Written by AJ Firstman, a freelance writer for METRO.
What is METRO?
METRO is a freelance writing portal that specializes in producing content for the websites of retailers like Best Buy, Staples, and Sam’s Club. While they occasionally post articles and other tasks, you’ll mostly see tasks for product descriptions between 50-500 words.
Is it Legit?
In a word: yes. METRO is a subsidiary of CBS Interactive, itself a well-respected company, and they tend to only deal with larger name-brand sites and retailers. I’ve been writing for METRO for over two years now, sold over 8,500 pieces, and earned over $40,000 in the process. In all that time, METRO has never once tried to stiff me or delay payment.
Signing up for METRO is an involved process, but pretty on par with many other freelancing platforms. You’ll start by entering your personal information and connecting to your PayPal account (for payments and verifying your identity).
Once that’s done, you’ll be invited to take a basic comprehension test. If you can read and speak Americanized English, it will be a breeze. You should receive your grade for the test within the day.
Next, you’ll be provided a link to a product and asked to write a description. This will also be easy if you have any copywriting experience or even any writing experience in general. One of METRO’s editors will have to look over this test, so it might take a day or two to receive your results.
Once you’ve completed those tests, you’ll be awarded “English” and “G-Writer” (General Writer) credentials, but you’ll need project-specific badges to actually start writing. Typically, you’ll need to complete several test tasks for the project you’re interested in (at slightly reduced pay rates). METRO and its clients have very strict stylistic and formatting requirements, so they want to make sure you can follow directions and interpret the style guides before they let you loose on the actual tasks.
METRO’s user interface is fairly straightforward. Your dashboard shows your credentials, hourly/daily/yearly earnings, and the number of tasks you’ve successfully completed. Underneath the dashboard you’ll find a list of all your submitted tasks and whether or not they were accepted. Clicking on one of those will show you the task itself and lets you check any edits or feedback.
The Available Work page (pictured below) shows the current projects and available tasks. The Prerequisites and Min Score columns will tell you what badges and writer score you need to access the tasks, and the Length and Base Pay columns will tell you how long each task is and how much it will pay.
You’ll mainly be focusing on the Write section until you earn your Editor credential (check the forum for details on earning the credential), but there’s no harm in clicking around to see what’s available.
Writing tasks on METRO typically pay between 5 and 6 cents per word, while Research and Review tasks tend to pay a flat fee that varies from project to project. Once you get the hang of the format and writing style, it’s possible to blaze through tasks and earn at least $25/hour.
METRO also pays out to your PayPal every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, with the exception of some holidays.
|• High pay rate.||• Very specific content and stylistic requirements (use the style guides!)|
|• Frequent payouts.||• Tough learning curve.|
|• Responsive moderators and admins in forum.||• Occasionally conflicting/inconsistent feedback from editors (most are other users like you.)|
|• Opportunity to learn and write about a wide range of products.||• Low user score blocks access to most tasks.|
|• Rejected tasks reduce your score if not corrected in time.|
|• Building user score takes a long time.|
|• Work is added sporadically and usually snatched up within an hour or two.|
I give METRO 3.5 stars due to sporadic work availability. METRO is great when there’s enough work to go around, but those periods are few and far between. Things might change if they get some juicy new long-term contracts, though for now, it isn’t uncommon to go days without receiving a “New Available Work” email.