Before we break into a bunch of advanced techniques on how you can do the writing yourself, we first need to decide if doing your own writing is the best option. Do you become incredibly stressed at the thought of writing a short e-mail, much less a 500-word informative and entertaining article? Do you simply not have time to generate pages and pages of content? Fortunately, there is another alternative to writing articles yourself: you can pay a professional writer to do it for you.
There are thousands of writing services and individual freelance writers who are more than willing to provide you with professional, customized content for your website. Web-based and SEO (search engine optimized) writing has become a profession unto itself, as more and more webmasters discover that original content is the key to Internet marketing success.
Paying for professional content can be the perfect solution for those who don't have the time (or the interest) to develop writing skills. Hiring a professional writer to generate your articles leaves you free to concentrate on your business and ensures that you will have quality content.
As with any other business proposition, there are advantages and drawbacks to hiring a professional writer. In this chapter, we'll take a look at the pros and cons of paying for content and help you make an informed decision.
Having your articles professionally written has its fair share of benefits. Here are some of the key advantages of having someone else do the writing for you:
The Pros Know What They're Doing
Unless you happen to have extensive experience working as a copywriter then it's pretty safe to say that a professional writer will be able to create at least slightly better articles than you alone; they have the experience. They understand what Internet users want to read and how they want the information presented to them. They are experienced at not only writing articles, but also at researching topics to find the best, most relevant information available.
Keywords are also a subject that professional writers have extensive experience with. All you have to do is give them a list, and they'll plug your pertinent phrases into the article text seamlessly. They can generate those all-important must-read titles that will catch the attention of readers and search engines alike. When you hire an article writer, you get clean, error-free articles that boost your credibility and make you the expert. Custom articles with your byline set you apart from the competition.
It Can Save a lot of Time
You're reading this because you want to create a crapload of content fast right? When you outsource your article writing to a professional, you save time. Often, the time you save is worth far more than the fee you'll pay the writer. You may find that the speed writing techniques in this books aren't suited for you.
It's a good idea to weigh the cost of custom articles against the time it would take you to write them yourself. You can get a high quality 500-word custom article written for $10 to $25, and turnaround time for a single article for most professional writers is usually a few days. Compare that to the time it may take you to generate a good article: hours, or even weeks of research and writing, depending on your own experience. Would your time be better spent developing your business? If the answer is yes, you should seriously consider outsourcing.
Another time benefit to hiring a professional is the ability to order articles in bulk. Writing services will generally offer a discount if you order a number of articles, and you'll usually get them within a few weeks. Ordering bulk custom articles is a great way to jump start your visibility and gets the marketing ball rolling.
You Get the Glory
Hiring a professional writer for custom content creation means (usually) you buy the rights to the work as well. This means you own the content. You don't have to list someone else's name in the author bio-you get to add your own bio and signature file, and help to position yourself as an expert.
Some people think that giving yourself credit for articles that you didn't explicitly write yourself; this is far from the truth, you bought the rights to those articles so they become solely yours. In fact, it is common practice in both business and publishing. However, some people are uncomfortable with this custom. If this is you, consider listing the writer as a co-author: "By John C. Business, with Ima Writer." This way the writer is credited, and you can still list your own bio at the end of the article.
Ever heard the phrase "With the sweet comes the sour?" That applies to just about anything, content creation included. Hiring professionals has its own detriments. Fortunately, most of them can be avoided with due diligence on your part. Keep yourself informed about buying articles and you can ensure your investment will pay off.
Be Careful about Additional Charges
This is the one unavoidable drawback: you must pay for professional writing services. If you're not paying for the content, you're not getting the rights to the work. This means you don't get credit, and all those visitors who read that brilliant article will be impressed enough to click the link to the author's website-and may not come back to yours.
Stiffing the writer you hired is a bad idea. Though some people do manage to get free writing by asserting the final project is "unacceptable" or "not what I envisioned," this practice will put you on writers' bad books. Word gets around in the writing community, and you may find that no one is willing to work with you. Plus, it's just plain mean-writers need to earn a living, too.
Remember to weigh the money you'll spend against the time you'll save. Most of the time, you'll end up at an advantage in the end.
Writers Don't Necessarily Know Your Business
When you hire a professional writer, or any freelancer, you have to deal with the fact that they really don't know your business or your products the same way that you do. Ultimately, you are the most qualified person to write about your topic. However, there are ways to ensure the articles you outsource are written to reflect your knowledge.
Writers can adapt. The more information they have about a subject, the better the finished pieces they will be able to produce. When you pay for professional content, consider providing the writer with a copy of your book, e-book, special reports, or product. This will help them write the best possible articles for you.
Also, consider providing the writer or writing service with a rough template you would like them to follow. This way, you can be sure the ideas you want to promote are included in the final piece.
Watch Out for Scams!
Every industry has its scam artists, and writing is no different. There are a number of "writing services" out there promising fast, cheap content for your website. Unfortunately, the content these scammers offer is not original-it's often a series of template articles with keywords plugged in.
You can avoid hiring scam writers by knowing what to look for in a writing service. Often, the price itself is a giveaway: "Articles for just $1 apiece!" With a price that low, it's most likely a scam. Few writers will work for so little; if they are, it usually means they're not working…just filling in a template.
Another tip-off is turnaround time. If the writing service promises dozens of articles in twenty-four hours, it's unlikely that they could generate that much original content in such a short time frame.
To avoid scam artists, follow the following advice:
Evaluating Writers and Their Services
Paying for professional content is fast but it's not necessarily cheap. Since you're going to be paying a fair amount for it you should make sure you get your money's worth. It's important to evaluate a writing service or individual freelance writer before you decide to enter a business relationship with them. In this section, you'll learn what to look for and what to avoid in a professional writer or writing service.
Check Out Their Website
Almost no one is going to be doing this kind of business without a nice website. For writing services and freelancers, this is more the rule than the exception. This holds particularly true for writers and services that specialize in web content-it would almost be hypocritical for them not to have a website.
Looks are everything
Look for professionalism and good presentation when you're checking out a writing website. Do they seem reasonable, coherent and well-informed? A professional writing services website should contain:
At least one valid contact method (physical address or phone number) outside of an e-mail address
A general pricing range or schedule or an invitation to contact the writer or service for a free quote
Easy-to-read, error-free copy and clean page design
Information about the writer or writers' experience, past or current clients, and/or writing samples
A list of services provided and/or areas of expertise
If the writer or writing service has taken the time to put together a website that demonstrates professionalism and knowledge, they are likely to put the same effort into the work you commission through them. Sloppy websites can indicate sloppy writing quality-something you want to avoid.
Samples and Examples
It's never an idea to jump into something blindly, especially when you generally can't get a refund or that many revisions. Never hire any writer who doesn't provide samples of their work. Most will have samples posted on their websites. If they don't, and you still want to consider working with them, e-mail and ask for a sample. If the sample is riddled with spelling and grammar errors and poorly constructed sentences, you should look for another writer.
In most cases, writers who don't have posted samples are new to freelancing. However, they should still be able to demonstrate their abilities. Working with new writers is not necessarily something you should avoid, but it's important to make sure they can actually provide a finished, coherent piece.
Less Money isn't Always Better
You really do get what you pay for and often times a writer will charge a meager fee because he or she will do meager work for you. As with many other products or services, when it comes to commissioned writing, you get what you pay for. You should expect to pay the going rate for quality writing. This varies according to the type of writing provided, but for SEO articles and web content it is fairly consistent. Usually the writer's fee is per word or a flat rate per article according to a word count range (250 to 400 words, 500 to 700 words, and so on).
There are two common reasons for writers offering their services for substantially less than every other writer in that field: either the writer is new or inexperienced, or there is a scam afoot. In either case, investigate the writer or company, check out their samples, and use caution when paying dirt-cheap fees for content.
Be Aware of Plagiarism and Copyright Infringement
If you suspect a writer or writing service is using a template or recycling material they claim is "original," there are a few ways to find out whether your suspicions are correct:
Copy and paste two or three sentences from the sample text into a search engine such as Google or Yahoo. Chances are, if it's a scam you will come up with several links leading to the exact same article on different websites with different bylines.
Look up websites that deal with the subject of the article and question and check out their article archives to see if they have the same title.
Go to www.findarticles.com and search for the title or unusual phrases within the text of the sample article.
Enter the URL of the page containing the suspicious writing sample at www.copyscape.com to view other pages that contain the exact same content.
Free is not always good
You may be thinking, "Why pay for content when I can find plenty of free articles on my subject to use on my website?"
The answer, of course, is credibility.
There are plenty of resources out there for free articles. However, they still have a price: you have to list someone else as the author, and include a link to their website. This tells Internet users that you aren't knowledgeable in regards to your business, and have to rely on other people to explain things for you.
When you post articles written by other people in your business area, many of your website visitors will conclude the writers of the articles are more informed and more trustworthy than you. They will visit these other websites, and likely won't return to yours. When it comes to Internet marketing, first impressions count. Posting free articles on your website will often make you lose business.
Directory of Writing Services
Need help finding a reputable writing service? Here is a list of professional, reasonably priced services to get you started:
vWorker - www.vWorker.com: This is a virtual job hiring website. You can find writers all over the world that are ready and willing to create your content for you.
Elance - www.elance.com: This site functions as a job board for freelancers. When you're looking to have articles written, you can post your project details on ELance and receive bids from several writers.
Killer Content - www.killer-content.com: Provides article, web content and SEO writing for a variety of topics and subjects.
Web Content Writers - www.writingassist.com: A database of freelance web content writers with various skill sets and areas of expertise, matched on a project-to-project basis.