I thought the content mills had faded away, what with Google’s Panda updates.
It seems not. Sadly. They’re still around.
Here’s how to spot a content mill:
They offer pay “up to $20 per hour” or some other tricky, obscure figure.
(Anytime you see “up to” in a payment rate for a contract, that can mean anything less, including ZERO.)
As I tell SYWON (Sell Your Writing Online Now) members, writing for low-pay sites which advertise is a great way to get your feet wet in Web writing. BUT you must always be aware that if you’re going to write for “exposure”, you do that on YOUR OWN site(s), no one else’s.
So write an article or two for these sites which advertise, but realize that they’re training wheels. They’ll teach you how to use a Web interface; they have nothing else to teach you.
I recently told a new writer how to get started as a ghostwriter on a forum, so I’ll share that process with you.
Here’s how to sell Web content (the stuff you’d write for content mills), from your own site – for better pay rates.
ONE: Set up a site of your own (Use Blogger.com or WordPress.com, both are simple and FREE)
Set up your own site. You can set up a site on either of the free sites above in 60 seconds or less.
TWO: Write some sample articles
Write some articles to show what you can do. Bear in mind that your website’s also a “writing sample”, as is the post you’ve just written. For writers, EVERYTHING is a writing sample.
Before you write your sample articles, decide on an area of specialization. This should be an area you know well. Maybe you know it well because the knowledge is part of your day job, or some other reason.
For example, let’s say you’re a home schooling mom. That would be your specialty.
Or maybe you love to travel. Write about a couple of trips. Travel material sells.
Or maybe you work for an insurance company. Write “insurance for idiots” articles. Any time you have specialized knowledge, general material sells. (If you’re writing about what you do in your day job, be careful not to disclose any proprietary information.)
So, write five articles targeted for a general audience within your area of specialization.
Post the articles on your website as writing samples.
THREE: Next, you need to get some clients
The fastest and best way is to make a list of companies which may need a ghostwriter and pick up the phone.
You’ll get gigs. Out of every 100 calls you make, you’ll get between 5 and 10 gigs.
If you’re nervous, don’t be. You have a skill, and you’re helping people.
You’ll still be nervous after writing just five articles, so you may not have the confidence to cold call.
If this is the case, do some guest blogging. Contact bloggers and offer them a free article with a link back to your site. In the article’s blurb, mention that you’re a new ghostwriter, and offer articles and content at a reasonable rate. (Raise your rates later.)
Writing for content mills can be a start for new writers. However, it’s a writers’ ghetto. Move up and out as soon as you can.
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