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Quality Writing

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by uand.eye, Mar 12, 2014.

  1. #1
    Every writer I speak to, even those charging just a few $$ per article, say they produce high quality work. So what is quality and how do you measure it?
     
    uand.eye, Mar 12, 2014 IP
  2. Spoiltdiva

    Spoiltdiva Notable Member

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    #2
    I'm in no way attempting to be factitious here, but simply put the way one measures quality is in how you perceive the product. If the content is what you require then it's good enough. Quality standards are strictly up to you. If you are not able to gage what you need then you would have to hire someone to do that for you. (a copywriter)
     
    Spoiltdiva, Mar 12, 2014 IP
  3. uand.eye

    uand.eye Active Member

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    #3
    That's not factitious, but it doesn't really answer the question either. Providing content that is just good enough, is not necessarily good quality. That's kind of like saying there is no need to make a Mercedes car because a Kia will get you to the same place. An article that is just good enough cannot really be described as good quality. Quality writing should exceed expectations.
     
    uand.eye, Mar 12, 2014 IP
  4. coreygeer

    coreygeer Well-Known Member

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    #4
    Everyone seems to have their own definition of what "quality" is.

    Here's what I measure as quality: Results

    A page with a high bounce rate is probably a good indication of either a horrible design or garbage content. What kind of a conversion rate does the copywriter get on average? There's no real way to tell what kind of quality you'll get before hiring someone. Sure, you can ask for samples, but those can be pulled from anywhere. The reason some of those people charge a few bucks is because they're trying to beat everyone else out. It's a horrible strategy. There is ALWAYS going to be someone willing to bet lower than you. I learned that lesson when I tried browsing places like Elance for work.

    Well that's probably because it sounds more appealing than: "I'm desperate, looking for anyone who will give me quick work so I can pay a bill or buy food."

    If you have a blog, and the content on that blog keeps people subscribing and coming back to the blog, I would say you have some high quality content. The problem with a lot of clients is, they don't mean "high quality content". What they mean to ask for is, "give me content that'll make me money." It's one of the biggest problems with marketers out there. They focus on the potential money to be made and not the readers or their market.
     
    coreygeer, Mar 12, 2014 IP
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  5. YMC

    YMC Well-Known Member

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    #5
    My list is long as to what I look for before I call something "quality writing."

    But, it really boils down to two attributes...form and function.

    Form is all those things like grammar, spelling, originality...the sorts of things a high school English teacher would focus on.

    Function relates to the purpose of the content...selling something, bringing visitors to the site, sharing information, etc.

    You didn't specify if you are talking about essay-style content or sales copy. With essays and blog content, I still might consider something with some grammar and other little boos to be of quality. (After all, not everyone is a "writer.") But, when it comes to content on a business website, I expect it to be near-perfect in both form and function before I would consider it to be "quality."
     
    YMC, Mar 12, 2014 IP
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  6. Akash47

    Akash47 Member

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    #6
    For me, quality copy implies that the grammar is flawless, that the copy "flows" and is easy to read, that there's enough keywoards in the writing for people who care about SEO, that the point gets across, and that there are as few "filler" words/sentences as possible. These are the fundamentals, and I will sacrifice no more than one of them at a time when I have to write for someone. I usually sacrifice the "no filler words" bit when clients set a ridiculous minimum-word amount. It's difficult to write 1000 words about something that is just. not. interesting.
     
    Akash47, Mar 13, 2014 IP
  7. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #7
    Indeed, but for someone with limited budget and low requirements, the Kia would be perfect and the Mercedes would be obsolete. So in fact the quality is still determined by the one that requires it. Like another user suggested, for a personal blog or essay, he can sacrifice a little when it comes to grammar lets say, but if the website is business-orientated perfection is a must. I think that is what @Spoiltdiva is coming across and it definitely is a valid point.

    Personally, when I do freelance content writing, regardless of the requirements I try to write an engaging text that is both helpful for readers and SEO friendly, even if that seems to exceed the expectations. I have never had a complaint so far... ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Mar 13, 2014 IP
  8. uand.eye

    uand.eye Active Member

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    #8
    It's fair to say sometimes you have to sacrifice quality to fit in to a clients budget, but that is a completely different argument. Working to a budget and providing the client what they need are always necessary. While these things may affect quality they do not define it.
     
    uand.eye, Mar 14, 2014 IP
  9. Anju99

    Anju99 Peon

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    #9
    I think its depend on words, if they use unique words with proper grammar its called unique article.
    And one more thing you can check duplicate articles, on copyscape or google.

    Thanks
     
    Anju99, Mar 18, 2014 IP
  10. TIEro

    TIEro Active Member

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    #10
    I have four ways of measuring quality:

    1. As a visitor: if it flows, is interesting and doesn't sound crap, it's good quality. Of course, it also depends on what I'm looking for. If I want easy reading, I want it easy. If I'm looking for a tutorial, I want it to be clear and precise. If I need analysis, I want it to be well-organised, logical and look at all sides of the argument. And so on. But the main thing is that it reads smoothly and makes sense.

    2. As a client: anyone trying to sound cleverer than they are gets ignored. Anyone who's pompous gets ignored. Anyone who fluffs out to make the word count gets ignored. Anyone who thinks they're the best thing since sliced bread gets doubly ignored. I like to work with people who know they're decent writers, but are normal people, not asshats.

    On top of that, I try to balance my expectations against my budget: if I have $2 to spend, I expect crap, but if I'm forking out $30 for a page, I expect it to be well-researched, well-written and well-organised. To do this, I gauge writing on the time I expect people to spend on it - for $30, I expect at least an hour's work (depending on the subject and amount of research required), so if it reads like a reworded copy of Wikipedia, you won't get paid.

    3. As a writer: I'm horrible with myself. I expect ALL my content to be interesting, engaging, concise, accurate, clear and well-written. I don't expect it to have perfect grammar (which is the stupidest requirement in any job listing), but I do expect it to be free of glaring faults and anomalies. If I wouldn't be proud to put it up on my own blog, I don't expect the client to pay for it.

    4. As an editor: evil is as evil does. My main client has compared me to the judges on those awful talent shows, because I'm mean, nasty and downright blunt. In other words, I'm honest. I judge article quality based on the time it takes me to fix the damned thing, much as the WLE site in my signature does (which makes sense, since I wrote the plugin they use).

    From a purely practical point of view when hiring, I will usually break off half a dozen small starter jobs to use as a trial period for several writers. Those who write well get the ongoing work at better pay. The problem with this is, of course, that scammers and scumbags say they do that, too, so most people don't believe me in my job postings!

    From personal experience, I'd also like to add that I have found it VERY worthwhile to give everyone a chance, regardless of portfolios, feedback and whatever else (all of which can be faked). You'll get crap, you'll get genius, you'll pay all sorts of different rates. Hire a bunch for small tasks, then sort the wheat from the chaff: it's pretty much the only way.

    Alternatively, find someone you trust and ask them to point you at good writers. :)
     
    TIEro, Mar 18, 2014 IP
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  11. TDI India

    TDI India Active Member

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    #11
    Ask:
    1. Is the grammar correct?
    2. Did you complete reading the write-up effortlessly?
    3. Is there anyone you know who would love to read the write-up?
    4. Did it provide you a new angle of thought in an exciting manner or make you feel necessary to voice your disagreement?
    5. Is the topic relevant to the current industry trends?

    Count the number of times the answer was yes, divide it by 5 and multiply it by hundred. That's the quality assessment of the write-up in percentage.
    P.S.: Don't tell the writer you did this. He/She may never be able to write again! :p
     
    TDI India, Mar 19, 2014 IP
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  12. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #12
    This is a difficult question to answer, as the variety of replies have shown. for myself, I never compromise the quality of my writing, no matter what the budget. Of course, I won't work for $2, I focus on higher paying clients. Just as I am expected to write high-quality content, I expect a higher quality dcient.

    But here are a few things to think about:

    1. usually, a writer who "charges a lot" can put something behind his claims of quality. he or she can provide samples with references.

    2. The guy who charges $100 per hour will also work much faster and more accurately, in most cases, than the guy who charges $5. you pay for experience.

    3. use a writer who speaks your own language as their native tongue. people who don't speak English as their first language rarely have a good handle on the sbbtleties of the language if they weren't emersed in it for a long time. The reverse is also true.

    4. How responsive is the writer? Does he or she turn the work around quickly and edit quickly?

    5. one interesting thing that always bugs me is someone who goes out of their way to hire a writer and then questions everything. if they knew so much, why'd they hire a professional? Not to say that another perspective isn't valuable. We shouldn't think we're so good that we are always right. however, I feel I've earned my skills and experience and sometimes it's hard to try and explain why something that is written to sell is written a certain way. The guy writing the check is the boss, after all.

    6. Sometimes your content gets mucked up once it's handed over to their web guy to paste in. That can be frustrating, because what comes out is not always what you intended, and both the effect and the showiness of that sample may be compromised.

    7. One good way to determine the quality of a writer is to talk to him or her and see if they can understand your needs and goals quickly. A good writer should be a good listener too, in my opinion.

    of course, I'm not just a writer, I'm an entrepreneur. That means I have to run businesses and be a salesman too.

    BTW, writers, it doesn't hurt to know how to sell. I hear a lot of frustration when it comes to sites like ODesk and the like. For good reason. But I've found that you can rise above the mediocrity even on these sites and I've been able to find good clients and have seen other writers charging $100 to $150 and getting paid for it.

    learn to sell!

    Hope that was somewhat useful anyway.
     
    SCookAAM, Mar 19, 2014 IP
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  13. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #13
    Quality of content is something very subjective or based purely on individual requirement and/or perception. I don't believe there can be any standardized definition of what (good) quality is. I have experienced quite often that a piece I write is commended and well-paid for by one client while some other rejects it as crap.

    The responses to this question above are really informative ….. some even enlightening ..... and helpful.
    I am sharing a link here that will explain in a more or less elaborate manner some of the most important aspects that go in determining content's quality. I hope readers of this thread find it useful and add more.
    http://blog.kissmetrics.com/ingredients-of-great-content/.

    Cheers.:D
     
    Last edited: Jun 19, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jun 19, 2014 IP
  14. TIEro

    TIEro Active Member

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    #14
    Call me horrible, but I am always amused by how every article attempting to define great content is so badly written, makes assumptions that it doesn't clarify and ends up being completely wrong. :)
     
    TIEro, Jun 20, 2014 IP
  15. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #15
    I am surprised you found that article to be so badly written. Anyway, I found some points useful and thought sharing would help.:)
     
    Content Maestro, Jun 20, 2014 IP
  16. TIEro

    TIEro Active Member

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    #16
    No doubt it's helpful, and no offense intended to you - your links are always good. It just amused me that they assume "content" means sales copy, that they lose track near the end and go on about frequent posting (what does that have to do with quality?) and that their writing is fine, but it's not great.

    And, of course, that the whole thing is stuffed full of in-line ads. As I mentioned above, Evil Editor. :D
     
    TIEro, Jun 20, 2014 IP
  17. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #17
    No worries, I didn't take it as an offense. And thanks for the compliment.:)
    Maybe the whole stuff pertains more to 'copywriting' (sales writing) specifically than to 'content writing' in general. I agree that the last point deviates from the main theme.
    That's right. Those ads are really irritating. But considering that it's one of the ways to make some money using your blog or website, I think one should be fine with it.;)

    Anyway, is there some reference (other than this thread) you know that really describes what quality content is?
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2014
    Content Maestro, Jun 20, 2014 IP
  18. TIEro

    TIEro Active Member

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    #18
    Nope, because - as we've all said in our own way here - it's subjective. It depends on the topic, writing style, eventual use of the content and a whole ton of other factors. This thread is probably the best definition around!
     
    TIEro, Jun 20, 2014 IP
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  19. Keith Nimble

    Keith Nimble Greenhorn

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    #19
    If you don't have a critical eye for spotting good writing, a writer's quality can be gauged by where their work has appeared in the past. If they've worked with major brands or publications -- you can be sure they're good in somebody's eyes and probably charge accordingly.
     
    Keith Nimble, Jun 25, 2014 IP
  20. Thesisss

    Thesisss Peon

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    #20
    For some writers and clients, quality is synonym of "mistake free", grammar, syntax and spelling. No structural disorders. For others quality is synonym of "beyond expectations" :) so it depends.. Quality has no defined standards
     
    Thesisss, Jul 7, 2014 IP