Experienced freelance writers tend to look at content mills with disdain. It’s easy to understand why when you compare the paychecks that some long time freelancers pull in. Most content mills don’t pay very well by those standards. However, I believe there are several good reasons to write for a content mill.
If you look at time spent writing for a content mill as paid training, it makes a lot more sense to write for one. In most cases, you’ll be doing the same kind of writing that the pros do, but with the safety net of editors.
As a freelancer, your reputation for handing in flawless copy and meeting deadlines is your most valuable asset. You can’t afford the mistakes that a new writer is sure to make. Content mills give you a safe place to learn and feedback to help you improve.
Start Earning Immediately
A huge part of a freelancer’s job is finding clients. If you are new to the industry, you simply won’t have the same contacts that they do. It could take weeks to find a paying job and weeks more to start receiving pay for the jobs you’ve completed.
Content mills will start crediting money to your account upon the acceptance of your submissions. There are different payment schedules, but none takes longer than a month to pay out. Some sites pay based on certain performance requirements so you might not see any money until you reach the minimum amount, but once you do, you can expect payment the next month.
Put Scrapped Articles to Use
Some content mills like Yahoo Contributor Network allow you to submit articles on any topic you want. This is a great resource for a freelance writer. Say you took an assignment for a client to write about cupcakes. You wrote an article about cupcake decorating, but decided that it wasn’t working out so you switched your focus and wrote and submitted an article about 10 great cupcake recipes instead.
Normally you’d have wasted time by writing the first article. With a site like YCN, you can put that article to work for you. You can’t do this with articles that are specifically tailored to a client’s business without rewrites, but on general topics it’s all fair.
Become an Industry Expert
If you find that you enjoy writing about a particular topic, you will discover that after writing hundreds of articles that deal with the subject, that you know the ins and outs almost as well as people who work in the field. When you are finally ready to strike out on your own, you’ll be able to confidently pitch your services to markets in your niche because you know the material.
When you write for a content mill, the burden of marketing the site falls on the client’s shoulders. You get to focus your energy on writing content without worrying about finding the perfect photo or bombarding your social media feed with plugs.
On sites where you share in page view revenue, you have an incentive to get your work out there, but you’ll have the benefit of having your articles on an established site. Your article will be indexed by search engines much faster than if you were publishing on your own blog.
It’s true that content mills don’t offer competitive pay for a seasoned pro, but for a newbie to writing web content the intangible benefits should be factored in before writing content mills off. With a long term plan in mind, they can be a great first step on the road to becoming a successful freelance writer.