Demand Studios (now renamed to Demand Media Studios) is a work from home job opportunity for writers. Although, judging by the many online criticisms of Demand Studios claiming it to be a scam or having too low of pay, writing for this content mill is not for everyone. Demand Studios is not a scam. A scam would require that the company take money from its writers or never pay its writers. This is not the case, as writers get paid twice a week without fail.
However, to make a decent hourly wage, you do need to be more than a good writer. The ability to conform to DS writing guidelines and research and write quickly on a broad range of topics will allow you to earn $20 an hour or more writing for Demand Studios. This means having the ability to select, research, write, and submit a $15 title (400-500 words) in 45 minutes or less.
Part of ensuring a good hourly wage is to take steps to cut down on rewrites. Editors at DS can send back articles to writers for any reason, whether for clarification or spelling errors. With hundreds of copy editors, you can't avoid all rewrites, but having very few makes writing for DS much more profitable.
Check Grammar and Spelling
Write in MS Word or other word processing software and then copy and paste your articles into the DS article submission forms. In your software set the grammar and spelling checker to check for both and to check for passive sentences. Use this on every article before sending it in. DS does not like passive sentences. Keeping your passive sentences under 20% helps reduce rewrites drastically. Writing in Word also prevents loss of your work and time when the system has a glitch that deletes that work during the submission process.
The title selection process is certainly not writer friendly as they are usually mis-categorized. But, searching for titles to write is part of your hourly wage. So keep a list of keywords so that you can regularly search for in your area of expertise.
Don't choose titles you know nothing about. Do pick titles that know well enough that you could write it without doing research or know exactly where to find the information you need. Use this test when looking at titles-
- For a list article, which requires three items â can you think of two of the three items without looking it up?
- For an about article, which requires five items â can you think of three or four of the five without looking it up?
- Can you write the $15 article in less than an hour?
- Can you write the $7.50 article in less than a half an hour?
- For $5 and $3 articles, you should already have written it in your head by the time you hit the "claim" button.
When to Unclaim a Title
DS allows you to "unclaim" any title if you find you can't write it. If you've spent five minutes researching a title and have yet to find the information you need, then it's time to unclaim that title and move on. Otherwise, this title is going to take you much longer than 45 minutes to write.
Writing Your Intro
Every copy editor (CE) at DS interprets the guidelines in his or her own way. Each one may also interpret the title in his or her own way. In addition, DS wants the introduction to be an overview but not mention what's coming up next in the article. For some, this makes the introduction to hardest part and the reason for many rewrites. Write the introduction as if you are speaking to the editor, giving the information the editor needs to understand why you took the article in a certain direction, history of the topic, or a definition of the topic. Just do not actually say "why" (because DS doesn't like that). Also, use the title in the introduction to help you stay on topic.
For example, if your title calls for a list of kids playroom organization ideas, you can list any three ideas you want. Use the introduction paragraph to explain what the goals of organizing a playroom. Then list ideas that will reach those goals. This helps to prevent editors from questioning why you choose those three particular ideas.
In another example, if your title is "How to Build a Bird House" you'll need to narrow down the topic, as there is any number of types of birdhouses. Use the introduction to explain how "most" backyard birds need a birdhouse of X size. This gives the editor an understanding of why you left out bird Z, because you've included birds A through Y.
Do a quick test of your introduction paragraph to see if it will pass DS guidelines and CE review. Can your introduction stand alone and still make sense? If the answer is yes, then you have a solid introduction (assuming it relates to the title). If the answer is no and it needs the rest of the article for it to make sense then it may cause a rewrite.
Use the Comments Box
If you are in any way relying on your own expertise then tell the Demand Studios editor in the comments box (even if your bio has this information). Explain what your education or experience is that makes you able to write on this subject as an authority. Even if you have five references, something may have slipped in that the CE can't fact check. In these cases, your declaration of expertise will fill in the blanks.
Know that Demand Studios is a Client
Having the right understanding of your relationship with DS will help you work more efficiently. DS is a client; you are selling a product to DS, not telling DS what the company should want to buy. If a CE says to add X to an article then do it (as long as it does not add serious errors) and move on.
Each CE represents what DS wants to buy. And you will find that each CE may have a different opinion of what DS wants to buy. However, if you don't create a product that DS wants to buy, DS will not buy it. Therefore create the product that DS wants, even if that product changes. Spending time arguing with CEs or feeling frustrated with the way DS does things is time spent not making money. It is also time spent criticizing your client directly to the client, which is simply not good business sense.
Know When to Abandon
Writers can also choose to abandon requested rewrites. If you abandon a rewrite you still own all rights to that article since it was never purchased by Demand Media Studios. This means, you can post it or sell it elsewhere. So if a CE wants you to change XYZ and ABC and find five more references for your article, just walk away. You may even make more money selling it through another site.