Writers, particularly newbies, often underestimate the importance of their profile when registering with content mills. But it is vitally important to get it right as this could lead you to higher paid work. Clients will see your profile and will be more inclined to steer towards writers that take their profession seriously.
Incomplete profiles and a half-hearted description of your freelance writing business will make it appear this is just a hobby to fill in time. Even if this is the case, Wouldn’t you rather fill in your time with higher paid writing gigs? If you’re not taking your career seriously, fine! But if you want to be seen as a professional writer, it all starts from your registration.
First and foremost, your personal profile. All content mills will ask you to complete a profile. The more you add, the better. Typically you will need to add you name and address to start. Keep your name exactly as it is. Don’t add a nickname or something you think will help you stand out, it will look unprofessional. You exact name is perfectly fine. You address will need to be added but this will not be shown to clients. Only the Country you are located in and possibly your town will be made public. If, of course, you agree to showing your profile public. (A good idea if you want potential clients to find you.) Again, don’t lie about your address because you’re apprehensive about adding personal details on a website. Remember, you are applying for a job and this should be treated the same as any other job application.
Work and education
Education and work experience will be requested. Fill in what you can. Don’t be disheartened because you didn’t take a degree in journalism or English! Whilst formal higher education in a writing related field is advantageous, your current writing skills, life experience and personality will be enough to secure jobs. Again, don’t lie. It’s not worth it! If you have spent the last 10 years working as a dinner lady, great! It means you have experience with children and schools. Maybe your time has been spent on hobbies, raising a family, travelling? The good news with online writing careers is you can come from any previous background and dive straight in. You just need a good grasp of the English language and, of course, a passion for writing!
You may be a little miffed as to why you have been asked for a photograph on your profile. Not everyone agrees to add their photo but I would recommend doing so. Again, it proves you are taking your writing career seriously. You have nothing to hide so why not include a pic of yourself? And do make sure it is of you and you only! A clear head and shoulders photo is sufficient. No need for kids, partners or pets in the background. Keep it professional.
Most, but not all, content mills ask for writing samples. In my opinion, the better mills request samples. You may be asked to provide links to your own work, complete a writing sample there and then, or both.
If you are forwarding your own sample, simply add the link to the article. Keep it on your profile as it will be used for future clients to read. If you are new to content writing and don’t have a sample, my advice is to get writing. You could write an article for Hubpages or Infobarrel and use it as a sample or start writing guest blogs. I’ll do a separate post on guest blogging but basically you write a post for someone else’s blog and, if accepted, they will publish your post and credit you. Do not ever be tempted to forward a ghostwritten sample that you wrote for someone else. Once you have agreed to sign over your work, you can never republish it or use it as yours.
You may be asked to produce a written sample there and then. This may be timed so ensure you have all instructions before you hit the ‘start’ button. It is likely the content mill will give you a choice of subjects to write about and you can bet your life you have no knowledge of any of them! But they’re looking for a researched article. They want to see how you research the topic and turn it in a readable piece of writing. In the best case scenario, you’ll produce a sample that is free from spelling and grammar errors. It will be based on their topic but adds a different perspective or unique twist.
For example, if you were asked to write a sample about ‘iPhones’, the topic of iPhones is very popular. Just about anything to do with iPhones can be found on the internet and your sample is likely to be one of several million posts saying the exact same thing. So chances are, it will never be found. Now, if you research, you may just find a snipped of information that is seldom discussed which allows you to produce a sample around a rare piece of iPhone information. If you know anything about SEO (Search engine optimisation), this too helps. If you don’t, try doing some basic keywords research before you complete any samples.
Sometimes registering with content mills is not enough to get you regular work. You may start from the bottom as a newbie writer and many mills will restrict the jobs available until you have proven yourself. But be patient. Check availability of jobs regularly, keep your profile up-to-date and when you do get work, write to your best ability. Check out my post on writing tips ,