Based on user feedback and data we have collected regarding accepted assignments, we have decided to make an adjustment that will affect all Helium writers. As of Thursday Sept. 22, we will adjust the number of assignments that writers can have in their My Assignments bin at any given time to five, down from 10.

And this will be good thing for writers. We believe lowering this number will allow more individuals a chance to accept assignments that they wish to reserve. The impact of this will mostly result in writers seeing more of the restricted assignments being up for grabs.

This change will go into effect on Thursday. You might be wondering what will happen if you have more than five assignments when we change this configuration. The answer is … nothing. You will retain those assignments and be able to write to them as you usually would. You will experience the change once you have less than five assignments in your My Assignments bin. You will only be able to accept more assignments after you have less than five assignments in your My Assignments bin.

We see this as a definite win for most writers. We believe it will spread the restricted assignments further among more users.

10 Squared has been a fun and successful summer promotion, but it  is coming to an end on Thursday, Sept. 8.

Qualifying articles for the 10 squared promotion need to be published on Helium by Sept. 8. Your articles can’t be in limbo in the assignment system. All 10 must have transitioned and be live on the site by end of day (GMT) Sept. 8 in order to qualify for a $10 bonus title through the promotion.

We’re giving you a few extra days to request your bonus title after that, though. Send the emails with links to your 10 Squared qualifying articles and bonus title suggestion in to tensquared@helium.com by Monday, Sept. 12.

We have a lot of other fun promotions up our sleeves, so stay tuned for what’s next!

As part of today’s release Helium has made some upgrades to the assignment system. Members can now quickly accept or withdraw from multiple assignments by clicking the check boxes next to titles and then clicking “Accept,” or conversely “Withdraw.”

One thing to note, if you click the check box on some assignments on say page 1 of 10 but don’t click the “accept” box and move on to page 2 to claim some more titles before clicking “accept” those titles will not be added to your My Assignments. You have to click “accept” before moving on to the next page of titles.

We’ve also added question marks for members who have questions about what each section — Announcements, My Assignments, and Available Assignments — of the My Helium page means. Clicking on the question mark image will show text explaining everything in detail.

Another helpful feature is the numbers next to Open, Restricted and Personal assignments. This number reflects the number of available titles for each section.

We’ve also added some new details associated with each title. You can now see the title, article type, number of submissions (meaning how many other writers have claimed this title), payment, when it was posted and when it closes. The number of submissions area, for example 1/5,  is a new feature and one members really wanted.

Sorting assignments also got an overhaul. Now simply click once on “Payment,” “Posted On” or “Closes” and it will sort titles from, for example, highest paying to lowest paying, or lowest paying to highest paying title.

In Open Assignments you can filter titles by channel. In Restricted Assignments you can filter by any writing group you are a member of, for example, Marketplace Approved, Marketplace Premier or Home & Garden – Home Interior Senior Writer. If there are no titles available for that group it will not appear in the list. You can also search for a title in the “Title Search” bar.

Changes to the My Helium page 

Members’ My Helium page also got a fresh look. Writers’ stats and photo are now at the top of the page so you can easily see your writing score and rating score.

The Announcements section on the My Helium page has changed as well. Now there’s only only section of announcements at the very top of the page, under your writer stats.

To read all new announcements simply click on “Announcements” in the left navigation bar. This will show all active announcements for members. Helium can now share news, promotions and updates to not only the entire community, but to specific writing groups, or to individual writers. We hope you enjoy the new Announcements page and visit it often. The number next to the “Announcements” in the left navigation is the number of active announcements for you. It is not the number of unread messages.

Check out the changes as part of the Aug. 17 release and share your thoughts and opinions here!

The 10 Squared promotion that Helium kicked off on June 1 has been a huge hit with lots of winners. In an effort to get the $10 bonus titles out to the 10 Squared winners faster, we’re asking writers to email us at tensquared@helium.com to tip us off when they’ve had their 10th story accepted in a single leaf channel.

All you need to do is email links to the 10 articles you’ve written to that leaf since June 1, and we’ll target a personalized $10 bonus title to you in two to five days. (Check in the Personal tab of your Assignments dashboard on your My Helium page to find it.)

This also gives you a chance to suggest a title for the $10 bonus assignment! In your email, include a suggestion for a title you’d like to write to in that leaf channel. We might not be able to assign that exact title (for example, if it already exists on the site), but it will give us a very good idea of what you want so we can get you a title that’s a great fit.

If you’ve already gotten your first bonus assignment through 10 Squared, congrats! Keep writing and email us when you have another 10 articles accepted in a single leaf and you’re ready for your next bonus!

Become a subject-matter expert, show off your expertise, and get rewarded! As part of our release this week, Helium laid the foundation for new Writer Quality Groups.

Every night we run an algorithm that determines the writing quality of your articles. We then calculate which writers fall into the top 10 percent based on those quality ratings and place them in a Senior Writer group for that leaf channel. So, say you know a ton about cameras and love to write about them. If your camera articles show expertise and quality writing skills, you could end up in the 10 percent of writers in the camera channel — you are now a part of the “Consumer Electronics – Cameras Senior Writer” group.

Some Helium writers will notice they were added to Senior Writer groups today. Others will see it happening over the course of time — we run the process nightly to determine who has qualified for the groups.

What if I wasn’t added to the Senior Writer groups in my favorite channels?

Don’t worry! You can:

1. Working on improving your writing (we have lots of helpful posts here in the Helium blog!)

2. Write some new articles to those channels

3. Take advantage of leapfrogging

Every time you write a new article or leapfrog an old one it goes back into the pool to be rated, giving you more chances to advance to a Senior Writer group.

Why Senior Writer groups?

By creating Senior Writer groups, we can now target titles to those writers. These assignments will show up in the “restricted” assignments tab. We’re posting the first batch of targeted titles tonight. If you don’t get one, keep checking back because we’ll be targeting different groups every day.

Or, better yet, use our new Notifications feature to sign up for text alerts for the groups you really care about! Just go to your Account Settings and go to the Notifications tab.

If you do happen to drop out of the 10 percent of writers to a channel through rating cycles, don’t worry, we won’t remove you from the Senior Writer group.

Why am I part of the Baking Senior Writer group?

You may see some you’ve been added to some groups where you did not write much to the channel, but you wrote well. This process is not interested in quantity — it’s interested in quality. We can’t go into depth about how the ranking works, but I can assure you that if you got assigned to the group, you were in the top 10 percent in our quality ranking. So even if you wrote hundreds of articles to a leaf and half of them rated well, if you were in the top 12 percent but not the top 10 percent, you wouldn’t be in the group.

The Creative Writing channel has not been included. Creative Writing is a slightly different beast. It’s not that we don’t love it, but it’s more esoteric than knowledge writing. We are not trying to downplay Creative Writing; rather, we’re trying to recognize the difference between it and everything else.

How can I find out what Senior Writer groups I’ve been added to?

Go to your Notifications tab on your Account Settings page. It’s after Contact Info, Pen Name, Charity, etc. Not only can you sign up here to get text messages to your cell phone, but you can also see which writing groups you are a part of.

You don’t need to have a smartphone. Any cell phone that allows you to receive text messages works! If you do have a smartphone, you can go to HeliumNetwork Mobile on your smartphone browser, click on the Restricted button and accept your assignment right from your phone.

Start getting targeted assignments today by writing high-quality articles to any leaf channel. Need more motivation? Take advantage of our 10 Squared promotion!

Helium now offers members the option to receive SMS notifications (better known as text messages) about new available writing assignments. If you’re a member of any writing groups on Helium you can choose to receive text message alerts about new assignments that have been uploaded to the assignment system for groups you are a part of!

For example, say you’re a Marketplace Premier writer on Helium and you want to know every time new assignments have been posted, now you can!

To subscribe to receive SMS notifications about new assignments, visit the Account Settings page (accessible through My Account on My Helium) and click the “Notifications” tab on the top menu. It’s listed right after Contact Info, Pen Name, etc.

In the fields available, enter your mobile phone number, select the country your phone is registered to and select your mobile carrier. After entering this information, click “submit.”

A confirmation will appear at the top of the screen indicating an activation notification has been sent to your phone. Now an activation code box will appear in the “Notifications” tab. Enter the code you received via text message into this field.

Helium writers can select which writing group assignments to be notified about. They can also select to stop receiving notifications at any time too. It’s an opt-in program! Check out our Help page to learn more about how to set up your alerts.

Got a smartphone? Don’t forget to check out Helium’s mobile assignment system!

Embedding links in your articles is a great way to help readers get more out of your writing, giving them easy access to additional information without adding a lot of clutter to the page. If you don’t use links the right way, though, they can just cause confusion. Here are a few simple tips to help you (and your readers) get the most out of the links you choose to include.

1.  Choose your words carefully.

The linked text should be something descriptive that clearly explains what the connected page is. Links that just say “click here” or “learn more” are too vague and won’t help readers understand why the link is relevant to them.

Don’t: Click here to learn more about how to embed links in your Helium articles.

Do:  The Help Guide explains step by step how to embed links in your articles on Helium.

Using relevant keywords for embedded links also helps readers find information quickly because links stand out in blocks of text.

2. Stay consistent.

If you want to include multiple links to the same destination, keep the words used for the embedded links the same throughout the article. For example, if you were writing about Helium’s Writing and Editorial Standards, you would want to use that phrase for all of embedded links you include that take readers to that particular page. If you had one link in the article labeled as writing guidelines and another link labeled editorial standards, readers would be confused when the links took them to the same location, and they would wonder if there had been a mistake.

3. Avoid link overload.

Just because you can think of a link to embed in a certain phrase in your article doesn’t necessarily mean that you should do it. When there are too many links in a story, it gets distracting and makes the text choppy and difficult to read. If there is an embedded link in every single sentence, it will also leave readers wondering which links are important.

So before you take the time to embed a link, stop and think about what it will add to the story. Ask yourself if the links seems off-topic or would only be useful to a small portion of the readers. If the answer is yes, you probably want to skip it (even if it’s a link to something else you wrote). Scaling back embedded links to only the most relevant will help make them more valuable to readers.

Related blog posts on citing sources & links:

How citing your sources can make you a better writer

AP Style tips: How to cite online sources in your articles

Beginning June 1, we’re welcoming in the summer months with our new promotion: 10 Squared. What’s that mean, you ask? It means that for every 10 articles you write (and we accept) to a single leaf channel, we’ll give you a bonus $10 assignment. And just to keep the math going, 10×10=100 so we’ll run this for 100 days.

Why? Because promotions are fun. Also, to herald our new Writing Groups Assignment system, which debuts in June. As we’ve been saying on Helium’s Community Discussion Boards, writers should write to titles in the leaf channels they know best and where they feel most confident.

We really want you to show us the subjects (leaf channels) that you’re interested in writing more about and know something about, for example: Auto Repair, Perennials, Business Law, or even Denver, Colorado.

We’ll be looking for your quality work and keeping those articles that show your quality writing. When we’ve accepted 10 of your articles in that leaf, we’ll target a $10 assignment just to you in that same leaf channel.

You can submit work through the assignment system, suggest your own titles and write to existing titles on the site. (Reminder: Writing to titles with more than 6 or 7 articles doesn’t add much, unless you’re confident you can do better. Search out the onesies!)

You don’t have to come up number 1 — though that’s nice to aim for. And, sorry, this doesn’t apply to the Creative Writing channel.

We’ll perform regular sweeps to see who’s written where so we can award the $10 titles.

Good luck and get writing!

Janice Brand, VP Helium Content Source

Have you seen our newly redesigned News home page? If not, take a moment and check it out today.

This page features all news articles written by Helium News Writers.  These writers are people who are passionate about writing current event articles.

Aside from the new (and awesome) layout, we’ve also introduced a “share” link, so readers can share the news story through social networks such as, Twitter, Digg, Facebook, Reddit, StumbleUpon, etc.

The program is overseen by Helium News Manager Leigh Goessl. Interested in learning more, or joining this community of writers? Please apply today!

Members are part of an exclusive community on Helium and are identified by a News Writer badge on their About Me page.

Today is a great day for Helium as we release our mobile version of the assignment system for writers. The mobile version will work on any Android phone or iPhone.

This initial mobile release for the assignment system will allow writers to login to Helium, view all assignments available to them, claim assignments and withdraw from assignments.

Like on the main site, writers can view assignment details including how many submissions are accepted for each assignment, the deadline and how much it pays.

This initial release does not have filtering or sorting of assignments in the Open, Personal and Restricted sections but we’ll be adding that functionality soon in an upcoming release.

Visit this URL (http://heliumnetwork.mobi) from your phone’s browser and bookmark it for easy access. Some phones even allow you to add the bookmark to your home screen.

Helium mobile strategy is to make use of smartphone browsers rather than creating apps for these reasons:

  1.  We can immediately support both iPhone and Android without creating two apps and go through the various app approval processes.
  2. When we release improvements,  the community will get them right away without downloading new versions.

Check out our how-to video!