If you are solely working for an agency that outsources their material to you and other writers like you or if you are working through content writing platforms online, then you are stuck in the writers mill. You know how hard it can be to earn every single buck in your pocket. Content Mill is never easy!
But many of us have had worse than we can tell. There was a fake agency (or maybe a new one) that didn’t pay me for my week’s work and their editor I had been corresponding with never got in touch thereafter. I was cursing the writers mill. There was another time when I discussed a writing piece with a woman editor and she kept on pushing me to say yes instead of answering my queries. When I declined her project, she had loads of attitude to pour on me. Chances where she had a quick deadline despite my time constraints or she wanted to dodge any solid information. I was new, I stumbled, I learned my lesson, I moved on. The problem is, many new writers or side hustlers have never known what is the right way to muddle through a content mill. We have all faced our fare share of problems.
I was reduced to believing that content mills were the worst. But with time I learned the dos and don’ts of working in the content mill that helped me gain a few projects that dug deep in my creativity and had a good impression on me and my career.
I really want to say never go into a writers mill but that isn’t the answer to your problem. Beginners really need that. Instead, you can learn these simple dos and don’t of working in the content mill and never feel disappointed.
- Don’t rely solely on one platform.
- Don’t just look at the project details. Look through the profile of the person who posted that project.
- The current rate for beginners is $12 to $15 per 500 words (as of 2019) in a mill. Don’t accept any less.
- Don’t take a project if a person/editor hesitates to give you solid contact information.
- You don’t always have to get projects that pay in dollars or euros. Aim for local projects.
- Don’t go with a standard pitch.
- Don’t accept projects with 1 hour deadlines.
- Don’t stress, negotiate.
- Take projects through verified accounts.
- Ask your agency editor, if they provide contracts.
- Ask about the payment system. Aim for weekly or biweekly payments before moving to monthly.
- Establish a connection where you can reach them; not just a Skype id, but a phone number, a website, an address even!
- Get your editor’s name and look them up on LinkedIn. Add them as a connection.
- Look for local projects that add value to your portfolio.
- Customize your pitch, use pointers and keep it short.
- Always check for plagiarism before making a submission.
- Work within your timelines and time zones.
- Some platforms go stale after a while. Move on to others.
In a content mill, not every writer gets off on the right foot and even if they do, there are years of practice and struggles ahead. Writers mill is a stepping stone in your career. Don’t settle for less than you are worth.
Remember: If content mills have access to countless writers, you have access to countless platforms and agencies.
See you next blog!