Using Content Mills To Get Started On Freelance Writing

Freelance writers that choose to begin a career or make money part time with so-called content mills like Textbroker or WriterAccess will literally write for pennies. Many freelancers dismiss these sites as being a waste of their time and talent.

Depending on your individual skills and education, this may be true. However, if you have changed gears in the middle of life or just merely want to supplement an already existing income, these content writing sites may work for you.

The good news is, a few pennies can become more pennies and then dollars with persistence and patience.  Content sites assign levels according to criteria they have established. These criteria may include client ratings, ratings by the company and algorithms.

After your initial application, you are assigned a level or star-rating from two to five with five being reserved for the most adept writers.  The pennies per article increase for writers as their levels increase. This is the first way to earn more money with content site writing.

Increasing Earnings on Textbroker

Textbroker gives feedback and rates writers by levels. The higher the level, the more pennies you earn per word. You are shown assignments for your level and those below, but you do not have access to those assignments for levels above. Writing consistently good articles and heeding the advice of Textbroker’s feedback will get you more stars. Your star rating is based on the average quality of your five most recent submissions.

Textbroker’s current pay ranges from .07 for a level 2 writer to five cents for a level 5 writer. This means a level 5 writer can earn $25 for a 500-word article. To compare, my first freelance job that I got directly from a client paid $40 for 400 words, but I had to write another version  that had to be at another 400 words. (It was a children’s article and I had to write it for two separate reading levels.)

On Textbroker, I  began as a level three writer and advanced to level four pretty quickly. Clients choose the level of writer they want for their projects, paying more  per level of course. I have not made it to level 5, but I am not worried about it. Level four has consistently more assignments and in more categories than the other levels. Besides, being on level five sounds scary.

Another way to earn more with Textbroker is by joining teams. Clients may pick you to be on a team based on work you do for them from the general pool or from your profile. Your profile is the place to showcase your expertise, experience, certifications, and interests.

Expert teams are selected by Textbroker. They will use your profile to place you on teams that are industry specific.  You should list any medical, educational, legal or any other certifications you have on your profile.

Team jobs may or may not pay more per word.  In most cases they do. Writers can also apply for teams by what Textbroker calls Casting Calls. There are hundreds of these.  Each prospective client has their own method for applying. One may require a 300-word sample on a given topic while another may only ask for 50 words explaining your qualifications.

These casting calls are extremely varied. As an example, one current casting call is for a level 5 writer for health-related articles that pays $10.50 per word. Another is looking for a team of writers familiar with the sights and attractions around New York City for $2.34 per word.

Even if a team doesn’t pay more than the usual, it helps to increase your pay in that the work is only made available to you and a few select others. Work in the general pool is up for grabs by thousands of other writers. Also, you are more likely to be interested in the required topics to write on. For example, an NYC native would have little research to do for that team that pays $2.34 per word, lessening the amount of time for completing articles.

Direct Orders is a powerful feature for Textbroker. Clients can send you direct orders (seen by no one but you). You can accept them or decline, and you can set your price, keeping in mind that Textbroker must have a percentage of the pay. I have only had direct orders from one client so far, but that one client sent me a great deal of work.  It was all for one related theme, making the work go faster as I became more accustomed to the format and content required.

Increasing Earnings on WriterAccess

WriterAccess pays more than Textbroker, but they normally have less work available. It seems to come in spurts. I also started out here as a 3-star writer, advancing to 4-stars at about the same time that I did for Textbroker.

WriterAccess does not give feedback directly to the writer in the form of annotations and awarding each piece of work a number of stars as Textbroker does. They raise or lower your star level based on an algorithm that includes client reviews of met my expectations, exceeded my expectations or did not meet my expectations.

Rather than teams, WriterAccess has what is known as Love Lists. As with Textbroker, clients can add you to their love list by your profile or by your work.  Assignment choices are only visible to a selection of writers. Again, this makes it easier to get something that you are interested in writing about.

Getting on a few clients’ love lists helped me to increase by earnings at WriterAccess. Clients pay for articles on WriterAccess in tiers based on several factors, so being on a few clients with these deluxe accounts can really help.

Instead of Direct Orders, WriterAccess awards Solo Orders to writers that clients request. They will also recommend you to clients based on your industry and/or portfolio samples in your profile.

WriterAccess also has Casting Calls to apply for work that appeals to you. As any writer knows, it is always easier and faster to write about subjects you know about and are interested in.

Getting the Most out of Writing for Content Sites

For me, writing for content sites is supplemental.  That is because I want to have time to work on my own writing.  I am living tighter and working smarter. I have learned to only choose what I really find easy for me as an individual to write.

I don’t pick anything that is going to require a lot of research. Content site writing is basically ghostwriting, it will not have your name on it.   I have actually taken some of the topics these kind folks send out to create a blog on my own site.  This may prove to be another way to increase my earnings as it may help to send traffic and work my way.

Writing content on your own site and freelancing directly for clients eliminates the middle man, which is just what these content sites are. However, Textbroker and WriterAccess have both proven to help me get started down the path of being a writer.

If you are new to this type of writing or thinking of starting, you will find that putting some time and effort into your work ,in the beginning, will pay off for you down the road.  Both sites pay through Paypal and it is always nice to have a little extra jingle in your pocket.

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