Want to write for a marketing agency? It’s a great way to scoop up freelance assignments. But if you’re not careful, that agency might actually be a content mill looking for cheap tricks.
Believe me. I learned this the hard way.
When I saw my first article published on US News and World Report I should’ve jumped up and down while singing the Halleluiah chorus.
But I didn’t.
Instead, the sight of it tangled an angry, disgusted knot in the pit of my stomach. I just got pimped by a content mill.
I wrote that article for a digital marketing agency and sold it for 20 bucks. My name wasn’t even on it.
But hers was—the web savvy millennial who’d purchased the content. It was right there next to her photo and the bio touting that she was a freelance real estate writer.
And I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
Here’s how to tell if that agency is nothing more than a pimped-out content mill:
They’ve been called content mills, content farms, bid sites, broker platforms, and many other less kind names, too. But whatever you call them, websites that pit loads of writers against each other in a race to the bottom on price have been around nearly since the birth of the internet. Historically, rates were rock-bottom low and writers were unhappy.
I wanted to check in on the content farm scene again now, because a lot has changed in this neck of the freelance-writing woods. It’s been exactly 4 years since Google’s Matt Cutts declared junk content dead. Google began actively penalizing sites that used the sort of short, semi-literate, SEO-focused ‘articles’ that have long been content farms’ most common product.
That change was like a Category 5 hurricane for content farms.
Over the past few years, many mills have merged or folded. I recently reopened a survey of content mill writers I first did several years ago — and discovered many of the popular mills back then are now gone.
Which made me wonder what life down on the content farm is like today. To find out, I asked my blog readers, Facebook followers, and Freelance Writers Den members to check in with their personal experiences of today’s rates, working conditions, and opportunities on these mass platforms, where thousands of writers are still signed up.
Many of you responded. Below are stories from 13 writers:
Tagged with: content mills
If you want to carve out an income in the six-figure freelancing club, it might seem like a long shot based on where you’re at right now.
Maybe your $20-per-blog-post client feels like a soul-sucking, dead-end gig. Maybe every query, pitch and LOI you send seems to fall on deaf ears.
Or maybe you’re doing all the right things. But that six-figure freelancing goal still seems impossible. It’s not.
Freelance success takes more than hard work and dedication. It also requires something too many writers overlook—a well-planned strategy for moving up.
Five years ago, rookie freelancer Nicole Dieker swam with the bottom feeders, churning out content mill pieces for a few pennies a word.
Now she’s a rockstar columnist, blogger, copywriter, and novelist. And she’s fast approaching six-figure freelancing status.
Want to know how she did it? Check out her proven methods for increasing your income, moving up and earning more.
If you’re new to freelancing, content mills can practically sound dreamy.
Pick your favorite gigs. Work when you want. Get paid like a rockstar.
Ahem…That’s not exactly what happens if you bank your freelance writing career on working for content mills.
On most platforms, you’ll find thousands, of writers scurrying around competing for writing jobs in a race to the bottom for low rates and a soul-sucking existence.
Can you earn pro rates at a content mill? It’s possible. But you’ll need to know where to look.
If you want the truth about how much content mills really pay, save yourself some time on the hamster wheel.
These 10 blog posts will give you an inside look at what it’s like to write for content mills, how they operate, and how much you can expect to earn.
If you’re a writer who spends time looking for freelance websites where you can find work, you’re not alone.
Job boards, move-up mills, and agencies can be places to find good clients. But freelance websites for writers can also be a cesspool of low-paying gigs.
How do you know what freelance sites are worth your time, and which ones to avoid?
Do your homework and read this blog. We like to check out freelance websites for potential opportunities and let you know where to find great gigs and what sites totally suck. And believe me, there are a lot of freelance sites for writers out there that suck.
While doing your own marketing by sending LOIs (letters of introduction) and query letters is one of the most effective ways to grow your freelancing business, picking up work on freelance websites is a great way to help you move up and earn more.
We recently vetted five new freelance sites for writers. Three turned out to be good places to find clients that pay decent rates. But two new content mills we haven’t featured before didn’t measure up to Make a Living Writing standards.
Here’s the scoop on two new mills that suck and three promising freelance sites for writers.