Content Mills: What Every Writer Needs to Know

Jodi Hughey By Jodi Hughey, 13th Nov 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Tips

Before considering writing for Content Mills (a.k.a. Content Farm or Writer's Mill), freelance writers who are determined to make money writing need to know the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the opportunities and pitfalls that writing for Content Mills has to offer.

The Ditty on Mills

Content Mill, Content Farm, or Writer’s Mill are terms that refer to the same thing: agencies who pay writers to write material for their sites.

That is the simple explanation, but not exactly an accurate definition.

To a freelance writer who has scoured the Internet trying to locate legitimate paying writing jobs the terms Content Mill, Content Farm, or Writer’s Mill may invoke feelings of disgust. Many writers relate the terms to something derogatory and menacing. Too many struggling to make money writing share in the feeling that Mills are nothing more than sweat shops for writers. Writers are required to sort through scads of titles and write scads of articles that fill up space for other websites. Writers are compensated by a payment of a few pennies or dollars per article, if they are lucky.

There is a debate going on about Mills and how they generate what some describe as “cheap content” that only benefit the Mill and not the writer. Further reading on the debate can be found here.

The Mill benefits from the writer by receiving all residual revenue from AdSense, click-shares and so forth for each article written and published on affiliate sites. The writer who spent time researching, writing and rewriting receives a one-time, small payment.

Does that seem like a fair trade?

To the new writer who has a dream of writing for money, writing and receiving payment (even if it’s small) could seem like a fair trade.

To the seasoned writer, writing for Mills is an insult.

As with any new adventure it is always best to know the good and bad of it. New writers who are determined to make money writing need to know the pros and cons, the ups and downs, and the opportunities and pitfalls that writing for Mills has to offer.

In the end, the decision to write for Mills remain with only one person … The Writer.

Ponder these Opportunities and Pitfalls to writing for Mills before embarking on the writing mill journey:

Opportunity: Make money writing on-line.

The ever pressing question on the mind of many new writers is How to make money writing on-line? Breaking into the on-line publishing world seems like a daunting task. Mills make the task of writing for money and breaking into the on-line publishing world simple. It’s easy to make money on-line writing for Mills.

Mills offer new writers the opportunity to sell their writing and get their articles published (sometimes with a by-line, sometimes without) for a monetary payment.

Pitfall: Payments offered are low … very low.

Although Mills pay, the payments offered vary from $.01 per word upwards to $30 per article. The average is about $3-$5 per article once time for research and writing are taken into consideration. To gain the higher paying jobs, a writer must prove to the Mill they are qualified to write for a certain topic or category.

Oftentimes, writers discover that the amount of time it takes to write an article they can be proud of is not worth the payment amount offered. Many writers value their time and understand that time is money. It doesn’t take long before these writers focus their attention on writing articles for their own sites, or they seek other means of making money writing on-line.

Opportunity: Write on various topics.

Many Mills produce content on various topics and categories such as gardening, health and wellness, technology, how-to guides and so on. There are even a select few Mills who allow writers to submit new topics for approval for publication.

For the new writer who has a desire to discover what interests them most, and who want to find a niche of their own, the various topics listed on Mill sites can provide an opportunity to explore personal interests. A new writer may discover they have an interest in writing more about home improvement projects and pet grooming. In turn, this new found interest can transform into other writing projects and articles that could be published elsewhere and for higher payment.

Pitfall: Topics are not interesting or require more research than payment is worth.

On the downside, many times writers have issues with locating topics and assignments that interest them. Many topics offered are targeted at specialists in the field.

For those who are brave enough to tackle an unknown subject soon discover the time it takes to research and write the article far exceeds the worth of the payment. For instance, if one article takes five hours to complete for a payment of $15, the hourly wage comes to $3. That’s a whopping 300 pennies per hour.

Opportunity: Discover how the on-line world works.

If anything, Mills offer new writers a priceless learning lesson in the workings of an on-line publishing world.

From learning the importance of using keywords to the advantages of having a great headline, Mills offer a unique introduction to effective article writing and writing on-line.

Writing for Mills also introduces new writers to the various formats and procedures required to navigate through Mill sites. Registering with sites are just the beginning. Writers must also learn how to claim assignments and following submission and editorial guidelines.

In the end, those who apply to writing Mills may not be able to pay their bills, but they will receive a learning lesson in writing for money.

Some friendly tips and advice every new writer needs to know about Content Mills, Content Farms and Writer’s Mill:

1. Always research any Mill. Look into what others have to say about the subject. Review opinions, both positive and negative. Search the Mill to get an idea of how they function. How many articles are expected to be written? How much time are you willing to put into each article to get the best bang for your time?

2. Don’t be afraid to apply to more than one Mill. If writing for Mills is what you want to do, apply to all those that interest you. There are several writing mills on the Internet. A simple keyword search of list of content mills will hit upon several articles and blog posts listing different writing mills.

3. Always do your best. Regardless if you are writing a blog post for yourself or an article for a Mill, always write as if you were going for a Nobel Prize.


Content Farm, Content Mill, Freelance Writer, Make Money Writing, Payment, Writers Mill, Writing For Money

Meet the author

author avatar Jodi Hughey
Hughey is a writer/publisher of all things meant to support positive mind, body and spirit. Her current projects include writing blog posts, articles and a book for those affected by sexual assault.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
14th Nov 2013 (#)

Very well written and detailed, Jodi, thank you. You ended with a bang - aiming for a Nobel Prize! siva

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author avatar Jodi Hughey
14th Nov 2013 (#)

Thank you for the encouraging words, Siva!

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