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Freelance Writing Jobs: Pros and Cons of Content Mills

Updated on February 25, 2017
Leonard Tillerman profile image

Leonard is a former teacher and school principal who has also been a part-time blogger for the past decade. Writing is his true love.

Freelance Writing and the pros and cons of content mills.
Freelance Writing and the pros and cons of content mills.

Introduction:

If you are a beginner, good freelance writing jobs can be very difficult to find. Reputable firms and companies tend to hire freelance writers who have already established themselves and have a solid portfolio to back themselves up. Due to this fact, many "newbies" migrate to companies who will pay a pool of writers to generate content for their many customers. In the world of freelance writing, these are traditionally referred to as content mills. Should you consider working for these companies? As you can see below, there are many pros and cons which need to be considered before deciding if writing for content mills is a viable strategy for your freelance writing career.

The Cons:

1. Poor Compensation:

As a beginning writer, any writing jobs which you complete for the various content mills will be compensated at the lowest pay grade. As an example, on one of the content mills I currently work for, a standard offer for a new writer is $2.43 for a 500-word article. That works out to be about half a cent per word! It is true that this is certainly on the low side, and writers can expect pay to climb as you gain experience and credibility. Nevertheless, even when they gain that experience, pay is still below market value and is certainly not a pathway to riches!

2 Unreasonable Time Demands:

Creating the very best possible content can be very difficult when a writer is given a ridiculously short amount of time in which to compose it. When writing for content mills this is exactly what happens. The nature of the business is to churn out as much content as possible. They simply do not have time to wait for "masterpieces" to be created. In turn what happens is that quality will often be sacrificed in favor of quantity in a virtual race against the clock!

3. Few Good Assignments:

In my personal time writing for content mills, I have discovered that there are very few good assignments. In order to have a chance at securing any work, I needed to sign up for 5 different companies. Even then, the jobs tended to be all about SEO and keyword density. The lack of quality assignments can be very discouraging for any writer.

The Pros

1. Flexibility:

An overwhelming dream for many freelance writers is to "be our own boss" and live life on our own terms. This includes picking and choosing what to do, when to do it, and who to work for. Working for the content mills can provide this flexibility and independence. Writers have the ability to pick the jobs they want to fulfill. If the time limits or content nature of the job is unappealing, the writer can simply take a pass.

2. Connecting and Networking:

Content mills provide excellent opportunities to network and communicate with other writers. There are sophisticated email systems and chat rooms which enable editors and writers to connect with one another. For any new freelance writer, this is absolutely invaluable as they learn new tips, tricks and potential opportunities for future work.

3. Diversification:

We all know that you should not put all your investment money in any one particular industry. If that industry has a downturn, you will lose everything. The same holds true for your freelance writing career. Writing for content mills should be only one part of a larger strategy. It should be used to compliment the other writing services you provide such as blogging, article writing and creating ebooks. It is also a great place to turn when the other better paying jobs are scarce.

Conclusion

There is little doubt that writing for content mills has many advantages and disadvantages. I have attempted to outline what I have found from my own experience writing for these companies. In truth, writers tend to have very strong opinions about this subject. They either love content mills...or completely despise them. Please feel free to complete the poll below to express your opinion on the subject!

What Are You Thoughts?

Do You Like Writing For Content Mills

See results

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    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 5 months ago from Chicago, IL

      I've enjoyed Hubpages also. I just find I spend a lot of time developing each article and as I have to also look to income this will take years before I see any real return. Right now if I earn a dollar a day I'm doing well. But I agree that in terms of being able to write what you are passionate about without anyone telling you to write on perhaps the top sewage disposal companies in Podunk U.S.A. or some other fun topic, HP is the way to go!

    • Leonard Tillerman profile image
      Author

      Leonard Tillerman 5 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      Thank you for your comment and the follow. lately I have been spending most of my time on hubpages. I find it is a better environment and I get to write about what I like.

      Cheers,

      Leonard

    • HoneyBB profile image

      Honey Halley 5 months ago from Illinois

      I haven't tried content writing but it doesn't sound very enjoyable. I do like to have some sort of passion about whatever it is I write about...without that I think I would be stuck too much. Thanks for sharing this info. I really didn't know what it was all about prior.

    • Leonard Tillerman profile image
      Author

      Leonard Tillerman 7 months ago from Toronto, Canada

      I have signed up for a number and they all seem to have the typical pros and cons. I find iwriter has the most assignments but does not pay very well until you rise up levels. Zerys has better rates of pay. Problem with iwriter is I don't like what the writing requests are. I write as a hobby right now so I prefer writing things I enjoy. Hubpages is great for that.

    • Natalie Frank profile image

      Natalie Frank 7 months ago from Chicago, IL

      Have you identified any content mills that have regular assignments, pay upfront and don't have too abysmal of a pay rate? I've worked for several before but it hasn't been long before they either go out of business or change their assignment structure decreasing the flexibility and increasing the time commitment related to constantly checking the board for new opportunities. For example Textbroker was decent in terms of articles and the ability to draw individual clients but then went to a team structure which has been almost impossible to make much from. Thanks for writing this.