How To Escape The Content Mill Cycle

By on August 14, 2020

If you are a new freelance writer, it can be easy to get caught in what is known as the content mill. You worry that your inexperience means that no one will hire you, so you sell yourself short. You accept low paid jobs writing about topics that don't really interest you and put loads of hours and effort in, only to receive a rather measly monthly income to show for it all. This only further fuels your lack of confidence, which means, guess what? You continue to take on low paid jobs, you continue to feel unsuccessful, and you continue to struggle to make ends meet.

So what are the things you can do to break out of the cycle? Here are some helpful tips:

Get into the right mindset

You need to have a bit of self-belief and confidence if you ever hope to escape the content mill. It is a fact that there is interesting, well-paid work out there, and plenty of it too. You have absolutely nothing to lose by applying for those writing gigs that you fear are way out of your league. As soon as you start landing them and reaping the rewards, you'll never look back. Stop selling yourself short, raise your rates, know your worth, and you'll find that clients are much more likely to hire you. If you accept work for next to nothing or give ridiculously low quotes, you'll only get taken advantage of or miss out as clients will think you are 'too good to be true' and assume they'll be delivered shoddy quality work for that amount. 

Drop low-paying clients

If you are going to break out of the content mill, you need to free up your time to find and land much better writing gigs. This means it's time to ditch those low-paying clients in favor of new ones. It's always worth trying to negotiate with them first - tell them you are raising your rates. If they accept that - great. If they balk at the idea - fine, but they can find someone else to do the work as you are moving on to bigger and better things.

Search for the best writing jobs

Take the time to really think about who you want to work for in an ideal world. Once you understand where your interests lie, you can research the clients you'd like to write for. Make a bucket list and then start targeting them. Pitch to big companies who can afford to pay their freelance writers well. If you can find your passion and area of expertise, you'll be able to pitch your services confidently and break free of the content mill once and for all. 

Learn how to market yourself

It is, of course, going to feel scary to put yourself out there. But once you have learned how to do so correctly and start to win those jobs, it will become second nature. Research the name of the right person to contact, write an engaging and compelling letter of introduction, and remember that you need to consistently pitch and market yourself to get a consistent flow of work. You might find you get ignored at first, and you have to tweak your introduction until you start to get results. 

Add value and demonstrate what you are worth

When you start to land better-paying clients, you need to prove yourself. You can do this by producing fantastic work on time. However, if you want to cement this new relationship, make sure that you go over and above, keep lines of communication open, offer one or two rounds of amends and make sure you get the tone and delivery spot on. If you impress your clients, they'll hire you time and time again. 

Remember, clients who understand the value of good content will pay good money for it. Once you know your work's worth, you won't get a terrible case of imposter syndrome every time you charge them. 

So whether you are a newbie freelancer, or have been stuck in the content mill for ages, you now know it doesn't need to be this way forever. Follow the above steps and say goodbye to low paying clients and bring in new, exciting work that pays you what you are worth. 

bethany cadman
Bethany Cadman - bethanycadman.co.uk

About Beth Cadman

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