Writing for About.com
About.com is the holy grail of online writing gigs, at least from my own experience. I was the Guide there for their topic of Pagan/Wiccan religion for several years. Getting a Guide position there will basically guarantee your ability to become a full-time freelancer. Ok, there are never any guarantees in life, but this is still the network to strive for. This article will be about the basics of a gig with About.com, with further posts coming with more on how to actually get yourself hired at About.com. Yes, they are important enough to warrant another article.
Writers at About.com are referred to as Guides, mainly because you do more than just write. As a guide at About.com, you will be responsible for ongoing content on a particular topic. You can see what topics are available on their application page. Scroll down the list to see what they are looking for. Don't bother asking about new topics. They don't create topics on suggestion.
So for your topic, you will cover everything and anything that applies. Regular articles are required, as are blog postings to promote your latest work. Content can include material like articles, glossaries, product reviews and recommendations, photo galleries, news stories, recipes, newsletters, and more. You are expected to produce a wide variety of content styles to keep the site packed and interesting. There are also message boards for you to monitor and participate in, as well.
All of these different types of content will require you to learn new online tools. You don't just write an article in Word and paste it onto your new site. There are more than a dozen different online tools unique to About.com that you will need to learn.
You get weekly stat reports to help you monitor how your site is doing, and there is a great deal of communication between yourself and your editor, as well as other members of About.com staff. While editorial interference is quite minimal, you are not left to your own devices either. Quality and quantity of content are watched and your editors can give suggestions or criticisms at any time.
The pay structure is relatively confidential and I'm not about to annoy the folks at About.com by divulging such information. Rest assured that you will be well compensated for your work, and many Guides are able to consider this job as their full-time career and main income. You are paid monthly, usually by direct deposit if you are an American writer. You are considered a contractor, not an employee.
Getting hired can be an uphill battle, and not only requires an accepted application but also the successful completion of 3 weeks of "orientation". After training and working on your potential site for 3 weeks, you may or may not get the job. It's risky and stressful, but worth the effort in my opinion.
Keep reading for more on how to manage the hiring process at About.com.
(this article is part of a larger collection of Freelance Writing articles)