Can You Ever Really Spin an Article?

A lot of newcomers to freelance writing have asked me whether the article spinning projects are a good idea. They are easy to get and they generally represent ongoing work – or at least that’s the argument.

And to be honest, I completely understand the attraction. When you’ve been writing for a few weeks and cannot get enough work to feed your family, let alone pay the bills, anything starts to look attractive. But, before you honestly consider taking on “rewrites” or “spinning” projects, consider a few things.

  1. Your Time Investment – The argument most clients use here is that rewriting takes less time than original content. This is sometimes true, especially if it’s a research heavy topic. But, a good rewrite still takes a lot of effort. You cannot simply rewrite every line and call it new. It won’t flow, nor will it provide anything useful to the reader.
  2. Who Owns that Article – Then there is the legal issue of who actually owns that article. If the article is not owned by your client, rewriting it is copyright infringement – a serious legal issue. Never rewrite content unless your client owns the original copy and you’re confident you can create an original piece of work.
  3. Can You Really Live Off that Much? – This is the big one. Sure, it’s steady work, but can you live off $2 an article. Most people can’t. I don’t care if your cost of living is a quarter of someone who lives in the big city, you need to make at least minimum wage doing what you do, and $2 isn’t going to get the job done.

Of course, I know the realities of this business. When you first get started, it takes samples and practice to get anyone who will pay for original content interested in your work. I’ve talked about how Micropay can help, and I’ve also talked about how to start raising your rates when you get underway, but those first few weeks are brutal.

But, for your own sake and for the sake of the content quality on the Internet, avoid rewrites as much as possible. They are generally used for spamming or keyword stuffing, may present a copyright issue, and don’t pay very well. Plus, having them in your portfolio rarely looks good.

Do what you need to get started (within reason), but once you’re started, seek out work you can be proud of. It may make things tougher for a short while, but the pride you feel in what you write will counteract that nicely.

About chatfielda

Thanks for reading my blog! I've been in the digital marketing industry since graduating college in 2006 as a writer and strategist. I have an incredible family, a son with more energy than I can fathom, and an undying love for baseball and board games.
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