I generally write a few thousand words per day. Some of this is for my own sites, some for customers. I also do a fair amount of editing each day.
That is not to say article writing isn’t a chore at times. Sometimes writing needs to be outsourced. Some bloggers and niche affiliates would prefer to use their time on backlink building and other marketing efforts. In fact, 47% of websites use content writing services for their content marketing needs.
But all writing does not serve the same purpose. There are times when automated writing tools make sense for SEO needs. Some customers have multiple micro-niche affiliate sites that need more content volume but have lower quality standards. Many affiliates, however, have sites that they WANT to be associated with. Bloggers and corporate websites certainly are quality focused. Most sites need quality article writing as it is a reflection of the site’s authority and value to their visitors.
Types of Content
Let’s take a step back and look at the kind of writing you may need or encounter:
Spun Content –
This is created by software. Sometimes called machine generated copy. This is not appropriate for your primary website. Google has moved past keyword based writing analysis to semantic analysis. The topical relevance is matched up with the user’s search intent. Google then finds the best content to present to their searcher’s request. Spun content will rarely be the best match but there is still a place for it. Just like at Google, data scientists have been working to make spinning software better. Many affiliates and bloggers will build tier 2 type properties at WordPress.com or blogger.com etc. to enhance a backlink profile. Spinning software is often used to create this content. It is debatable how much these link-wheels and other SEO tricks are helpful but using machine-generated content makes sense if you go this route. Other applications for machine-generated content include product descriptions in large e-commerce sites when you want to change the vendor’s descriptions without writing your own. Tools like Prosociate will do this automatically when the products are imported from Amazon. This eliminates duplicate content issues. The economics of this is that you don’t need to pay for a writer, the software is doing the work for you. You will need to purchase a software license or a monthly subscription. These products are best for people who have an ongoing need for spun content rather than a single project. One of the best products for this is Spin Rewriter. They have a free trial if this is your requirement.
English as a Second Language (ESL) Writing –
Some affiliates choose to use the lowest cost, human-written content possible. This is typically outsourced from the Philippines or similar locations. This content often feels like you are reading your children’s homework. It is not terrible and unlike the copy from spinners, it will rank. Typically this is for micro-niches. It is ideal for someone with many affiliate niche sites that cannot possibly develop all the content needed. Even a narrowly focused niche site needs 25+ articles to get good results from Google. If you have 10 sites that’s a lot of content. The problem is you have created low-hanging fruit for competitors. If you have a lead in your niche and want more volume to keep your competitive edge it may work out. This copy is typically around $.05 a word.
Premium Native English Writers –
This is the sweet spot for most bloggers and affiliates creating authority sites. The level of quality is vast though. Just like any profession, there is a range from new journeyman writers learning their craft to seasoned pros who can perform magic with words. Because of this, the costs can range from $.08/word to $.25 and up. At the high end, word-count is often not even the metric used. Projects are quoted individually. Writing is also a subjective art and you may have a preferred style. But this is the copy to aim for. You want to create a content moat that is difficult for your competitors to cross.
For the vast majority of outsourced writing projects, you want to use native English writers. There is no way spinning software can rank and the ESL writers will be quickly surpassed in ranking by professional native speakers. But it is not cheap. And why should it be? It takes quite a bit of time to research a topic and write quality prose. It is reasonable to expect the content to fit your target keyword, semantic variations, and have proper on-page SEO – this takes more time. If you need the author to provide artwork as well that will be extra.
So how best to work with a contract writer? And where to find writers? The first place to look is within your own network of contacts.
Working With Writers
If you are planning to have a lot of your content outsourced, make a style guide. This will ensure that there are no miscommunications between you and the writer. Hubspot has a nice article on style guides with examples that would be a good start. As a vendor of writing services, we have our own style guide. Again the objective is to be sure that there are no miscommunications. We want all expectations to match our deliverables. We can adjust the guide to meet specific needs but we want to be sure everyone is clear about the project.
Trust but Verify
ideally, you will build a relationship with writers. You will each understand the style issues. But you still must always act as the final editor of the work. All content should be run through Copyscape to confirm originality. All copy should be checked with Grammarly. Copy should be checked for meeting style guidelines and that SEO goals have been met.
There are many online sources for writers including.:
- Professional groups
- Freelance sites
- Writing specific portals
- Affiliate Site Writers
ProBlogger is a popular blog about blogging on the web. The ProBlogger Job Board brings together bloggers and those needing article writing and other services. They charge employers to list jobs.
AllIndieWriters is a job board like problogger – but for writers. It is a resource for writers to stay up to date in the industry, find work and get the most out of their hard work. They charge $19.95 to post a job opening. You can expect the quality of writers here to be high.
Upwork is a large job board with thousands of workers including many writers and editors. They test workers and there is a review system to check past performance. Though not dedicated to writing there are many here.
Guru is another freelancer platform like Upwork. They charge workers a percentage of the job total for each engagement. The clients who hire the job-seekers pay transaction fees of 2-3%.
The last of the big three freelancer boards. They all provide very similar services and pricing.
The wild, wild west of resources. You may find a diamond in the rough here. Generally, workers here are focusing on lower priced (and quality) writing jobs.
A cool site as a job posting website for moms working from home. Many of the job seekers are experienced professionals who have decided to work from home while they raise children or retire early.
Employers post jobs that member-moms can apply to. Workers pay $29/mo rather than a portion of each hour worked like at Upwork and other job boards.
Writing platforms can be just the place to find your next freelance article writer. They exist solely to provide services for developing content. You can find any type of content you might need. If you want to pay less than 2 cents/word and fix spelling and grammar – go for it. Or you can create a team of writers and get project-specific quotes.
Textbroker is dedicated to the writing and content creation communities. They are targeting exclusively site owners who need article writing and other content creation services.
The pricing is based on a quality rank and whether you want an open order or to select a particular author. You can also create a team of writers. Open orders are best for very low budget projects – equivalent to the ESL writers discussed above.
WriterAccess is similar to textbroker. They have pricing both by the word based on expertise and quality and project based writers. These “Elite Marketplace” writers are vetted and price projects individually. This allows more options for research and other deliverables.
Affiliate Site Writers
Affiliate writing is a specialized skill. You need to be able to turn out reviews of 1500 words or so and include objects like comparison tables. Affiliate SEO knowledge is important as are copywriting skills.
At Prosociate live and breathe affiliate marketing 24x7. We create plugins and themes, build affiliate sites, host affiliate sites and operate our own network of affiliate sites. We also provide a full range of services for affiliates that includes a number of writing offerings.
Human Proof Designs specializes in affiliate marketing. They have a full range of writing, pbn, and other services to complement their site-building and courseware.
If you are serious about content marketing then you will likely need to contract writers at some point. Try to build a relationship and provide style-guides to be sure that writers know your goals. Start with shorter test projects to see if there is a good fit. Cut your losses early and take care of your winners. In addition to the sites above, work your contacts and network — you never know where you will find that perfect writer for your site.