Hi. This is an old, unmaintained blog. You may find these sites more to your liking:

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

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Ad Astra Traffic Team: For those who'd like to get writing gigs with Ad Astra.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

$4 content writer revisited...Talking with a "low budget" writer...


After reading my recent interview with Pawan Bahuguna, a "wholesale" supplier of inexpensive content, Anne Wayman decided to find someone who wrote online content at those rates.

She found Mike Siebar, who answered a series of questions on "low end" writing for her. You can read the interview with this $4 article writer at The Golden Pencil.

The interesting part of this whole thing is that I might have approached Pawan differently had I realized he was talking about 250 word pieces. Don't get me wrong, that is still "low budget" but it isn't as bad as I had anticipated (I assumed 500-700 word pieces).

I do enough "front page" content and "direct sales"/copywriting work that I don't spend as much time in those market segments right now, but it's still an income source. It's also a trough to which I will go to feed again, I'm sure.

Depending upon the topic and the buyer expectations, I can make an adequate per hour equivalent from some "low budget" jobs.

However, I enter into the process knowing that there are more lucrative rates available to me and that I am making a conscious decision to spend a few hours to make a reasonable sum and that I am intentionally trading off some of the more enjoyable aspects about writing in exchange for the convenience and ease of the lower paying gigs.

There is an upside, though. I enjoy the challenge of producing meaningful material on a range of topics. There's some masochistic part of me that likes being forced to keep my eyes on the screen and my fingers on the keyboard, working hard. The tight deadlines and substantial output often required by these jobs is also a sure cure for writer's block. The pressure and nature of the jobs teaches one to work without the benefit of a muse on the shoulder.

I'm also making decisions based on the subject matter and my ability to utilize my skill set to produce content at a profitable rate. If the topic is going to require substantial research or has some unique twist that adds to the time required, it won't be a Content Done Better project at a truly "low end" rate.

I think Mike's observations at The Golden Pencil reveal a somewhat different approach. It almost seems as if he is working under the assumption that those are the only opportunities currently available to him. I'm in no position to assess the accuracy of that assumption, of course, but I view these markets differently...

The bottom line is that working for a few cents per word CAN work under the right circumstances and can even be enjoyable if the process matches up with your mind-set. I'll never call a low-cost buyer a "cheeseball bottom feeder." I won't begrudge Pawan for taking $4 article orders. I won't criticize Mike for writing in that market segment. As long as everyone is happily volunteering, understands what they are getting and why they are getting it, and feels good about the results, I am fine with it.

Now, we've talked with an inexpensive content wholesaler and an inexpensive content writer. Guess that means either Anne or I need to dig up an inexpensive content buyer. Now THAT might be an interesting discussion... Their real expectations, why they're comfortable with the rates they offer, why they don't (or can't) offer more, whether they've noticed a dramatic quality differential when they've paid more, etc... Maybe next week.