Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Constant-Content: How Much Should You Charge For Your Articles?

I've been a member of Constant Content since the beginning of last summer. I think that my experiences with the site have given me quite a bit of insight into how to use it to successfully make money and I aim to post regular articles on this blog letting you know anything I've picked up that I think will be of use to others.

This first Constant Content-related blog entry deals with how much you should charge for your articles. Constant Content allows you to set whatever price you want for your article and it also allows you to offer separate prices for Usage Rights, Unique Rights and Full License Rights. I'll explain the difference between these as we go along.

Commission and Exchange Rates
The first thing to remember when setting your prices is that Constant Content take a 30% cut of whatever price you sell at. Secondly, all prices are listed in U.S. dollars. Of course, this doesn't matter if you're an American, but as a Brit, I need to calculate what 70% of an article's value is in British Pounds when deciding on what price I'd be happy selling it.

Though the exchange rate fluctuates daily and Pay Pal typically give you a slightly worse rate than you'll see on, I've found that a good formula for getting a rough idea of what price you'll get for your article is to times the price by 0.4.

Let's say that I'm listing an article on the site for $20. 20 x 0.4 = 8. Therefore, any time I sell an article for $20, I'll make roughly £8. That's factoring in both Constant Content's 30% commission and the exchange rate from U.S. dollars to British Pounds. This is liable to change at any moment, but currently x0.4 is working out fine for me.

Quick Sell vs. Patience
As I've written a number of articles that relate to London is some way, typically tourist guides and the like, I've kept an eye on what other articles have been written about London on the site.

The first article I ever wrote was about 900 words long and was in response for a request for tourist guides to Europe's top 20 cities. The request offered between $30 and $40 per article. I guess London was a popular choice and my article wasn't bought.

I then had this article up for sale and had absolutely zero experience of selling anything on Constant Content. You might also want to look at what happened the last few teams the two teams met each other, whether it was earlier in the season, or in previous seasons. Many teams have a 'boogie team' that, for whatever reason, they find it difficult to beat. For example, Barcelona are hot favourites whoever they face in the Champion's League, and when they collided with Rubin Kazan in the 2010 group stages, they would've seemed an obvious choice to back. I dropped the price a couple of times and eventually got $15 for it.

I'd noticed an article on the site around this time that seemed well-written and was about quite a specific topic that related to traveling to London (sorry, the exact topic escapes me now). The article was listed for $69 for full rights. Pah, I thought, you'll never get that much.

The article only recently sold, quite possibly six months after being uploaded to the site. So that's definitely something that you need to consider in your pricing strategy - how long are you prepared to wait? You can generally make a much quicker sale at a lower price.

I've written at least two articles that probably could have sold for a lot more if I'd been a bit more patient with them. The first was on Google Instant and the impact it might have for search engine optimization (always a hot topic at Constant Content). I originally listed the article at $40 and got lots of views but no sales. Within a week I dropped the price to $30 and sold it soon after. Had I been prepared to wait, I probably would've got $40 for it. If I'd listed it for a higher amount, I might have sold it for even more.

Likewise, I wrote a list of the top 10 video games of 2010 and sold it within a day at $30. How quickly somehow pounced on the article suggests that I could well have set the price considerably higher.

Constant Content themselves advise that the articles that are most attractive to their buyers fall in the $10-$30 range. I price most of mine at somewhere between $20 and $30. If they sell at this price, it earns me the equivalent of a very good hourly rate.

What to Write About
What you write about makes a huge difference to the article's value. Constant Content allows you to view the most popular search terms at the site, which is generally a good guide to what articles are likely to sell.

Articles on search engine optimization are also popular. I've also managed to make pretty quick sales on any articles I've written about video games.

It's an art though, not a science. After managing to sell a number of single reviews at $15 a pop for relatively obscure rock bands like Glassjaw and Foals, a review of Kanye West's new single still hasn't been bought, even though I've dropped the price to $10. I've sold a number of rock music-related articles to the same user, so I assume that he runs a web site or blog that only needs that type of material. The Foals review was for a song called 'Spanish Sahara' and I sold that to what I think was a travel web site, so you never really know who's buying and what they're buying for.

Writing about what you enjoy is a good idea but it's generally an even better idea when you enjoy something that's particularly popular or profitable. I've seen my sales figures tumble in the last two months and I think it's most likely because I haven't pursued the top dollar topics with the same vigor as in previous months.

Size Matters
Obviously 1000 words should be worth more than a 100. I've read elsewhere that the ideal length for articles at Constant Content should be between 700 and 900 words, but I'm sure this is all depends on who's buying it.

Another piece of advice that I've read elsewhere (sorry, forgotten the link) is that you should cut articles in half once they've hit 1000 words. This makes sense, because then you've got double the chance to sell and you're likely to get a lot more money for what you've written.

I wrote an article on 'Why America is the Richest Nation on Earth' as a response to a request. They were offering about $200 for 3000 words, which is megabucks by normal Constant Content standards. They didn't buy it so I tore the article apart into about half a dozen smaller articles, with one big rump article left titled 'Why America is the Richest Nation on Earth', now weighing in at a considerably reduced 1250 words. Incidentally, I don't yet know how well the strategies worked as I haven't actually sold any of those articles yet!

The Bottom Line
Deciding on the right price for your article is all about a combination of the factors I've listed here, and it's also all about trial and error. If you're new to the site, you'll no doubt find yourself constantly snipping the cost to try and make that elusive first sale. With experience, you'll probably know an article's worth instinctively. Whether you're a total n00b or a grizzled veteran, I'd recommend checking out what prices everyone else is offering for similar articles and deciding on your price from there.


  1. This article is right on the dot!.To be able to put an exact monetary value to one's creativity on the same terms as a physical job done in a specified time makes it easier to evaluate one's potentiality to earn on one's talent and make a living out of it.

  2. Good article full of useful information about CC. Just one reminder - CC takes 35% of each sale, not 30%. :)