your own article; you’re setting yourself up for rejection more often than not.

Deadly Mistake #6: Writing on a topic that’s too broad or general

Solution: Choose very tightly focused and unique articles that have never appeared on the web. The days of ‘How to Get Ready for Back to School Season’ are long gone. Writing for AC successfully involves picking up niche topics, and very focused articles about a particular topic or trend. Think in terms of unique audiences that may be searching for information; for the back to school example, your article might be ‘Back to School Shopping Tips in (your hometown)’. Pick topics that you wouldn’t easily find in a Reader’s Digest or lifestyle magazine.

Deadly Mistake #7: Inserting affiliate links to your article

Solution: Follow the terms of service and agreement at ALL times. Affiliate links to products you’re selling or any other network marketing strategy are not appropriate for Associated Content. You can promote affiliate links on a number of articles across the web (e.g. EzineArticle,, etc.) but skip the self promoting marketing for another venue.

  1. #3 can be a major pain to fulfill, with AC’s Content Managers sitting on news stories for days. And I have had a handful of stories I submitted SOLELY for performance bonus payments mysteriously disappear an hour or two after one of the “favorite sons” on there posted a similar story.

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