In the past, A-list bloggers and other influential writers have strongly discouraged beginners from starting their writing career, writing for content mills. Content mills, they’ve argued, are notorious for the meager rates they pay.
Also, since all assignments available to writers via content mills are for various clients who need content written, writers never have a chance to list their byline at the end of the written article.
Once a client receives their requested work it’s all theirs and a writer is rewarded only a few dollars for all his hard work.
Today, the tide has turned
Although some top freelance writers continue to discourage new writers from writing for content mills, other influencers are now defending content mills, suggesting it may not be such a bad thing for writers to write for content mills.
With content mills, turnaround times are very strict and editors, often extremely picky about writing style and more prone to reject an article for any reason than to accept it.
For those reasons, it’s a good place to learn the art of time management and how to better your skills as a writer. Since a career in writing isn’t for the faint of heart, writing for content mills will help you develop a thick skin.
Regardless of opinion on the validity of content mills, many writers, even seasoned ones, continue to rely on content mills to supply their income, or at least part of it.
Understandably, they prefer the guarantee of consistent work over the potential lack of work cold pitches to high-paying blogs and magazines can – and often at the start do – yield.
A steady flow of work is most certainly attractive, but can writers actually earn a liveable, full-time income writing for content mills? Most people have an overwhelmingly negative opinion on this matter.
However, with sharp time management and writing skills, a lot of motivation, a willingness to learn and to be flexible, it is very possible to write full time for content mills and earn a steady, livable income.
Here are six ways you can do it:
- Don’t limit yourself to one website. There are numerous content mills out there. Some of them pay better than others and not all of them are restricted only to U.S. based writers. Take the time, research different content writing mills and read their frequently asked questions (FAQ) page. Most often, on the FAQ page, they will list their pay structure, the method of payment and how often they pay. Apply to at least two or even three different content mill websites. Having an account on a few different sites widens your opportunities for more interesting and higher paid writing gigs. Most content mills have a reward system that is based on the level of writing skill and client satisfaction. If you consistently write good content that exceeds clients’ needs and expectations and deliver it on time, you will have a chance to earn more money per article. For example; a two-star writer typically earns between $5.00 and $8.00 dollars per article. A five-star writer, though, can earn up to $50.00 per 1000 words article.
- The best way to kick-start your writing career with content mills is to write about what you know best or about your favorite hobby. For example, if you enjoy hiking, seek out assignments that are about or relate to the topic of hiking. Don’t restrict yourself to one or two subjects for too long though. Once you gain experience and are more familiar with what content mill editors and clients want, broaden your horizon. Take on assignments that deal with subjects you’re interested in, but don’t know much about. It’s the best way to further enhance your writing skills, your portfolio, as well as your research skills. Being able to write about diverse topics will open up doors to more work and to better-paying gigs.
- Before you click the ‘accept’ button on an assignment, read the client’s instructions carefully. Be sure you know every detail about what this prospective client wants before you take the assignment. If you are not sure you will be able to meet this client’s needs, leave the assignment for another writer and browse the open marketplace for other assignments that are better suited to you. The last thing you want is to take an assignment without reading the instructions and then have both your editor and the client angry at you for doing it wrong.
- Don’t get upset whenever an editor contacts you, requesting an extensive revision. Instead, thank that editor and work harder to improve your craft. An editor’s criticism is not meant to belittle your talent as a writer, it’s meant to help you become the best of the best.
- Set your daily schedule and choose assignments accordingly. Some assignments pay less but take less time to complete while others pay more but require a bigger time commitment. If your goal is to complete five to seven short articles, each worth $5.00, per hour in a seven-hour workday, set your timer and get to work. Make sure you are able to meet that goal, not only for clients but also for your pocketbook.
- Be persistent, be willing to learn and be flexible. As with anything, you will not earn much money starting out writing for content mills. However, the more you write, the more willing you are to learn and the more flexible you are, the faster your turnaround will be, the happier your clients will be and the more you will be paid.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with writing for content mills and they are probably the best place for beginner writers to launch their career.
However, be aware that writing for content mills is no cake walk. Some editors will find a reason to reject your work and not give you a reason why.
You may wind up with a client who is unsatisfied with your work even though you have read her instructions carefully and poured your heart and soul into her project.
Though, if you follow all of the above tips, you will in time be able to earn a decent, full-time income writing for content mills. You will also find it a rewarding experience.