Tag Archives: freelance writers

It Could Be Worse


So, today has been a struggle writing-wise for me today. I’ve just not been “into it”, and have only accomplished a fraction of what I needed to get done today.

But that’s okay, cuz ya know, sometimes it happens. Sometimes the words just won’t flow. The ideas are stuck…just out of the reach of your fingertips. It’s frustrating, but sometimes it’s part of this life. Not every word you write will be brilliant. Sometimes the things you write will be utter rubbish.

But no matter how bad a writing day you’re having, someone else is having a worse day. And for the really unfortunate, some of the greatest writing guffaws actually make it to print. So, in honor of a lousy writing day, and in the hopes of a better one tomorrow, I offer you “When Headlines Go Wrong” aka “Hey, things could be worse, this could have been YOUR headline.

And because I want to retain my “Snarky” attitude, I’ve included comments. Cuz, that’s how I roll.

Man Kills Self Before Shooting Wife and Daughter (Wait…how does THAT work? Was a seance involved?)

Something Went Wrong in Jet Crash, Expert Says  (Other than the plane crashing, I can’t imagine what else could have gone wrong…)

Police Begin Campaign to Run Down Jaywalkers  (Wow…I guess a ticket just doesn’t cut it any more…)

Miners Refuse to Work after Death (So much for RIP…)
Juvenile Court to Try Shooting Defendant (And what happens if they fail…or succeed?)
War Dims Hope for Peace (Yeah, that’s usually how it works…)
If Strike Isn’t Settled Quickly, It May Last Awhile  (Nothing like a good dose of stating the obvious!)
Cold Wave Linked to Temperatures (Uh huh…)
Enfield ( London ) Couple Slain; Police Suspect Homicide (Nah, it was the Masque of the Red Death)
Red Tape Holds Up New Bridges (Next time, try cement!)
Man Struck By Lightning: Faces Battery Charge (I got nothing for this other than *groan*)
New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group (Big Macs for everyone!)
Astronaut Takes Blame for Gas in Spacecraft (Well, they shouldn’t have pulled his finger!)
Kids Make Nutritious Snacks (Yeah, but they’re quick, crafty and hard to kill…)
Local High School Dropouts Cut in Half  (Well, that’s one way to decrease the dropout rate…)
Chainsaw Massacre all over again! (Wait — it happened before?)
Hospitals are Sued by 7 Foot Doctors (Next – legislation requiring all hospital ceilings be at least 7’1″.)
Typhoon Rips Through Cemetery; Hundreds Dead (So, did that increase or decrease the occupancy?)

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Pros and Cons of Writing for Content Sites


Yesterday I gave a brief lesson on how to write for content sites. Today, I’m going to explain the good points and bad points to working for content sites.

Pro: Content sites are a good way to get started in the writing industry. You have to apply to sites, and you have to provide a writing sample. This can give you an inkling as to whether you have the skills to start a writing career.

Con: It’s not a realistic representation of an actual writing career. Content sites are the very first rung of the ladder that leads to a writing career. There is way more to a writing career than content sites. But that’s a discussion for another blog post.

Pro: They pay quickly. Most content sites pay frequently — many pay weekly, some pay twice a month, but usually, the longest you’ll have to wait for payment is a month.

Con: The pay is low. Freelance writers who write for private clients or magazines make WAY more. Again content sites are a legitimate way to break into the industry, but they are also at the low end of the payment totem pole. You CAN make good money working for content sites, but it takes a lot of work and juggling.

Pro: You’ll get clips that you can use for your portfolio.

Con: The clips might not be impressive to editors in other arenas. Every article you write is not going to be clip worthy — honestly, most articles aren’t clip worthy. Even with all the clips I have from content sites, I only use maybe a dozen or so in my portfolio. Not that the other articles are bad — the ones I use are the most in-depth, researched and well-written. And depending on where the articles are used, editors might be less impressed, even if the article is stellar.

Pro: It’s easy work.

Con: It’s easy work…when you can get it. Lately content sites have taken a hit, thanks to the Panda. There are still plenty of content sites available, and most are still hiring writers, but the competition is increasing and it’s harder to get good titles to write. Not impossible, but harder. Much harder.

Pro: Content sites are reliable pay.

Con: Content sites make you lazy. There, I said it. Writing for content sites — with the quick payments and easy work lull you into a false sense of security. But ask anyone who wrote primarily for Demand or Bright Hub how secure they feel now. Or SEED or Break Studios or, well, you get the point.

So, there they are, the top 5 pros and cons to writing for content sites. As I’ve said previously, I’m not a fan, but I do believe they have their place. However, if you want to make it as a freelance writer, their place in your career should diminish over time. Next week, I’ll explain how you can make that happen.

Thanks for reading! As always, comments and email are welcome!

 

 

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Freelancing — a Primer


It was brought to my attention yesterday that not everyone knows what a Content Site (or Content Mill) is, so I’m going to take the time to explain what a content site is, and the general process of working with one.

A content site is a company that hires freelance writers to write content for them. The content might be used on their personal site(s), or sold to another site or private customer. For example, Demand Media hires freelance writers to write content for sites they own (eHow, Cracked.com, etc.) and for partner sites such as Local.com.

Content site pay varies, but most sites pay between $8 and $20 for an article. Most articles are in the 400-500 word range. You can find a variety of things to write about, from medical conditions to legal articles. Some sites also pay on a revenue sharing platform — for every visit to the website your article generates, you get a share of the profits.

Now, for why some in the writing community refer to these sites as “content mills”. There are two reasons: first the pay is lower for a content mill than it would be if you sold articles in the traditional manner (something I’ll go into in another post). Second, the quality of the articles are not always as high as they could be. Part of this is because of the ease of being accepted to write for the site.

Which leads to my next point — to write for a content site, you apply directly to the site. Each site has a different method they use to approve writers, but most require a potential writer to fill out an application and submit a writing sample. There may be a grammar test involved as well. If your writing sample is acceptable, you’re approved to write for the site, and can select articles that interest you. Once you’ve written the article, you submit it to the site for approval. Some sites use editors who review your work, other sites send work directly to the client and they either approve the article, send the article back for revisions, or reject it. This is another area I will go into in a later post.

If your article is accepted, you get paid. Most sites pay via Paypal, though there are a few who direct deposit pay into your bank account.

And there you have it — a brief explanation into content sites. In my next post, I’ll examine the pros and cons of working for content sites. As always, if you have any questions, leave a comment or shoot me an email.

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