How to Give Your Hubs a Good Shot at Success

Back in January, Jason Menayan shared some impressive stats on our old Flagship Hub program. Flagship Hubs, which were published following very rigorous standards, have seen some very impressive traffic and earnings in the months and years following their publication. To help you cash in on these potential benefits, we have updated the old Flagship standards and encourage you to work on incorporating them into your own work.

In this week’s podcast (Essential Elements of a Successful Online Article), we discuss these standards (as it happens, there are eight of them) that tend to give online articles a greater shot at success. In addition to offering tips on incorporating these aspects in the most effective way possible, we share some reasons why these standards make such a difference.

If you would like to read more information about these standards, stop by our Learning Center guide. We hope that incorporating these things into your Hubs brings you a broader audience and more earnings!

Is there something you would like to see us discuss in a future podcast? Tell us about it! Just send us an email at podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com.

A New Contest & The Benefits of Q&A

The HubPages Know it All ContestGreat news, Hubbers! We’ve got another contest in the works. The HubPages Know It All Contest will take place throughout the month of March, and revolves around the Answers section of the site. You will be able to win prizes not only for Hubs you publish as Answers to Questions, but also for Questions you ask that inspire winning Hubs.

In honor of our upcoming contest, we’ve made this week’s Online Writing Insider all about the benefits of using Q&A as an online writer. In the podcast (The Benefits Asking and Answering Questions Online), we discuss various ways in which both asking and answering questions online can help you conduct research, build a brand, and engage in some valuable networking.

Now, you’re probably interested in knowing more about the contest, so here are the major details.

Most importantly, we’ll be giving away over $3,600 in prize money:

  • $1400 in $50 Daily Drawing Prizes awarded to a randomly selected Hub Answer from the entries submitted each day of the contest
    • $280 in $10 Daily Drawing Prizes awarded to each Question that the Daily Drawing Hubs Answer
  • $600 in $50 Weekly Prizes awarded to the best Hub Answers of each week
    • $300 in $25 Weekly Prizes awarded to the Questions that each winning Weekly Hub Answer
  • $500 First Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $100 First Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the First Place winner
  • $250 Second Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $50 Second Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the Second Place winner
  • $100 Third Place Hub Answer Prize
    • $25 Third Place Question Prize for the Question that inspires the Third Place winner

Now, to win these prizes:

  • Hub entries must answer a Question on HubPages (the Hub must be created by first visiting the Question, then clicking “answer this question” and then choosing the “make a Hub about it” option. Short-form responses are not entered in the contest.)
  • Hub entries must have at least one image, and all images are legally used (see our Learning Center guide on legal image use)
  • Entries must be published for the first time on that given contest day
  • Hub entries must be a minimum of 500 words
  • Question and Hub entries must be entirely original to HubPages
  • Hub entries must not be in response to your own Question

And non-random winners will be judged based on:

  • The extent to which the entry accurately answers the Question asked
  • The presence and quality of original photos and video
  • Whether the entry is on a long-tail, niche topic that has not been extensively covered online
  • Whether the entry has a search-friendly title (mirrors common search terms)
  • Excellent writing (proper use of grammar, capitalization)
  • The entry’s uniqueness (not copied or paraphrased from elsewhere online, full of details, examples, names, and figures)
  • Attractive formatting (avoidance of excessive link, eBay, or Amazon capsule clutter, excessive bolding or italics, and all-caps)
  • Judicious use of relevant capsules (original photos [especially your own], video, maps, tables, links, etc.)

Finally, while the contest does not start until March 1st, you can start asking Questions that qualify and drafting Hub Answers (NOT published) now! Here are the logistical details:

  • Hub Answers may first be submitted Thursday, March 1st at 12:00pm (PT) (though Questions may be asked at any time, and Hub Answers may be started as drafts, but not published, ahead of time)
  • The final deadline for entries is Friday, March 30th at 12:00pm (PT)
  • Daily Drawing prize winners will be announced every weekday around 4:00pm (PT)
  • Weekly Prize winners will be announced on Mondays (starting on the 12th)
  • First, Second, and Third Place winners will be announced on Friday, April 6th around 4:00pm (PT)

We hope you’re as excited about this contest as we are- and that you have fun with the Answers feature on our site!

Changes to Our Podcasts

If you pay frequent visits to the HubPages blog, you will know very well that we have been regularly sharing new installments in three different podcast series:

  1. Fascinating Fiction: A series dedicated to the reading of short fiction Hubs
  2. The Online Writing Insider: A series sharing tips and advice for the modern online writer
  3. Weekly Advice from Everyday Experts: A series exploring interesting subjects through the Hubs of some of HubPages’ best writers

Because we will be dedicating more time to developing features and programs that will debut in 2012, we are putting the Fascinating Fiction and Weekly Advice from Everyday Experts podcasts on hiatus.

That said, if you would like to submit a recording of your own reading to the Fascinating Fiction podcast (something many Hubbers have already done in the series), we would be happy to run it. So in effect, the Fascinating Fiction podcast can run as frequently or infrequently as you please.

We will continue to share new Online Writing Insider podcasts each week, so keep an eye out for new episodes, and as always, feel free to submit any suggestions and ideas via email to podcast-at-HubPages-dot-com!

Writing Marathons – A Great Way to Kickstart Your Career

If you are trying to kickstart your career as a novelist, poet, freelance writer, blogger, or columnist, you should consider taking on a writing challenge!

Writing marathons, just like running marathons, are very challenging, but are exceedingly rewarding. Listen in to this week’s Online Writing Insider podcast (Writing Marathons) for some advice on embarking on a writing marathon, be it the HubPages 30 Day Challenge or a more personal, private writing odyssey.

Are you in the middle of a writing marathon, or has taking a writing challenge on made a difference in your career as a professional or amateur online writer? If so, tell us about it! Send your thoughts and experiences to podcast (at) HubPages (dot) com.  We’re also looking for feedback on the podcast, questions, and suggestions for future podcasts, so send those to the same email address as well!

Using Your Name vs. Going Anonymous as an Online Writer

The issue of online anonymity has been popping up quite frequently in the media, so we decided to discuss the issue as it applies to online writers.

In this week’s edition of the Online Writing Insider (Using Your Name vs. Using An Alias Online), we review reasons why online authors might want to be anonymous, and also weigh the perks of using your real name. After listening in, you’ll be able to make a practical, educated decision as to whether or not using your real name online is best for you.

Are there other challenges, quandaries, or roadblocks you face as an online writer that you would like us to discuss in a future podcast? Tell us about it by sending an email to podcast (at) HubPages (dot) com!

Establishing Your Personal Brand

Online Writing InsiderWhen you hear the word “brand” you may think of companies, not writers, but creating a strong personal brand is very important if you wish to make it as an author.

For this week’s Online Writing Insider podcast, Pia Chatterjee and I discuss four simple things you can do to build your personal brand as a writer- both online and IRL.  This episode is inspired by one of Pia’s previous On Writing Well blog posts (How to Create Brand Awareness as a Writer), which we discuss and expand on in the podcast.

Are there online writing challenges, issues, or practices that you would like to see discussed in this series? Tell us about it! We’d love to hear your feedback and suggestions.

Tips on Creating Engaging Writing

Online Writing InsiderWould you like to be an interesting, engaging writer? Tune into this episode of the Online Writing Insider for some helpful tips on creating interesting writing shared by HubPages’ resident PR and writing expert Pia Chatterjee.

This podcast is based on an earlier installment of Pia’s On Writing Well series- check it out if you’re not already familiar with it.  It’s stuffed with useful tips, interesting interviews with writers and publishers, and helpful guides!

Would you like to share your feedback on these podcasts with us, or perhaps suggest a theme for a future Online Writing Insider installment?

Resources for Online Writers

Online Writing InsiderThe key to successful development as an online writer involves knowing how to look for answers when you’re stuck.

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Resources for Online Writers), Robin Edmondson and Yours, Truly discuss the importance of asking lots of questions when writing online, and also share some excellent online writing resources assembled by ChristinS in an amazing list of 101 Free Tools Every Freelance Writer, Web Designer, and Graphic Artist Needs.

Definitely have a look at ChristinaS’ Hub – it is an invaluable resource!  We also highly recommend stopping by Best Websites for Downloading Royalty Free, High Resolution Images for Online Writing, a great Hub by sriparna reviewing excellent resources for online authors to use in articles where their own original photos and images are insufficient.

If you want even more helpful online guides and resources, especially those pertaining to the HubPages realm, we highly recommend stopping by the HubPages Learning Center.  Also, if you have an online writing issue you’d like to hear discussed in a future podcast, let us know about it!

Overcoming Writer’s Apprehension

The Online Writing InsiderAre you new to HubPages, or online writing in general? Are you having trouble publishing your first couple of articles?

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Writer’s Apprehension), Michelle Padro and Yours Truly discuss the mysterious effects of Writer’s Apprehension- that troublesome nervousness about sharing one’s writing in the public sphere.

In addition to sharing solutions to common roadblocks new online writers face, Michelle and Simone outline the best ways to push through Writer’s Apprehension.  After listening in, you may feel it is just as easy to publish an online article as it is to send off an email.

Is there an online writing-related topic you’d like to see covered in a future podcast? Tell us about it! We’d love to discuss it.

Documenting with Photos

Online Writing InsiderTaking photos for use in your own online articles is ridiculously easy, and seeing as they add so much value to your work, there is no excuse not to use them!

In this episode of the Online Writing Insider (Documenting with Photos), Jason Menayan and Her Brilliance (moi) share tips on documenting projects and other events (plus taking stock photos) for use in online articles.

Is there any sort of advice you’d like us to give in future Online Writing Insider podcasts?  Send your suggestions to us in an email!