Introduction to WriterAccess
- Website: WriterAccess
I had a great feeling landing on the home page of WriterAccess. After reviewing so many “writer gig” style websites, I was used to low graphics with confusing navigation. Right off the bat I was impressed by:
- Strong graphics & design elements
- The messages on each of its pages is convincing
- Functionality is spot on
- The site is growing and is among the top content creation sites in the nation
But, does this Boston-based site provide paying work for freelancer writers? Maybe. I’ve been waiting for a month to see if I’ve been an accepted writer, though it approval was supposed to happen in a week. As is typical with these sites, there's more focus on finding clients that providing a good experience to their writers, or at least this appears to be the case as I sit outside their walled garden.
Getting Started with WriterAccess
Much of the WriterAccess opening page is dedicated to customers of content, rather than the creators. However, WriterAccess does a bit better than most, by at least allowing us our own top menu item. To access information about writing for the site, select “For Talent” in the top menu bar or talk to the “Wabot” messenger that pops up on the screen.
But when you get to the section for freelance writers, a large amount of content and questions awaits.
Join Our Liberated Workforce
This includes whether you want to join:
- Writing Projects
- Editing Services
- Content Strategy
After selecting writing projects, the focus of this review, I was asked to fill out a number of biographical items:
- Summaries of Experiences
- Short Summary
- Full Summary
- Specialties Industry
- Summary Content
- Type Summary
- W-9 and PayPal information
The next stop was the writing test. Normally, content mill tests are kind of a throw-away item. It takes about a third-grade education to pass most of them.
But WriterAccess’s test is a little scary. The site says questions are not meant to “trick” a prospective writer, but there is a “subtle” “logic” that is meant to help test takers learn and help discern the rating a writer deserves. And “(w)e do not allow re-takes under any circumstances,” the site says. So if you plan to apply, learn from my experience below:
What are my views after the test?
- It was hard. AP test hard.
- Most questions involved rare grammatical or word usage situations.
- Most questions involved writing quandaries writers wouldn’t entertain in the first place.
I kind of imagined a bunch of really smart English majors in a Boston coffee shop to creating the test. I see them trying to one up each other, living up to the standards of town with 35 colleges. I think the aim of the exercise was to create a really hard test that weeds out writers, which it does, and maybe provide test creators with a serving of highbrow pie.
Needless to say I didn’t do very well, about average really, which explains my sarcasm. (Was that the best use of grammar? What would WriterAccess editor say?)
It took me about three hours to finish the test and preliminary items in order to get work. They said they would get back to me in a week or so with a rating based on the test and information submitted. Spoiler alert! They took much longer.
Other Reviews of WriterAccess
Reviews of WriterAccess are mostly positive. Like me, many are impressed with the design and confident money can be made at the site.
Probably the most consistent complaint was the lack of work. According to some, the number of jobs were low and those that arrived in the work queue were quickly snapped up. One complained that if you weren’t a morning person than the site could be a problem. The list of jobs arrive at 5 a.m. and they are gone soon.
This indicated to me that WriterAccess already has full stable of writers, making me question whether it makes sense to even try my hand at this freelance writing gig.
Reviewers said communication with WriterAccess staff was impressive, and that was my finding as well. Although not yet accepted, the staff did answer my pestering queries very promptly.
How WriterAccess Works
Writer are given a rating between two and six stars based on the test and evaluation of the sign-up stage info. The higher the rating, the more money a writer can make:
- 6-star: minimum 7.0-cents per word
- 5-star: minimum 5.6-cents per word
- 4-star: minimum 4.2-cents per word
- 3-star: minimum 2.8-cents per word
- 2-star: minimum 1.4-cents per word
The site has an open queue with available work. But it is not the only queue. Three areas pair clients with writers based on resumes and summaries provided in the sign-up section:
- Casting Calls
- Love lists
Freelancers make proposals for projects in the Casting Calls section. This is a competitive area where clients choose the writer that best fits their needs. That client offers compensation that’s usually higher than the advertised amounts.
Love Lists include the names of freelance writers chosen by clients for doing a good job on other projects, because of the information in the summaries and samples, or by applying for Casting Calls. Being on a Love List does provide exclusivity, but size of list depends on how much love a client wants in his or her stable.
Solos are arrangements between a client and certain freelancer.
A Brief History of WriterAccess
The Boston-based company was started in 2010, without VC capital as they often mention. The company says their focus has always been content and matching talent with the needs of its customers. They also keep up with changes in the marketplace, such as providing analytics tools to help customers know that content is working and providing different content styles.
WriterAccess joined the elite content bandwagon and started conferences in 2015. Conferences are the content mills’ “social media” strategy to prove they are experts in the field. The company has been at it for three years and clearly the event is a highlight.
It was selected as an INC5000 company and is continuing to explore new avenues, such as “psychometric matchmaking” and “expansion of an influencer marketplace.”
These moments in company history are notable. In my opinion, it shows the blueprint of success for a content creation company. I was actually a fan of their blog as well, and there's one post I liked that concentrates on content expectations. It was very informative and pro-writer!
Landing Jobs and Pay at WriterAccess
I didn’t get a job yet. Pay is done through Paypal twice a month, according to the site. An account must have at least $10 before money can be withdrawn.
In general, jobs completed and submitted for pay at the end of the month will be paid between the 7th and 9th of the following month. Those submitted for pay half way through the month, the 15th, will be paid between the 22nd and 24th.
Pros and Cons of WriterAccess
- They know what they are doing.
- They are growing and have a good reputation.
- Pay seems reliable.
- They ask for proof of strong English skills, beyond that of a native speaker.
- Despite the expected level of writing, pay is still low, though not nearly the lowest I've seen
- Getting started can be a daunting task.
- The site can be seen as snobby.
- No byline.
- Possibly already has enough writers.
Would I recommend WriterAccess?
WriterAccess sets a pretty high bar for getting writing gigs.
Their screening process is meant for strong writers who are serious about freelancing. Being demoralized by not doing well on the test or not having a hefty biography can take the steam out of a writer new to freelancing.
Is it worth it given the rather lackluster pay rates? I think yes (with a healthy side of eye-rolling)
WriterAccess is successful and being accepted as a writer means being associated with a venerable brand. The site is also a good place to see where a freelance writer stands. The creators of WriterAccess did their homework and have the apparatus to identify effective content creators.
If I were in the market for content, I would actually trust WriterAccess to provide decent copy.
At the same time, my eye rolling is well deserved. The pay rates promised after the three-plus hours setting up an account may not seem worth it. With their wide moat creating a barrier to entry, I'd expect better pay at the end, but they seem to be in line with many other content producing/selling sites.
Lastly, I am concerned their stable of writers is already full. I recommend you apply for a position here if you have the time, but it wouldn't be my first place to apply, and I wouldn't get my hopes up.
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