Stuck on Upwork? Racing to the bottom on Fiverr? Hating life in those freelancer marketplaces? Good news! This post is all about websites that pay better than Upwork and the like.
I want you to get off Upwork, Fiverr, and all those other race-to-the-bottom, pennies-per-word sites. You are worth more! You should charge at least 10 cents per word as a beginner.
The attraction of these sites is that they take away some of the scariness of directly pitching clients–you set up your profile, bid on gigs, and clients come to you. But in exchange, they pay you close to nada. Not cool.
Yet there are websites with a similar setup that will actually pay you what your writing services are worth.
I scoured the web and put together this list of 10 content marketing agencies that “feel” similar to Upwork in a lot of ways, but the pay is loads better. I’ll also give you my evaluation method for any writing gig, and 3 hot leads for agencies to pitch.
Sign Up Directly
ClearVoice — Set up a profile and wait for gigs to come to your email. You can also set an acceptable rate so you aren’t getting approached with junk. Downsides: you have to move fast to apply, and then turnaround time is fast. The plus is that pay is basically immediate. Like Contently, keep your profile relevant and your clips updated.
Compose.ly — There’s an application. Usually you’ll hear back within two weeks. Rates seem good and work is at a decent flow.
Contently — I talk about it a lot. Keyword your profile and keep clips updated. Work can be steady or sporadic, but when it comes, the pay is great. Editing can suck, though. My experiences were client-facing and just awful.
ContentWriters.com — Short blog posts, 1 or 3 day turnaround. Beginner rates are okay for blog posts, press releases, emails, and articles. Avoid social media and white papers (not enough pay).
ExpressWriters — Requires a resume and samples but rates are pretty good.
nDash — Set your own prices. Usually I’m wary of this but nDash has a good reputation. There’s a job board you can browse, and suggestions, too. Uses Stripe, not PayPal. Get your profile verified. Pitch companies directly (lots of info on what they want).
Optimizely — Good reviews, pay is nice. The word on the street is lots of big name clients go there and their editorial team is flexible and respectful. Apply through the website or send an LOI to their editors or recruiters on LinkedIn.
Scripted — Earn over 10 cents per word, a decent starter rate.
Skyword — Set up an account and apply within the platform. Setting up their profile was annoying back in 2014, and my understanding is that it’s still annoying. Rates are across the map. Tons of niches you can explore.
WordAgents — Currently hiring.
How to Evaluate an Agency
To figure out whether an agency is worth your time or not, I recommend doing the following if they don’t outright say how much they pay writers.
- look for how much they charge their clients on their website
- if they post their rates, cut those in half–that’s an approximation of what you could get paid
- look for the turnaround time they promise clients
- decide if the pricing and turnaround time pass your standards
Here are three places I wanted to recommend to you, though you approach them differently than the others. You don’t set up a profile or apply.
You would send a Letter of Intent (LOI) or a pitch. An LOI is like a pitch, but it’s more about “Do you hire freelancers? Here’s what I could contribute,” and less about, “I want to write for you, here’s some ideas.”
An Army of Writers –– Especially if you have a solid niche or advanced degree (use the writer contact form on their website).
ContentPros.io — In their contact form, they have guidance on contacting to write for them.
mcguireeditorial.com — They have a blog post about hiring freelancers, so they’re basically asking to get pitched!
If you have any questions, the best thing you can do is hop into my free Facebook group, the Ink Well Guild.
If you need clips to fill out your writing portfolio, check out Clips Camp. It’s my three-week course for new and advanced-new freelance writers who want to get started with high-paid client work.
If you’re on Upwork or Fiverr and miserable but you haven’t even done anything to get started, Clips Camp is for you.
I teach you how to put together a solid portfolio of writing samples that position you as the kind of awesome writer that awesome clients want to hire. So if you want in on that or you just want more information, go to clipscamp.com and I will see you on the inside!