C – as in Content Mill. Those sites where writers write whatever it is a client wants. Those sites where if you’re a decent writer you can make $5 or so for a blog post or $2 if you’re not a very good writer.
So let’s talk about the good and not good of content mills.
Disclaimer: I wrote for Textbroker off and on for 2 years and am still signed up as a writer.
Here’s how content mills work. A business owner needs some writing done. The problem? Their writing skills are rather lacking. The solution? Become a client with a content mill, post the order and someone else writes the copy. Done deal!
But it’s not that simple. First let’s look at the disadvantages from the writer’s side.
- the pay is abysmal
- you have to comply with often insane order instructions
- if the client doesn’t like your article, they can request revisions which you won’t get paid for
- if you’re not a good writer there are a very limited number of orders you can claim, which keeps you from improving and moving up.
- because you’re writing for such low wages, you get sucked into the vortex of dependency
Now let’s check out the positives:
- you’re making an attempt to improve your writing
- you’re making some money (better than nothing!)
- if you work hard you can make more money by writing better and faster
- you gain a sense of confidence when the client loved your work
There’s a boatload of content mills out there. If you want to go this route as a writer, you need to ask some questions.
Does the site have a helpful forum with information that will improve your ability to earn money and sharpen your writing skills?
How do they pay? What’s the minimum pay out amounts?
Is there support for writers dealing with problem clients?
How does the site determine at what level you begin? How easy is it to move up?
All these questions can have a huge impact on how much money you can earn.
First of all, I’ve only written for two content mills – Textbroker and iWriter. I applied for a ton of other ones but their sites were either too difficult to use, the pay was waaaayy too low, or the orders were nothing that I cared to write about.
That said, I’ve actually enjoyed writing for Textbroker. I didn’t love iWriter.
With Textbroker, I qualified as a level 4 author (out of 5) and stayed there. I generally liked the order topics and I learned a lot about topics I wasn’t familiar with. Because I had to do a lot of research my writing speed wasn’t great, so my hourly rate wasn’t very good. But I did earn some money.
I also improved my writing. It’d been several years since I’d done any “professional” writing so I was rusty. But the more I wrote the better I got. And I love getting positive comments from the client. It gave me enough confidence to strike out on my own.
So my experience was positive. Still it can be a very tough way to earn a living, especialIy with the wild fluctuations in the number of orders on any given day.
So what do you think about content mills?