ECP a.k.a. ShamanicShift (ecp_writes) wrote,
ECP a.k.a. ShamanicShift
ecp_writes

Content farms? Maybe some are factories -- or gardens!

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Why call an enterprise one means to disparage a farm rather than a factory? Farms and factories produce necessities, so neither word carries pejorative connotations for me. A mill grinds grist, so even that sounds potentially helpful.

Because I earn my living producing written content as a freelancer, I choose to chalk it all up as freelance writing. Landing a job as a print media journalist is an old goal I rarely revisit, even during reflective moments. 

Still, I feel discouraged when: I come across a string of articles lumping together and dismissing under the label "content farm" many of the websites that pay me steadily. 
 
Also I feel bummed-out when so-so, sloppy or lousy writing gets published on those pages alongside my work, because I do my best to follow editorial guidelines and often add an original spin. Perusing Examiner.com, the citizen journalist site aiming to become everyone's favorite source for hyper-local news, reviews and information, I still cringe at style errors and other quality lapses I cannot get myself to overlook in otherwise useful, interesting articles.
 
But, I must quit wasting precious moments and energy mulling and moping over discouraging words and trends!

The earning potential at Examiner.com is growing steadily. Furthermore, I understand and enthuse over this company's mission, model and methods, blogged recently in detail.
 
As for Demand Media Studios (DMS), the place most often dismissed disdainfully under the content farm label: DMS offers chances at "real gigs" (as well as lucrative contests and generous grants) to writers who can produce a steady supply (or crop) of eHow blurbs up to their exacting standards -- or insane ones, depending upon the copy editor assigned randomly -- for $7.50 to $15 each for several months running. With DMS's templates and instructions, this is a fill-in-the-blanks task.
 
Citing acceptable references is the trickiest step, where I trip up (or give up) most often. Keeping up with frequent changes in procedures and policies is the second biggest challenge for me. When I visit the DMS forum to read the latest, I find myself drawn into the rants, complaints and horror stories also. The third is finding doable titles to claim quickly enough to make it worthwhile, because these are auto-generated and listed under the wrong headings, and many are simply absurd.
 
Nevertheless, I am amid switching almost all my Squidoo-ing energy over to Examiner and DMS (where I write under a pseudonym because I give up all rights to and control over the articles, yet they link back to my DMS profile). 

Afterthoughts: 
 
Last year I freelance gardened, also. I prefer smaller-scale images of me pacing myself and relaxing while working...planning, planting, and nurturing...then weeding and pruning...and appreciating...and cleaning up. Earning slightly less gardening than I have over the years on some much harder odd-jobs seemed like getting paid to have fun.
 
Earning many smaller amounts from writing the best titles -- with fun or education potential -- on carefully chosen content sites isn't such a blast for me yet. But it does seem like getting paid to avoiding overhead expenses and hassles: cold calling, selling, advertising, conferences, travel, unlimited revising, billing and collecting.

Plus: I learn wondrous facts and figures from researching, though this must be done quickly to keep the process worthwhile.  
 
Related spins:

Demand Media is still thriving post-Panda (by Freakonomics.com)...Content farms are not competing with or hurting journalism (by BusinessInsider.com)...Post-Panda SEO creates lucky losers (by SearchEnginePeople.com)...A laid-off journalist spends a week in Demand (in Columbia Journalism Review).
Tags: citizen journalism, content production, content production success, content sites, demand media studios, demand studios, earn a living producing content, examiner.com, making money online, media
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