Why Is It So Bad to Work for Content Mills?


QuestionI found the search string, “Why is it so bad to work for content mills,” while studying Big Grey Horse Media’s Google Analytics page. I felt immediate compassion for the unknown person out there, searching for the answers to this question.

Course, then I was compelled to write!


Why Is It So Bad To Work For Content Mills?

The short answer would be to read and study my prior articles about what it’s like working for a content mill. I’ve summed it up pretty nicely, and you can take my experience as a content mill worker and as someone who has private clients.

Content Mills Got You Down? Research, Query, Write!

Building a Successful Business: Content Mills vs. Private Clients

If you want the longer answer, read on.

Here’s the deal. It’s only bad to work for content mills if you think it’s bad to work for the mills. What I’ve seen happen, in the majority of cases, is writers either 1) burn out or 2) find other ways to write and make money. I’d say the rest of the people continue to write for one or more content mills. These folks make it work for them.

I’m part of a writing group that includes folks who write for content mills. I also look at discussions about the mills in several writers’ forums, and I glean information that way, too. Some of the people I know have written for one mill or another for years. I hear continuous complaints about working for content mills.

And that’s the problem.

In my opinion, one of the worst reasons to sink everything you’ve got into one or two content mills is that they close! Yep. In Angrythe blink of an eye, an intense Google crackdown of online crap can and will obliterate the mill’s places in the SERPS. Google crackdowns do the same thing to the mill’s clients’ sites who have nothing but keyword-stuffed, written on the fly nonsense.

Or it could be that the mill has no more work. I’ve written for mills that were great the first year (i.e., plenty of work, decent pay for a mill) but then the business model changed, and presto! No more work. Or the projects that are left pay less but ask for more work on the part of the writer.

Another reason I don’t suggest working for a mill is the inconsistency in editing. It seems that content mills hire editors the same way writers are hired. A group of people edit hundreds or thousands of articles daily. While the editors always have a in-house editorial standard to uphold, there’s always inconsistency in how the editors approach the overall process. This can be confusing to writers, especially new writers, and irritating as hell to seasoned writers.

Ranting, Bitching, and Griping

I understand the need to vent negativity. I understand the need to express how I feel and to get rid of emotion that doesn’t serve me. But ranting, bitching, and griping online? Maybe one, maybe twice, but after that, if the mill isn’t serving your needs, it probably is time to move on to greener pastures. It amazes me how folks can continue to gripe about a content mill, for whatever reason, yet show up the next day and expect things to be different.

Why Do I Think Content Mills Are Bad?

Actually, I don’t think content mills are bad. If you want to write for a mill, that’s your business. And truly, I don’t think mills are inherently bad. All a content mill is doing is making money like the rest of us.

IdeaWhat makes a mill bad is how writers perceive the mill. Which plays back into the loop I’ve already described.

I’ve never seen anyone get rich from a mill. And I’ve seen plenty of people go into the mills foolishly thinking it’s a job, or something secure, or a way to pay the bills consistently.

Remember this and you will be okay:

  1. Content mills do not have your best interests at heart. A mill is a business. They are serving their clients, and you are not their client.
  2. You have your best interests at heart. You are your business. Serve yourself and don’t make stupid choices.
  3. Never put your heart and soul into one income source. And if you don’t know why you shouldn’t do that, then you probably need to be someone’s employee. If you do take the gamble of only one income source, make sure your plan is a good one.
  4. Be smart. Take care of yourself. No one is going to take better care of you than YOU.


If you’d like to talk about your goals, if you need support, or want someone to help you get started, contact me. I help writers set goals, get busy with marketing, and reach their dreams.

Images courtesy of HubSpot.


About Laura Townshend 91 Articles
Laura's a native Texan. Besides loving Texas and horses, she's a marketing consultant, writer, and blogger who lives in the western Hill Country of Central Texas with her husband, their daughter, and a bunch of dogs and cats. Reach her at

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