Recently, I posted a 300 word (on the nose, thank you) article about how to write a 300 word article via a loosely fashioned template. That wasn’t so much an exercise in providing advice on writing 300 word posts as a proof of concept in online freelance writing.
You see, many websites, particularly the content mills, are looking for articles. Any articles on just about any topic will do. The point, of course, is to have so many articles that no matter what someone searches on, the site will have an article that matches that search well enough to show up on the first page of search results. If that page should rank #1 on Google search results, so much the better.
However, not even the article directories want content that is obvious junk, and so they have certain minimum requirements for article submissions. One of the common requirements is a minimum length, most which are right around 300 words.
In reality, writing an article with any value or useful content in just 300 words can be pretty tough, because to do so takes an economy of words that only comes with tightly written, precise sentences. Either that, or it requires abandoning either the introduction or the conclusion both of which result in lesser quality writing.
Still, when it comes to making money as a freelance writer writing online, it’s all about generating enough content at a quick enough pace to earn money with your writing. While I do not advocate article directories or content mills as the best option for generating writing income, they can have their place. They also provide a nice source of income for writers who are just starting an online writing business or setting up a small business as a freelance writer. They also are a good option for filling in missing income when a client leaves or stops buying new work temporarily, or for those times when the pipeline just is a little bit less full than you would like.
But, at a pay rate of nothing, or very little, the only way to legitimately make any money by writing for article sites is to crank out articles quickly and that means getting them done in one draft (with proofing of course) and finishing them as fast as possible, preferably right near the minimum length. Of course, for a professional freelance writer would can type at 80 or a 100 words per minute, the difference between 300 words and 400 words isn’t very long.
As a professional freelance writer who cut my teeth writing detailed technical articles, whitepapers, newsletters, and financial plans, it isn’t my default nature to write short, as it were. The concept only really gelled for me as I started seeing articles come in for the Investing Channel at Bright Hub where I am the editor.
It seemed that certain writers always turned in the bare minimum article length which, frankly seemed to produce articles not worth anything. However, when I pressed them for more, and started telling everyone what we were really looking for was some articles with meat on their bones and that meant something closer to 500 words, those authors stopped submitting articles.
I went back through their bios and found their other stuff on the web and realized that either they only produced multiple 300-word articles for many sites, or they had a “real” gig that they wrote for and then dumped off 300-word product on other sites, no doubt to help make ends meet.
Couple that with a conversation I had with a writer I respect who showed me how she actually makes nearly a $1,000 per month in passive residual income based on all the articles she has had published at the various content collection sites (over 3 years worth of articles, so this isn’t a get rich quick scheme) I decided to take a look at getting some content up on those sites as well. In order to keep it from taking away from my more productive, mortgage-paying, work, I have to do it fast, or see my wife and daughter less. (Pass!)
So, the 300-word template was born. Combine the 300-word template with topics that I already know well enough to write them with zero research and you have a formula for being able to push out a serious volume of content.
Now, if only I could stick with the model instead of giving in to my nature to tweak, re-write, fact-check, and generally turn out nothing but top-tier content. 🙂