I was recently accepted to the Yahoo! Featured Contributors program in sports. I am fairly new to the Yahoo! Contributor Network (YCN). I started in February 2011. But the stars have apparently aligned for me. My story is a short one, but I hope someone finds it helpful.
This is my first foray in the online writing arena. When I started with YCN, I tried to learn as much as possible. I started with the YCN help page. I then read articles by some YCN veterans like Lyn Lomasi and Jan Peterson. I also visited the YCN forums. The people there are so nice and helpful. Finally, I read a lot of articles. The best way to learn how to write articles on YCN is to read articles on YCN. I saw how others formatted their articles, cited sources, and embedded links. I also sampled their unique voices.
Update your profile
I updated my profile with as much information as possible. I learned that a descriptive profile is helpful when you’re being considered for assignments. I looked at other YCN profiles to learn how they formatted their bios. Finally, I added a standard picture of myself.
Once I had enough knowledge to publish an article, I started writing. I tried to write at least 1 article a day. I needed practice. When my articles got rejected, I made sure I understood why. I claimed assignments that I was qualified to write about. I created my own content. I just kept writing. I wrote about topics that I had experience with, like programming and sports. I wrote about my hobbies, cars and anything I was passionate about. I wrote as much as possible and observed how the articles performed. I wanted to show my versatility and figure out which subjects suited me.
Know your strengths
I first applied to be a Featured Contributor in finance because it seemed like a popular subject. But I was rejected for not having the proper background. But as you can see from my profile, I do have some experience with sports. I have coached two youth travel soccer teams for the last 9 years. Not surprisingly, many of my articles are about soccer and other sports. I think this is one main reason why I was accepted as a Featured Contributor in sports; I wrote about what I knew. I was comfortable writing about sports.
Always strive to do your best
I always tried to do my best work. If I didn’t feel like I was doing my best, I would take a break. I tried to pick good, unique topics. I thought of creative ways to write the articles. I created outlines before writing. I repeatedly proofread my articles, made corrections, and adjusted them. I always used spell and grammar checkers (articles with errors don’t leave a good impression). I submitted articles for upfront payment. When you get an upfront payment for an article, you know you wrote something good.
Promote your work
I promoted all of my articles. I posted them on Facebook for my friends to read. I submitted links to sites like Blogdigger, Delicious, and Digg. I participated in online forums relating to my subjects and shared my articles. The more active I was, the more page views I received. More page views made me more legitimate on YCN.
Apply to the Featured Contributors Program
Once I had a body of work, I read about the Featured Contributors Program and applied. I targeted the categories and subcategories I knew most about. I made sure I had solid, published articles in these areas. I carefully filled out the sections, provided sample articles (links), and submitted the application.
Nail the Test Assignment
Soon after I applied, I received my test assignment. This was my chance, so I wanted to make the most of it. I read over the assignment and made sure I clearly understood the task. I conceived a good topic to write about, one that was unique and within my expertise. I did the proper research and waited until I was ready to do my best work. Then I wrote it. I revised my article several times and asked friends to review it. After several iterations, I finalized the article, added a good picture and submitted it. Soon after that, I was accepted into the Featured Contributors program.
That’s my story. I hope this article was useful to you. I wish you all the best on becoming a Featured Contributor. If you have any questions, please feel free to send me a message.
Good luck to you!
Yahoo! Contributor Network, “Frequently Asked Questions”, http://contributor.yahoo.com/community/help.html
Yahoo! Contributor Network, “Lyn Lomasi”, http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/46454/lyn_lomasi.html
Yahoo! Contributor Network, “Jan Peterson”, http://contributor.yahoo.com/user/464489/jan_peterson.html
Yahoo! Contributor Network, “Forum Index”, https://contributor.yahoo.com/forum/forum.shtml
Blogdigger, “Add Blog”, http://www.blogdigger.com/add.jsp
delicious, “delicious from Yahoo!”, http://www.delicious.com/
digg, “Top News”, http://digg.com/