Compose.ly enlists freelance writers to create blog articles, white papers, press releases, product descriptions and other content for corporate clients
Expected pay: 10 cents per word
Commissions & fees: NA
Where: Nationwide (remote)
Requirements: over 18; US Citizen; pass a writing proficiency test and produce a writing sample
Compose.ly enlists a stable of freelance writers to produce blog posts, white papers, product descriptions and press releases. The site maintains that its screening process, which includes writing a sample article, filters out all but the top 1% of writers.
How it works
Writers sign up and say what topics they’re comfortable writing about. When projects are available in that area, you decide whether or not to claim them.
A Compose.ly spokesman says that, “writers are expected to familiarize themselves with a client’s brand profile attached to every project, as well as any attached style guides, examples of voice and tone, and any other provided criteria.”
Freelancers are also required to produce “as many revisions as necessary to meet the client’s expectations.”
Pay per word
Given Compose.ly’s apparent high standards and exacting job demands, you’d expect this site’s writers to make serious change. But the rates that Compose.ly pays to freelancers are far lower than what a seasoned writer should expect.
Specifically, writers get 10 cents per word for most articles. Higher rates are only available for rush-jobs and highly complex stories, according to a company spokesman. Even then, the per-word rate is just 14 cents. In other words, if you write a technical article of 1,000 words, you might earn as much as $140. An ordinary 500-word blog post would pay $50.
Writers are given the financial details when they’re invited to claim each project and are paid through PayPal twice a month. On the bright side, writer payments are not contingent on client payment.
There’s also a bit of a Hunger Games process for claiming work. Writers apparently sign up, noting what areas or key words they’re willing to write about. When projects drop with that keyword, you’ve got to be quick to snag it, or you miss out.
If Compose.ly was billing itself as a way to get paid while learning your craft, we’d be a little more accepting. But the skilled writers the site seeks can find much better deals elsewhere.
Writers looking for corporate clients should check out Contently and Skyword. These sites provide much the same service as Compose.ly, but pay better. Also consider ServiceScape, where writers set their own rates.
What their writers say (from Indeed)
What is the best part of working at the company?
Freedom of choice. You get to select the projects you want to work on. What is the most stressful part about working at the company? The content briefs are often extremely vague, while the keywords provided are often inflexible and impossible to use in natural language. And you must use them exactly as provided.
You don’t get raises here, and deadlines are often too rigid. Clients can take forever to close a project that you completed, forcing you to miss the payment deadline which makes it impossible to plan your finances in any meaningful way.
I’ve been writing for Compose.ly since March 2020 and the rate is much better than other freelance gigs. Topics are interesting. Pay is always on time. And the Compose.ly team makes itself available to help you when you have questions or issues. Overall, a really good option for freelancers who are looking to work remotely and are able to manage their time well. But, as other reviews have mentioned, there seems to have been a hiring wave in the late summer so it’s much more competitive than before to claim projects. Some projects are claimed within seconds of being released, which is very frustrating.
I’m an award-winning writer. Thus, I was shocked when Compose.ly informed me that my piece was rejected by an anonymous editor whose only comment was “It’s not what we’re looking for.” I not only followed all the guidelines but submitted a well-written piece, and Compose.ly’s rejection of it appeared justified only by a vague and arbitrary-sounding reason. When I offered this feedback to the company, it suspended my account.
The rates are lower, but still decent if you’re not looking to support yourself. It is a great way to get pocket money for personal projects. Turn around time is tight. Projects claimed before 3pm (PST) are due that night at 9pm; after 3pm, by 9pm the next night.
Projects come and go. I can have 7000 words one week and nothing the two weeks after. Often I don’t get paid until a month after the work is submitted because of the way the pay schedule works. And you don’t actually get much choice in what you write. Because if you don’t accept a project the literal second it comes in, someone else will take it. I have a separate alert set on my phone for just when those emails come in. And I will jump out of a dead sleep to accept those projects on the spot.