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Writing for Content Mills

Updated on March 10, 2017
Michael Ttappous profile image

Michael has been an online freelancer and writer for many years and loves discovering and sharing about new experiences and opportunities.

Content mills are, I believe, one of the greatest things I have found on the Internet. In fact, compared to my early experience of Working For Speechpad, they just might be the best option for budding writers looking to earn an income from online work.

Have you ever been paid to write an article?

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So, What Are Content Mills?

Content mills are sites that exist on the Internet to outsource work to work-at-home writers. Mostly, the jobs that they offer consist of content creation, but the rare proofreading and editing jobs, as well as translation jobs, do exist–and they also pay well. Clients of these types of sites will post the details of their projects (which I have seen range from a single title to an in-depth, outlined structure) at a certain quality level that they’re willing to pay for. Our job is then to swoop in, claim the work and then begin writing and finishing the task.

The biggest problem for international writers is that most of the highest-paying sites are locked to US writers. This means that we don’t get the pick of the litter when it comes to job opportunities. Nevertheless, there are a lot of sites out there that accept applicants from around the globe, which also makes it particularly hard to pick which sites to work for–and which to avoid. Some of the worst pay rates I’ve personally seen for content creation was at 0.5 cents a word. I don’t think that anybody should be writing for half a cent a word if they have any respect for the profession, and that standard stands double for those who pay that much.

The Benefits

The benefits of content mills are clear: if your writing gets accepted by the client and you work for a reputable site, you will get paid. This allows you to have a clear picture in your head of how much you need to write to make a certain income each day, week or month and it actively combats the problems of waiting on Residual Income from online writing. Although the advantages of earning money clearly and methodically are great, the downsides of scarce work is the biggest hindrance in the world of content mills.

If there is no consistency in the amount of writing work you can take on at content mills every day, there is no way to judge how much money you can earn. And because it is up to the sites to secure clients, it is really a game of shadows until something pops up and you grab it before anyone else–and since you’re likely competing with people from the whole world, that’s not necessarily an easy task.

Is It Easy?

Content mills are quite complex things to get your head around. There are quite literally tens of sites that you have to individually review in order to evaluate whether they are trustworthy, whether they pay well, and whether they abuse their writers (in terms of poor editing, poor communication and unfair treatment). Once you’ve dug through the litter and have settled on a select and opportunity-filled few, you then have to make individual applications to become an author, editor or translator with them. And then, you have to play the waiting game until they get back to you on your results, which very often stipulate the quality and level of work that you can tackle–as well as the pay grade.

All in all, you’ll find that once you’ve set up an account on a reliable site and have passed the tests and have managed to clinch a few available projects, you’ll be more than happy to write for content mills given the relatively fast and easy way to employ your writing abilities (although there are some drawbacks). It requires a huge investment of time at the beginning, but I like to think of it as a steam train: you start really slow as you toil away at the engine, feeding it fuel, but then build up an increasing pace until you hit a steady and suspenseful speed. And right now, if you’ve never heard of content mills before, you’re still at the stage of gathering coal. Happy mining!

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