Our recent articles on how to use content mills to your advantage and their possible demise point out that writing is a practice and the farms give you a practical way to get some real world practice.
In many ways they’ve given thousands an opportunity to be published and earn a little bit of money while they get started freelance writing.
Those systems that allow tracking of number of readers can actually provide writers some potentially valuable insight, at least about their ability to pick popular topics and use viable SEO techniques. A very few of the organizations that may or may not exactly be content mills not only pay a bit, offer statistics on readership, but provide some editorial assistance.
I know also that getting that first paycheck, no matter how small, is a real milestone in a freelance writer’s career. Of course, one or two dollars doesn’t come close to the dreams of most of us, but the pay does confirm some sort of sense that “now I’m a professional.” At least it did for me long before the mills existed.
If someone who wants to earn their living writing freelance, a handful of articles or so for the better content mills can be a positive experience. They can become stepping stones to writing for local newspapers, print magazines, well paying websites, corporate writing and even books – ultimately wherever you want to go. I got started long before the content farms existed, but I honestly think I might have begun just that way. I’m pretty sure I wouldn’t have gotten stuck there.
I preach over and over again that the way to freelance writing success is to write, rewrite and market. (Subscribe to the newsletter and you get a free copy of an ebook about that.) Writing for content mills counts, as long as you don’t stop there.
Well, if all you want is a few extra bucks a week, writing forever for the mills may be just fine. But if you long to really break into freelance writing you need to move from content mills to something else just as fast as you can. My sense is a dozen articles is absolutely the maximum you should write for the content farms unless you’ve got an actual plan to move on beyond them.
Yes, you’ve got to write, and writing for the farms is writing. But you need to stretch yourself and begin to submit and/or seek clients beyond that.
Yes, helping writers become successful, to break in beyond content mills and earn big is one of my personal goals and one way I partnering with Carol Tice of MakeALivinigWriting.com to produce a webinar called just that: How To Break In & Earn Big In Freelance Writing. That link will take you to an information page. If you already plan to register for the $36 webinar you can do it right now.
Have you had any experience with the content mills?