If you’ve been searching for freelance writing or editing jobs online lately, then you’ve undoubtedly come across job postings for Patch.com. I did some digging to get the details about Patch.com, so Freelance Writing Gigs readers would know what it’s all about before you decide to apply (or decide to ignore those jobs). Following is what I’ve been able to learn from my research.
Patch.com is owned by AOL and was launched in February 2009 as a way to deliver local news. AOL hopes to build the site to 500 local news sites, but currently, there are only about 50 local sites. Each site is targeted at a town with fewer than 70,000 people. A separate site, Patch.org, was created to cater to under-served, smaller towns. AOL makes money by selling ad space on each local site and a team of advertising sales representatives helps to sell that ad space to local and national advertisers.
Each local site is run by an editor (these are the jobs you’ve been seeing listed online lately). That editor is paid approximately $35,000-$40,000 per year to work full-time (although the hours are undoubtedly far more than 40-per week) and manage all aspects of their local site. The site editor also gets a budget of about $35,000-$40,000 to hire local freelancers to supplement the content on the local site. Typically, a local site employs 6-10 freelance contributors.
Local sites are grouped together in groups of 12 called clusters, which are led by a regional editor (you may have seen some of those jobs online, too) and a regional advertising manager. Usually 12-24 advertising salespeople are assigned to a cluster.
Two clusters grouped together are called a block and all blocks are led by one of four editorial directors and four sales directors. Those directors report to the Patch executives in the headquarters office.
Content is entered into the local Patch sites using a single content management system. Recently, Patch entered into an agreement with 13 journalism schools to form Patch U which will enable students to work with local Patch editors (sometimes more than one student will be assigned to a single local Patch site) to create more content. Patch.com claims that it’s looking for young, enthusiastic local editors such as professionals who have only been out of journalism school for a short time but have the skills and desire to be successful in online publishing and local news.
According to Patch.com editor job postings, the company is looking for the following skills:
- Local Editors: 2+ years of local journalism experience as well as a degree in journalism
- Regional Editors: 4-5 years of management experience and several years of journalism experience
So if the above findings are all accurate, it would seem that the Patch editor job is a legitimate opportunity that will enable you to make more guaranteed money than content sites like Examiner.com might provide. However, it’s a big commitment. On the flip side, you can put “AOL” on your list of clients and in your portfolio, and undoubtedly, Patch.com content will be well-SEO’d to drive traffic and potential links from bigger-named sites.
A full list of open jobs can be found here. If you apply, just be sure to get all the details about requirements and payment before you accept a position. This is still fairly uncharted territory for freelance writers, so proceed with caution. If you do take an editor position with Patch, leave a comment and share your experience!