August 15-19 Writer Seminar: Lena Gott
Please join me in welcoming Lena Gott to the August edition of our Writers.net seminar series!
Lena Gott is a tax accountant who didn’t set out to become a writer... writing found her when she grew bored of the corporate world. She loves to be challenged, she loves teaching others, and she believes she has found the perfect combination of the two in revenue-share writing. She now spends her time writing what she knows and figuring out how to let the world find out about her work.
Past Suite Success and the Future
In July 2009, Lena shattered a Suite101 record for earnings in a single month, earning nearly $5,000 in revenue-share income from a catalog of only 220 articles. She credits this success to a combination of perseverance and a solid understanding of how keywords can help you break through the online noise to get your voice heard. Later that year, she published an e-book for other Suite101 writers that detailed the exact keyword research methods and theories she uses to earn hundreds, oftentimes thousands, of dollars in revenue share through Suite101 each month.
In early 2011, the revenue share writing world experienced a shockwave when Google released its Panda update, and the stakes changed overnight. Lena is still considering the best way to move forward in the new environment, but she knows this – nothing has changed with the primary factors that make a successful piece of writing online. A solid understanding of the way search engines work is still imperative to success. Thus, very shortly, her e-book is slated to be revised with an eye toward removing a few bits of pre-Panda advice. The new version will be universal (not geared toward Suite101 writers alone) and possibly translated into Spanish to address growing interest in the Latino revenue share writing market.
What else you should know…
Lena is allergic to cubicles and strict schedules; spends her days with her two young daughters, and spends her nights writing and working on various fun online and offline ventures. You can find her online at Suite101, Taxes and Stuff, and Lullabies to Mud Pies.
*I'll open this thread a few days before the start of the seminar, to give everyone a chance to get those questions in there*
Thread is open - post your questions now!
I know Lena from Suite101! She definitely knows what she is doing. I'd like her thoughts on how to establish expertise online, since Google wants experts.
Hi Alex! Nice to see you here!
I think what Google calls an expert is different from our definition of expert. I considered myself a tax expert before I began writing online because I'm a CPA who specializes in taxes. Until I started writing lots of tax-specific articles for Suite101, Google wouldn't have known that. It doesn't distinguish a CPA with a specialty in tax from a tax preparer at H&R Block. But what it does know is who "talks" about taxes online. Establishing your expertise online is all about getting your name attached to topic-specific discussions (writing articles, running a website/blog devoted to the topic), mentioned by other influential voices in that area (Twitter, Facebook, bloggers), and in general inserting yourself into the online discussion of the topic at hand. If you can get others to notice your expertise, you will have a good head start at getting Google to notice, too.
I would also like to point out one thing I've noticed about Google.....
Even though Google claims to cater to experts, I think it's still way to easy to game the system. I can easily rank for any long tail keyword I set my sights on that has relatively poor search results coming up on page 1. This tells me that, above all, Google's #1 priority in the search engine game is still to return relevant results regardless of the source's authority.
I wouldn't be surprised if we see another Panda-like recategorization in the next year or two.
You made over $5K in one month? That's insane! Do you think that level of return is still possible, even after Panda? You say you are still ranking, but are you still making that kind of money? Any advice for writers who are making chump-change instead of big mooo-lah?
Hello, Lena! Welcome! I was wondering if you happen to know anything about Google + and Klout?
Hi NS fw! I feel weird not knowing your real name!
I do think that kind of return is possible....I'm a big believer that if you can make $100, you can make $5,000, you know? The learning curve in revenue share writing is exponential, so thankfully it doesn't take as long to get to higher earnings once you hit a certain level; the problem is, many people give up because the relationship between effort and reward is unknown and wholly dependent upon your own abilities.
$5,000 is what I made that one month. Until Panda, I was making a part-time income from Suite101 (>$20K per year), but post-Panda, my monthly revenue has dropped much lower. However, I have a large portfolio in seasonal holiday topics, so I don't feel comfortable projecting my post-Panda revenue as those months haven't come to pass yet.
No, not much about Google+ and Klout other than the concepts. I will likely sign up for Google+ soon because 1) Google owns the online space right now so I believe I should familiarize myself with any of its major products and 2) Google + is already getting a lot of press and will likely continue to do so...the hallmark of an area I like to make myself an "expert" in and write about before anyone else does.