I have had a couple of stints with “bulk article writing” assignments when I was starting off as a professional writer but I soon realized that there was no real “writing” involved in these. All I needed to do was gather some information on a particular topic or keyword and rephrase the information into easily readable points. The articles did not have to be well-structured, informative or entertaining- they just needed to have a couple of damned keywords planted in practically every sentence. Needless to say, they were soul-draining. There was no room to play around with words, exercise creative faculties or even frame a grammatically gratifying sentence. Despite that, I hung on to the project for a while because I needed to have a few feathers in my cap (if at all you can call it a feather). Just to make some more sense out of it, let me let you how this stuff works. There are people out there (in India and abroad) who own like hundreds of websites. The webmasters (yes, that’s what they are called) catch hold of the cheapest bidder amongst us web-slaves and get us to churn “key-word rich” articles to drive traffic to their websites. Atrocious English, errant sentence structure, plagiarism, spelling mistakes are all acceptable as long as you dish out 15-20 articles in a day! Can a writer actually deliver that without compromising on quality?
Since these are ghost writing projects, i.e. the actual writer’s name thankfully appears nowhere in the byline, people can actually get away with a lot without harming their career prospects. Here, I must add that SEO writing for credible companies (not individuals) can actually be quite rewarding and gratifying since these companies require a certain level of writing expertise, a command over the language and original, high quality content. Sure, the keyword planting exists but you still have scope for some creativity. Also, the pay rates are decent (if not great) and you can always cite yourself as a freelance employee of the company in your resume.
As far as my advice goes, newbie writers should steer clear of individual employers who seem to be hunting for cheap manpower. Realize your worth and don’t sell your skills and talent for peanuts! Moreover, when you engage yourself with low-paying, soul-sapping work, you end up with lesser time to look for and work on better projects. Also, projects of this kind do nothing for personal and professional growth- you will eventually find yourself losing touch with your creative side and of course, the big money will never flow in. Always assess the worth of a project with respect to the following:
• Skills and expertise required
• Time v/s money involved
• How will the experience look on your portfolio or resume?
• How credible is the employer?
• Can this kind of money support your lifestyle? If so, for how long?
• Do you write for extra pocket money or for a living?
Follow your gut feeling and you will never end up feeling exploited or underpaid. There is a lot of dignified work waiting out there!