As you know, content is king online. Good content trumps bad content. (Unique content trumps spun content that is 34.5% unique.) Niche content usually trumps generalized content. (How many more top 10 ways to blog posts can the Internet stand before it bursts?) You get the idea – content is important.
Another thing you’re going to come to realize is that you only have so much time as one person. You may be superhuman and filled with Jolt in your bloodstream, but there’s only so much you can do on your own. At some point you’re going to want to outsource. While you can outsource in any area of the business, buying content is one that’s used most in the beginning.
The good news is that there are a lot of “content writers” you can contact online. The bad news is that there are a lot of content writers you can contact online. Now, you might think this is a good thing as a buyer – more writers means more competition means a lower price. Here’s the thing – you shouldn’t be worried about buying the cheapest content. (Just as you should chase down cheap advertising to save a few bucks…)
With that in mind, here’s a very quick and basic rundown of some various levels of writing you can expect when you go hunting on the forums for writers. Let me state upfront that I have no problems with those that aren’t native English speakers – well, except for those that try to pass themselves off as something other than that.
(On a quick side note, if I was in their position, I would make it a marketing thing. Here in the States we have “two guys and a truck” very simple company, but they were honest about what they were – at least in the beginning before they got big because of the brand and service. Anyway, I would totally market myself as “two Indians and a laptop” or something like that. Offer the content cheap while letting people know it might be a little – well, translated or written by someone who is not familiar with the nuances of the English language…)
Okay, moving on. The basic levels of content:
- Less than $0.01/word – You truly get what you pay for when it comes to content and content at this level is no different. You almost don’t feel right calling it content. You will most likely have a lot of grammar errors and an unusual style, Sir! I’ve edited enough of this type of copy to know. It was interesting to see in a single batch the styles of two or three different people trying to sound American. That brings up a point, though. If you’re looking for any old content that you might be able to edit yourself quicker than you could come up with everything on your own, this might be for you. That, of if you’re a cheap bastard that doesn’t care about what kind of crap you throw on the Internet…
- $0.01/word to $0.015/word – In the beginning, I worked at this level. It was amazing how much clients wanted for this little price (more than some of my newer clients!) There’s something to the saying that if you charge more people will take you more seriously and if you charge too little people will overwork you thinking you have something to prove. I’m getting sidetracked, though. I’m not bitter. I chose to work at this level and it taught me a lot. Anyway, most of the time you’re still dealing with a writer for whom English is a second language. They’re going to be the best of the best, though, having done it a while. The other thing they offer is quick turnaround – which is important to some. All in all, you can find some decent writers working at this level if you look around.
- $0.02/word – This is the low rate for most native English writers. You can find some great writers at this level. However, they may not be able to do everything you need. Sometimes writers at this level are just doing it for quick cash in between what they really do for a living. There’s nothing wrong with this, but it can mean they’re spotty with delivery. Still, at the price, you can get some good content at this level – if you send them exactly what you want. If you have no idea what you need, you’re going to need to pay more.
- $0.03/word – $0.05/word – This is the middle class of the bottom of the barrel content. Usually you’ll get a lot of creativity and ideas as well as great content. Sometimes you’ll just need to send a list of keywords and they take care of the rest. This content is more expensive, but if you compare it to content bought at lower prices, you’ll find that it is more likely to draw attention (read: links) and be well worth the investment in the long run.
- $0.25/word – This is a big leap, but this is starting to get to the level of what “real copywriters” earn. And for good reason. They don’t just type out content, they craft it, carefully choosing words for maximum effect – whatever that might be. This is the type of content you want to buy to make a big splash in the blogosphere – something that requires research and time and therefore is well worth the price you pay, even if it’s a lot more than the $0.01/word articles.
Here’s the thing about price. Cheap content is available, but you have to think about whether it’s worth it in the long run. Will people who come to your site try to translate the ramblings of an Indian writing about Cosmic Shadows? Probably not – and how does that reflect on you, your site, or your brand.
And this is another post, maybe. That is, what kind of sites are you putting up on the Internet. Do you have a pyramid? (Tap hit to Eli at BlueHat…) What’s your model for publishing online? Is it defensible? If you’re not asking yourself these questions (and tons of others!) you need to quit reading this blog and go home.
The other thing (as a content buyer) I would recommend is having a long list of writers. As I writer I know I have a long list of clients as well. It helps balance everything out. You don’t want to be dependent on any one writer, especially if you want to scale.
Okay, that’s it for now.
Your thoughts? I wanna hear them. Please Mr. Lincoln…
Oh wait, almost forgot…