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  1. #1
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    Hiring the Right Content Writing Service for my Sites
    Hello all,

    I've been reading up on here about some of the horror stories about hiring the wrong freelance writer/content writing service. I definitely want to avoid those people/companies.

    Rather then asking who to avoid, I was just wondering: what are some appropriate questions to ask these content writers to "qualify" them/their companies for the job? What are the tell tale signs of a good company/writer?

    I'm looking to outsource this service for my sites. any pointers would be greatly appreciated.

    Steve

  2. #2
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    First thing is they need to be able to write in good english. Many of these people are from countries that have no idea how to structure a sentence in english.

    Inform them that you will not pay for duplicant copy and that you will check to see if the article is original.

    I would write it yourself, you get much better rankings that way 99% of the time

  3. #3
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    I hear you. I'm not much of a writer. I figured at the very least with the right company I could edit their articles. I will definitely stay away from the "non-english" speaking countries. I'm assuming one "red flag" is a company that the rates are too good to be true.

  4. #4
    Prince of Content Vinny O'Hare's Avatar
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    yes that is a red flag. I use the services over at Elance.com One thing to remember is you get what you pay for so if you are planning on $5 an article get the $10 instead.

  5. #5
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    Lightbulb What a mistake I made!
    Even though I fully believe that the right writer can add a tremendous amount of value, I've certainly been on the other side of the equation.

    In my former life as the owner of a nutrition product .com I got all excited about hiring a copywriter for a total reworking of my old site. I searched through Google and talked to various folks.

    One of the problems is exactly what you said: "How do you qualify them?" I still don't know the full answer to that question yet, but back then (a few years ago) I looked at their portfolio of clients, their prior experience and positions and talked to them about their strategy in addressing my customer base.

    Everything sounded so good to me! This gentleman held some reputable positions (it seemed to me) and had worked with many big names from a variety of industries. At the time I felt like I couldn't go wrong! But I think I did.

    What I asked for was content for an entire new site. I think it was like 15-20 pages... So he had to come up with the content, the organization of the site etc. We agreed upon the price of $12k. I still hate saying that to this day..."$12k"

    Looking back his copy was childish. In fact, I wound up rewriting most of it myself. Part of it, to be fair, is that I didn't know the best approach myself so I couldn't give him stellar guidance. I guess I was kinding hoping he would tell ME what the approach should be. haha But really, he should've known better than he did. After all, that's why I was paying him $12k!

    So what did I learn? Here's my summary:

    1) When you're new to hiring copywriters don't buy a HUGE package from them. Start with something small, affordable and MEASURABLE so you can see what impact it really has. If the project is too big it will be hard to nail down what their copy did or didn't do for you.

    2) Make sure the copywriter has experience in your industry/category/vertical/niche. Sure, someone with little experience in your industry may still write you some great copy. But for me, as an individual entrepreneur, I feel more comfortable with someone that is "tried and true" in the field I'm in.

    3) I do like Elance because at least you can see the volume of work a copywriter is doing and what the feedback is. But even still, the feedback that is of most value is that which contains references to the metrics YOU are interested in. For instance: I'm happy to hear someone is "easy to work with" but I'm much more excited by a customer saying this copywriter "Tripled my ROI!"

    4) One thing that is confusing is the different attitudes of copywriters (and any other professional). Some are curt and arrogant. Some are extremely kind and amicable. Two questions arise: 1) What is most important to you? Someone who is nice or someone who is profitable? 2) Are the arrogant ones arrogant because they're really that good??? or do they suck and just have a bad attitude?

    5) Test. Test. Test. One thing I've noticed is that many companies that have a decent budget often use different copywriters for different projects and measure the results for comparison. Many "famous" copywriters have written pieces for the same companies that their other "famous" peers have.

    For instance: Companies that use Direct Mail will often hire someone else to try to beat their "control". As a result, over the years they may work with a large variety of copywriters and get a feel for all of them. That's why I say that if you're a small start up with a small budget, try smaller MEASURABLE projects. You can always scale up as success comes in.

    That's my 2 cents. There's lots more to learn! Hope that helps a little.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for your detailed post, Frankie. That situation is exactly the one I'm looking to avoid.
    actually, I do have some experience. i hired a "content writer"...the work they did looked like it was written by a 2nd grader. actually they were done by college students. the service was very, shall we say, affordable. i guess the old saying is true; you get what you pay for.
    my problem is i don't have the time to write these articles. i do have the money. i read somewhere you can get writers thru your local college english classes. i may give that route a shot. who knows.
    all i know is i'm a math guy, a marketer..i just hate writing

  7. #7
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    It's crazy out there!
    I hear you! A lot of writing out there is junk.

    I'm about to start using some folks from Elance to see how it turns out. Generally I go by their feedback ratings and the volume they've done.

    But I will still start in "smaller chunks" instead of hiring them for a billion pages right out of the gate.

    One way to go that is somewhat more cost-effective is to hire writers on elance from other countries but there are pitfalls there too. Some of the Indian samples I've read, for example, definitely read strangely.

    Perhaps using a Canadian could mitigate the pricing and still give you a style that will easily resonate with the N. American market?

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