Many newbies in the freelance writing niche, especially international writers, start looking for the best content mills to write for in an attempt to launch their career. The views about these websites are polar opposites. Some love the easy tasks and the quick monetization opportunities, others are concerned about the minimal payment.
I started my writing career on Helium.com – a website that has unfortunately announced the end of its existence. The payment was two to three dollars per article but in the very beginning, this seemed like such an amazing opportunity. I wrote about topics like relationships and marketing and these topics demanded minimum research. As a result, I got to earn some nice additional income. Later, I moved on to better opportunities and made freelance writing my full-time professional occupation.
People that are excessively critical of content mills forget one important thing – no two websites are alike. Some of the best content mills offer excellent payment and a chance to work with amazing clients while others are simply abusing international writers and forcing them work for pennies.
The following guide is created especially for the needs of beginners in the niche. It will outline the specifics of working for content mills and what it takes to find the best such opportunities for freelance writers.
What are Content Mills?
First things first – what are content mills and why have these websites generated such a heated discussion among freelance writers?
A content mill is defined as a web-based company that “hires” numerous writers to create content for its customers. The company will usually earn some kind of commission for helping freelance writers find work. The same applies to the customers who sign up to use the services of the content mill – they will either have to pay a membership fee or a particular amount for the service.
What is it like writing for content mills? These sites usually have an administrative area where writers log in and look for new projects. The projects are typically distributed on a first-come-first-serve basis. Some of these websites could also have private tasks that are available solely to a particular writer that a customer has enjoyed working with.
Writing for Content Mills: Widespread Criticism
The problem with content mills is that some of the websites that offer high payment are open solely to US writers. International writers, even if they are native English speakers, will have to find other opportunities. Very often, these other opportunities will pay pennies for excessively complex texts that require hours of research.
This review excludes websites that pay writers to create academic documents and essays. Such websites belong to a completely different category and reputable freelance writers will never even think about joining this kind of portal.
Because many writers from developing countries are willing to write for minimal payment (less than one cent per word), many content mills have decreased their pay significantly. These websites are the ones that create the bad reputation of all such writing opportunities. The truth is that various reputable websites accept international writers and provide decent levels of payment.
How to Recognize the Best Content Mills to Write for?
The best content mills have quality standards. These usually have admission tests and sample requirements for the writers that want to join. Writers need to have certain language proficiency in order to be accepted.
Reputable content mills list all of the details and the work conditions. Writers have a clear idea about what they are getting into right from the start. The pay level is announced, there is a writing style guide and an experienced editorial team that assists new writers.
Some of the best content mills to write for have payment of two to seven cents per word, which is acceptable. For some international writers, these figures will look great and they will result in a beautiful sum at the end of the month.
A Few Examples of Good Content Mills to Write for
Content mills should be a part of your strategy but remember that looking for private clients is always the best possibilities. Relying on several sources for income generation will sooner or later result in maximization of the revenue. Still, you should do your research in advance and choose the most reputable websites to work for.
The following list includes some content mills that I have written for and that accept international writer. If you are looking for a good opportunity, you should give these websites a try.
NeedanArticle.com: one of the best places that I still work for. I have numerous private clients there and their projects help me generate a nice sum of additional income each month. The website has an admission test for each of the writing categories. The minimum payment is slightly over one cent per word but many clients pay three to five cents per word for high quality writing.
2019 Update: I no longer write for this website due to several reasons. For a start, the volume of work had been steadily going down for some time. In addition, there were problems with payout delays. Several other team dynamics really discouraged me from continuing to pursue opportunities there. I’m not really confident whether I continue recommending Needanarticle but you’re free to give it a try!
Scriped.com is another excellent content mill that many freelance writers have been happy with. The logic here is slightly different – writers have to create their pitches for each of the topics that customers need content for. If the customer is happy with the suggestion, the writer will get to create the piece. Though the staff and the customers tend to be quite picky, this website offers really good payment.
Textbroker.co.uk is the international version of Textbroker. Upon applying for admission, writers will be given a certain number of stars that give them access to particular jobs. If the rating of a writer increases in the future, that writer will get access to better paying opportunities. Just like in the case of NeedanArticle, clients that are happy with the work of a particular writer will get to submit private orders.
Zerys.com is another website that I have worked for over the past few years. Writers provide information about their fields of specialization and get access to writing projects on the basis of this information. Zerys introduced a change recently that put international writers in unfavorable position – the website gave clients an option to choose whether they want content to be written by US-based or international writers. As a result, the work volume for international writers decreased significantly but a few interesting projects can still be discovered every now and then.
2019 Update: While my Zerys account is still active, I haven’t written for this website in over a year. The volume of work has been going down steadily. This isn’t just my personal complaint, there have been multiple other mentions of similar issues. If you already have an account and you’re receiving work as a favorite writer, chances are that you’re happy with the platform. Don’t bother to make your first moves right now because Zerys isn’t accepting new writers. Even if it did, chances are that you’re not going to land gigs there.
A Few Other Content Mills to Watch for in 2019
Ebyline is a great one to try. While I’ve only had one gig with them, the pay rate was outstanding. This platform has managed to attract some top-notch clients and while the acceptance process for new writers is a serious endeavor, the opportunities justify the effort.
LettemWrite while I haven’t written for this one myself, the premise is interesting. LettemWrite is different from other content mills due to the fact that it features writing competitions. Writers can compete against each other to win contests. When they do, writers also become eligible for direct assignments.
As far as legitimate content mills go, these are the ones I can recommend. Please stay away from academic writing sites if you want to build a serious career. The same applies to websites like Fiverr. Websites that pay next to nothing like iWriter are also to be avoided. Even if you are an international writer and you’re looking for a way to start, there are good possibilities out there. Don’t do work for pennies because you’ll find it very difficult to break out of such a routine.
Content Mills and My Career in 2019
It’s been some time since I’ve written the original article about the best content mills to write for.
Today is February 7, 2019. I’m proud to say that my career no longer involves content mill text creation.
Most of my projects today involve clients I’ve worked with in the past. I continue getting invitations via Upwork and I have the luxury of accepting solely the ones I’m interested in.
Building a freelance writing career does take time and effort. In the beginning, you may have to accept opportunities that aren’t deemed the most lucrative ones out there. As you gain experience and your professional network is strengthened, however, chances are that you’ll benefit from interesting offers and projects that go beyond the scope of what the best content mills to write for have to offer.
Looking for the best content mills to write for? Take your time and do your research. You will otherwise be wasting precious time on websites that do not deserve your effort. Use this as an opportunity to start your career but always remember to diversify your sources of income. To learn more about starting a freelance career, you can visit this page or take a look at my first ebook about making money online.