Working at Textbroker: Writing Orders

Once you select an order, then you can begin writing it. Click on the order to open it, and then you’ll be presented with something like this:

OrderInstructions

Here you’ll find everything you need to know about the order. The Order ID is the number ID that Textbroker has assigned to the order for internal purposes. (You won’t need to concern yourself with this too much unless you ever have to email support with a question about the order, in which case it can certainly prove helpful to provide the support team with the order ID of the article you have a question about.)

Next is the Client Title. This is the title that the client has given the article. Sometimes the clients want you to use their provided titles as the titles of  the articles you write. In other cases, they might want to you to create your own creative title. Unless the client states otherwise in the instructions (that we’ll get to in a minute), use the client title that’s provided.

The Deadline lets you know when the article is due back to the client. Most articles have a turnaround time of 24 hours, but some might give you as long as 3 days to complete the order before it’s due.

Directly underneath the deadline is the Time Left. This tool’s pretty helpful since it essentially serves as a countdown clock letting you know just how long you have left to write the article before it’ll expire. If you don’t get an article turned into the client before the time left countdown is up, then the article will automatically be removed from your queue and sent back to the open author pool for other authors to claim.

Next, is the Word Count. This lets you know how many words your article has to be. You’re usually given a range of words that your article must fall in before you’ll be able to submit it back to the client. You can go above the suggested word count but not below. Minimum word counts are hard, which means that Textbroker’s system won’t let you return the article to the client until you’ve written the minimum word count. How hard or soft the maximum word count is depends on the client. Some clients don’t mind you going above and beyond the maximum word count to an extent, but others want you to stay within their specifications.

The Current Word Count is self-explanatory: it gives you a word count of how many words you’ve written thus far.

The Current Earnings for This Article is probably what’ll you’ll be more interested in. It’ll show how much your earnings increase with each word that you write, so you can see how much difference there is in writing just the minimum word count and the maximum.

Last is the Client ID and My Note. The client ID is the ID Textbroker assigned to the client. This is actually a useful feature because if you click on the client’s ID, you’ll be taken to the client’s profile where you can sent the client messages, sent a different pay rate for that particular client, see previous orders you’ve written for the client and so on. (All of which we’ll talk about at a later date). The My Note feature is one that I’ve actually never used, but it’s designed so that you can input a note about the order if you see fit. For instance, you might want to add a note if the title has an error in it.

Next is the Keywords section. This is one of the most important parts of the order instructions since it lets you know what keywords you need to use in the article and how many times you need to use them. In fact, Textbroker’s system won’t allow you to submit the article to the client until the keyword requirements are met. You can easily keep track of the keywords you’ve used by clicking on the checkbox in the Manual Keyword Tracking section. Check the box next to ‘Check this order for keywords automatically’ to make Textbroker’s system automatically tally up the keywords for you as you write. Alternatively, you can wait until you’re done writing and then click the ‘Check Keywords Now’ button to check them. I always track them as I go, but it’s a matter of preference.

Sometimes you’ll see “Connecting Words Allowed” in the keywords section, and this basically just means that you can use connecting words when appropriate with keyword phrases to help them fit naturally within the text and make sense. For instance, the keywords for this example are “Miami allergy doctor.” You could also write “allergy doctor in Miami” using “in” as a connecting word, and the phrase would still count towards your keyword count.

Next, you’ll see the Client Briefing, which looks something like this:

ClientBriefing

As if you haven’t already discerned that this section is important, Textbroker draws your attention to it with its ‘Important!’ exclamation heading. Click on the down arrow located next to ‘Show’ to expand the box and show the full client instructions. The specific way the client’s instructions looks depends on the client. Some might offer detailed list style instructions like these, and others might only write a sentence or paragraph or two. Still others (like this one) might include a link to a GoogleDocs file where they have a complete list of their instructions with a style guide and examples. Read all instructions carefully before proceeding to write the order.

If you see anything in the client briefing that violates Textbroker’s terms of service, such as asking for contact with writers outside Textbroker’s system, you can report the briefing. You can also rate the briefing, giving clients who offer clear instructions 5 stars and those who are vague 1 or 2. You don’t have to rate instructions, but it can be helpful for letting clients know how clear their instructions were.

Next is the Text Input space. This is where you’ll do your writing, or rather (if you’re like me) this is where you’ll paste your written content. I prefer to write my article in a word processor like Microsoft Word and then copy and paste the written content into Textbroker when I’m done. The reason for this is because when you write directly into Textbroker’s system, you’re at risk of losing all your work if you accidentally refresh or close the page or if you experience a connection issue. I’ve written articles directly in the system before and then when I clicked to submit them, my internet went out and I lost the articles. Frustrating does not begin to describe it when you lose a 1,000+ word article in such a manner.

Still, if you choose to write directly in Textbroker, the text input field keeps track of your word count as  you write, and there’s a toolbar for formatting text and inputting lists and hyperlinks. You can also click the ‘Save Manually’ button periodically to save your work as you write, but again if there’s a connection issue when you click the button, you’ll be directed to an error page, meaning you’ll lose all your work so far.

When you think you’re done with the article, click the ‘Preview and Submit Text’ button. You’ll be presented with a view of what your article will look like as it’s formatted. If you want to make any revisions, you can click on the ‘Revise’ button, but if you’re satisfied with the text, then simply click the ‘Submit’ button.

If for some reason you decide you don’t want to write the order, you can click on the ‘Cancel’ button to release the order back to the order pool.

Once you’ve submitted the article, then your queue is opened back up to claim another one.

Writing for Textbroker: Claiming Orders

Once you’ve applied for a position as an author at Textbroker and have submitted your sign-up article and gotten accepted, then it’s time to begin writing orders.

When you first log into your Textbroker account, you’ll be presented with the homepage dashboard. The homepage features your profile and numerous tabs running across the top of the screen. Within each tab are links to different places within your account. To begin writing orders, you’ll be concerned with the ‘Assignments’ tab.

To see all the current orders available for you to write, move your mouse cursor over the ‘Assignments’ tab. When you do so, you should see several sub-menus appear below that tab. Click on the first option in the menu, the one that says ‘Show Orders.’

 

order

You’ll be redirected to another screen where there’ll be a list of categories and different numbers under sub-headings for each star rating level. The numbers under each category represent how many available orders are in that category to be written at that moment. For instance, if you see the number ’47’ in the ‘Business’ category under the 4-star column, then that means that there are 47 Business articles currently available to 4-star authors to write.

OrderSelection

Click on the number within the category that you’d like to write about to view a list of all the available orders to choose from.

*Note that you can only select articles up to your star rating level. For instance, if you’re a 4-star author, then you can write 4-star, 3-star and 2-star articles but not 5-star ones. In other words, you can write below your star rating level if you wish, but not above it.*

A list of all the available titles will appear. Click on a title to read the instructions, and then either click the button saying that you want to write the article or click on the back arrow located at the top of Textbroker’s category screen (not the back arrow on your Internet browser).

OrderOverview

When you click on an order title, you automatically lock the title for 10 minutes until you release it by clicking on the orange back arrow or claim it by clicking on the button that says “I Want to Write This Article.” This 10-minute lock is to make it so that no one can claim the article right out from underneath you while you’re reading the order instructions and trying to determine whether or not you’re interested in fulfilling the order.

Within the order headline, you’ll find all information you might possibly need to know (and some that you might not) about the order, such as what the maximum possible earnings are, how many words it needs to be, any keywords you have to use throughout the article, how many times you have to use them, the deadline for completion of the order, the client’s ID number and so on.

When you find an order that you want to write, be sure to claim it. *Please note that Textbroker only allows you to claim one order at a time. This helps prevent authors from claiming tons of orders and not fulfilling them or keeping them from other authors who need work.* 

wanttowrite

Once  you claim an order, then you can proceed on to actually writing it, which we’ll discuss more thoroughly in the next article…Working at Textbroker: Writing Orders

Textbroker: The Best Content Mill

Now that you know a bit about content mills, you’re probably interested in learning more about the different ones out there and which one you should get started with. Although I’ve written for numerous content mills over the years, the one that I’ve personally experienced the most success with is Textbroker. That’s why I took the liberty of naming Textbroker as the best content mill out there, although I’m sure there are other freelancers out there who will beg to differ. For me, though, this is the best writing platform for those who want to earn a steady income from freelance writing.

My Story

Textbroker was the first content mill that I ever joined. I happened upon it back in 2007 when I was in my freshman year of college. Although I had a scholarship that allowed me a bit of extra money to live on throughout the academic year after my tuition was paid, like most college students, I yearned for a bit more extra spending money. I knew that I didn’t have time to devote to a physical job, so I took my job hunt to the World Wide Web.

I stumbled upon Textbroker quite by accident. You see, I was looking for something easy like a data entry job. (Back then, I didn’t really know what data entry was. I thought this meant that I would simply be typing information into an online data form and getting paid tons of money to do it. Haha. Ah, the naivety of youth.) After clicking on all the data entry links that popped up in the search engines only to be redirected to pages that wanted to scam me out of money, I became frustrated. I finally began to search for ways to make money online by writing rather than by data entry, and, lo and behold, this site called Textbroker popped up in the search results.

I quickly read what the site was about and thought, “What the heck?” and submitted my application. The application process was super easy. It merely consisted of filling out a form asking for a bit of basic information and submitting a short writing sample. Back then, you were able to submit a writing sample of anything that you wanted, and I submitted an essay that I had used to get accepted into college entitled How to Write a Five Paragraph Essay.

Within a couple of days, I’d received my acceptance email and a welcome package from Textbroker delivered right to the email address I’d provided them. I was delighted to see that I’d been assigned an initial star rating of 4 (the highest you can get is 5, but nobody scores 5 initially, and you’ll understand why later when I explain Textbroker’s rating system). From that moment onward, I was granted access to Textbroker’s writing platform where I could see all the available orders and select the ones that I wanted to write. I’ve been working at Textbroker on and off ever since.

From Part-Time to Full-Time

At first, Textbroker is somewhere I just worked sporadically. Then, I didn’t work there at all (very rarely at least; I logged in maybe once a year) when I was involved in working for a company called Demand Studios. (Now it’s known as Demand Media, and it’s nothing to what it once was. A crying shame to be sure, but we’ll talk more about Demand Studios in another blog post.) Once my work at Demand Studios began to fizzle out, then I found myself once again turning to Textbroker, and there I’ve stayed ever since. True, I do occasionally write for other content mills, and I’ve amassed a nice following of private clients that I serve directly. It’s kind of interesting that the first writing platform I ever wrote for is the one that ended up standing the test of time.

Textbroker is the place where I made my living for many years (and I still write there), so it can be done. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that you can’t make a living from freelance writing because you can. Textbroker is the content mill that allowed me to do so, and in the upcoming blogs, I’ll be providing you with insider advice and tips on how you can make a living working on Textbroker too. If you have enough determination, willpower and know-how, you can made a modest salary with Textbroker and lead a comfortable life. Plus, since I’ll be providing you with all the information you need to know to do things first the right time you won’t have to go through the learning periods that I did.

Check out Getting Started with Textbroker: Registering as an Author to begin the process of becoming a Textbroker author.