The Purpose of Content Mills in the Writing Ecosystem

If you’re an experienced writer, or know someone who is, you’ve probably heard the term “Content Mill.”  These places are about as bad as you’d imagine, with the worst working conditions possible.  They’re polluted (filled with shit assignments), dark (creating feelings of hopelessness) and dangerous (random editors committing randomly stupid edits).  Despite this, they’re a good place to get experience in this darkly digital age.

You simply cannot go out into the world of freelancing and assume everyone is going to think your ass smells like candy.  You’ve got to hone your skill somewhere, even if it’s against a crude stone like the content mills.  So, in this day and age, writing apprenticeships have morphed into grinding out copy about ethereal topics like sailboats, crotch mites and different lengths of wire all day long until you want to cry.  Isn’t that nice?

The good news is that once you’ve built up a decent portfolio of crotch mite material, you can demonstrate your experience in a niche, go out and get some clients and live happily ever after.  But you have to start at the bottom, scraping the older, better writers’ sewage up out of the tunnels.  Sorry.

Some Currently Active Content Mills

Go ahead, get your feet wet.  You’ll love it.

Check out these sites to get your writing career started:

BlogMutt:  You’ll write blogs based on keywords and verticals, starting at $8 per article.  It’s measly work, but the owner runs a tight ship and doesn’t fuck around.  As you write more articles, you’ll earn the opportunity to make more money per piece.  I hear that the highest level writers can also get an ownership stake, though I don’t know if that’s true.

Writer Access:  Apply for casting calls and keep your eye on the work queue and you stand to make a decent living.  Otherwise, this place will feel like a desert.  Every time I check in, it’s because I got an email about assignments that have already been snatched up.  Proceed with caution.

Textbroker:  A good place to get started, TB has a lot of different types of assignments, some with better instructions than others.  Throw anything back you don’t understand or ask a more experienced writer for advice.  Also, they have a problem with virtual W9s, so you’ll have to submit a paper one.  Ancient technology, but it’s work.

Interact Media / Zerys:  You’ll become a master of writing short test blogs on the spot, since that’s what’s required to gain access to various parts of the system.  Don’t get lazy and skip parts of the application, do it all and write all the things!  As you open up more areas, more opportunities will present themselves.  Think of it as questing for writers.

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