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

Carson Brackney: This is my primary site.

Ad Astra Traffic: Content production/article writing service.

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

Monday, March 20, 2006

All content writers are not created equal...

I stumbled across a blog post today that states:

"Freelance writing is an excellent way to earn money from home. It’s not as difficult as you may think. Persistence pays off. If you can tell a good story and organize your thoughts on paper, you can write. There are several content based websites that hire writers."

The post directs those interested in writing content to check out some of the content-buying sites out there like Associated Content and Constant Content. It also notes that one can set up an account at Elance so that they can bid on content jobs.

The author, Claudine, operates a site providing people with information regarding a variety of online moneymaking ideas. Freelance writing is only one of the areas she mentions. I don't want to make this post look like an attack on Claudine, who is simply attempting to advise her readers about ways they can "kiss debt goodbye." It's just that I have seen this sentiment expressed in a number of locations and it rubs me ever-so-slightly the wrong way.


Telling a good story and being able to organize ideas on paper are essential to writing. However, to be a legitimate and appreciated content writer, one should have some additional skills.

  • One needs to be able to produce readable, grammatically correct material.
  • One should be familiar with content usability concerns and the habits of internet readers.
  • One should have a firm understanding of content-related SEO considerations.
  • One should know how much content of different types they can produce and how long it will take them to get the job done.
  • One should be committed to providing quality customer service, which will require a good understanding of buyers' needs and expectations.
  • Etc.
I look at it this way... I can occasionally win a game of H-O-R-S-E, but you wouldn't want me on the free throw line if the NCAA championship was on the line. I can work a paintbrush, but you wouldn't want to hire me to refinish your Chippendale furniture. Likewise, the ability to construct a few cogent sentences does not make one a credible content provider.

I'd be willing to be that well over 50% of my clients have experienced problems with other content providers. Many of those problems stem from the fact that people who received a few A's on term papers in college or who won a high school short story contest have felt it appropriate to hang up a virtual shingle as a content writer. They have decided that they can do the job without really knowing exactly what that job entails or why it must be done in the first place.

Freelance writing may or may not be a good way to "make money from home." That will depend a great deal on the writer in question. It certainly is a great way to make a living--if you approach it from an appropriate background with a sufficient level of expertise and understanding.

If you are buying content, try to deal with someone who speaks your language and who understands your specific needs. Ask questions to separate the "wanna-be's" and "maybes" from the real thing.

If you are considering becoming a freelance content writer, do your homework. Learn what buyers are doing with the content they buy and why they are doing it. Learn their language and their expectations.