Demand Media Studios

You will find all the posts that relate to Demand Media Studios in this section.

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Demand Studios — Getting Hired — Part I

I’ve seen a lot of discussion online about writers having trouble getting accepted to Demand Studios, now officially called Demand Media Studios (DMS).

For those of you struggling, I thought I’d create content to help you get hired by DMS. This is the first of a series of posts on the topic.

You don’t have to already be a professional writer to be hired by DMS. You also don’t have to have a ready-made portfolio of work; although, it helps. You DO have to create a compelling writing sample that you submit when applying to DMS.

What do I mean by compelling? Merriam-Webster online defines it as:

  • forceful
  • demanding attention
  • convincing

If you are intuitive and clever enough, you can create compelling content about cleaning toe jam out from between your toes or picking up after your dog’s dooty accident.

Before you put pen to paper, peruse through eHow.com or About.com articles. To check out what I’ve written for DMS, visit my eHow.com profile . You’ll find my bio with links to a number of featured articles.

Basically, this is the kind of content DMS uses for eHow.com articles. You may have the ability to write even more compelling content.

When looking through the articles, consider how they are formatted. This is critical when creating content for DMS, since they require this type of format for all their articles. Some articles require a minimum of 3 sections with headings; others require at least 5 sections with headings.

When writing your DMS sample, consider the topics on which you are most knowledgeable. Determine a main article heading, then decide on a minimum of 3 sub-headings that will contain the content of your three sections. What I do when writing content for DMS is to consider the most important aspects of the article title that should be addressed. You don’t have to cure world hunger, but you should explain the most critical pieces of information regarding the topic.

For instance, if you’re writing on homeowners insurance, you don’t have to address everything there is to know about homeowners insurance, but you should address the type of homeowners insurance that most homeowners use. If you want to make sure to address everything for good measure, but still stay within the 500-word limit, insert a “Miscellaneous” or “Other Considerations” heading and only mention the other, less-important aspects without going into great detail.

That’ll give you food for thought for the next post …

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Demand Media Studios — Getting Hired — Part Deux

The second part of the exercise to create a writing sample to submit to DMS addresses the outline you create for your article. Use this approach for every article you write, and it will take less effort and time to create future articles. Keep in mind, after being accepted to DMS, you can select from their list of titles for articles, so you’ll only have to come up with section headings and content relative to their titles and your sections.

Topic

First, decide on your topic. Use the KISS method — Keep it Simple Silly (aka Stupid☺). If at all possible, decide on a topic that you can write off the top of your head. Are you knowledgeable about gardening? Pick only one aspect of gardening about which to write, such as creating a walkway or building a small retaining wall. Are you an automotive expert? Stick to a simple repair that can be described adequately in 500 words.

Headings

Next, pick three main aspects of information you believe are most pertinent or easiest to explain. For instance, if writing a gardening article on building a small retaining wall, you might use the following headings:

  • Purpose of a Retaining Wall
  • Type of Products to Use
  • Benefits of a Retaining Wall

Similar headings can be used for an automotive expert to write an article on repairing a radiator. For instance, How Radiators Become Damaged, What Happens When Radiators Are Left Unrepaired and Quick Fixes for Radiators (or Temporary Fixes for Radiator) may be three headings an automotive expert uses for his sample article.

As you can tell from the list, your sample article doesn’t have to provide instruction; it only needs to provide information. Many writers, especially ones new to professional writing, find it difficult to not discuss the entire scope of creating a retaining wall, for instance, when writing their first articles.

I remember when I first started writing professionally. I so wanted to make a good impression to every new company for which I was hired that my first articles included every dittle, dit and detail related to the topic on which I was assigned. I wanted my articles to be stellar and the company to be happy they hired me. Little did I know, less is more.

Keep that in mind when you’re writing content, too.

We’ll dig deeper into that less-is-more well in the next part of getting hired by DMS.

Part Tres is ahead …

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Demand Media Studios — Getting Hired — Part Tres — CONTENT IS KING!

At this point, you should have three headings created. Keep in mind, DMS guidelines state to be as brief as possible when creating headings. I can tell you by experience, however, some copy editors (aka CEs) often expand the heading if you leave it brief. Don’t worry about that, though, since I’ve never seen it cause a rewrite or rejection.

Content is King

The next step in your quest to become a DMS writer is to address content. You’re heard the old cliché “Content is King.” Well … it most certainly is!

Creating quality content is not that hard once you get the hang of it. It just takes some practice and determination, especially for writers with little experience. One thing I do when writing content for DMS is to first create it in a Word document. I insert the title I selected from the pool of articles in the DMS system and headings I created. The content comes next.

Write Deliberately/Less Is More

In writing for DMS, you must, and I cannot stress this enough, MUST write deliberately. What do I mean by that? DMS guidelines state the following:

  • Demand Media Studios’ goal is to provide the reader with information to help him make decisions. Use active verbs and strong nouns. Keep the content short, simple and easily digestible.
  • Always write for an American audience, unless the title specifies otherwise, such as “Grants for Businesses in England.”
  • Write in a “conversational” voice, and speak directly to the community in an inclusive tone.
  • (BULLET #4 — CRITICAL) Write in the active voice, using the traditional “subject-verb-object” construction. Avoid passive voice when necessary.
  • Do not include empty adjectives, such as “fun,” “easy,” “great,” “terrific,” “fantastic” or “unique,” the most misused word in the English language.
  • Don’t make unsupportable claims about product performance. The Zone Diet isn’t a “great” or “effective” way to lose weight; it’s a method for losing weight.
  • All articles must contain evergreen copy that will read just as fresh five years from now as it does today. For this reason, avoid dating your copy with years and words like “new” and “hot.” For example, if a place has been open for 10 years, write “since 2000,” as opposed to writing “It opened 10 years ago.”
  • Write articles in the second or third person to pull the reader into the piece. Never write in first person (unless otherwise noted in the format style guide or site-specific guidelines), and don’t use the impersonal “one” as a subject, a construction that invariably leads to awkward, stilted phrasing.
  • Start sentences with actionable verbs, which encourages lean prose. For example, write “tear open the package” instead of “you can then tear open the package.”
  • Humor may be used sparingly to add personality to the article but shouldn’t be tangential.
  • Don’t reference the layout or the article’s position on the page; these elements could change. Likewise, don’t refer to the article’s content anywhere in the body copy. For instance, phrases such as “all of the items included in this article are pet-friendly” are prohibited.

Bullet #4 correlates to writing deliberately and the term I mentioned briefly at the end of the previous getting hired by DS post – less is more. DMS states, “Write in the active voice, using the traditional “subject-verb-object” construction. Avoid passive voice when necessary.” This should say, “Avoid passive voice when possible.” I don’t believe it is ever necessary to avoid passive voice in writing content, but it certainly is possible and should be done.

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill provides good examples of passive voice usage. If you want to know what to avoid, check out their webpage. Do an Internet search on “passive voice,” and you’ll find other good examples. Understand the meaning of passive voice, and you’ll be equipped to avoid it unless it’s unavoidable.

For example, write “You [subject] can build [verb] a retaining wall [object] almost anywhere,” instead of “Retaining walls can be [passive voice] built almost anywhere.”

Here are some other examples of what I call writing deliberately versus using passive voice and more words than needed:

  • When building a retaining wall, [“you” is the implied subject] select [verb] the product [object] with which you will build it. Instead of, “When you build a retaining wall, pick out a product that you will build your retaining wall with.”
  • A retaining wall [subject] not only accents [verb] a yard or garden [object], but it helps disperse [verb] standing water [object]. Instead of, “A retaining wall is not only a nice accent to a yard or garden, but it also will help disperse standing water.”

As evident in these two examples, less is significantly more. If you can delete a word or consolidate several words into one, you have a stronger article. This tone is more authoritative, direct and powerful.

After creating the content to your sections, read your article out loud. Are there words you can delete? Can you replace several words with one word? Ask yourself those questions when listening to yourself read the article. I still sometimes do this.

When writing an article, regardless of what company for which I write it, I try to make it as strong as possible when writing the first draft, but don’t give it too much thought. When I edit it, I look for ways to make it more concise with more punch.

Providing quality information in your article is critical, but writing in this voice is equally critical. If you get the hang of it, you will get accepted by DMS and have less rewrites and rejected articles.

18 Responses “Demand Media Studios” →
  1. Great job Sherry! I will refer readers here to learn more about Demand Media Studios.

    Reply
  2. Thanks for sharing the ins and outs on how to get noticed and hired by Demand Media.

    Reply
    • My pleasure, Adeline, thanks for visiting and I am glad it was helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions about DMS. I have helped others get hired there.

      Reply

  3. Quanza

    June 17, 2011

    Thank you so much for your articles on DMS. I’ve come across a lot of tips and tricks, but you’ve definitely broken it down better than most. Very helpful!!

    Reply
    • I am so glad this information was helpful. Please let me know if you have any questions. I’d be happy to answer them — ;-) — Sherry

      Reply
  4. Sherry of Writing 4 Effect, is such a genuinely hard-working, talented, and helpful writer. She edited two of my articles. Her commentary and editing was phenomenal. I learned many helpful tips – - such as eliminating passive voice and simplifying wordy sentences. After Sherry’s editing, my articles received a dramatic increase in views. One of my articles has 4,500 views after two weeks. I suspect that it was linked from another site. That is phenomenal when compared to the views my other articles receive. My views average 100-300 clicks per month on other articles. There is still room for improvement in my writing, but Sherry definitely helped me get closer to my goal. The best part about her is that she helps fellow writers out of kindness. She is truly a great asset to the freelance writing community.

    Reply
  5. Thanks so much for the article! I just got rejected by DMS and this article really helped me to see where I messed up. I was beating myself up and thinking that I was no good as a writer. When in actuality, I really just needed to write the right kind of sample article. I’m just trying to get into freelance writing so I had no clue what people were looking for in a sample article. Now I have a much better idea. Hopefully, this will help my writing and help me move beyond just writing for TCA.

    I just made myself a list a notes using this article. Now, I have a check list that I can edit my articles by. Thanks again. :)

    Reply
  6. I was accepted by Demand several months ago, but to be honest with you haven’t had time to devote to it due to other projects I have going on, which is a good thing :)

    BTW I referred another writing colleague to your blog as he is interested in Demand Studios and other writing sites.

    Keep up the great articles, Sherry.

    Reply
  7. If you can get accepted for writing the feature business articles, you can make $80 to $100 per feature article, which is worth your while. Honestly, the $15 and $16 articles are almost not worth it unless you have a lot of time to kill and don’t mind making $7 or less an hour for articles that require research and rewrites. Some Demand editors are so picky, they require writers to cure world hunger in each article. I’ve challenged those and won, but it takes time to do that, too. All said and done, you may only make $2 or less an hour if you have to challenge a rewrite or reject. It’s a great place, though, for new, quality writers to get more experience, showcase their talent and broaden their repertoire. I used it to launch other specialties, such as law and real estate.

    THANK YOU for the referral, Christine. You’re awesome. I greatly appreciate that! ;-)

    Reply

  8. Dan Zamora

    April 1, 2012

    Thanks for the article. It was really well broken down and very insightful. In fact I’ll confidently state that it’s the best I’ve seen anywhere online concerning getting accepted to demand studios. I only wish I’d come across it a lot earlier. I applied to demand studios a couple of months ago and so far i haven’t even gotten a response. I was told they usually do not take more than a week to either reject or accept applications but mine’s been 2 months now. Do you have any idea if they’re currently hiring or what could be wrong with my application? Could it be because I do not fit into the US, British or Canadian writer categories?

    Reply
    • Hello, Dan. In visiting the DMS FAQs here, I see that they currently only accept writers from the U.S., the U.K. and Canada. If you are from any of those locations, I would send a follow-up email to DMS asking about your application. In addition, you’ll want to make sure you meet their basic writer requirements. Wishing you well. –Sherry

      Reply

  9. Dan Zamora

    April 4, 2012

    Thank you for the information and the good wishes. keep doing what you’re doing your efforts are really appreciated.

    Reply

  10. Mala Srivastava

    November 30, 2012

    Hi,
    I was hired by Demand Media two months ago but failed to meet their writing requirements. Many of my articles were rejected on the basis of unacceptable references. My grammar score and research score went down, so I tried to improve myself but they ended their professional relationship with me few days ago. I requested them to reconsider their decision as I was working hard to improve my grammar and research but it seems that they no longer want me to part of their team. I am determined to join Demand Media again, but only after improving my writing style. Can you please tell me whether I can reapply for the writer post after 3-6 months or not? Please do respond. Thanks.

    Reply
    • Don’t give up, Mala. Demand Media does allow a writer to reapply after six months. I would definitely do that if I were you and you are interested in writing for them again.

      Reply

  11. Mala Srivastava

    February 16, 2013

    Thanks for responding to my email.

    Reply

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