A friend of mine (who, incidentally, has a great blog here) recently asked about content writing sites. I realized that I mention them often in passing but haven’t actually defined them in this blog. Basically, content writing sites are sites that are hungry for content–usually text, but sometimes video or other formats as well. They’re usually quite easy to write for, some of them not even requiring an application process. As they view it, the more content they have, the better. With a lot of content, their chances of showing up in search engines are better; more visibility in search engines means more click-through, which means more people will see the ads on the site/purchase the products on the site, which means the site makes more money. Most of these sites offer some sort of payment to writers as incentive, although it’s quite minimal in some cases. Also, there are varying levels of quality control on these sites, with some of them focused on any content, period, while others find it important to maintain credibility. At any rate, content-writing sites make it easier than ever for folks to earn a little money freelancing on the side. Below are some of the content writing sites I’ve explored.
- Associated Content – Associated content lets you write about anything. You can choose upfront payments for content you’re essentially “selling” to them, or click-through based earnings on content you’ve published elsewhere. I’ve tried uploading several pieces from my blogs for click-through based earnings; unfortunately, Associated Content basically accuses me of plagiarizing every time because they do searches and find my content on my blogs, claiming it already exists on the Internet and is not associated with my name. And if content from this blog isn’t associated with my name, I don’t know what is. I’ve basically decided AC is more work than they’re worth.
- Textbroker – Textbroker is a content-writing site that acts as the middle-man between writers and other sites desiring content. You can choose what to write from a list of available topics. The pay is ridiculously low — about $2 per article when you start out, with the potential to earn more. I’ve never bothered to put in the time with those kinds of rates.
- Ehow – Ehow accepts content from anyone, and your earnings are based on how many people view your article. There are no upfront payments. Most of my articles from Demand Studios end up here, but the payment from Demand is better than going directly through Ehow because Demand knows what people are most likely to be searching.
- Suite101 – I’ve never written for Suite101, and most of what I know of them comes from Freelance Home Writer’s blog. In a nutshell, they pay per click, no upfront payments, similar to Associated Content — but with a better reputation for high-quality content. They require an application process and have editors work with their content writers.
- Demand Studios – Like Textbroker, Demand Studios fields content requests from other websites. You can choose from a massive, ever-changing list of topics, with payment usually ranging from $5 to $15 per article. You can also write revenue-share articles for Demand Studios, for which there is no upfront payment but the potential to earn on an article indefinitely over time. (A recent Demand Studios email claimed that the same article that would have earned you $15 upfront will earn you about $80 in revenue share over 5 years. But who can wait that long? That’s why I do a little of both.) Demand Studios requires an application process and has recently become more strict about their content, requiring references for each article and employing fact-checkers. This makes writing for them take a bit longer, but I respect their measures to weed out sloppy content. Because of the upfront payments and variety of topics, Demand Studios is the only site I write for on a regular basis.
- Helium – I’ve only discovered Helium recently, so I haven’t written for them yet, but there are a few things I really like about them. One is that they have different “channels” (topics) you can write for. They pay per click for most articles, although upfront payment seems like an option for their higher-performing writers. The best part about Helium is their marketplace section, where you can submit articles to various providers seeking content for the potential to earn substantially more than you’ll find on other content-writing sites. The competition also seems to be less stiff than at sites like Elance.
There are tons of other content writing sites out there, but these are the ones I have personal experience with. My friend Jenny also has a great post that covers content writing. Doing a search on “write for us” will usually pull up hundreds of sites that want your content.