Are Content Mills Worth Writing For?

Most freelance writers are against content mills, at least in public. However, you’ll find plenty of people who are definitely for them. What’s the appeal in this type of gig? Is it even worth it to write for a content mill? I’ve worked a few myself and have a few thoughts on the topic.

What Are Content Mills?

Why is writing for content mills considered such a bad thing? For the most part it’s because these are low quality jobs. You turn them out as fast as possible, with little thought to the quality. The pay is low enough that many freelance writers consider it criminal and only the most desperate will attempt to write for these sites.

Most of the articles are SEO based, with specific keywords to be targeted. Large companies often purchase hundreds of articles at a time, so there is usually quite a bit of work available on a first come, first serve basis.

The Pros of Content Mills

Personally, I don’t think content mills are entirely bad. With that in mind, let’s take a look at some of the pros of these types of sites.

  • There’s always work. You can sign up with multiple sites, so if one runs out, you always have the others. And it’s pretty common to see new orders for hundreds of articles pouring in on a daily basis.
  • They pay fast. Most of the content mills that I’ve seen pay weekly, some even twice a week. That’s about as fast as it can get in the world of writing for websites, so if you need a quick cash fix, then this can be a good way to do it.
  • You don’t have to be an awesome writer. In fact, this is the perfect place to start out! You will learn the ropes of writing for others and can then use that knowledge to expand your writing business.
  • Some pay more. I’ve seen several sites now that offer levels of writers. If you are a decent writer, you can easily move up a tier or two and if you’re really good, you can get top price for your work. This means that you can often reach much more reasonable prices for your work, making it worth your time.

The Cons of Content Mills

Of course, it’s not all peaches and cream. There are some definite down sides to writing for content mills, so keep these in mind.

  • Low prices. This is the number one comment freelancers have about these mass production sites. You could start out as low as $1 for 400 words, which is really not worth it. However, if there is a tier system, it may be worthwhile to take the low paying jobs to move up to a more decent one.
  • Lots of competition. Content mills need to provide content, so they tend to overhire writers. When you have too many writers on a site, the articles will disappear in a flash. That makes it tough to get enough to make it worth hanging out and refreshing the site every minute or two.
  • It may not be great content. Some of the articles are pure spam. If you have any morals, you could end up skipping a lot of assignments that ask you to write about raunchy topics, spam topics and to put a positive spin on a bad product.
  • You’ll burn out. It’s pretty much inevitable. When you have to write 10,000 words a day, just to make $50, you burn out.
  • There is NO creativity. In most cases, you’ll be spitting out articles so fast that you won’t even be trying to add some creativity to your words. This can really ruin your brain for writing for a while, so be careful.
  • You’ll become lazy. It’s so much easier to work on the articles that are right in front of you for a low wage than to go looking for higher paying clients. Yet, you can’t stay in content mills for long without losing all interest in seeking out real gigs that pay much higher.

Only you can decide if it’s worth it for you to work in a content mill. There are pros and cons, so it’s really down to how much you value your writing and how badly you need money. Do you have any content mill experiences to share?