My Experience with Constant Content (A Work in Progress)

As a freelance writer, my typical work procedure consists of three steps:

  1. Client hires me to write something.
  2. I write and deliver that something.
  3. Client pays me.

Of those three steps, the first one is arguably the most challenging. It can be difficult to attract the right kinds of clients who are willing to compensate fairly and that is why there are a variety of freelance “bidding” sites on the Internet. In an effort to diversify my income sources, I looked into an entirely different kind of site. It’s called Constant Content.

What Is Constant Content?

The main idea behind Constant Content is similar to what you may find with iStockPhoto, Corbis or Getty Images for photographers. Rather than being hired by a specific client to write a specific article on a specific topic, you come up with your own ideas and you write to whatever length you desire. You then upload the article through the Constant Content system, it goes through their wringer and, if approved, it appears in their marketplace for purchase. They do have specific guidelines (e.g., no first-person language), but you’re otherwise free to write whatever you want.

To get a sense of what you can expect, you can have a look at my Constant Content profile page. There are many different categories that you can approach, like recreation or business, with several sub-categories beneath these. There is no real prescribed word count, though it is in your best interest to provide something of substance if you want it to be purchased.

From there, it’s the waiting game. Until some customer comes along to buy your article, you make no money whatsoever. This is just like offering a photo through Corbis or trying to sell a pack of gum at a corner store.

An Article Marketplace

There are some other article marketplaces on the Internet, but many of these can be best described as a race to the bottom. There are writers of questionable quality offering cheap, generally poorly written articles. The difference with the Constant Content marketplace is that they have a team of human editors who go through every submission to ensure it meets or exceeds their quality standards. As such, writers on the site can charge a more appropriate fee.

For instance, I currently have an article up for sale that details some great cheap Vancouver eats. At just under 800 words, I have it priced at $70 for full rights. This means that the buyer can alter and publish article as they see fit. Alternatively, they can purchase “unique” rights for $60 (which allows for exclusive rights, but they cannot change the content) or “usage” rights (which allows for non-exclusive rights and no edits). It’s not high pay, to be sure, but it’s not a pittance and it’s in line with what the other writers are charging on the site.

Making Sales, Receiving Payment

Is Constant Content effective? This is based solely on my own experience, but my first submission was on the subject of restaurant tipping conventions around the world. The full rights were purchased after the article sat in the directory for about a month. As of this writing, I have two approved articles in the marketplace and they have both been there for about a month. I hope to have them sold soon, but you never know about these things. Naturally, the lack of guaranteed payment is worrisome, as it could mean that your article could sit there forever and never get purchased.

That being said, if you are successful with your sales, payment from Constant Content is simple and reliable. They pay via PayPal during the first week of each month, assuming that you’ve reached the $5 minimum threshold. There is no fee associated with having a payment issued, but Constant Content does take a 35% commission from every article sold.

A Viable Income Source?

I would not rely on Constant Content as reliable and predictable source of secondary income. Sales will likely be sporadic at best and you could find yourself “wasting” your time writing articles that never get sold. Depending on your circumstances, you may be better off posting that content on your own blog and generating ad revenue of your own.

That being said, as far as article marketplaces go, Constant Content offers a good system that maintains a relatively high level of quality. You are losing one-third of your sale price, but you are getting in front of a different audience. As a tertiary source of income, it might be a nice place to get some “bonus” money now and then.