This new breed of writing has caused quite a stir among other, more experienced, freelance writers. Although not all online content writers lack skill, the increased acceptance of poor quality articles for low pay has affected the more experienced and skilled writers who are making a living from their talent. A freelance writer, Jessica, who writes for printed media such as local newspaper companies as well as online content, shared an insight to the effect of low wage online workers to her career and told how there is value to be had in the low wage work offered online.
Jessica has been writing for a variety of print mediums for over ten years. For some time she was a full-time reporter covering urgent news such as fires, plane crashes and natural disasters. However, although Jessica enjoyed the excitement of being a reporter, she had a hard time making the full-time schedule work with her personal life. Jessica is a mother of two elementary age boys and attends Indiana University East full-time. Therefore, she has found freelance writing to be the most beneficial for her and her family. However, although freelancing allows for greater flexibility, it also has its downsides.
Freelance writers are essentially self-employed. They often must seek out work to establish themselves. Clients then may return for more work to be completed. Sometimes, writers are even sought out by clients, familiar with their work, for special projects. Jessica currently does freelance writing for a variety of clients ranging from the Connersville News Examiner and The Brooklyn Democrat to the online Yahoo! Contributing Network- to name a few. However, as a freelance writer, Jessica has found she has to sell herself as well as her skill. This has meant that she has educated herself in the field of photography to have a better and more extensive range of work to offer. Unfortunately, freelancing also means she is in competition with many other writers. This has become especially abundant since freelance writers have turned to the internet to find work. There, writers must compete with everyone in the virtual global space of the internet. The competition is stiff and more and more people are willing to receive a low pay to win client’s work.
Online content writing has become a very popular form of writing in recent years. When considering that as of June 30th, 2010 there were nearly two billion online users around the world, it is no wonder companies need writers to produce content for web surfers to view. When majority of people are faced with a question or problem they first turn to the internet for answers. There are billions of websites on the World Wide Web and that number is increasing every minute. So, someone must be doing a lot of writing. It is obvious that would mean every page created online is not done so by qualified and experienced people in the field of the subject matter. In fact, anyone using the internet as a resource for reports or term papers knows quite well that not all the information online is reliable. This is because the people writing online content are often looking for a quick buck and have little or no experience with the subject matter and lack skill. While it is true you get what you pay for, people seeking articles for their webpages are often working on a tight budget. Therefore, people with little or no skill will write articles for websites at very little pay. This has caused an upset among many freelance writers. The rate of pay clients use to compensate their writers has dropped drastically and the low quality of work has given the title of “writer” a bad name. Jessica is all too aware of this debate and has been affected by it personally.
Jessica said she has found the toughest part of being a freelance writer has been “finding work that pays well…work is plentiful online, but the pay stinks.” She said, “Real world jobs pay great but are hard to find.” First, it is obvious now why online work pay is low. She is forced to compete with thousands of people from all over the world. This has driven the cost down “a bit like outsourcing to China. Why pay someone $13 an hour plus benefits when you can get someone to do it for 50 cents?” says Jessica. Now, in regards to her lack of “real world jobs” to bid for, it is likely because many of the jobs that would be “real world jobs” are becoming online jobs. Businesses are more commonly turning to online content mills, as they are often referred to in the field. While the lack of pay and low wages is an issue to Jessica, she is not concerned by the other issues some freelancers are perturbed by. The lack of professional skill found in online content has given the title a bad name. Many professional and talented freelancers are struggling to avoid being lumped into the category of a typical online content writer without experience. Jessica however, does not worry for the most part. She lets her work speak for itself. She even feels it is “great that there is an opportunity for people of all abilities to have the opportunity to both write and make some money”. While this new breed, called online content writers, may include people who have little or no talent or skills, they are becoming the people many internet users are turning to for information. While it has clearly affected the common freelance writer, by lowering wages and creating a lack of fair paying jobs, it has given many people the opportunity to make a living from home. Online content writing is an ever evolving field however. With possible changes by search engine giant Google many websites may begin looking for writers with more talent. Because Google desires quality search results, websites lacking valuable content may begin to lose their Google placement, or ranking, of how close to the first page of Google search results their site lands. In an effort to keep traffic, it is possible online content mills and website developers, with a limited budget, will begin acknowledging the importance of skilled writing over simply filling space with keyword infused article. Freelance writers like Jessica may soon also be turning to clients online for well-paying jobs as companies may begin seeking quality over quantity.