By in Writing

On Content Mill Writing

Content mills get a mixed review, in general, from freelancers and professionals. Many writers have started a career churning out content, others warn new writers to avoid them at all costs. The argument, that it brings down the price and pay for professionals when others are willing to work for peanuts, is valid. However, many companies are paying writers and social media specialists a living wage despite the existence of the mills. While some bigger companies do indeed use the mills, many of those paying very little for a lot are web start-ups and small businesses that may not be able to afford regular-priced content services.

That being said, if we face facts, while there are professional writers (myself included) who pick up mill work when business is slow and they need to know there will be a paycheck this week, many writers are beginners. Some mills go out of business if they are unable to keep clients happy. While there is rarely a lack of new writer blood who wish to cut their freelance teeth on mill assignments, many excellent writers eventually break out of millwork to try to land private clients. Those few with the talent and skill to succeed will leave, replaced by two people eager to try making money from home as a content writer.

Some of the mills are actually great places for the beginner and professional to make a few dollars. In fact, ones with good editors and guidelines such as Scripted (more of an agency than a mill) and Search Influence can truly influence ever-important SEO skills.

If you have spent the entire week on pitches and queries and haven't really written anything, these companies are great for having at least a little coming in. In most cases, if you are good, you are going to get on a favorite list for some clients, and once private requests start coming in, there is some money to be made.

In future blogs I will discuss my experiences with some of the better ones, and be a little more specific.


Image Credit » https://pixabay.com/en/macbook-notebook-home-office-336704/ by Unsplash

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Comments

Kasman wrote on October 4, 2015, 2:08 PM

Never really been on a content mill. Too much like hard work and my time online is meant to be fun for me but then again I'm not concerned at all about earning potential online - it is way down my list of priorities.

littlenancy wrote on October 4, 2015, 2:25 PM

Right, I hear you there.

I mean, it is more for the people really needing that extra cash. Writing is all I do and so, in a slow week, it definitely helps! I have a lot of "eggs" in my basket, from revenue-share news to agencies and mills. I write for at least 10 of them, so that if one doesn't have anything in my wheelhouse today, somewhere else will!

LoudMan wrote on October 4, 2015, 2:49 PM

I haven't had to touch a content mill in ages. But, then again, I'm more of a blogger than a writer, anyway. I finally stopped being myself, sobered up and got a job. Now, anything I make online is just extra.

Last Edited: October 4, 2015, 2:49 PM

littlenancy wrote on October 4, 2015, 4:01 PM

Writing is a job, you know. :) I am sure that you didn't mean that you have a real job and I don't, right?

I don't drink, personally. I have a recurrent peptic ulcer and I'd rather not bleed out (just a personal preference of mine). but kudos to you. It takes a lot of courage to get sober.

There are people who just happen to make a living doing this. Truth be known, while some of the mills and agencies pay well, some really do not. However, that is side cash for me.

This? I don't expect to make anything doing this. At least nothing substantial. I would like to use it as a daily warm-up, and I removed my personal blog. I needed to take my little website and make it more professional with my portfolio and resume and stuff. This looks fun and it could eventually mean a little extra in the Paypal.

Writing can pay well enough that my kiddo is in an over 50 grand a year college to do it. She did get some big scholarships, but there is still a sizable investment. The fact that she was published before going to college was helpful. Still have to help her pay the bill, and mills are one tool in the toolbox to get it done.

JohnRoberts wrote on October 4, 2015, 4:30 PM

Content mills are basically extinct thanks to Google Panda. I was on sites like Helium and Associated Content and did well enough in their heyday. I tried a few others that were next to worthless. The beauty of a content mill was posting an article and sitting back and watching views accumulate even without promotion. Plus you could write about anything you wanted and post. Some had assignments that paid once posted. The downside that helped kill them was the shoddy writing and content. To be blunt, much of that came from overseas. All of the writing site I can find online today are either contaminated by Google Adense or blog oriented like PP. I would prefer an article oriented site where a backlog of work continues to pay.

littlenancy wrote on October 4, 2015, 7:57 PM

I get between $60 and $90 for a blog on Scripted. About $30 a blog on Writer Access.
On Blasting News, which is rev share, I get paid after 150 hits...in dollars, not pennies. My current one is
http://us.blastingnews.com/news/2015/10/california-school-shooting-averted-as-four-juveniles-are-arrested-00589501.html
Blasting is the only one I write for that accepts non-American.
Many are doing quite well. I get about $12 on SI per post.

Places I use like Constant Content are marketplaces, they take a cut, I usually get between $20 and $100.

I don't write anywhere that I don't get to pick what to do. There are plenty doing a ton of business. Most keep my busy between better paying gigs! I had a full time job and a client during the helium years, so I didn't write for them. But, there are at least 20 companies that have assignments all the time. There is a UK one where I rarely get work.

paigea wrote on October 4, 2015, 11:21 PM

I have been writing for Zemandi. I suppose that is a content mill? But it suits me to pick up a small assignment at my convenience and not have an ongoing commitment.

littlenancy wrote on October 5, 2015, 8:38 AM

I have never written for them, mostly because the application requires and "invitation code". I would do it for the purposes of checking it out. Yes, that is similar to a lot of places I use for a few dollars here and there.
Do you like it? Do they pay by paypal or some other method?
Thanks for posting.

CoralLevang wrote on October 5, 2015, 8:45 AM

This is an interesting and informative piece. I look forward to hearing more on this topic. I really am much more of a blogger, I think, but have done some content writing for hire, when I was with AC/YCN.

paigea wrote on October 5, 2015, 8:55 AM

They pay by paypal every Monday if I have $20 in client approved writing. My goal is $25 per week to have an extra $100 per month (I go to work part time and that is the amount of time I feel like doing writing). They pay about 50 cents per 100 words. Apparently that can go up.
My invitation code is 21655 if you want to check it out. Getting assignments is a bit tedious. You request one they send it to your e-mail and then you decide whether to keep it or reject it. If you reject it, you have to do the process again. But I have nothing to compare it to so not sure if other sites are more streamlined. I have had a repeat customer

littlenancy wrote on October 5, 2015, 10:38 AM

Well, thank you!
While that pay is pretty low, I may check it out anyway. I do like to "try them all." lol...
So, thank you very much! :)

paigea wrote on October 5, 2015, 6:38 PM

Now, the higher paid ones do they require more of a commitment?

littlenancy wrote on October 5, 2015, 6:49 PM

There are a few that require you to log in and do something now and then.
Some have more intense projects.
Are you in the US?

paigea wrote on October 5, 2015, 6:58 PM

No, I am in Canada. I am not interested in the intense projects at this moment; so Zemandi works for me right now.

littlenancy wrote on October 5, 2015, 9:28 PM

Oh, I hear you. I ask only because several only take US writers.
However, if you are ever interested, Blasting News does. Blasting is revenue share like PP is, but it is different. First, you are writing for a new site. That doesn't mean you have to write breaking news. You can write about pretty much anything. It stays live on the site for 30 days, and then you get paid by the number of hits. I will blog about my experiences there soon.
You start getting paid after 150 hits, in euros, but that isn't an issue if you are using paypal. It is a decent setup. You write whenever you want. I use it because of the byline. I do a lot of ghostwriting or create websites for local businesses, etc. Which is great BUT no byline. So, when I go for a good paying gig, it is nice to have some published samples. Live all revenue share, you won't get rich, but it pays much better than Examiner or InfoBarrel. Plus, it can be a "when you feel like it" thing. It is something I do a few times a month.
My latest is
http://us.blastingnews.com/news/2015/10/california-school-shooting-averted-as-four-juveniles-are-arrested-00589501.html
If you'd like to see their format.

Feisty56 wrote on October 7, 2015, 11:14 AM

I am pleased to have found your posts and to meet you as well. There's a lot of good information here and in the comments on the post, too. Glad you have found Persona Paper and hope you'll enjoy your experiences here.

DWDavisRSL wrote on October 10, 2015, 2:58 PM

I will be looking forward to your future posts about freelancing. I work full-time as a teacher and write fiction in what spare time I have. I have self-published four novels and had a fifth published by a small publisher. While not a NYT best selling author by any means, I have outsold by a factor of 2 or 3 the average indie author. But I am nearing retirement from teaching and am looking for ways to supplement my retirement income that I can do from home or on the road.