When Should you Hire a Writer?
Are you spending more time on writing that you can justify? Do you need to free up your time for other tasks such as customer support and sales? If so, you need to hire a writer. It may well be that your writing is top-notch and your only problem is time but writing alone will not compensate you for lack of business. This is the primary reason for infrequent updates on this website i.e. my client projects always take priority!
Owners of small and medium-sized companies should perform as many tasks as possible to reduce expenses. Why hire an IT person if you can satisfy all requirements on your own? In my case, I carry out all tasks that I have knowledge of, such as web design, marketing, and technical maintenance of my own network/computers. Accounting is not an area I enjoy so I outsource this function to a qualified company. Sure, I could attempt it myself but it would take more time than it’s worth to deal with.
Company owners in this position need to consider their priorities.
How Much are YOU Willing to Spend to Hire a Writer?
I’m sure many of us have been unsuspectingly browsing a department store when the industrious sales assistant creeps up behind you and says, “Can I help you?” You don’t exactly welcome the intrusion but agree to go along with this arrangement, knowing all too well the thankless nature of customer service. You reply, “Well, I’m looking for a home lobotomy kit for my dog. The problem is that he’s a diabetic and prone to psychotic episodes. Therefore, I need a solution that is portable, so I can sneak up on him and perform the procedure before he attacks.” The sales assistant replies, “Certainly, sir. How much are you willing to spend?”
Annoying isn’t it? If you give out this figure, then you know you are about to get screwed without the benefit of a decent meal or conversation, as the closest item in price will be ‘recommended’ despite the fact that a cheaper option would have been sufficient. I tend to say, “whatever it costs!” rather than specify what I would like to pay…absolutely nothing.
Unfortunately, paying nothing for written content is an entirely different story, although such services are available. Can you even imagine the drivel you will receive? As a writer, I obviously write everything and do not outsource these activities and as a small business owner, I also appreciate the financial restrictions that are common to all companies during a recession
Where Should I Outsource from?
Unfortunately, this leads back to the question, “How much are you willing to spend?” An irritating question for sure but one that is necessary to determine your next move.
Company owners have several choices when it comes to retaining writers and many will offer a monthly rate based on a defined number of articles per month. Choices include:
- Thousands of writers
- Can be very cheap – rates of less than one US cent per word are possible (provided by the inexperienced, non-native or clearly insane)
- If lucky enough to find a good writer, easy to place further orders
- A bidding scenario that requires review of each bid
- No direct link to writer – limits communication
- A lot of work required to identify a compatible writer
- Fake resumes and portfolios are common
- Again, a large team of writers
- Can be cheap
- Sometimes includes an editing process
- Rates of five US cents or less per word are achievable – of which the writer receives less than half
- Quality of content is variable and depends on writers assigned
- No direct communication with writer
- Writers do not require experience to be part of the team
Marketing Companies and Advertising Agencies
- Quality Content
- Experienced Writers
- US$0.75+ per word
Individual Freelancers with Relevant Experience
Firstly, let me observe that freelance or contracted writers are involved in all the above areas and even the larger ad agencies hire us on a regular basis. From a writer’s perspective, in what way will the writer prioritise his/her workload? It makes sense to assume that priority will be assigned by income in the same way that traditional companies prioritise their major clients. Minor clients are catered for, of course, but not in the same way as those that pay an ethical rate for their projects. Therefore, potential clients of mills and bidding sites must consider this aspect, not be naïve and understand that you get what you pay for. A writer with a volume of articles at low rates will process them quickly and should not accommodate rewrites etc.
The above examples are general assumptions. I’m not interested in catering for specifics such as Eslave.com lifts restrictions on client communication after six months or any other specifics relating to mills and bidding sites. If I wanted to promote them, I would have mentioned them directly.
Warning! No Experience…
A simple online search for content mills, bidding sites etc. will provide a substantial list if this is the route you wish to go. If so, you can always avail of a proofing/editing service later. You will need it.
If all of these options use external writers in addition to staff teams, surely it makes sense to go directly to the source? I didn’t check out peanuthire.com to solve my accounting shortcomings as I needed a professional accounting firm that is familiar with legal requirements in Hong Kong.
In the same way, business owners should realise that a writer with relevant experience is worth a hundred of those without it. Let’s assume a typical article or page on your website is 500 words and that your company deals in both products and services for the commercial printing industry. I’m also making the assumption that a company owner will require a competent solution and not substandard content that reflects poorly on the company.
Should you hire a writer with prior knowledge of the area or hire any writer and trust in their research skills when it comes to industry terms and other specifics? In my opinion, you need a writer that will support your company and have intimate knowledge of the industry, rather than hope that the writer strings industry information together in a way that makes sense to potential clients.
Alternatively, you can support repeated requests for term clarification or edit articles where a bus is defined as a form of transport (techies will find that funny).
Make a Connection
Establishing a direct connection with a writer is a way of dealing directly with a verifiable individual or company. Some of us have our own companies to manage tax and other legal requirements and are always in a position to sign non-disclosure agreements or contracts. We set our own pricing and are free to negotiate for volume and frequency of content. We seldom charge rates anywhere near those offered by ad agencies. Why would you choose any other option?
Note: Readers that take offence from phrases involving dogs, diabetics and psychotic episodes are free to read my e-book “How to get a life and focus on the important stuff!” This is coming soon to clinics and animal shelters near you.