There have been a lot of posts on outsourcing content creation on various blogs. I had assumed that because of this nobody had an interest in my specific tactics in getting this completed. I ended up being wrong and actually had a reader specifically ask how I did it and what tips I could give to replicate my success. So here we go.
Content in my opinion is one of if not the top items you can outsource effectively. Unless i’m an expert in the topic I really have no interest in sitting down and typing out 500, 1000 or even 2000+ words for a website. In addition – you need to know that i’m a cheap ass. I don’t like to spend money when there is a cheap or even free option. I have yet to find the “free” option for outsourcing content but below is how I go about getting decent content at what I believe is a reasonable rate.
Outsourcing Your Website Content
It doesn’t matter if you need someone to write your entire website for you or just a few blog posts. There are several ways to get this done. I’m a big fan of two services. The first one (and a bit more expensive) is simply using TextBroker.com and the second service which is cheaper but a bit more risky is Odesk.com.
Agency / Independent Contractors
If the quality is the absolute top priority and money isn’t limited then this is hands down the best option. There are agencies that have writers on staff that are more than likely familiar with your niche. This won’t come cheap but agencies establish best practices so that you’ll get well written, well researched and well edited deliverables. Similar to the agency approach, working with reputable independent contractors can net the same result. Depending on your niche or the experience your looking for in a writer, hiring an independent contractor can even be a bit cheaper.
Hiring an agency or independed contractor is the premium option for establishing your sites content needs. Fully expect to spend anywhere to $50-$200+/hr depending on your space, content needs and turnaround expectations.
Text Broker offers U.S. writers who charge per word with no minimum order. It doesn’t matter if you need 100 words or 10,000 words. Text Broker also goes the extra mile to run all submitted content through copyscape to guarantee that the content you receive has not been plagiarized. One of the largest benefits of Text Broker is that once someone accepts your article topic they deliver you the finished content within 24 hours. Can’t beet that for service. Once the content is delivered to you, you have the option of asking for revisions or to accept it as a final project and at that point the project is completed and you will be charged appropriately.
So the ultimate question is – how much does TextBroker.com cost? As I mentioned earlier, they charge per word and the price per word varies by the skill level that you require. A level 2 writer is cheapest at .13 a word where as a level 5 writer is .72 cents a word. Below is a pricing chart directly from their website. I had them estimate the cost of a 500-550 word article at the “average” skill set level.
A single article around 500 words at an “average’ quality level for +- $10.00 isn’t bad but you can see how this really adds up when you start ordering 20-30+ articles. As I mentioned, I’m a cheap-ass so lately i’ve been using the alternative method which is hiring directly off of oDesk.com.
Upwork.com (formally – oDesk.com)
Upwork is a great freelancing service where you can post jobs for thousands of individuals to bid on. You simply post a job describing what you want completed and the budget you have in mind. At that point free lance contractors will submit their bid for your job. The price might be higher and it might be lower. You can at this point interview your applicants or simply hire them on the spot. My strategy for this has changed a lot over the years.
When I first joined Upwork I was using it exclusively for web design and graphic designers. It wasn’t until I was fed up with paying $10 an article on TextBroker.com that I started testing the waters for content writers. In the beginning I was creating jobs for a single article for about $5-$10. I’ve had a lot of success with this but it was still a bit expensive. I was also manually reviewing all applicants and discussing the writing project in mini interviews. Things soon enough changed.
Jon Haver’s strategy for outsourcing content (read his at authoritywebsiteincome.com) involves hiring multiple contractors on the cheap and firing them immediately if they aren’t able to deliver or if the content is sub par. This is definitively a low risk high reward but has very few guarantees. By combining both of our strategies together I have a technique that has been effective for me and that i’m happy to share with you.
- Make excellent grammar and native English speaking a priority in your job description.
- Explain that you’ll hire the contractor for a couple articles (or however many you want) but that if you like their style you’ll give them work on a weekly basis.
- I offer anywhere from $10-$20 an article depending on the content I need written. If the content is super easy to write and doesn’t require much / any research then i’ll offer $10 an article and be flexible on point number 4. If the content is a little more in depth and requires knowledge or research i’ll increase my per article price to reflect this.
- Target contractors from U.S. speaking locations. I typically limit this to the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
- Once you have job applicants – hire the best rated contractor with the most hours marked on their profile.
Using the above strategy I have been able to get several U.S. writers who are willing to write 500-600 word articles for about $10-$20 a piece. This particular strategy doesn’t net the strongest content but if your looking to establish a content strategy on a thin budget then this might be a good way to start.
The downside of this strategy
You would think that using Upwork.com in the way I explained above is a no-brainer right? Well you need to know that it has it’s downfalls too. Many times I receive content that simply sucks. It’s obvious that the writer does not speak English as their first language and is simply using a thesaurus to complete the content. Other times I receive messages simply saying that they haven’t and won’t / can’t complete the project.
The most common issue I run into using Upwork and the strategy I used above is that the writers are really anxious to start working with you despite the low pay but eventually find better paying gigs and want to be paid more. For instance I had a contractor who provided me some great content at an incredible deal ($5.00 per 200 words). This rate was a result of taking the resk of hiring him before he established himself on the platform. Once he got established with positive rankings he was able to charge more. About a month after I originally hired him I received a note saying that he needed to either be paid more or move on to higher paying clients. Fair enough but it’s not uncommon to deal with this fairly often since you’re seeking such a deal.
Do you have any tips or tricks that you can share? I’ve heard of people having great success posting on Craigslist and even tapping into local college kids for content as well. This isn’t something I’ve done before but shows that a lot of quality content can be had at a stellar price!