Are you writing on News Break yet?
If not, it may be too late to get in on their “early bird” special.
Sounds like I should be getting chicken fried steak and two vegetables for $7.99
But it’s actually a deal, where if you are accepted, you get a guaranteed income. Well, almost guaranteed. You would have to really screw up not to clear the bar they set.
Okay, now I have your attention.
Let me give a brief explanation to those who haven’t discovered the site yet; then I’ll get back to the mistake.
Part of the application gives them your social media handles and a place where they can see your writing, such as Medium. It’s almost certain they are looking for not only content but ‘influencers.’ They want people that will bring a lot of readers to their site. Like most sites of this type, that’s how they make money.
But how do you make money?
To qualify for standard pay, which is not entirely clear to me at this point, you need to publish a minimum number of articles that get a minimum number of readers and, more elusive, you get a minimum number of followers.
Sounds reasonable, right? But wait, there’s more.
If you are part of the early bird special, they will waive most requirements for the first three months. Depending on your contract, if you write three articles a week or four pieces a month, you get $1,000 for your first three months.
If you do like many of us and repurpose some old Medium articles, the work is almost nil.
That’s right; you could earn $3,000 over the next three months for about an hour’s work. The penultimate no-brainer.
And that’s the mistake I made. I didn’t use my brain. But it’s not too late for me to correct it. I’m partway through my second month. I still have about six weeks to figure this thing out.
How can making three grand for almost no work be a mistake?
I’m glad you asked.
Remember the story of the goose that laid the golden egg? Well, these are your golden eggs, and although you won’t kill the goose, doing nothing may allow it to die.
You see, in News Break’s eyes, they are giving you three months to ramp up their content. But you have a different mission in mind. Is that mission to grab their money and run?
Hell, no! Your mission is to figure out how to get more of it. A lot more.
One of the mistakes I have made, and it’s not a mistake yet, is to publish too many articles. If someone will pay you 100 bucks to run a mile, would you run five miles? Not unless that meant $500, but in this case, it doesn’t.
Why is that a mistake, and why isn’t it one yet? Unlike with Medium, you don’t get paid for total reads, what they call Page Views. What Medium calls views is what News Break calls Impressions. On News Break, you get paid if your average reads are above 500. If you have met the minimum number of articles and have over 500 page views, you need to stop. At this point, you can only screw up your average, and there is little or no advantage to increasing the average. High risk; little reward. Do the math.
The reason it’s not a mistake yet is, they have waived the average thingy. So, little risk and no reward; still, do the math. The other reason it’s not a mistake yet is the whole crux of this article. Hang on; I’m almost there.
The mistake I made, which could have been critical if I hadn’t realized it in time, is that this is a great potential for learning the system without any risk. At Medium, you jumped into the deep end on day one. You sank or swam. You probably sank. But it’s okay, it didn’t cost you anything, and you learned as you went.
One of the things I hope you learned is that some types of articles do really well, and others get crickets. In the past, I have written hundreds of articles on home maintenance in general and ceramic tile in particular. I did that type of work for 16 years. (Spoiler alert: Writing is easier). But that type of article got almost no response on Medium.
And it’s the same on Newsbreak. I have articles with tens of thousands of impressions, and I have items with impressions in double digits. And just like with Medium, impressions are a key indicator of page views. (But not necessarily followers, which I will get back to in a minute).
So, what does that mean, and how was it a mistake. It was a mistake because I was trying to grab the golden eggs. I took old Medium articles one by one and threw them up there., But I didn’t pay much attention to what stuck. After all, I’m getting paid anyway.
But learning that now is critical to later success. Having a dozen articles a month with 499 reads each on Medium would be sweet. On News Break, it will be worthless. I need to learn how to get that average over 500. And they have given me three months to figure that out. How cool is that? Not very cool if you ignore the opportunity as I have.
So, it’s OK to do what I did for a short time. But learn from it. What works and what doesn’t. Concentrate on the types of articles that get traction. Because the other thing is, just like with Medium, you can post two very similar items and have one go viral, and the other go splat. I have two like that I posted on both sites. One went viral on Medium, while the other went viral on News Break. Rhyme? Reason? Nope.
The other mistake I made is with followers. You need 500 of them. Not 500 average or 500 per, but 500. If you don’t have that after the trial, you lose. So, what do you need to do? Put as much effort into gaining those 500 while you get a pass as you can.
When I first started publishing there, I just posted articles and hoped I got followers. Similar to what I did on Medium. And while followers on Medium are nice and contribute to your totals, they are essential on News Break. But you have three months to get them. So, once again, don’t waste that opportunity.
I didn’t see until after a couple of weeks that there is a Follow Me widget you can place in your articles. You can also put a link to your profile. In both cases, you can use whatever text you think will work. Use them. Use both as they bring up different screens. The link goes straight to your profile, where they can see your Follow button. And how could anyone resist following me? Apparently, it’s not that hard.
The widget goes to a page where they are encouraged to download the app. This double dips as you get a follower, plus credit for someone getting the app. It’s still unclear to me the exact benefit, but time will tell.
But, I soon realized how slow followers were coming on board. I was averaging between one and two percent of my page views. Not impressions, views. That’s not going to cut it. I have read of other writers scoring the whole 500 from one viral article. But like with Medium, some writers exist up there on Mount Olympus, and then there are us mortals down here scrabbling for bits and pieces.
But I digress.
Again, similar to Medium, there are groups on Facebook. You can post your articles for others to read, and post your profile so others can follow you. But here’s the thing. There are two groups that I know of. One has 164 members, and the other has 314 as of this writing. Even in the unlikely event that they are not duplicates and the even more unlikely event that each and every one follows you, you still don’t have 500.
So, cast your net wide, far, and often. You have got to rope in some suckers. I mean, entice some loyal readers. I think we all know what’s coming next. That’s right, here is my profile. Please, please, please, follow me. Some day and that day may never come, you may ask of me a favor. And I will do you that favor.
So, if it’s not too late, jump on the bandwagon. Earn the $3,000; it’s fairly easy money. But don’t make the same mistakes I did. Don’t let the golden goose die. Nurture it. Get it some Purina Goose Chow. Treat it right.
And let’s see how long this ride will last, and how far it can take us.