I’m a freelance writer who mentors other writers. In particular, I teach writers I coach to avoid writing for the big article sites, or any other client that pays under $50 a blog or article.
So why am I writing this post? Because there are whole categories of people for whom content sites are a great choice. If any of the people I describe below sound like you, I say find a content site that’ll pay the most or give you the best exposure, and sign up.
- People who don’t care about money. While I am a working writer focused on feeding my family of five and hoping to occasionally be able to afford a vacation with them and eventually retire, that’s not everybody. Some people’s spouses make a ton or they’re the Kleenex heir or whatever, and they really don¹t have to focus on income. Write on!
- People who have a book, class, product or service to promote. I personally think these are the very best candidates to write for mills. The pay just doesn’t matter! It’s all about exposure and promoting the other, good-paying thing you do.
- People who just want to get published. For some people, simply seeing their byline on an article - not even in print, but just on a Web site – is an all-time thrill. It makes you feel wonderful. If writing for a content site gets you that high, I say it’s cheaper than heroin and better for you. Go for it.
- People with deep knowledge of a popular topic who are very fast writers. If you know a great deal about pets, home improvement or some other popular topic you see many open titles for on content sites, you may actually be able to make decent money providing you are also a very speedy writer. If you can churn out three or four articles an hour and make $30 or $40 an hour this way and you find that compensation fair, that’s great! Not sure if there’ll come a day when the universe has all the articles about dog grooming it will ever need, but while the offer is out there, make hay.
- People who won’t market their business. I’m meeting more and more writers like this. I ask them about their marketing plan the queries they’re sending, the social media marketing, the cold-calling, prospecting… and get a blank look. They do not have the confidence to market their business. It’s not going to happen. In which case, writing for a content site that feeds you assignments and pays weekly on PayPal may be your best option.
Who shouldn’t write for content mills and other cheapskate clients? People who want to build a sustainable, rewarding, highly lucrative career as a professional writer. Writing for these sites takes too much of your valuable time, pays too little, and does little to build your credibility. It also makes your querying and marketing muscles go all slack and flabby.
They aren’t a prestige byline that will impress good-paying clients, and for most they won’t pay the mortgage. So don’t waste your time on them. For more about why professional writers shouldn’t write for content mills, read 7 Reasons Why I Won’t Write a $15 Blog.
Carol Tice is an experienced business reporter, copywriter and blogger. She blogs twice weekly about the business of freelance writing at her Make a Living Writing blog and on Thursdays at the WM Freelance Community.
Image from http://www.sxc.hu