Beware the content mill for they know not what they do.
For those that haven’t heard of the term “content mill,” this is a new word used to describe a company, website or operation that hires hardworking writers, pays them low rates and expects quality articles in return. You know you’re applying for a job at a content mill when they require you to participate in a writing assignment. Again, more of your time and valuable words being handed off for free. When an employer doesn’t pay quality rates, the result can be a soul-less article that doesn’t properly sell the product because of a lack of human connection. Naturally, when a writer isn’t paid a fair rate, there is less incentive to hammer out beautiful works of prose that will compel a reader to actually finish reading, let alone purchase the product.
When there isn’t an incentive, writers are less likely to edit their own words and tend to hand off the work which ends up needing more major revisions. At this point, it’s worth hiring a more experienced writer, paying them more, and letting them edit their own work and then go even further. These writers should add all appropriate tags, links and SEO optimization and then post the blogs on WordPress themselves. A fully-functioning jack of all trades writer that wears many hats. That’s worth it.
As a new business owner seeking content writing services, you must be wary of content mills and instead, seek out companies that have a personal relationship with their content creators. Try to imagine the humble Mom and Pop companies versus the big box retailers. The Mom and Pops have a relationship with their community and can cite specific themes that relate to their readers in an emotional way. The idea should be to forge a personal relationship with readers so that they keep coming back, like TV show binge watchers.
Content Mills prey on two select groups:
1) Writers: These writers are hungry for work and might be willing to work for less than what their words are actually worth. These can be fresh out of college writers or anyone looking to build their writing portfolio.
2) Businesses: These particular businesses are in need of a large volume of content and if they go with a content mill, the content will most likely be generic. Content Mills usually don’t specialize in any industry and are more generalist.
In some cases, they will even churn out the same phrases and sentences, recycling ideas for multiple blogs, in what becomes a well oiled ship of general concepts with no real substance. It’s quantity over quality. And because the word count is usually too long, writers will find themselves pounding out obvious statements, drawing them out into long, run-on sentences and being repetitive, repetitive, repetitive, to a point where the sentence trails off into stream of consciousness like we are doing right now in this very sentence. See what we did there?
Freelancers cannot make a comfortable living wage by the discounted rates that these companies offer. They use language like “No experience? No problem!” Whenever you stumble upon this language, just know that they don’t have a budget to properly pay you.
With content mills, writers are expected to heavily dive into a topic with zero experience in that field. The result is what could easily be hours of researching and writing for a blog that will pay them $12 to $15. Writers are often not given any guidance and have to craft 1,500 word blogs using a one-sentence prompt. If you are only making that much for something that takes you several hours, then you are basically getting paid less than minimum wage and it should not be worth your time.
Then comes the tedious revisions process from the client, an entity which the content mill might favor more than the writer who is doing all of the leg work. Adding in that revision time which might include some heavy edits won’t ensure them any more money.
You can’t pretend to be an expert in a topic. Even the most skilled con-artist writer can be called out on their errors. For example, if you are writing law or medical blogs, you better hope you’re in the biz or at least fact checking your run-on sentences.
When seeking out content creators, you want to target those who are CEO experts and the truth about content mills is that they are far from that. Because the quality is low and the content tends to be on the short-form side, it loses that juicy SEO goodness that is vital for your business. The longer the article, the more opportunities for semantic keywords, links and buzzwords. These very important words give Google the head’s up on their relationship to other topics.
Companies rely on mill-generated services because they think it will place them on the #1 spot within Google. The problem therein lies in that need to be placed at the #1 spot. Their goal should be to cultivate a brand with genuine followers. Not fake followers from India bought on hive websites, but followers who are actually in the realm of the business. If you have a construction company, you want to attract other contractors, construction workers or anyone in relatable fields like real estate, brokerages and agents.
At Blurban Planner Co., we find ways to keep our client’s target audiences coming back for more like the TV binge watchers mentioned earlier. How do we achieve this? We do it by honing in on what you love about your industry. If you’re in engineering and tech, we’ll cite specific emotional examples of how tech products have changed lives, with universal themes in a way that will pull at the heart strings of our users. It’s all about finding the story in all things and painting a visceral picture of that story through the power of words. It’s informational prose, blogs that read like novels or short stories and in some cases, poetry. And all of it will be written in a manner that is Search Engine-friendly with all SEO requirements. That is our mission.
You shouldn’t have to write blogs for your own business. You should get busy running your business and leave the blogging up to a professional writer. Now that you know how to avoid content mill writers, you have your standards set high. When you outsource your writing, go with the pro’s and look out for specific red flags. Not only do we offer blogs, but our writers also write social media posts that will further spread your company’s ideals and themes through social media sites like Facebook and Instagram.
We talked about how important editing is. With our editing and proofreading services, you’ll get up to 2 revisions with additional revisions available for purchase, with varying turn around times of between 24-72 hours.
If you’re a business seeking content, don’t settle for the mills. Gather the tools and wisdom you’ve learned in this very piece of content to make decisions on where you want your content from and who it’s written by. If you’re a writer seeking part-time writing work, consider the facts: You won’t get paid much but you will be strengthening your writing skills, flexing your literary muscles and building a portfolio for the future.