What is a Content Mill?
A content mill is a company that hires a large number of freelance writers to generate content for other websites. They’re also known as writers’ mills or content farms.
It’s like they’re operating an assembly line of content. They provide low-cost, SEO-optimized content to their clients by appealing to newbie writers or people in need of quick cash. You’ll see content mill company names pop up on many of the freelance writing jobs lists.
Flexing your writing skills at one of these mills usually involves a writing sample submission and a grammar test. Then you’ll be assigned a rating. Some even give you plagiarism training.
Some content mills are notorious for paying low pay to their writers. Imagine spending three hours researching an unfamiliar topic. Then cranking out at least 300 to 500 words for a keyword-dense post for $5. When you do the math, you made less than $.01 per word and $1.67 per hour.
However, the content mills expect you to look on the bright side of receiving a fast payout when you hit the site’s minimum payout threshold. The lure of easy cash traps many in exchange for their ability to form grammatically correct sentences and place a specified keyword throughout the post.
Spending more than an hour researching a topic to write for $.01 or less per word is a waste of your time. Especially, if you spend the time and your writing is rejected. You could’ve watched a good movie. At least, you would’ve enjoyed what you were doing.
I know someone who was writing for a content mill. On one occasion, they spent over two hours researching an unfamiliar topic. After submitting the post, the client rejected the post and told the person to put the blog post job back into the queue. The post could’ve been a travesty of writing or the client could’ve printed the post and lied to avoid paying for the post. The bottom line is the person wasn’t compensated for their time.
Some boast of hacking the system and earning more than the paltry $.01 per word at some of these mills. Once you’ve achieved a high ranking, you’ll get a better selection of topics to write on which cuts down your research time. That’s great. However, you’ve spent this time boosting your rating and still receive pay lower than other freelance writers. You’ve allowed them to trick you into believing that you’re excelling in the writing world when you’re not. They’ve exploited your talent.
Most Content Mills Offer No Verifiable Experience
Writing at most mills is ghostwriting. You don’t get a byline so no one knows you wrote it except the platform you wrote for. Including writing for a mill as writing experience will most likely make a better paying potential client give you the side-eye. However, you have to get some experience from somewhere.
Finding better-paying freelance writing jobs requires you to step outside of the content mill box. Staying at one blocks your potential to earn more from your writing. If you like writing, don’t shortchange yourself.
Not all content mills are soul-sucking, time-wasting, and low-paying entities. However, most appear to be. It’s up to you to determine your worth and value your time. Writing for $.20 to $1 or more per word is a lot better than writing for $.01 or less per word. Think about the topics you choose, the research involved, and what you want to make per hour. Better paying writing jobs exist.