Content Writing Experiment: Week 1 Numbers

Keep in mind that I will be putting all of these numbers into an Excel sheet + providing screenshots of all my PayPal stubs and otherwise at the end of the experiment. These lists for now are simply my daily journal as I make my way through the writing experiment. Each week will be posted once I have 5 days of writing completed (today was day 8). Each journal entry was written at the end of each session, with -added notes being attached as necessary.

Week one was actually spread out over 2 weeks, because we ended up going on vacation from Thursday to Sunday, so I only had 3 days to work for that “work week”, then added two days of last week to get 5 working days. I have a very non-traditional work schedule. I don’t work Monday through Friday. We take a lot of trips, and we go out of town a lot. Sometimes I get 2 work days in during a week, other times I get 5 or 6. Sometimes my work week is Friday through Monday, other times it’s traditional Monday through Friday. As such, my “work weeks” as being tracked in this experiment do not always fall on certain days.

The one thing that does stay the same, however, is each “week” will include 5 days of writing roughly 2 hours each day. Some days it’s 1.5 hours, some days it creeps close to 2.5 hours. At the end of each week, I track the time invested versus the money earned and come up with a per-hour figure.

Please note I do not equate words or articles per hour to money per hour. I am strictly looking at the time invested. That means how much time I was actively pursuing the project during that particular session. Time = money in my equation, not anything else.

Here’s Week 1 of the project. Enjoy!

Day 1:

Rusty. Haven’t used Demand Studio’s style sheet in awhile. Took me about an hour to write the first article, considering they’ve updated their style sheets, guidelines, and requirements since the last time I used them. If this were my very first time using Demand Studios, I might have to factor in a day or two simply reading through everything and learning the system.

Spent 10 minutes browsing through my keywords, familiarizing myself with things. Picked 6 articles.

Total time spent on first day was 1 hour, 45 minutes. 3 of the articles were accepted within that period of time. One was a request for rewrite based upon one of the steps needing additional clarification. The fix took all of 10 seconds (add a sentence) and it went back in. Was accepted in under 5 minutes. Two others are still waiting review.

Since I’m working in a very specific niche, there are certain elements that will remain the same throughout each and every article. I am an expert in this field, I don’t have to research, and I am not required to give references. I have a formal declaration stating my experience which I copy/paste into each article, freeing me up from writing that section.

Considering the first hour was taken up by re-acquainting myself with the system, and the fact that I wrote the other 5 articles in 45 minutes, we will assume one article every 10 minutes now that I have my flow back. 10 minutes for keyword searching, 60 minutes for the article writing, and let’s just throw in 20 minutes for any editing that might be required. That’s roughly 1.5 hours worth of work for 90 dollars.

Also wrote 3 articles @ 10 dollars apiece, 300 words each. 30 dollars. 30 minutes. This is for another client, but the work is very similar to Demand Studios in that they are 300-400 word articles. My weekly agenda is 15 per week, but I spread them out and do 3 a day. They take about 30 minutes each time.

-added. Other 2 articles were approved within 2 hours of being written.

Day 2:

Keyword search at Demand Studios: 5 minutes. Another 6 articles picked. Start time: 11:15 a.m.

Finish time, 1:10 p.m., with a roughly 30 minute lunch break included. Total time writing, 1.5 hours, roughly.

Also had 30 minutes of 300 word articles x3, @ 10 apiece for 30 dollars.

-added. One article requested for rewrite, regarding details in the tips section that CE wanted moved to Steps section. Changes took 45 seconds.

-added. All articles accepted within 24 hours.

Day 3:

Skipped writing for Demand Studios to focus on client work. This is the client who needs 300 word articles at 10 dollars apiece. For intents and purposes, this is same as Demand Studios in terms of word count. Articles do not require more than a skim-read of 3-4 websites to pull the blurb information. 9 articles in less than 2 hours. Was spending time yapping with my wife in between each article, as she was on the couch. Had enough time left over to write a 10th, but that was the client’s needs for the week. (If this was through Demand Studios it would have been 150 dollars worth of work, or 75 dollars an hour)

What is interesting to note is how much the style sheet at Demand Studios slows me down. When I am allowed to simply open up a Word document and start typing, things go much quicker. With Demand Studios I am forced to adhere to a style sheet, and change my style depending on whether or not the article is a How To, About, Strategy, or otherwise. This is definitely a con of working through Demand Studios. If I were able to remove the style requirements, and just write, for the same amount of money, it would be much faster, and much more profitable. However, as you can see from the point of this experiment, words-per-hour do not = rate of pay. Time itself is the factor. 2 hours a day, that’s the goal. Whatever I get done in those 2 hours is the point.

I would like to point out that Demand Studios has some really frickin’ stringent requirements for references and citations. Content-site haters who claim that Demand Studios publishes hack content have zero clue what they are talking about, because you are bound to the letter to cite credible references, and everything is checked over. If I were writing about topics I did not know, and was forced to research topics…this could seriously slow me down. I’ve heard some people saying that they can only write 1-2 Demand Studios articles per hour. If you are forced to research your topics + reference back to everything and have it checked for authenticity…I can totally see only making 15-30 dollars an hour. Which, btw, is still far more than the minimum wage claim that traditional content site haters like to make.

Day 4:

5 minutes searching for keywords for 6 articles. First three articles written in 45 minutes. 1 rewrite request for additional details. 30 seconds to rewrite; article accepted within 2 hours. Had a lot of other stuff to do today with my wife and the spec-fic zine, so cut an hour out of my content writing schedule to focus on other projects.

Also did my daily 3 articles, 300 words, 10 dollars each. 30 minutes. 30 dollars.

Day 5:

Today I wanted to take a look at a non-Demand Studios content mill. They pay significantly less than Demand Studios. For this particular project the articles pay 8 dollars per 500 words. That sounds rather poor at first…until you consider the fact that the project came with links and the research already completed. My only job is to click the link, rewrite the content, and send it off.

For this particular project it is a series of medical articles. Each link sends me to a professional medical journal. I am required to cite the sources, including the doctors and facilities where the research is being completed. In essence, all I am doing is telling people about the research done at place X by doctor Y.

5 articles written in just at an hour. 40 dollars

Also spent 30 minutes writing three 300 word articles for 10 dollars apiece. 30 dollars.

45 minutes spent writing 3 Demand Studios articles. 45 dollars

Assuming some time for editing in there, that’s about 2.5 hours of work.

Average was 51.1 dollars per hour, or over 50 dollars per hour.

I’m making significantly more using primarily Demand Studios than any other content site. Ironically enough, Demand Studios is the only one which has a style sheet requirement; the other sites require only Word documents. I’m putting out far more words per hour writing for non-Demand sources, but getting paid less than when I use Demand Studios only. Something to keep in mind for all those people who claim Demand Studios is such a haven for low-paying work. So far my research is showing directly the opposite. Demand Studios actually appears to be one of the best paying on the market, if not the best paying.

End of week 1

At the end of week one I have invested roughly 9.25 hours of time for $550.00.

No administrative duties. No cold calls. No e-mails. Maybe 2 minutes of rewrites out of the entire batch (at most). No time spent querying and waiting. No time spent marketing myself. No time spent waiting on a paycheck. No time spent going to the bank, standing in line, cashing the check, then waiting 2-3 days for the check to clear.

The 300 word article client pays me once every 2 weeks, via PayPal. Demand Studios twice a week, via PayPal. The other content site pays a month in arrears; I submit an invoice at the end of the month and get paid 30 days later. No muss, no fuss, just bing, bang, bucks.

Average hourly rate for this week in the experiment: $59.6 USD per hour.

What is interesting to me is I spent about half my time doing non-Demand Studios work, some of which paid significantly less, yet I put out more words per hour on those projects than I did with Demand Studios. At no point in the experiment for week one did I drop below 40 dollars an hour; in some cases I made 75 dollars an hour, but the average was 59.5 dollars an hour. I’m going to round up and call that 60 dollars an hour, which is well ahead of the projected 50 dollars an hour the experiment was aiming for.

Stay tuned for Week 2 sometime in the next week or so!

T.W. Anderson is the founder of Complete Writing Solutions, and is a freelance writer specializing in travel writing, website content, interior design and home improvement, green-related topics, as well as anything else potential clients need him to be.

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