Some disqualifiers to start. I have fired most of my article writers for plagiarism, and suspect that when you first start hiring article writers, you will find that about 75% of the initial ghostwriters you hire will plagiarize online content, and you will need to let them go, as I have done. Secondly, I believe it is necessary for you to thoroughly learn the skill of article writing.
Bearing this in mind: outsourcing your article writing is a tool - just that, a tool. It should be used to leverage your time, to give you additional content for your own rewriting, and to enhance your own article writing. I do not believe that ghostwritten articles should replace your own original articles, and I believe strongly that you should become an effective article writer yourself before you begin to outsource your article writing.
With all of that said, here is how to use ghostwriters to write articles for you:
Create a list of keywords around which you want your ghostwriters to write articles for you. You will find, especially if you are having a large number of articles written for you, that it becomes more difficult over time to come up with good keywords around which for them to write your articles.
I find that by creating a list ahead of time, when one of my ghostwriters is ready for the next assignment, I can simply pull the next 10 or 50 keyword phrases in my list of keywords, and send them out, rather than having to pause the project I am working on to create a list of keywords.
The Ad I Use to Find Article Ghostwriters
Here is a typical ad that I will place to find ghostwriters:
Need 50 275 word article marketing articles. Must be 100% original articles, and not copied from anywhere, online or off. Will not pay for any plagiarized articles.
Note how important it is to me that the article writers know right up front that I will not tolerate plagiarism or copying from the web.
You might think that this will limit the number of ghostwriters that might be interested in writing for me, and that is correct: the ghostwriters who use spurious means to write articles will not apply to write my articles. Only qualified article writers will apply for the contract.
It is also important to understand how ghostwriters typically write articles, so you can spot plagiarized articles quickly.
There are a number of different methods, and certainly combinations of these, that occur with ghostwriters. I am going to list these in order from the methods having the least integrity to the methods that are the best and have the most integrity:
1) Ghostwriters steal articles from the web on similar topics as yours, change a few words, and sell them to you as original (yes, I have had it happen to me, I have lost hundreds of dollars on these articles I cannot use).
2) Ghostwriters take articles from the web, and rewrite them according to the method I gave you early in this toolbox. (This is also plagiarism, and you do not want to buy articles from article writers that use this process).
3) Ghostwriters take articles from the web, read them, study them (they call this research) and then write fresh articles without copying any of the language of the original article. (this method or the next are the only two methods I permit my ghostwriters to use).
4) Ghostwriters write articles on topics about which they are personally familiar, and produce 100% original articles. This of course is my preferred method of purchasing articles, although I will accept articles written according to method 3, as long as they are written 100% in their own words.
How to Find Ghostwriters
Do a search engine query for each of the following terms:
'ghostwriting' 'article writing' 'article ghostwriting' 'article writing service' 'ghostwriting service'
This will give you a lot of contacts. There are far more article writers out there than there are people that need articles written - but sometimes it takes a little due diligence to find them.
Article Writers Agreement
I require all my ghostwriters to sign an agreement similar to this:
I understand that all the articles I write for Sean Mize are ghostwritten and must be original content, and cannot contain any plagiarized or copied content from any source, online or offline, and that I assign Sean Mize any and all rights regarding the articles written, and that he can use them in any medium, both offline or online, using his name as author, or any other name as author, and that once I have been paid for the articles no additional compensation is required, regardless of any future use of the articles.
I wrote it personally, and certainly it is not a professional legal document, but I feel that it meets my needs.
If it meets your needs, please feel free to copy it, improve it, or use it as it is.
Basically what I do is send that agreement to them in the form of a text file, and ask that each of the ghostwriters copies it and pastes it into an original email, then signs the email, and sends it to me. Then I put each of those emails in a special folder so if I ever need them, they are easy to find.
How to Maintain Control Over Quality of Articles
Although I generally purchase 50-100 articles at a time from each ghostwriter, when I first start purchasing articles from a new ghostwriter, I require that they write me a test set of 10 articles. I do pay them for these articles, unless I find that they are plagiarized, then I send them back and refuse to pay.
Also, I have a one-strike and you are out policy. It is very important to me that all of my articles are originally written. Therefore it is critical to me that I take all precautions against plagiarism and any copying from the web or any other content. If I ever catch an article writer breaking my rules and writing an article by lifting even a phrase or one sentence from another article, I will not give them another chance.
The way I feel about it is that if that is how they like to write articles, if I tell them I have caught them and that they should stop writing articles that way - they will only do a better job of rewriting, they will not start writing original articles. If they were willing to write original articles, they would have done it from the beginning.
There are plenty of ghostwriters online, there is no good reason keep a ghostwriter once they have broken your rules - besides, it is not worth the risk of having plagiarized content on your web site or on any article directory with your name on it.
So how do I check the articles for plagiarism? There are several things you can do.
1) You can buy plagiarism software and run the articles through the software. This will catch some, but not all, of the plagiarized content.
2) You can do some stealthy phrase checking yourself. This will be more time consuming, but it is well worth it to catch a bad author. I have had several authors who I have caught plagiarizing, write me and practically beg me to tell them how I found out -what software I was using. They claimed to have used some of the software out there and the articles did not come up. I obviously refused - let them sweat it out.
Basically, if you take several phrases from each article, put quotes around them, and then look them up in google - if they are copying, you can usually find it. I will generally take about 3-5 phrases from each article. That gives you 30-50 phrases in the first set of 10 articles - and that is generally enough to catch the plagiarism if it is occurring.
If they pass that stage, the next thing I do is submit the 10 articles to ezinearticles.com. If the articles also pass their software, I make the assumption I am working with an honest ghostwriter, and I give them a set of 25 articles to write next.
Out of the next set of 25 articles, I will generally check about one phrase per article. If they pass this set, and the subsequent submission to ezinearticles.com, I will step them up to 50 articles, and then only spot check the articles.
With that many articles, also, you can read through them, and you can usually tell if the language changes - which is a dead giveaway that they have been plagiarized. Each author will have their own unique style, and if you are alert, you will catch the style, and you will be able to tell if they deviate from it.
With some ghostwriters, especially the ones who are willing to do 50-100 per week, they are actually purchasing articles from other writers (basically re-contracting some of the project) so it important that all the articles from the various writers meets your standard.
You can often tell, just by scanning or reading the articles, which were written by your ghostwriter and which by another writer.
This ends the excerpt...
Once you have read that excerpt, you should have a good picture of how I hire workers for any tasks that I need. To summarize, I am very specific about what I need done. I am clear that I won't tolerate work that doesn't meet the standards I set. I normally give test projects to determine if the worker is right for me. And if someone doesn't do the work, or violates other issues such as misrepresenting the work they have done, lying about anything relevant to the project, or anything else that doesn't meet my standards, I simply don't use that worker again for another project.
There are literally millions of people on earth who are more than willing to do the work for you, and to do it exactly the way it's done. I don't believe I should allow anyone's sob story about how they need the work to feed their family, etc., to sway these decisions. My feeling is that this is my business, and if they really want to work for me long-term, they should have done the work the way I asked the first time. By the way, I know this sounds harsh - and perhaps it is harsher than it needs to be, and may be harsher than you need for your business. However, I am a strong believer that if I can personally do something right, then everyone I hire to work for me should do everything I assign, right. (As you can tell, I am not much of a softie when it comes to excuses!)