There are many sides to the content site debate and I understand them all, even if I don’t always agree. One popular argument for the anti-content site contingent is that the writers are unskilled laborers turning out crappy content. While I have seen some cases of truly bad content, I know this isn’t the case for all content writers. Some content sites take great pains to find experienced writers to create quality content, but there are also sites that don’t even check writing samples or credentials before hiring. To generalize and lump every single content writer in the “crappy content” category is wrong and shows ignorance. There are some incredibly talented people writing for content sites.
That doesn’t mean there aren’t writers turning out poor content, either. Because content sites don’t pay on the high end of the spectrum there are writers who don’t feel it worth their while to put out their best results. My problem with this is that they’re only adding to the “hack” writer stereotype and they’re creating to their own bad reputation. Writers who don’t give their best effort will have their names associated with poor writing. A potential client may come upon this and pass.
If content site writers want to avoid the “crappy content mill writer” reputation and show the world they’re indeed capable of putting out quality content, here are some points to consider:
Writing isn’t rewriting
Going through the motions only looks like you’re going through the motions. Don’t put your name on anything unless you’re sure you want potential clients to see it. Your byline should always be above your best work. In this business reputation is everything. Writing and researching doesn’t mean Googling other people’s work and rewriting their stuff. Whether you’re writing for a content site, a magazine or a Fortune 500 client, a thoroughly researched, unique, creative effort is required. Anything else is just copying from other writers. Also, take some time to proofread your work and correct any errors. Don’t give anyone a reason to call you a “hack.”
If the gig isn’t worth the money, find a new gig
The complaint among some content site writers is that the money isn’t enough to give a best effort piece of writing. To that I say, “then find something more worthwhile.” If the money isn’t worth the job, don’t do the job. A content site is a client and clients expect your best. If your best costs more money, then you’re writing for the wrong client. Everything you write is part of your portfolio. It has the ability to be on the web forever. Do you really want people finding your worst work? If you can’t do it for $20, find someone who will pay more.
Working for content sites day in and day out is fine, but it can also lead to burnout. It also puts you in a comfortable spot. The work is always there so you don’t have to troll for gigs, you can count on a regular payment and you don’t have to deal with phones or emails. The problem with this is that it doesn’t necessarily aspire you to go for higher paying markets and goals. Branch out now and then to stay fresh, try something new and jump start your creativity. Take a break from quick content once in a while to try something different. You might find some interesting higher paying markets and use the lower paying stuff to supplement in between.
Fighting for you…
I want you to know I’m on your side and I will always fight for you. However, I can only do so much. If you don’t want people to see you as someone who puts out poor content, put out your best effort every time. Show the naysayers their arguments don’t hold water.