Thursday, April 21, 2011

What is a Content Mill?

According to, content mill or writer’s mill is defined as:

“. . . a slang term used by freelance writers and given to a company, website or organization designed to provide cheap website content, usually at a significant profit to themselves, and usually by paying very low rates to writers.”

I find this definition to be harsh. My first paid writing assignment came from a content mill. I worked hard on that assignment! To read “provide cheap website content” is an insult.

I found another definition in a post at which claims that:

A content mill is a site that publishes cheap content. The content is either user-contributed, paid, or a mix of the two. The term content mill is obviously pejorative; the implication being that the content is only published to pump content into search engines, and is typically of low value in terms of quality.”

There is that “cheap content” phrase again. To me, the meaning of content mill is much more than writing content for sites that pay a pittance to writers and who want to rank high on search engine results. I know I try my best to write quality content. It is my goal to educate, stimulate and be as accurate as I can in my writing. But I digress . . .

To define what a content mill is requires a look outside the box. Content mills provide a learning advantage. When I decided to write for the Internet I wasn’t sure how to do it. I had no idea what SEO was or how to do adequate research on the Internet. I learned the value of SEO writing and researching with keywords by writing for a content mill.

Writing for a content mill has expanded my knowledge. Assignments provided through a content mill cover a wide range of subjects. I have done research in areas I never new existed. I have written articles about hair, gardening, business and more. Each article I write I learn something new and I can use this knowledge for future writing.

I would also have to define a content mill as fuel for writing experience. A content mill is like gas for my brain that motivates me to write. Not only have I become more involved with writing but I have become more experienced with different formats and guidelines for articles. In essence, the more I write for a content mill the more writing experience I gain.

Would I recommend a living by solely writing for a content mill? No. But I would recommend giving them a chance. There is a lot to gain: learning advantage, expanding knowledge, writing experience.

Check out this list to see if any of these content mills can benefit you.

How do you define what a content mill is?  Have you had experience working with a content mill that you would like to share? 

Photo provided by Jodi Hughey. Copyright 2011.

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