Tuesday, April 16, 2013

How to Freelance without Relying on Content Mills

by Guest Blogger, Chloe Trogden from http://www.collegegrant.net

A lot of freelance writers turn to content mills when they first get their start or when they are facing a dry time and aren't able to get the work they need. While it may be easy to crank out these articles, they don't pay what you need to make a good living as a freelance writer.

If you want to have long-term success as a freelancer without spending hours and hours working for peanuts, you have to find work outside the content mills.
Here are a few tips to help you do that:
  • Create a Professional Website—As a freelance writer, you have to establish a strong online presence. Your website is your professional calling card. It is not only a place to show off your writing, it is also a place to show how much you understand about online marketing and branding. Make sure you have a professional looking site with your best writing samples and information about how to hire you.
  • Make Your Pitch—You don't need to wait until businesses go looking for a freelance writer to get them to hire you. Most businesses don't even know they need a freelance writer, even if their website is floundering. That's where you come in. You can send out an e-mail pitch or make cold calls to businesses in your area or to others you find through online research to try to sell your services. Let businesses know what you can do for them and propose a package of services.
  • Join Exclusive Job Boards—Craig's list and Monster.com are full of ads for freelance writers, but most of the jobs are either work-from-home scams or they pay even less than content mills. However, there are more exclusive job boards that have better filters for the kinds of jobs they promote, and you can find a higher quality of work there. Some examples include the Freelance Writer's Den and MediaBistro.
  • Network—Good old-fashioned networking is one of the best ways to get just about any job. Join meetups in your area, ask for client referrals, and attend local business events in your community. You never know where your next job might come from -- make sure you take advantage of all your contacts and opportunities to connect with new people.

If you want to be successful as a freelance writer, you have to stop working for peanuts and start going after the jobs that pay. Use these tips to help you get away from content mills and start finding the jobs that will propel your freelance career.

Chloe Trogden runs www.CollegeGrant.net, which serves as an up-to-date college guide for thousands of people all over the world. Her leisure activities include camping, swimming and playing her guitar.


  1. Thanks for this helpful info. When we're novices we usually think that ANY writing job is a great writing job.


  2. Great advice. I'm stepping away from the work I've taken with content mills, so this post is timely confirmation. Writing just for a paycheck takes time and energy away from the writing I'm supposed to be doing. Thanks, Chloe and Edie.

  3. Hi, I absolutely agree that establishing gigs outside of content mills is imperative to the overall success of a freelance writer; however, I would like to point out that some content mills do pay quite well. Take for example WriterAccess. I can complete a 300-word blog posting for a client in less than 15 minutes and earn more than $12. That equals out to $48/hour. That's not bad at all. I really wish people would quit bashing content mills. I earn almost $4,000 a month through content mills and only work between 20 to 30 hours a week.

  4. Sorry, Whitney, but $12 to write a blog post is horrible money (I wrote 10 blog posts in the past 12 days, for $500 each). Best thing I ever did for my writing career was ditch 'writing sites' altogether.