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  1. #1
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    Cheap Article Writer or the Not-so-cheap Writing Company?

    I think pretty much anyone knows that there a tens of thousands of writers that offer their services at dirt cheap. They usually refer to their services as "article writing", which most often means article rewriting so it becomes original. Let's assume you want exactly this... 10 articles about a broad niche just for the purpose of having keyword targeted articles to draw search engine traffic to.

    Out of the blue or without thinking about the actual consequences, which service would you more likely hire for the job of the ten articles?

    * The writer who claims to write original and high quality articles for $x (400 words), or
    * the writing firm who too claims to produce and deliver high quality and original articles for $y.

    I am sure many of you will say that the cheap writer will do it for their purposes. How come you decide for this one?

    ...Moving further on, let's assume you are about to ask the writing firm why you should take them as their service provider, rather than a cheap writer. What questions would you raise? Or better, what would you expect to be different with the writing firm compared to the writer?

    This is an interesting topic I think, so please share your ideas and answers!
    Last edited by ses5909; Apr 3, 2007 at 06:48.

  2. #2
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    Based on your goal, why bother with humans at all? Get some scraper software if traffic is "exactly all" you want.

    In Search optimization, not search engine optimization you see the difference between keyword stuffing for 'bots and writing copy for humans.

    Unfortunately, for most of what people use copywriting for -- a spacer for keywords -- $x is overpriced.

    A few companies find they have to use the text to convert site traffic to customers. In that case, the copy might have to be more than generic. You might have certain objectives, for example trying to explain how your own services are worth more than $x or $y. For that you may have to demonstrate an actual point of view, provide a service, differentiate from competitors and so on.

    In general, the $x-$y articles are pretty much the same -- generic filler. Much of it I wouldn't call writing -- it's typing. Essentially the only quality threshold is not triggering the duplicate content penalty.
    Last edited by ses5909; Apr 3, 2007 at 07:00.

  3. #3
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    So it would be totally useless to hire a writing firm or an individual writer such rewriting jobs, right? But what if visitors to your site are leaving simply because of less quality article, be it "scraped" or bot written content? Isn't it the point to make your visitors return to your site while still having keyword rich articles that trigger the search engines?

  4. #4
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    Isn't it the point to make your visitors return to your site while still having keyword rich articles that trigger the search engines?
    That was not stated in the goal "... 10 articles about a broad niche just for the purpose of having keyword targeted articles to draw search engine traffic to." No less ... but no more.

    Keep in mind there are a number of people who are willing to give the customer exactly what they ask for -- whether it is going to achieve the larger objectives or not. At $x-$y you get what you pay for -- typing.

    In many cases the point is getting people to return, to buy, to refer. As McGovern writes in the article I linked, "However, this content doesn’t seem credible to me. I don’t get a sense of trustworthiness off it. In fact, it reads to me like spam, and that made me quickly hit the Back button."

    There is copywriting, and then there is content typing. Copywriting is about getting the user to perform a specifically defined task. And sorry, but seeing the same article typed 10,000 different ways on every site in an industry does not inspire me to do business with the company. In fact it may be damaging to the reputation of the industry.

    That's the hidden price of cheap writing. If you don't have anything worth linking to, you are going to spend the money you didn't spend on article writing on advertising expenses instead. "Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product" and uninspired writing.

    How often have you seen a "Ten Tips for [fill in the blank]" article posted in a forum? You read it and it is nothing you don't already know. Are you then irresistibly driven to visit the site? Probably not. Yet how often is this practiced as a sound marketing technique (and I use the term loosely).

    What works then? Having an original thought works. Going from vague generalities to specific examples works. Developing a unique selling proposition or getting in touch with your inner purple cow works wonders.
    Last edited by ses5909; Apr 3, 2007 at 07:00.

  5. #5
    _ silver trophy ses5909's Avatar
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    Cheap to you may not be cheap to me. I don't choose my copywriter based on if they are freelance or work for a firm. I choose based on quality and how well I can work with the person. That's it.

    Also, please keep specific prices out of the forums as it goes against our guidelines. Thank you.
    Sara

  6. #6
    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    You can't judge a book by its cover and you can't judge a copywriter by what they do or don't charge. I've seen many ads from Madison Avenue that are way wrong in how they market their products. You have, too. They're the ones you only see once or twice and "poof" they are gone because they simply don't work.

    On the other hand, I've seen many young freelancers with big talent starting out working cheap to build a portfolio, get some work, get some recognition, and start a career.

    I pity those people who are so arrogant that they think big words and long dissertations are synonymous with writing skill. Talented copywriters know how to say the same thing differently again and again in ways that the consumer can readily enjoy and understand... regardless of what they get paid for doing so.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

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    Good point. But it is equally pitiful when people do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

    If it works, keep right on doing it. If not -- then perhaps a rethink is in order.

    Should you find a writer who produces quality content cheaply to start, when they raise their prices you have lost that cheap writing. You must then decide whether it is worth the time and effort to find another.

    While there are exceptions, the particular exception of finding a temporarily cheap article writer seems more the exception which proves the rule. I'm equally sure you can, with dilligence, find cheap or free legal advice, health care, plumbing or auto repair. ...but probability argues against it being very good, on average.

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    Word Painter silver trophy Shyflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DCrux View Post
    Good point. But it is equally pitiful when people do the same thing over and over and expect different results.

    If it works, keep right on doing it. If not -- then perhaps a rethink is in order.

    Should you find a writer who produces quality content cheaply to start, when they raise their prices you have lost that cheap writing. You must then decide whether it is worth the time and effort to find another.

    While there are exceptions, the particular exception of finding a temporarily cheap article writer seems more the exception which proves the rule.
    I started out back in 1974 as copy director at a radio station. It wasn't uncommon for a client to purchase 100 ROS (run of schedule) 30 second (sometimes mixed with 15 and/or 60 second) spots that aired over a 30 day period. At the time I earned $2.50 USD per hour.

    I quickly learned how to deliver the same message in several different "changes". If I hadn't learned, I would have lost my job.

    My point -- A good copywriter has to know how to put a different spin on the same subject. These days, on the web, the backbone of a freelancer's copywriting business is in repeat business. If you can't rewrite the content to make it fresh and new, it's a sure thing that your client will find someone who can.

    Don't be mistaken. I also get your point. There are a lot of "hacks" out there who change a word here, a paragraph there and call their work original, but they are at work in every economic level of this industry. Some are "pros" (or so they purport to be) and some are their own worst enemies — the do-it-yourselfers who think stringing a few words together is writing. Oddly enough, this latter class of "copywriters" undercut even the cheap freelancers, because they get their "original" content for free.

    Should you find a cheap writer who later raises their prices? Yes, and you should stay with that writer if he/she can continue to deliver the results you need at a price you can afford. That's what enterprise is all about in my book.
    Linda Jenkinson
    "Say what you mean. Mean what you say. But don't say it mean." ~Unknown

  9. #9
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    Thanks all of you for your valuable time you spent to contribute to this. I have to agree to most points, specifically when a writer is actually a good (copy)writer or just a typer. To draw another conclusion from this, I think the "rewriting business" is nothing but the temporary attempt of new webmasters who try to make a living online. Correct me if I am wrong here, but having thought more diligently about what DCrux stated... "There is copywriting, and then there is content typing. Copywriting is about getting the user to perform a specifically defined task. And sorry, but seeing the same article typed 10,000 different ways on every site in an industry does not inspire me to do business with the company." ... I could do nothing else but to agree to this.

    So thanks again for sharing your thoughts. And sorry ses5909 for violating the rules... I didn't know, truly.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    I pity those people who are so arrogant that they think big words and long dissertations are synonymous with writing skill.
    Yes, and painfully obvious when many of those try to write beyond their comfort level, especially their choice of vocabulary.

  11. #11
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sebastianrs View Post
    "There is copywriting, and then there is content typing
    As most things in life, there is also a lot in between. So don't be so quick to dismiss us 'content typers'.

    We may not be trying to create prose that moves you to some immediate action, but consider one of my areas .. travel.

    Most articles about a given destination necessarily have some common threads. We need to tell travelers about certain attractions and activities. Finding a unique way of doing that requires a bit more than firing up a bit of scraper software.

  12. #12
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    As most things in life, there is also a lot in between. So don't be so quick to dismiss us 'content typers'.
    I certainly have to agree. There isn't just black and white.

  13. #13
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    I realise I'm coming late to this, but...

    I think this thread touches on one of the core problems of working as a copywriter: you're not always respected because people exist who think writing is easy, because we all speak English and we all spent years in school learning how to write it.

    It always seems to me that writing good English, for whatever purpose, is as hard as coding in C++ or designing jet engines. Moreover, writing is one of the few skills that can get harder the better you become at it, because you become more aware of the importance of style and rhythm.
    Check out my copywriting blog at www.billhilton.biz!

  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist old_expat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by billhilton View Post
    Moreover, writing is one of the few skills that can get harder the better you become at it, because you become more aware of the importance of style and rhythm.
    Yes!

    I cringe every time I see a boring list of "**** Writing for the Web" .. which should be renamed "Some Things to Consider When Formatting Text for the Web".

    They ain't the same.

  15. #15
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    With the right training and quality assurance system, good quality and low prices are achievable. It also helps to have extra layers of editing. While there's sometimes a conflict between writing for GoogleBot and writing for human beings at the same time, this conflict goes away if the writer lays out a solid outline of the piece and researches the materials accordingly. "Ad lib" writing on keywords just leads to disaster. Having a plan in advance expedites the process and produces better copy.
    Low Cost Website Copywriter Services. All ORIGINAL TEXT.
    Duplicate Content Checker

  16. #16
    SitePoint Addict nueva's Avatar
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    I am agree with ses5909, to bad you find most of the times only so called writers and you pay some money that in the end you didn't have no audience with that article. but this is the life on the internet....

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shyflower View Post
    My point -- A good copywriter has to know how to put a different spin on the same subject. These days, on the web, the backbone of a freelancer's copywriting business is in repeat business. If you can't rewrite the content to make it fresh and new, it's a sure thing that your client will find someone who can.

    Agree, this is what makes the site to be different and less boring to recurrent visitor.


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