Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Will write for food...When bartering makes sense for a content writer...

It seems like every other day I am approached to write in exchange for a product or service instead of for money. Like most writers, I usually prefer cash over trade. Lately, however, I have received a few offers that were very inviting.

(1) I wrote a press release in exchange for a reasonably long run of premium ad space on a fairly well-trafficked site. The site in questions didn't really match with any of my projects, so I had to build a small affiliate and Adsense based page and a banner for it. The building process took me about three hours top to bottom. The press release required a bit of correspondence and then the associated writing work. Under normal circumstances, I wouldn't dream of taking a deal like that, but I really liked the site's niche and the potential traffic levels.

This trade was completed about twenty-four hours ago. So far, it has made me about two bucks. If it continues at at least that pace for the full seven weeks of my ad's run, it will have been a decent deal. If I factor in the mini-site I built for my end of this barter and its potential to produce some revenue on an ongoing basis after the ad run expires, it looks even better. Plus, the whole thing was a lot of fun.

(2) I wrote a brief solo ad in exchange for free access to a membership site. The site itself is nice and although I wouldn't have paid full price for it (I am a writer first and am not prone to over-investing in my "side" pursuits), it does offer some valuable material and tools. My membership is lifelong, and I would say that the break even point for me will be July, based on my need/interest level in the materials there. Anything after that is gravy.

I mention this, because I think writers too often turn down barter deals even when they might be a decent proposition. Most of us are thinking about immediate cash flow, and barter arrangements just don't provide that quick bounce in the PayPal account.

I will agree to a barter proposition when the end result of the deal puts me "money ahead" within three months. That means the value of the product/service I receive should allow me to secure earnings or savings equal to or greater than the rack price of the writing I do.

Three months may seem short-sighted, but successful internet-based business strategies can often have a short half-life. Additionally, I still have enough of a preference for cash deals that I find it hard to stretch out my possible gain any longer than around one hundred days.

In the case of the press release, the earnings spurred by the trade should cover the value of my work within one hundred days (far less, I hope). In the case of the solo ad, I believe the materials at the membership site will make me as much as I would have charged for the add within three months. Even if it doesn't, I would have been willing to pay for access at a reduced rate that makes the deal reasonable within that time frame.

Making that strategy work can be tricking. It requires some projection and a bit of guesswork. Certainly not a perfect science. More often than not, however, I find that trades can work to everyone's benefit if they are properly negotiated.