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Views on new copywriters destabilising the market dynamics!

Discussion in 'Copywriting' started by kanhaiya91, Feb 24, 2015.

  1. #1
    Hello All,
    I'm a content writer from India. I've been working as a content writer for websites, blogs, and corporate stationery since about 7 years. Over the past few years, with the proliferation of internet everywhere, a new breed of writers has emerged. They're willing to work for extremely low rates, and a lot of clients are moving to them.
    SEMrush
    Even the clients don't seem to mind the inexperience and 'lesser' quality that they offer. During such times, how does one solicit newer clients and convince them that while you're charging perhaps more than others, your quality is also better!

    Views will be appreciated.
     
    kanhaiya91, Feb 24, 2015 IP
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    SEMrush
  2. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #2
    I can understand and also feel your concern friend. Good writers get knocked down JUST because of their rates.
    There's another thread in this section that discusses 'quality vs affordability' – https://forums.digitalpoint.com/thr...-quality-pieces-vs-affordable-prices.2746477/. I've linked an infographic there that clearly points out why quality should be placed before affordability – http://www.expand2web.com/blog/copywriting-infographic/. Maybe, if you're able to make the prospects/clients see what they lose or what's at stake when buying cheap content, you'll be able to get your point across.
    EDIT:
    http://www.copywritematters.com.au/copywriters-darn-expensive/ - A good read; explains basically the value a copywriter brings to the table and the difference hiring a good copywriter makes, though they seem expensive. In any case, points given can be definitely used to persuade or convince clients.

    Hope it helps. Good luck.
     
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2015
    Content Maestro, Feb 25, 2015 IP
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  3. kanhaiya91

    kanhaiya91 Active Member

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    #3
    Thanks for the perspective! Really appreciate the links! :D
     
    kanhaiya91, Feb 25, 2015 IP
  4. geegel

    geegel Well-Known Member

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    #4
    This is not a new trend. Not by a long shot. The only way to stay on top is to specialize and move further up the professional ladder.

    Acquire new skills, improve your existing ones, carve a niche for yourself. Complaining will get you absolutely nowhere.
     
    geegel, Feb 25, 2015 IP
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  5. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #5
    Not only is this not new in the world of writing - it's not new in any business. There are always those who want to pay as little as possible and those who will work for them.

    if you want to stand out in any business, there are two places to position yourself - at the low end or the high end. You never want to be in the middle.

    if you want to make more money - up your rate by 5 times, or 10. Demonstrate quality and show results and you'll get the work.

    For example - a company that's willing to pay $100 per hour to a copywriter WILL NOT consider hiring a guy at $10, do you understand? Just as a company who thinks $10 is almost too high will never consider $100.

    I would recommend you read the book "The 80/20 principle of Sales and marketing" by perry Marshal.

    Essetnially, it states that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

    For example, I, who charges $115 per hour probably gets far fewer jobs than you do. But they pay much better. I need only a fraction of the number of projects in a month that you need to meet my goals.

    This is not bragging - it's just what I've learned over the years. Not only as a copywriter, but as an entrepreneuer who's started other businesses too.

    Demand more money and provide quality and you'll get it.
     
    SCookAAM, Feb 25, 2015 IP
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  6. WLEadmin

    WLEadmin Active Member

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    #6
    This pretty much sums everything up. The only reason there are so many low-end workers and that there's so much low-end work is that you're looking at that market (and it's the market that's the most vocal on "online earning" sites).

    Yes, it's a HUGE market (cf. WalMart, Asda), but the simple fact is that it's only ONE market - there are plenty of others that are generally less visible (cf. Boucheron, Harrods, etc.). Why? Because the people in those markets don't go around advertising cheap-ass bargains or expecting to find work through sites where they don't have to do any real work!

    In short, the PTC mindset does not apply to higher-end writing: you spend hours doing a single article (research, drafts, reworking, etc.) and you don't do "batch" work of 50 articles a week for $1 a pop. It's an entirely different business.

    Funnily enough @SCookAAM and @Content Maestro represent two completely different markets, and I (in my freelance writer/editor incarnation) represent another. We all work with different clients at different levels, but we're all doing OK (and looking to do better, of course). Perhaps the most telling thing in these discussions is that, despite the fact that we're in three different levels/types of market, we all say much the same thing when it comes to quality, finding work, setting rates and so on. :)
     
    WLEadmin, Feb 26, 2015 IP
  7. jrbiz

    jrbiz Illustrious Member

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    #7
    You can take some solace from the fact that the buyers of cheap, low quality writing will likely fail or not do very well as businesses here in the U.S., a market that many would like to sell into. The vast majority of citizens can instantly recognize poorly written English. This is because of the sheer volume of poorly written emails that spam our inboxes each and every day. So, if a business advertises or otherwise promotes itself with poorly written copy, it will be lumped in with the email spammers and likely distrusted.

    By the way, I need to visit this section of DP more often. The posts are written so well that they are a pleasure to read. :)
     
    jrbiz, Feb 28, 2015 IP
  8. WLEadmin

    WLEadmin Active Member

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    #8
    They generate lots of good ideas for blog posts, too. :D
     
    WLEadmin, Mar 1, 2015 IP
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  9. dddougal

    dddougal Well-Known Member

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    #9
    This happens in every business. People spot an opportunity to make some money, realize that the cost of living is much much cheaper in their country and undercut everybody.

    I used to hire cheap and cheerful writers, early on when i first started out, and when google was a bit more forgiving shall we say. Not any more. Quality will always prevail, people learn their lessons in the end and stop paying for crap.

    Sadly, the sewage will keep flowing though, its like an endless supply. It always was though, and im glad to see that a few of the good writers are still around.
     
    dddougal, Mar 6, 2015 IP
  10. SCookAAM

    SCookAAM Active Member

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    #10
    Yes, the sewage will keep flowing - but it's not sad. On the contrary, the more crap there is, the more you as a good writer will dhine.

    Do not be afraid or angry about low-cost, low-quality producers, they only strneghten, not weaken, our positions. And when those who make the mistake of hiring these people learn their lesson, they'll be much more open to paying what our services are worth and being educated.

    Bring on the shit, I say!
     
    SCookAAM, Mar 6, 2015 IP
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  11. King-Servers

    King-Servers Greenhorn

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    #11
    You should offer your services through freelancer sites, forums and fiverr where you will find many clients and get good ratings.
     
    King-Servers, Mar 6, 2015 IP
  12. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #12
    Places like Fiverrr are exactly the point of the issue at hand here. Delving in such sites might be nice for some jobs and can lead to some long-term contacts down the line. But they will never be an example of a place where someone can offer/seek high-end services. People don't tend to realize that there are not just simple niches (Copywriting, Article Writing, Creative Writing) but also niches within each niche (cheap copywriters, high-end copywriters etc). So when you spend a lot of time undermining your skills and offering them for pennies just so you can get a client, there is a high chance that you will drill more and more into this sub-niche and find it harder to sell your services for more in the future...or the very least sustain your business long enough to have a future in it.

    I really wanted to add more but @Content Maestro , @jrbiz and @SCookAAM already summed up the whole thing, flawless job as always guys ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Mar 6, 2015 IP
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  13. walkinhop

    walkinhop Member

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    #13
    I am the Content Manager of a hosting company. Been there for over 2 years.

    Started quite new but since then, I have specialized in hosting and its ticks and tacks. At this point, if the top management decides to change me 2 things would happen:

    1- They will get a cheaper version of me. It will take them years to familiarize themselves with the topics = worse quality for a while

    2- They will have to pay more than double to an established writer, for the same quality.

    Yes, the market is overpopulated BUT smart business people will ALWAYS invest in quality. Long-term satisfaction is, 90% of time, more valuable than to pump so-so articles and gain short-term advantage.
     
    walkinhop, Mar 12, 2015 IP
  14. coreygeer

    coreygeer Notable Member

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    #14
    You have to have some kind of standards no matter where you go. If you just wing it and tell everyone you're looking to write for them, there's no way in hell you can make a livable income off of writing.

    Here's what you'll get if you solely just wing it:
    - Short order clients for $5 to $10 with a laundry list of standards
    - That uncertainty that you'll even be paid at all because you never specified your own payment terms
    - Clients who are getting writing work from other clients, outsourcing their work to you and expecting the quality that client that hired them is expecting

    I'm not going to pretend that this place hasn't changed over the years but cheap people have always been around here. The problem is, once a community starts to sink, some of the quality that made up the community packs their bags and heads somewhere else. It's not that quality clients are snobby and only want to be around other quality clients but people like being around like minded people.

    It's something I learned when my friend and I were going to Chamber of Commerce meetings and meeting all the rich city business people. These people were some of the nicest people I'd ever met. They weren't snobby and uptight jerks like most people think rich people are. Rich people just like associating with like minded people and most of the time, those like minded people are business associated and have money.

    It's the same thing with these forums. Quality clients that can shell out for quality work don't want to hang around a spot where broken English outsourcing agencies offer their cheap services and I'd venture to guess that the "WTB" section scares a lot of them off. It's like taking a wrong turn off the highway and wondering into a ghetto.

    You can charge $10 per 100 words and you'll get cursed at a lot but you need 10 times less work to make ends meet. I personally have decided to start charging $1.50 per 100 words here with some standards along with it. I don't visit here much anymore and if I can pick up some quick bulk work and make extra cash, then I'm okay with that.

    I honestly don't get the "samples" bit. That's the one thing on Digital Point that always confuses me. Asking for samples has become the standard for a lot of clients here.

    "send me your samples"
    "do you have samples?"
    "pls send samples"

    Every single thread here that I see is asking for "samples". Damnit people, professionals call it a resume or a portfolio. Anyone can pull niche related articles off of a site, zip them up and call them your own.

    No matter what price you charge, have some kind of standards for your clients. Having some kind of standards such as 50% payment upfront, 100% upfront, a word minimum or a niche related requirement will scare some of the more difficult clients off. One example of a difficult client was some guy from here who barely spoke English and wanted "Resident 3" articles.

    The requirements? Oh, not much, he just wanted the following:
    - 6 LSI keywords to be used at 3%
    - The main keyword to be used at 3%
    - Two appropriate images found on websites with an Alexa higher than 1,000,000
    - The article to be formatted and uploaded to their Wordpress

    The pay? $5. That's an article with over 20% of the content being just keywords.

    No matter what you say or do, you will never change the habit of cheap people. I lived in an apartment owned by an extremely cheap landlord for years. We had interactions regularly and no matter how many business consultants came in, no matter how much advice her rich husband gave her, no matter what anyone said or did, she to this day refuses to change how she does things. The only reason her business is still there is because her husband floats just enough money to keep it going because he doesn't want her home 24/7.
     
    coreygeer, Mar 12, 2015 IP
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  15. WLEadmin

    WLEadmin Active Member

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    #15
    Frankly, I have never understood the "cheap entry" approach. Why would a client who pays $5 for, say, $20 of work suddenly decide that they're happy to pay the $20 in future? They won't. They paid $5 once, they'll expect to pay $5 again, every time. You lose out, they move on, no gain.
     
    WLEadmin, Mar 13, 2015 IP
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  16. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #16
    Yes and No. The "cheap entry" approach is best when, as in any other job, you have no experience to show for yourself. You might be the best content writer there is but if you don't have the evidence to back your claims you would have to rely on clients risking with you. And there aren't that much that are prepared to do it, believe me.

    As for those "cheap" employers, they are mostly for good reviews and giving you an opportunity to widen your portfolio. Indeed, rarely they will turn long-time clients on a more expensive rate. Though there are exception. I had a client back in the days who I was charging around 2-3c/word for some time and at one point decided to raise my pricing and naturally he backed off. Did not hear from him for a while (saw him posting again in oDesk searching for writers) and a few months later (and a few crappy articles) he came back to me agreeing to the new rate. Rare, but happens... ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Mar 13, 2015 IP
  17. Content Maestro

    Content Maestro Notable Member

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    #17
    The only problem I see with the “cheap entry” approach is that once a client is accustomed to paying you $5 for $20-quality work, it's very hard to convince them otherwise. You shouldn't allow lack of a strong portfolio or experience to limit you esp. when setting rates for your work. I agree most clients are reluctant to hire a novice writer at higher rates, but to get them to pay the price you ask depends mostly on how effectively you reason and talk terms with them. If you're absolutely confident you're one of the best writers out there or at least one who can offer a quality that's at par with or close to the best, stick to your rates come hell or high water. It's your self-confidence and professionalism that work the magic. You might lose some clientele at the start because of your higher-than-average rates, but as I've said many times before, a bit of patience and perseverance will get you a good-paying opportunity pretty soon. IMO, a writer is much better off working for one good/high-paying client rather than working for a bunch of cheap ones. Yes, the lower-paying clients serve good when you wanna cut your teeth on their gigs before landing some real work or come in handy when you need a few quick bucks in your Paypal, but I've considerably stopped hovering over the popular freelancing sites for finding such jobs as the rates offered are more often than not so paltry, that in my view, it makes more sense to wash cars and mow lawns if I need some cash fast.
    When negotiating with prospective clients, try to make them see what they'll lose if they hire cheap or low-quality writers. Point out why paying more will ensure that the content they'll get will genuinely reflect quality, uniqueness and originality and ultimately result in enhanced traffic, more conversions and a consistent top ranking in SERPs. Not that every single prospect will see your point right from the word go, but they're sure to think over it eventually and might accept your proposal sooner than expected. One way around that works sometimes for me is to suggest the prospective client to get a short trial article written from me for the price I'm asking. One article is enough for them to figure out whether the rate I charge justifies the quality I'm offering. Since it's just a few words and they've to pay only once, they don't have anything/much to lose. Some people do learn the hard way just as it happened with your client, but I think they're only wasting their time. What's the point in taking the long route when it's only gonna end in you getting crap which harms your website and online rep? Might as well pay a bit more and reap the benefits of employing good quality.
     
    Content Maestro, Mar 14, 2015 IP
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  18. syda

    syda Well-Known Member

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    #18
    I don't think that this is a big problem really. Most of those who buy this ultra cheap, low quality content usually don't even realize it's bad as English is not their first language, often they don't have a clue how something should be written. So why not let these cheap marketers buy from cheap writers, why would you even want to go there and try to give them competition? Stay away from this bunch and set your sights on buyers who actually know what they are doing. But if you still want business from these low end clients, hire some cheap writers and spare yourself and your time to still make a few bucks... if the volume is large enough.
     
    syda, Mar 14, 2015 IP
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  19. King-Servers

    King-Servers Greenhorn

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    #19
    The market is getting really competitive mate, so it is matter of review, feedbacks and offering price according to the situation.
     
    King-Servers, Mar 14, 2015 IP
  20. Rado_ch

    Rado_ch Well-Known Member

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    #20
    I agree, I really do. I just think that we are approaching this from different directions. Starting out I wouldn't consider such clients in my long term plans anyways, I'd use them only to fill in my portfolio. I do believe that without any evidence of the work you'd have to be an amazing salesperson and you'd still have troubles convincing many without a hard written proof. I might be a genius self-taught PHP developer but unless I have the diploma or the previous experience to back me up I cannot really expect to start on the same pay-level as a seasoned PHP developer in the same company. That was my idea of the "cheap entry" - an often needed "evil" but one that should be outgrown rather quick.

    Good approach but one I am still hesitant to use. At the very least it has to be worded VERY carefully. This is more of an SEO concern and novice clients often take SEO too literally. I mean, there is a reason people still seek services that "put them on top of Google for 1 week". Explaining the values of good content that way will raise the expectations of a client to a different level, sometimes impossible. Imagine if your clients calls you a couple of weeks from posting your article asking why isn't he still on Page 1 of the SERP? Its good for the client to know the importance content but then they also have to realize the continuity of this process and the other important factors involved. Provided that is well explained, its a good marketing tactic and one that certainly can attract more employment. ;)
     
    Rado_ch, Mar 14, 2015 IP