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Dear Employers - What You Have To Understand When Hiring Writers

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by coreygeer, May 4, 2013.

  1. #1
    You know, the more I browse the different Marketplace section of various marketing forums, the more I shake my head because I fear people will never understand.

    Quality Versus Quantity

    I don't know if people think I'm crazy or if people just flat out sincerely don't believe me when I say hiring someone to write 10 articles at $5 per article is far less productive than hiring someone to write 1 article for $50.

    When you hire cheap labor, you're going to get mindless quantity produced articles. Most of these will probably be spun or copy pasted from another website, because let's be real for a moment and ask ourselves, who in their right mind can live off of those rates? A lot of people who write are doing it for a living, because let's face another cold hard fact; writing isn't fun.

    If writing was fun, you'd more than likely be doing it yourself or there'd be a lot more professionals willing to work for lower rates. When you hire someone to write a quality article, you get someone who's willing to put in sufficient effort and time to research your target audience and write something compelling enough to sell.

    When you hire some cheap labor to churn out articles, you're going to get crap.

    What Are Fair Rates?

    When it comes to content creation and Copywriting, there are different standards of what people believe are fair rates.

    The most common rate I see thrown around this Marketplace is a ridiculously low $1.00 per 100 words. What are you honestly expecting out of people who take jobs that pay that low? The majority of the time, people are taking those jobs out of necessity and not because they thoroughly enjoy being given the shaft with such an abysmal rate of pay.

    "but it's bulk work"

    That's another common thing I see when people offer ridiculously low paying rates. You have to understand.. whether it's 1 job or 1,000 jobs, you're going to get what you pay for. If you're paying someone $50 per article, you're going to get $50 articles. If you pay someone to write 100 $5 articles, you're going to have 100 articles only worth $5.

    So how much should you pay your Copywriters/Content Creators? You should pay them how much you feel the work is worth and how much you want to get out of it.

    Is this content going to be posted on your main site? Is this content going to serve as backlinks to your main site? What do you want people to think when they first stumble upon your site? You have 3 seconds to catch the attention of a reader before they close your page, and do you honestly think someone who's getting paid peanuts such as $5 is going to care enough to try to capture the audience? They're going to churn out the content as quickly as possible to get paid.

    Why Pay High Prices For Backlinks?

    This is another question I usually get asked or see around the forums. People think they can just hire cheap labor or spin articles to get a ton of backlinks. You know, there was a time when it was that easy and that actually worked, but this is 2013. Google is far more intuitive than you might remember from the old days and you're only hurting yourself now days with spun/crappy content (even if it is just a Web 2.0 backlink).

    Don't believe me? Hire 100 cheap labor writers to continuously write content as backlinks to your main site and make sure they understand the thorough process of Clean SEO. Now, hire 1 person to consistently write backlink content and pay them well. Let me know which one ranks you higher and brings you in more sales first.

    I know this post will probably go in one ear and out the other, as I will never be able to convince content mills and the majority of people that paying for cheap labor is a waste of time, but I've got some free time and I just don't think the majority of people understand the concept of getting what you pay for.

    My Hiring Experience

    I spent a year on Elance, Odesk and a couple of other various sites while I hired 100 people to do some quick content. I categorized my workers and they ranged from $1.00 writers to $5.00 writers (per 100 words).

    This was such an eye opening for me because I was under the misguided impression that cheap labor was the best at the time. You have no idea how many people would take Wikipedia copied articles and try to pass them off to me. I also had people who used free spinning software and my all time favorite was people who downloaded American resumes with perfect English and submitted them to me only to find that their English was near non-existent.

    Conclusion

    Stop hiring cheap labor just because you can't afford it or you think that it'll yield more profit in the long run. It doesn't yield profit in the long run and you'll end up losing your behind in the long run. I know the promise of cheap labor sounds great but that's only because you're under the impression that they produce the same quality as people who understand what their work is worth and charge more.

    That's my rant for the day.
    coreygeer, May 4, 2013 IP
  2. jmjsolutions

    jmjsolutions Greenhorn

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    #2
    Sorta true... but I admit I've had plenty of success with Fiverr, for article writers and for graphics work. You have to hunt a bit, but there are a small percentage of writers on there that write extremely well for $5, without plagiarizing.

    The thing is, the ones that are very talented don't last long at $5. That is how the supply and demand of capitalism works. Once word gets out about how much value they provide for $5, they quickly start getting more orders than they can handle. This forces them to increase their rates. At the same time, they have gained many satisfied customers who will gladly pay the much higher rates and return with repeat orders.

    It makes sense for beginner freelancers, who don't yet have an impressive portfolio, to start off like this.
    If they provide great value, they'll be making more money sooner than later...

    In my opinion, it is a win/win for everyone.
    jmjsolutions, May 4, 2013 IP
  3. Suryapraksh_freelancer

    Suryapraksh_freelancer Greenhorn

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    #3
    Nice article.
    Suryapraksh_freelancer, May 5, 2013 IP
  4. matt_62

    matt_62 Well-Known Member

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    #4
    There are so many scams on this forum, it is not just writing, but even logo creation.
    There are alot of people, here on this forum that should not be considered as a writer (or artist etc etc), but have no real skills whatsoever. It is borderline "scam" when they try to pass off themselves as such - BUT look at it this way, If someone only has $5, let them be happy with a writer that has no other skills or income. Part of me does feel that the low end of the market does 'devalue' the work done by the real writers, however, in most cases the real writers arent really missing out as the $5 per article market isnt the market they are aiming for. For example, I doubt that the new cheap china crap motorbikes can damage the sales of harley davidson...

    Between you and me though, I have seen soo many people bragging about how they sold logos / content / other for $xxx and hired someone on fiverr to do it the project. There are ebooks, and all this that cover this and promote this as being a legitimate business. So whenever someone hires someone, lets say its $50 per article, there is a chance that they person they hire, just hires someone from fiverr and I feel that this is part of the reason why some people keep diving into the bottom end of the market. Even you said that you had received fake resumes... what if those resumes were real, yet the work was 100% outsourced, hence its shit quality.
    matt_62, May 5, 2013 IP
  5. Abh

    Abh Member

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    #5
    You're full of bullshit.

    Just because you ask 50$ for something an Indian (for example) asks $5 does not mean you'll do the job better than he does. I've seen a lot of foreigners writing better english than most americans.

    I'm actually an employer and not an employee, so i have nothing to gain from what i'm about to say.

    Products are targeted to social classes, but most of them only by price and image. I can buy leather shoes at 10 euro and i can buy Puma leather shoes at 50 euro. But they're both made in Taiwan or a similar country, with the same materials.

    And this is what you're offering, expensive service people can find ten times cheaper if they look good enough.

    I'm not saying you're not good, who knows, maybe you have a Ph.D. in English, but then you should offer more niche services tailored to your abilities. It's just not fair to throw all $5 workers in the same basket of mediocrity.
    You need to understand, if you buy a beer in the US with $50, someone from India will buy 10 beers with the same money. For them, those $5 are worth the work just as much as $50 are worth it for you.
    If you come to my country to get a job and i offer you $300/month for 8 hours a day, 5 days a week, you'll probably spit me in the face. However, the minimum wage in my country is $230 right now, which means i actually wanted to pay you more than most.
    And i live in Europe. Now compare to South Asia. Why would they ask for $50 and get two clients per month, like you, when they can ask for $5 and get 50 clients?

    Now, i'm obviously widening the net here. If you hire a $50 worker you have higher chances to get quality work because he's aware of his narrow niche. $5 workes can get away with mediocre work and they know it. But if they're smart (and some of them are) they'll do good work to keep the client coming back.
    Abh, May 5, 2013 IP
  6. matt_62

    matt_62 Well-Known Member

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    #6
    You have mis-read the op. You should re-read it again. He is saying that he is an employers who spent 1 year hiring others, in fact i think everyone here so far in this thread in an employer with experience in outsourcing.
    You are right about different regions and different salaries. I know of a company in sydney that offered someone $80k per year to move and work for them(ALOT more then their current wage) they essentially spat in their face as they knew that with the cost of living here being is so ridiculous that $80k is nothing and was essentially a pay cut (not that I earn anywhere near that) Who knows, your $300 a month is probly more then I earn when you factor in the cost of living.
    matt_62, May 5, 2013 IP
  7. coreygeer

    coreygeer Well-Known Member

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    #7
    If the $5 workers are smart, they'll focus their efforts elsewhere to make more money then peanuts.

    There's exceptions to every rule. I've encountered people who had high prices but delivered mediocre work at best and there are some people who write great quality content for a low price but that doesn't last long. They only write for cheap until they learn about pricing structure and realize they're being exploited as slave labor.

    It just kills me that people still think they can build a viable business model today off of cheap content or the common misconception that cheap content is great for SEO. I'm glad those people exist though, it makes the Wanting To Hire section of here and other forums easier to go through.

    You must have some secret to hiring people that I wasn't utilizing when I was trying to hire non-native English speakers to write. I would have people send me American resumes downloaded off random websites or they would have "agents" who spoke perfect English for them. The next thing you know, you hire them for a trial or a simple task and the true quality of work is revealed.

    You can't rely on those exceptional gems that work for cheap to be the rule. There will be cheap people who produce quality work (while it lasts) and there will be some people who think they're worth far more than what the work they produce is worth. You get what you pay for always has been and always will be true.

    You'll see those same people offering to pay people .60c/$1 per 100 words on the forums coming back again and again because their ingenious idea of utilizing cheap labor hasn't struck gold yet. Not to mention the cheap employers are some of the worst people to work for... They have some of the highest standards and expect you to turn wine into gold because they can't afford to hire anyone else at the time being.

    That's yet another reason I'm glad I stopped slaving myself out for those $1/100 word people because I can guarantee you a $20-50/article employer will have no problem telling you to F off, promptly pay you for the services rendered then hire someone else. It's just like Hollywood where all these people who think they're amazing actors and singers get face to face with producers. They're not very nice people, they'll tell you if you're terrible to your face and if you're wasting their time.

    Also, the cost in many places in India is going up. The people who accept these low paying jobs (.50c/$1) are desperate for work and are probably on wits end. However, you'll still get people copying+pasting and trying to sneak past stolen work because a lot of them are lazy. It's kind of hard to expect them not to be or to care about such a ridiculously low paying job. I spent quite a lot of time myself writing for $1/100 words and I ended up being pretty angry at myself knowing how much time I could have spent writing for a content mill like Textbroker instead for double the price with steady work.
    coreygeer, May 5, 2013 IP
  8. Abh

    Abh Member

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    #8
    Ok, i apologize if i misunderstood the op. I'm just tired of people bashing the 3rd world workers because they work "cheap". The value of work depends of many factors.
    Abh, May 5, 2013 IP
  9. TextServices

    TextServices Active Member

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    #9
    I've been writing for clients for 8 years. When I first started, I took low paying work to build a portfolio and have steady work. It was by far the worst mistake I made. I worked hard for less than the minimum wage in my country. (United States & Canada - American born, but reside in both countries) Sure, if I didn't give a crap about the quality of work that I was producing, I could have added even more to my daily workload and made it more bearable, maybe actually earn minimum wage or a slight bit over. The problem was that I actually do care about the quality of work I produce. I actually take pride in it. That, and if I produced "good enough" mediocre content, it really doesn't work in my favor when I'm trying to build a portfolio and some sort of reputation in order to eventually attract the higher paying clients.

    When I raised my rates, I lost 90% of the client base I had built. Those that stayed, the majority wanted to negotiate. They wanted me to give them a discounted rate, promising they could continue to toss a lot of work my way. Some, wanted to add on extra work to justify paying me a higher rate per word. I politely declined. If I lost those clients for good, so be it. I wasn't interested in keeping them. A handful did stay with me, but the orders from them dropped big time to the point I'd only hear from them once every 4 to 6 months and the order was small. Only 2 original clients stayed with me and have for years. Those clients give me steady work, but not the amount of work that I could actually live on with just their orders. I simply wasted a ton of time in the beginning.


    There will always be people offering jobs at ridiculously low rates or rates that they can afford in their small budget or feel is a fair wage. There will always be writers and "writers" willing to accept the project offer at the rate/word offered. It's never going to change.

    Buyers have to go through the ups and downs of finding a skilled writer. Eventually, buyers figure out a budget, what they can afford to pay and need to pay, and how to attract the writer(s) they need. Eventually, writers figure out a rate/word they are happy with and how to attract the buyers/clients they want. Everyone must go through the process. Some people learn from it. Others just keep repeating their same mistakes hoping for a different outcome. Those who learn, thrive. Those who don't, move on to something else.
    TextServices, May 5, 2013 IP
  10. coreygeer

    coreygeer Well-Known Member

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    #10
    What TextServices said basically.

    When you first start out, you'll more than likely write for embarrassing scrap or Ramen Noodle money just so you can eat. Even when you write for far less, it's hard to find steady work these days.

    Hell, taking a look at the "Wanting To Hire" section here and on other popular marketing forums, you see people looking for .50c/$1 rockstar writers. Even those people don't post often and the number of available jobs is steadily decreasing over time from what I've seen. Much less, finding someone who will even pay $2/100 words is a nightmare, so you can imagine how many people on here I kindly tell to find someone else with the rate of $3 per 100 words.

    I had a Skype list of probably 30-40+ people that I was writing for and whoring myself out to for a measly $50-70/day if I was lucky. This was if there was a full day of work too, most of the days I would just be twiddling my thumbs, looking for more clients and looking for more work, even at the pathetic rate.

    The problem:

    Most clients give up on their blogs or websites they hire you to write for because who knew that cheap rushed content doesn't make a killing? Other clients don't have a lot of funds so they only hire you when they do have some and yet, they still carry on wondering why their cheap and rushed content doesn't perform at an optimum level.

    I've tried sites like Elance and Guru, but the people there bid so ridiculously low that no one on there wants to pay for quality (that I've found) when they have people willing to do it for peanuts. Sure, you'll see those jobs re-posted because the cheap writer they hired turned out to suck but they'll hire yet another cheap writer and keep the process going.

    Having your own website is where it's at, and it's something I'm still in the process of getting setup.

    Writers: If you can write at an adequate English level of a High School Graduate, DO NOT SELL YOURSELF for $1/100 words. It's a spit in the face, even to a beginner and you deserve more. Let those people continue cracking their whips and never progressing their business forward due to cheap and sloppy content. I dream of a day where all those $1/100 word employers look elsewhere or simply give up and decide to write the content themselves.
    coreygeer, May 6, 2013 IP
  11. KING7

    KING7 Greenhorn

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    #11
    Nice article
    KING7, May 7, 2013 IP
  12. ArticlesUK

    ArticlesUK Greenhorn

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    #12
    It is very easy money though you must admit. 15 to 20 mins to spin some garbage for $3 to $4 dollars must be extremely tempting if you can speak even moderate UK/US English because you know it will sell in the short term.

    The bad thing for the writer is that you rarely get repeat business for more than 3 or 4 months as the blog owner starts to realise that they are making no money from cheap content. The bad thing for a site owner who gets a good writer is that will go elsewhere and take your profits with them. It's a dog eat dog world on the net and if you use cheap writers then you are competing against 1000's upon 1000's of sites that also use them and your business is 99.9% certain to fail.
    ArticlesUK, May 8, 2013 IP
  13. meholaman

    meholaman Active Member

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    #13
    You are absolutely right! In fact, I wrote a wee post in the "general marketing" just last night, basically addressing the same fundamental issue. Quality vs quantity is more important today then it has been in a long time, and it's only going to become more so.

    It's not only true for online content creation, but marketing and product/service development as a whole. It comes down to the fact that when a market becomes saturated - which happens quicker in any industrialised industry (which arguably content creation and web information both are) - people quickly become weary of poor quality, and savvier at finding the good stuff. Just look at people's changing habits when it comes to buying food, where despite the threat of a triple-dip recession, the UK is experiencing a boom in artisinal, locally-produced and sourced food, rather than opting to spend their pennies in Tesco and the like.

    The very same is true for content creation. 500 well-written, engaging and factually accurate words that are of actual use to the reader, are worth ten times as much as 15000 words pulled out of thin air and held together with fairy dust and misplaced commas.
    meholaman, May 8, 2013 IP
  14. Tarissa

    Tarissa Active Member

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    #14
    I really like your thread. I am brand new to freelance, but an excellent writer. I was, of course, planning to jump in by taking very low end jobs to build up a portfolio and gain a good reputation. Now I'm questioning whether or not to do that.

    I know this was aimed at the buyers, not the sellers, but now I'm very curious what it is that you do advise quality, beginning freelancers to do? If we have no portfolio to prove what we're worth, why would any of the buyers be willing to pay us more?

    Perhaps this is where sample articles come in...
    Tarissa, May 9, 2013 IP
  15. TextServices

    TextServices Active Member

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    #15
    Register a domain name. Purchase hosting. (You can get hosting on a shared server for $10 or less per month) Create a website that advertises your services. Write content showcasing the services that you provide. Upload it to your website. Link potential buyers/clients to the content. All the buyers want to see are examples of the type of content you can provide. They want to evaluate your ability and they will use the samples you provide to judge your ability.

    Registering your own domain name, hosted on paid hosting, and having a professional website adds credibility. You don't want to use a free host, (even one where you can register your own domain name), and have a url like yourname.freehost.com. Some people will look up the whois and if they see your domain hosted on a freehost, it won't reflect well on you. Makes you appear cheap, unprofessional, and leaves doubt as to if you're worth the rate you are asking. You'll appear like a writer who charges $2.00 for a 500 word article when your rate is $15.00 for a 500 word article. If you want the clients who pay well, you need the professional image to attract them.
    TextServices, May 9, 2013 IP
  16. lightless

    lightless Notable Member

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    #16
    It certainly isn't a cold hard fact. While there may be some people who don't find writing a fun activity, there are many of us who find great pleasure in writing. Granted, it is difficult to get excited about writing on certain lifeless and mindless topics; But every writer has certain topics and areas of interest which he obtains much pleasure writing about.

    Also, just because writing is fun doesn't mean everyone is good at it (Hence the need for experienced and skilled writers). Neither does it mean that a writer would charge low rates just because he finds writing fun.
    lightless, May 11, 2013 IP
  17. gable

    gable Greenhorn

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    #17
    Hey, I have a question according to this discussion. How would you rate a copywriter who writes articles in the language you don't actually know? I am facing such problem while I'm trying to promote my company websites in different countries.

    I prefer having contact with native speakers - I trust them more than e.g. Indian people who offer content in every language you need. Prices of native speakers' work vary but if they live in their home country, costs of living (and avarage salary) vary as well. In this situation it is not so easy to evaluate if a price for a job is fair or not.

    What's more, higher price not always comes with a higher quality. It may create a false impression that someone who's priced his job higher is better. This is why I always ask for a sample of work (though I know it may be the only high-quality output of a person) and give it to my friend who is a native speaker of the language to rate it.
    gable, Jun 3, 2013 IP