Freelance Article Writing Work

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Does anybody have any ideas on what might be the best site to get freelance work?

MODERATOR NOTE:

This thread is largely about content writing, not sales copywriting.

However, there's some excellent discussion so - it stays.
#freelance #work
  • odesk for sure.. pulling in over 15 sales letter jobs a week on it at the moment
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  • Profile picture of the author EarnBig
    I've got a few writing projects here with more on the way - Projects
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  • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
    From what I've heard, it sounds like Odesk and Elance are the way to go for us starting out. It appears they lowball freelancers at these sites, but that doesn't matter when you're just trying to build your portfolio.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by CopyAcolyte View Post

      From what I've heard, it sounds like Odesk and Elance are the way to go for us starting out. It appears they lowball freelancers at these sites, but that doesn't matter when you're just trying to build your portfolio.
      For my money, this is easily the biggest misconception that surrounds new writers. Bidding sites are for schmucks who want to be chained to a keyboard for 16 hours a day producing low-quality work to make peanuts.

      If you're a monkey, go bash plastic for them. If you're a writer, write for reputable individuals who value their websites and publications enough to pay respectable money.

      Choose a specialist niche based on something you already know about. It can be anything. A favourite sport, relationships, cookery, cigarette smoking, 6-inch nails; it doesn't matter as long as you're an authority on the subject. Don't just take on any type of work in the hope that you'll find the information somewhere. You will still need to research your niche, but you'll get better results with some solid background knowledge.

      From there, find sites that already have articles that cover your chosen genre and contact the webmasters explaining why your content will be better than the stuff they are already paying for. Pitch them yourself, never make a promise you can't keep and always maintain communication in the early stages to ensure you are giving your customers EXACTLY what they want.

      Nobody said it was going to be easy and it isn't. However, you will get work this way. Also, get a website up as quickly as possible (mine is having a revamp, and I know that every day it's down, it's costing me money). Your website is the most valuable tool in your arsenal with the noteable exception of your writing skills. Use it wisely, young Skywalker.

      It definitely DOES matter when you're starting out. Throw yourself into the cesspit of bidding wars, and your work and reputation CAN and WILL suffer. If you have the skills, why should you sell yourself short? Every time a writer sell himself or herself cheaply, the rest of the schmucks are another article or assignment away from an acceptable payday. Fall into that pool of crap, and nobody is going to throw in a rubber ring to save you.

      Yup! I know I'm setting myself up for all those writers who have picked up well-paid work from those sites, but for everyone who has, there are 10, 20, 50 or 100 writers who got sick to death of working themselves into total exhaustion for nothing. Where are those writers now? I'll tell you. They're still selling themselves short, or they've gone back to rot in their day jobs. No more hopes, no more dreams and all because some second-rate work provider wanted to do things on the cheap.

      The day those sites are legislated correctly will be a happy one for me. Exploitation of the highest order. Come the glorious day, they'll be the first against the wall...
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      • Profile picture of the author Julie McElroy
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        For my money, this is easily the biggest misconception that surrounds new writers. Bidding sites are for schmucks who want to be chained to a keyboard for 16 hours a day producing low-quality work to make peanuts.

        If you're a monkey, go bash plastic for them. If you're a writer, write for reputable individuals who value their websites and publications enough to pay respectable money.

        Choose a specialist niche based on something you already know about. It can be anything. A favourite sport, relationships, cookery, cigarette smoking, 6-inch nails; it doesn't matter as long as you're an authority on the subject. Don't just take on any type of work in the hope that you'll find the information somewhere. You will still need to research your niche, but you'll get better results with some solid background knowledge.

        From there, find sites that already have articles that cover your chosen genre and contact the webmasters explaining why your content will be better than the stuff they are already paying for. Pitch them yourself, never make a promise you can't keep and always maintain communication in the early stages to ensure you are giving your customers EXACTLY what they want.

        Nobody said it was going to be easy and it isn't. However, you will get work this way. Also, get a website up as quickly as possible (mine is having a revamp, and I know that every day it's down, it's costing me money). Your website is the most valuable tool in your arsenal with the noteable exception of your writing skills. Use it wisely, young Skywalker.

        It definitely DOES matter when you're starting out. Throw yourself into the cesspit of bidding wars, and your work and reputation CAN and WILL suffer. If you have the skills, why should you sell yourself short? Every time a writer sell himself or herself cheaply, the rest of the schmucks are another article or assignment away from an acceptable payday. Fall into that pool of crap, and nobody is going to throw in a rubber ring to save you.

        Yup! I know I'm setting myself up for all those writers who have picked up well-paid work from those sites, but for everyone who has, there are 10, 20, 50 or 100 writers who got sick to death of working themselves into total exhaustion for nothing. Where are those writers now? I'll tell you. They're still selling themselves short, or they've gone back to rot in their day jobs. No more hopes, no more dreams and all because some second-rate work provider wanted to do things on the cheap.

        The day those sites are legislated correctly will be a happy one for me. Exploitation of the highest order. Come the glorious day, they'll be the first against the wall...
        What he says... ha ha Definitely the web site! And make it professional. You can do a lot with WP. - Look at mine if you want - freelancewritingprofessional.com

        Seriously, there are people that make a decent full-time living as a freelancer, but you have to first believe that for 1) writing is a high-demand skill (without content, there is no product, website, etc) and 2) you HAVE that high-demand skill and should be compensated for it, and 3) HIGH QUALITY writing is even more in demand 4) it will not be easy!

        Number four is the biggest one! It is like swimming up stream trying to somehow rise above all of the others in the pool who are thrilled to get paid $10 an article. Honestly, I have heard mixed things about bidding sites, but I don't know of a "real" writer who gets jobs through any bidding sites, content mills, or job posting - they actively go out and find clients.

        So, ask yourself - do you want to take the easy road and work for hours for peanuts - there are TONS of those opportunities! Or consider yourself a hot commodity and a professional, and work smarter, not harder? It really is up to you.
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        If you can not afford to pay for unique content, why not get limited PLR articles for your website?
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      • Profile picture of the author ladywriter
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        there are 10, 20, 50 or 100 writers who got sick to death of working themselves into total exhaustion for nothing.
        Boy is that true jack. I flat out refuse to compete with the bids I've seen on those sites and my patience for hamster-on-a-wheel writing is wearing thin.

        I do like Fiverr, inexplicably, but I'll be sending them to my site soon at least.
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  • Profile picture of the author Julie McElroy
    I would suggest a few things. First, get a professional website that promotes your services. I picked up a few clients that way. Second, if you do not have a portfolio at all, consider starting off at a content site just to get written material online (like HubPages, Suite 101, etc.). Just so you know, they are not high-paying, but a portfolio builder. Same with Fiverr. (although that is mostly ghostwriting). There are different paths to take as a freelance writer, it depends on how serious you are or if you are just trying to make a quick buck by writing .01/word articles.
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    Tired of paying for low-quality writing? If you care about your reputation, get Professional Writing Services for your business needs.

    If you can not afford to pay for unique content, why not get limited PLR articles for your website?
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    • Profile picture of the author brendan9971
      Originally Posted by Julie McElroy View Post

      I would suggest a few things. First, get a professional website that promotes your services. I picked up a few clients that way. Second, if you do not have a portfolio at all, consider starting off at a content site just to get written material online (like HubPages, Suite 101, etc.). Just so you know, they are not high-paying, but a portfolio builder. Same with Fiverr. (although that is mostly ghostwriting). There are different paths to take as a freelance writer, it depends on how serious you are or if you are just trying to make a quick buck by writing .01/word articles.
      These are great suggestions. A lot of the writing gigs on fiverr seem like they're pretty simple. I don't know what you background is, OP but I know some writers on fiverr who can do 10 gigs an hour (that's $40 an hour after the fiverr fee) and if you setup at least a blog page, you can generally get away with posting that to people (via fiverr, since you can't give folks your contact info directly), which would help you get out of paying the $1 fee on fiverr with return clients.

      freelancer.com has TONS of people who don't pay unfortunately. it's find if you ONLY do work with them through the site but once you start doing work outside the site... be very careful.

      I haven't heard the same thing with fiverr although I know some folks have had trouble with some of the fiverr clones (tenbux, gigbux, gigbucks, etc)
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  • Profile picture of the author tobyR
    I'd agree Odesk and Elance both work well providing you set up your requirements properly and check out the quality of writing before committing. There's loads of posts on this forum from freelancers offering their service that are work checking out
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    It definitely DOES matter when you're starting out. Throw yourself into the cesspit of bidding wars, and your work and reputation CAN and WILL suffer.
    You have not addressed the reason why. The crux is the much vaunted "portfolio."

    Bottom feeders will give you bottom feeder jobs, that go into a portfolio, attracting nothing but other bottom feeders. You don't have to hang a price tag on these examples, they still scream "Keyboard Monkey For Hire."

    You're not going to get a white paper for a marketing campaign out of these people

    You are not going to get advertorials. You are not going to get a decent sales letter either. None of the things which would attract a high value client.

    Forget "selling yourself short." If it worked the way people think it does, a stepping stone project or three wouldn't be all that bad. Instead that kind of portfolio locks you into a self reinforcing bottom feeder ecosystem. Think about it for a minute -- why would it not be a portfolio of bottom feeder projects?

    Aside from the extremely rare exception-that-proves-the-rule, exactly how could it not be the kind of projects you'd refer to as Resume Stains?
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      You have not addressed the reason why. The crux is the much vaunted "portfolio."

      Bottom feeders will give you bottom feeder jobs, that go into a portfolio, attracting nothing but other bottom feeders. You don't have to hang a price tag on these examples, they still scream "Keyboard Monkey For Hire."

      You're not going to get a white paper for a marketing campaign out of these people

      You are not going to get advertorials. You are not going to get a decent sales letter either. None of the things which would attract a high value client.

      Forget "selling yourself short." If it worked the way people think it does, a stepping stone project or three wouldn't be all that bad. Instead that kind of portfolio locks you into a self reinforcing bottom feeder ecosystem. Think about it for a minute -- why would it not be a portfolio of bottom feeder projects?

      Aside from the extremely rare exception-that-proves-the-rule, exactly how could it not be the kind of projects you'd refer to as Resume Stains?
      Thanks for so expertly reinforcing my own views. An earlier poster mentioned the need for using bidding sites as portfolio stuffers, so I was pretty much building on what had already been said. It helps that you provided a little more clarification, and I really hope the OP gets the message here.

      Resume stains. That's one I like a lot. I dropped a host of clients from my portfolio some time ago, simply because I didn't want to be associated with, or reminded of, the way things used to be.

      Even creditable writing houses, who are often an intermediate stepping-stone for new to intermediate writers, draw negative attention. It's not so much your own work that sends potential clients running. It's the thousands of other contributors who somehow get through tightening review procedures because an editor is having an off day. I choose to leave them off of my portfolio as well. I know who I trust on my client list, and that means I don't have to worry about new prospects seeing their names.

      Bad language aside, but sh*t sticks and bidding sites are little more than a woolen blanket. Sleep on that blanket and roll about for a bit, and it's pretty obvious what's going to happen next.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Add the magical thinking swirling around the "portfolio" concept to my list of pet peeves. You manage your project portfolio as you would an investment portfolio -- not a trash bin.

    (Well, I should be honest with myself and look into commercial peeve ranching).
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      Add the magical thinking swirling around the "portfolio" concept to my list of pet peeves. You manage your project portfolio as you would an investment portfolio -- not a trash bin.
      I have to agree with John's point about copywriting portfolio.

      It can not stay a static item. You have to pull your older pieces and replace them with better-quality ones or winners as you get them.

      Personally, I'd rather have 1 great portfolio sample on my copywriting site than a dozen mediocre ones.

      As for the OP... there is no best place to get clients. You have to focus on getting clients in multiple ways and multiple sources.

      Do some legwork. Find out what the typical gig pays at various freelance and marketing sites. Decide if the gigs are worth pursuing or not for you.

      Good luck,

      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Russell Barnstein
    We've tried Odesk, Guru and Elance. Elance is by far the best, but you must know how to use it. If you don't know how to determine if the client or the project is high-quality, then some of the above comments may be accurate. However, we've found that it is easy to tell who the high quality clients are- if you peruse the site you'll see why yourself.

    All of my writing and editing staff are (including myself) native English speakers based in the US, with professional degrees in some writing-related field. The quality of our work and the business relationships that we develop is extremely important to us, and we have had no issues in this regard on Elance. In fact, clients that we acquired years ago on Elance are still with us today, and 2 of those spend over $20k/year with us.

    Lots of people complain that it's impossible to compete with idiots who charge $2.00 for an article, and that is an important consideration. However, if you only select high quality projects and high quality clients and then return high quality work, you'll never be competing with that garbage side of the business anyway.

    In fact, several of my old Elance clients are very active here on the WF. Together we've made a great deal of money. So it can be done. And while Rigmonkey is accurate that for every writer who says good things about freelance sites there are 100's more that say bad things, the fact of the matter is that the ratio he mentions is also exactly the same as the ratio of people who truly care about and deliver high quality work versus those who don't: one in hundreds. Therefore, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. (Comment not made to insult Rigmonkey, I am absolutely certain based on his well-articulated posts that he places the utmost importance on quality)

    We don't use freelance sites anymore, (except I think one of my junior writers lands projects on Guru and Elance occasionally) primarily because I don't like the structure and exorbitant fees. Elance charges $40/month for a business account, extra for additional connects for bids, and then takes 8.75% off the top of whatever you make. eBay, eat your heart out! Also, the rating system at Elance sucks. That's why you'll need to establish yourself upon a foundation of supremely high quality work- ESPECIALLY if you're using this to build your portfolio.

    But back to the only question you asked: Elance is hands-down the best freelance site out there. Good luck!
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      I'm glad you've had positive experiences of Elance, Russell. If I had to pick out the best freelance/bidding resource, Elance would win hands down. I've reviewed the profiles of some very talented individuals on there during my time as a member and know that there is more quality to be found at Elance than on any other site offering a similar service.

      My concerns lie with the ratio of genuinely talented people using these resources. What percentage of Elance members could satisfy the desires of a mid-level marketer who has resisted the temptation of quick-fix, fast-fail systems in favour of producing quality websites that act as a genuine authority on niche topics? 20%? 30%? Maybe 40% at a push? What about other sites (such as freelancer.com; an absolute hellhole of a website)? What ratio of their members are up to the task? With a sizeable chunk of it's membership in Asia, and many of the remainder made up of entry-level impulse writers, I doubt the figure would even be as high as 10% and that's why you very rarely see reputable businesses operating there.

      What really, really rankles with me is the plight of the talented 10% who complete most of their work through that damn place. What is their association with that website doing for their potential or their future? Would you hire a writer who has predominantly worked from the biggest bilgepot in writing history? I wouldn't. Others wouldn't. That's why this marketplace, and freelance writing in particular (as opposed to copywriting), needs a more professional resource that alienates the also-rans and acts as a mark of quality in our field. Somebody will do it one day, but it won't happen while good writers fail to realise there are better way to earn money than slaving away for $0.005 a word, only to see your paymaster taking a cut anyway. I fully understand that a writer in Bangladesh will revel in earning $10 or $20 a day based on their cost of living, but while Western marketers exploit those mediocre, second-language talents to create unreadable, inaccurate content, the majority of our own freelancers will always struggle to make an acceptable income from those sites. Sorry, but I really feel this is something that has to be said.

      Of course, there will always be exceptions. Good writers will occasionally turn out a bum article in the same way entry-level writers will turn out a good one. However, the best new talents that manage to survive the first year of writing for money will do so by finding their own quality clients, and I'd still suggest the OP looks in that direction instead of the bidding sites.

      Cheers for a great post though, Russell.
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      • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        I'm glad you've had positive experiences of Elance, Russell. If I had to pick out the best freelance/bidding resource, Elance would win hands down. I've reviewed the profiles of some very talented individuals on there during my time as a member and know that there is more quality to be found at Elance than on any other site offering a similar service.

        My concerns lie with the ratio of genuinely talented people using these resources. What percentage of Elance members could satisfy the desires of a mid-level marketer who has resisted the temptation of quick-fix, fast-fail systems in favour of producing quality websites that act as a genuine authority on niche topics? 20%? 30%? Maybe 40% at a push? What about other sites (such as freelancer.com; an absolute hellhole of a website)? What ratio of their members are up to the task? With a sizeable chunk of it's membership in Asia, and many of the remainder made up of entry-level impulse writers, I doubt the figure would even be as high as 10% and that's why you very rarely see reputable businesses operating there.

        What really, really rankles with me is the plight of the talented 10% who complete most of their work through that damn place. What is their association with that website doing for their potential or their future? Would you hire a writer who has predominantly worked from the biggest bilgepot in writing history? I wouldn't. Others wouldn't. That's why this marketplace, and freelance writing in particular (as opposed to copywriting), needs a more professional resource that alienates the also-rans and acts as a mark of quality in our field. Somebody will do it one day, but it won't happen while good writers fail to realise there are better way to earn money than slaving away for $0.005 a word, only to see your paymaster taking a cut anyway. I fully understand that a writer in Bangladesh will revel in earning $10 or $20 a day based on their cost of living, but while Western marketers exploit those mediocre, second-language talents to create unreadable, inaccurate content, the majority of our own freelancers will always struggle to make an acceptable income from those sites. Sorry, but I really feel this is something that has to be said.

        Of course, there will always be exceptions. Good writers will occasionally turn out a bum article in the same way entry-level writers will turn out a good one. However, the best new talents that manage to survive the first year of writing for money will do so by finding their own quality clients, and I'd still suggest the OP looks in that direction instead of the bidding sites.

        Cheers for a great post though, Russell.
        I think you're placing too much emphasis on the prestige of a website rather than the quality of the actual writing.

        Good writing is good writing. Sometimes people happen to write it for bozos on elance.com.

        It's like saying that it doesn't matter if you discovered a mathematical proof, you went to a state school and not an Ivy League. Therefore no one in the science or math field will pick you up for one of their projects.

        The point is, these sites may be good for beginnings that want to show off that they can indeed write well. And sometimes us beginners need a project brief and deadline to get jump-started--no matter who's paying the bill.
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        • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
          Originally Posted by CopyAcolyte View Post

          I think you're placing too much emphasis on the prestige of a website rather than the quality of the actual writing.

          Good writing is good writing. Sometimes people happen to write it for bozos on elance.com.

          It's like saying that it doesn't matter if you discovered a mathematical proof, you went to a state school and not an Ivy League. Therefore no one in the science or math field will pick you up for one of their projects.

          The point is, these sites may be good for beginnings that want to show off that they can indeed write well. And sometimes us beginners need a project brief and deadline to get jump-started--no matter who's paying the bill.
          You make a good point, and I genuinely understand where you're coming from. I know people have to start somewhere, and I obviously had to start somewhere myself. I started on 'those' websites and I can honestly say it's not the way to go if you want to establish a solid portfolio, and a solid reputation, in a short space of time. The concept of damaging a reputation before you actually have one may seem a little bizarre, but I believe there are certain bidding sites that do that. Elance, as I've said before, is the best option if you're insistent on going that way. GAF (or freelancer.com as it's known these days) is probably the worst.

          For my money, nobody should be coming into this field of work without researching it first. I did, and it cost me a year. I'd do it differently if I was starting again, and I'd do it a little something like this:

          Buy the two best reports I've read for newcomers to this field. 'Write to More Money' by Paul Hancox is a must-have, and I didn't get a copy until I'd been working for nearly two-and-a-half years. I'd also suggest picking up Jennifer Mattern's web writing guide, 'Launching a Successful Freelance Web Writing Career'. Both have a feast of information that every new writer should be considering before taking on work from anywhere. Build your business plan on what you find in those books and most importantly, draw up a list of achievable goals and objectives.

          Build a website. It's going to take time to build on a basic site, so you need the framework in place at the earliest available opportunity. You've got no money? Create a free blog, and buy a domain that will allow you to use web forwarding as soon as you make your first few dollars. Anybody can have a half-decent website for less than $20.

          Create writing samples, and stick to a subject or niche you're familiar with. A well-written sample in a portfolio is a better advertisement of your work than a reference to bottom-feeder clients. In fact, make your portfolio a mixture of samples so potential clients can see your versatility. What says more? Great writing, or a list of names scavenged from websites with a poor reputation amongst many marketers and writers?

          Go directly to clients, and sell to them. You'll always be competing against other writers, but why compete on a basis of price? That all you'll ever do on bidding sites. Most work providers on bidding sites aren't looking for the best writer. They're looking for the cheapest. Do you want to be a cheap writer or the best writer? Obviously, you need to have something to sell. If you don't have experience, you can still have talent and a commitment to quality, and this is what your samples will highlight.

          Join forums and start talking to other writers as quickly as possible. As cut-throat as this business is, I've found that writers are a fantastic bunch who help each other out. Every writer has at least one pearl of wisdom that will help steer you towards your goals. I'm currently in contact with a smashing lad from this forum, and he's only just starting out. He's already priced himself respectably AND he's finding the work. Why? Because he's got the quality and he's putting in the hours to find new clients. I know that within a very short space of time, he's rarely working for anything less that $25/500 words. For my money, that's a respectable income for a chap in his position and you can live reasonably well if you've got the volume.

          Make exceptions. Sometimes, I'll still see a project that might only pay $15/500 words, but it'll be on a subject I really want to write about, and I know that using them as samples (with the permission of the client I produce them for) will get me better-paid work at a later date. The client still has to be reputable, but you'll find that they'll often offer more money in the future to secure your services if you've turned out great work in the past.

          Take a chance. Don't worry if you feel a project is too big for you. The Internet is business mask that individuals wear to make themselves look like international corporations. With a little skill, many individuals can create websites that are just as good as those the huge companies use. The chances are, you'll be dealing with a normal person when you finally make the breakthrough, and there will have been a time when they were exactly like YOU. Always look for the bigger fish. Everybody starves when you settle on feeding off the tiddlers!
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      • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        ...I fully understand that a writer in Bangladesh will revel in earning $10 or $20 a day based on their cost of living, but while Western marketers exploit those mediocre, second-language talents to create unreadable, inaccurate content, the majority of our own freelancers will always struggle to make an acceptable income from those sites. Sorry, but I really feel this is something that has to be said....
        I think you might want to rephrase that statement. You are exaggerating. Plus, it might be offensive to certain people.

        Not everyone who comes from Bangladesh (or any other country) speaks bad English.

        It's not like everyone who is British or American got an A in their English class, is it?
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        • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
          The apology was already in there, purely because I knew it was a sensitive, yet important, area of debate. It was a statement, not a generalisation. Just be honest with me here, and tell me where much of the poorer content comes from? It's often written by writers who have English as a second language.

          It's not a race issue. I've seen great writers from The Philippines, Pakistan, India, Russia and many other countries. I've seen equally bad writers from the US, Canada and the UK. However, a second-language article is usually compromised by mistakes, confusing grammar, word-filling and inaccuracies. It's a fact, and it's not meant to cause offence. Indeed, an overseas writer reading that should view it with concern, and strive to improve.

          One thing I've never done is complain about unfairness, my race (I'm of Sicilian descent), the demands of clients or anything else. If I get it wrong, I put it right. That's why I now demand professional compensation for my work. Substandard quality is just one reason why many writers type for peanuts, and you don't need to be offensive, a racist or a bigot to realise it. I'm none of those things, and I don't have time for people who are.

          Keep in mind that as a forum, this is a place of debate and viewpoints. Nobody has to agree with me, but I can (and will) substantiate my viewpoints with creditable arguments.
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        • Profile picture of the author cynthea
          Wow, I've been on WF for awhile, but I've never been as excited by a thread as I have by this one. And as a professional writer coming from the corporate world, having specialized in writing about technology, currently disheartened by how little value (as in willing to pay for it) a lot of folks place on high-quality writing - I vote this thread "Thread of the Year."

          I see some light at the end of a very dark tunnel.

          I've just started an online writing biz after having written for Fortune 100 and 500 companies and high-tech start-ups for more than 15 years.

          You're going to call me stupid, but in order to gain IM clients, I've been doing editing and article writing for pennies. Yes, I'm an idiot. I know it. I'm embarrassed , but thought that's what I needed to compete in this New World of global commerce.

          Why aren't I still writing for the places I used to?

          A couple of reasons:

          1. I was on an HP project writing w/ a team of other U.S. writers creating the technical marketing materials for their new G6 servers. Seven months into the project, they let us all go and off-shored the project to India.

          I wonder how that's workin' for 'em. :confused:

          2. I want to telecommute and those gigs are not as easily found as one would think.

          3. Primary reason - and laugh at me at all you want - I want to write about heart-based stuff. And make good money at it. Some day.

          After reading this thread, I want to thank everyone for contributing. This has been HUGELY valuable.

          @Rigmonkey - thanks for your hard-line preaching.
          @Julie, @Russell and other experienced folks - thank you so much for sharing.

          WF is a phenomenal resource for IMers and vendors who supply services to them. I love it!!

          You guys rock.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
            Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

            You're going to call me stupid, but I've been doing editing and article writing for pennies. Yes, I'm an idiot. I know it. I'm embarrassed , but thought that's what I needed to compete in this New World of global commerce.
            The important thing is you've scoured the bottom of the barrell, baulked at the taste and want to swim to the top. That's progress as far as I'm concerned.

            One thing you need to think about with regards to your work is value. It has to have a value to your clients (if you're writing sales, will it convert? If you're writing articles, will it inform?), it has to have value to you (are you proud of it? Do you refuse to sell quality work cheaply?) and it has to have a monetary value that reflects the importance that you and your clients place on it.

            Nobody can walk straight in and demand silly money. However, any writer who can produce work with accuracy, authority and interest can quickly make the transition to sustainable pay levels. You'd be surprised how many people can't, and that's why your work will most likely have a reasonably high value.

            Far from hard-line preaching, these are only opinions based on experience. There are writers who are much better equipped to talk about the subject than I am (I'll give you Paul Hancox again. He was the man who probably readjusted my thoughts more than anybody else).

            Spend some money, buy the right reports and read them twice, then read them again. All the help you need is out there. Only the talent comes from within.
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            • Profile picture of the author cynthea
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              • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
                The best "bidding" site I have found is actually Vworker
                I have done a lot of work for the people there and many of the employers actively seek out decent writers and I have actually been the highest bidder for many of my jobs.

                Obviously there are 2 polar points of view in this thread and I believe both are applicable but you have to make your own mind up as everyone is different.

                I think it is great that people can share experiences here because we can all learn from each other.
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
      Originally Posted by Russell Barnstein View Post

      We've tried Odesk, Guru and Elance. Elance is by far the best, but you must know how to use it. If you don't know how to determine if the client or the project is high-quality, then some of the above comments may be accurate. However, we've found that it is easy to tell who the high quality clients are- if you peruse the site you'll see why yourself.

      All of my writing and editing staff are (including myself) native English speakers based in the US, with professional degrees in some writing-related field. The quality of our work and the business relationships that we develop is extremely important to us, and we have had no issues in this regard on Elance. In fact, clients that we acquired years ago on Elance are still with us today, and 2 of those spend over $20k/year with us.

      Lots of people complain that it's impossible to compete with idiots who charge $2.00 for an article, and that is an important consideration. However, if you only select high quality projects and high quality clients and then return high quality work, you'll never be competing with that garbage side of the business anyway.

      In fact, several of my old Elance clients are very active here on the WF. Together we've made a great deal of money. So it can be done. And while Rigmonkey is accurate that for every writer who says good things about freelance sites there are 100's more that say bad things, the fact of the matter is that the ratio he mentions is also exactly the same as the ratio of people who truly care about and deliver high quality work versus those who don't: one in hundreds. Therefore, that shouldn't be a surprise to anyone. (Comment not made to insult Rigmonkey, I am absolutely certain based on his well-articulated posts that he places the utmost importance on quality)

      We don't use freelance sites anymore, (except I think one of my junior writers lands projects on Guru and Elance occasionally) primarily because I don't like the structure and exorbitant fees. Elance charges $40/month for a business account, extra for additional connects for bids, and then takes 8.75% off the top of whatever you make. eBay, eat your heart out! Also, the rating system at Elance sucks. That's why you'll need to establish yourself upon a foundation of supremely high quality work- ESPECIALLY if you're using this to build your portfolio.

      But back to the only question you asked: Elance is hands-down the best freelance site out there. Good luck!
      But how does a freelancer starting out just jump into a "high-quality" project? Wouldn't it be more feasible to work our way up and not bite off more than we chew?

      This is why I said these sites can be used for portfolio stuffing. And as you move up the ladder, you toss the oldest (lowest-quality) samples out and so on.

      Could we define some terms? What distinguishes low-quality work from high-quality work anyway? Are we talking about subject matter, medium, intent, etc.?
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  • Profile picture of the author adyarnav
    freelancer.com
    forums.digitalpoint.com
    try them out!
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  • Profile picture of the author Russell Barnstein
    Ha! Rigmonkey, your 20-40% is grossly exaggerated, in my very humble opinion. ;-)

    I can't speak for the legions of web developers and admins and all that crap, but what I can say is that the true percentage of excellent (and CONSISTENT) writers on Elance is in reality about 2% or less. I know, because that's the range where my account falls and I was always competing against the same dozen (or less) really good writers and editors for jobs from the same two dozen clients.

    Additionally, it is disgusting how these @#$% come in from dirt patch nowhere and try to undercut the whole damn system with bids that, as you stated earlier, a monkey wouldn't work for. It used to really irk me. I mean, seriously- there have been some violent rants about this issue broadcast across the office, much to the delight of my staff.

    But you know what? It's okay. Ultimately, if there weren't ten million turds selling crap for peanuts, then there wouldn't be much special about my services. We've achieved consistent success because we stand out from the crowd of rubbish producers with supremely high quality content at a price that, quite honestly, few high quality writers could possibly compete with. So I guess if everyone cared about high quality and every writer knew what they were doing and why, then I'd be out of business, and you probably would too.

    So keep it up, idiots. I'm making a small fortune, thanks to you crap-producers. :-D
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    • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
      Originally Posted by Russell Barnstein View Post

      Ha! Rigmonkey, your 20-40% is grossly exaggerated, in my very humble opinion. ;-)

      I can't speak for the legions of web developers and admins and all that crap, but what I can say is that the true percentage of excellent (and CONSISTENT) writers on Elance is in reality about 2% or less. I know, because that's the range where my account falls and I was always competing against the same dozen (or less) really good writers and editors for jobs from the same two dozen clients.

      Additionally, it is disgusting how these @#$% come in from dirt patch nowhere and try to undercut the whole damn system with bids that, as you stated earlier, a monkey wouldn't work for. It used to really irk me. I mean, seriously- there have been some violent rants about this issue broadcast across the office, much to the delight of my staff.

      But you know what? It's okay. Ultimately, if there weren't ten million turds selling crap for peanuts, then there wouldn't be much special about my services. We've achieved consistent success because we stand out from the crowd of rubbish producers with supremely high quality content at a price that, quite honestly, few high quality writers could possibly compete with. So I guess if everyone cared about high quality and every writer knew what they were doing and why, then I'd be out of business, and you probably would too.

      So keep it up, idiots. I'm making a small fortune, thanks to you crap-producers. :-D
      And what does this have to do with the OP's topic? You're offering no solution.
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      • Profile picture of the author SC83
        I wanted to jump in here as I have gotten quite a bit of work off Elance. I specialize in just one niche however and am able to charge more because of it.

        I just wanted to ask however about the website topic. I would really like to start seeking out clients apart from Elance as I do believe I definitely could get higher rates yet, at least from other sites/blogs I've read.

        I hired a designer to revamp my website and we're just in the process of it at the moment.

        I'm wondering with regards to the blog section of the site, do you think it would be best to write articles that appeal to readers of my industry or write articles that would appeal more to clients that I work for (who have sites in that industry)?

        That's my one hang-up that I'm struggling with. I've thought a lot about using the blog to market various affiliate products and maybe come up with a product of my own one day as well (I'm earning authority status from all the other larger sites I write for). Originally I was going to do two totally different sites - one for readers of the industry and one for my clients but decided to combine them instead.

        ...although maybe that wasn't the best of moves?

        I guess I'm just struggling on the most productive way to go about my website. I've registered both my 'businessname.com' as well as 'mynichewriter.com' Right now the plan was to use the 'businessname.com' domain as the main site and just do a small portfolio type of site on the 'mynichewriter.com' domain for SEO purposes. Possibly even link that site to my main site.

        Anyway, any thoughts/advice would be welcomed.
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  • Profile picture of the author ckatheman
    odesk and elance are the best - but there is slightly more competition over on eLance. In the long run, you will want to establish your own site. Some of the freelance sites are a bit picky about any 'external' activity as well.

    There's always Fiverr and all the other 'errs'. Sure, you only end up with a little less than 4 dollars, but you can generally coax your clients to leave a genuine testimonial on your site.
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  • Profile picture of the author GlobalMedia
    I will suggest you Elance. They regularly update with the latest work order. They have a good working system as well. Most of the times, their rates are also quite satisfying.
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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      I know many of you scoff at bidding sites, but two of my best clients who paid me VERY well and have given me more work come from Elance.

      I suppose it comes down to your experience, your portfolio and your ability to really sell yourself past others. My first Elance client chose me because of the strength of my pitch and loved my samples. I certainly was NOT the cheapest writer bidding for his work - in fact, I was one of the more expensive ones. I worked with him over the course of a year and he paid really well because he had had his fingers burnt with cheap content writers.

      My current client pays me a healthy monthly retainer for ongoing work for her website and email marketing - plus I maintain her blog. I started out on Elance with her and now she has hired me independently. So far Ive worked with her over the past three months and am on retainer for another three.

      So, I understand completely why a lot of the experienced writers and copywriters bash these sites. I only use Elance now when work seems a little low - which isn't very often. Its been 2 months since I last placed a bid on Elance. You can pick up some diamonds from these sites and besides, you've got to start somewhere right?
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    You can pick up some diamonds from these sites and besides, you've got to start somewhere right?
    I think that you do have to start somewhere. Also, the idea that you will be ruined if you even entertain the concept of ever going to one of these sites is a tad overblown.

    I am a fan of the "down and dirty" prototype. The do something, then do it better, approach.

    The concept is simple. Try what you think will work. Put in some good effort to make it work for you. But, if what you're doing doesn't work, stop doing it. Rethink your options and your methods. And then do something different.
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  • Profile picture of the author John_S
    Personally, I'd rather have 1 great portfolio sample on my copywriting site than a dozen mediocre ones.
    Excellent advice. Winners yes. But just like a stock portfolio, evaluate the whole picture see what's missing. Only offer some kind of deal if a new piece fills a gap in "the portfolio."

    If it explains a value add. Or if it explains you do this certain thing clients in general didn't know they could hire you for. Upsell services. Cross sell opportunities. That goes into the portfolio.

    You don't want people to say "I don't know if you do this, but..."

    Things that differentiate you or explain something you put into a USP in a particularly good way ...that goes into a portfolio.
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    • Profile picture of the author MikeHumphreys
      Originally Posted by John_S View Post

      Excellent advice. Winners yes. But just like a stock portfolio, evaluate the whole picture see what's missing. Only offer some kind of deal if a new piece fills a gap in "the portfolio."

      If it explains a value add. Or if it explains you do this certain thing clients in general didn't know they could hire you for. Upsell services. Cross sell opportunities. That goes into the portfolio.

      You don't want people to say "I don't know if you do this, but..."

      Things that differentiate you or explain something you put into a USP in a particularly good way ...that goes into a portfolio.
      Great points John. John, I know enough of your track record and work to know that I'm preaching to the choir when I say this.

      As you get more established, it's harder to put all portfolio examples on your site.

      You get clients who request you don't share the marketing you wrote for them publicly (or you signed a non-disclosure).

      You decide that you don't want your portfolio samples section to resemble a Chinese restaurant menu because you're offering too many samples to review or look. It overwhelms a lot of prospects because they don't know what to look at first.

      So I've slimmed down my portfolio on my site in recent years for primarily the latter reason.

      Case in point, I write both offline and online marketing but none of my offline/direct mail winners are not in my public portfolio display.

      I don't like having slow-loading PDF samples on my site and for a direct mail piece, screen captures don't always fully show all of the work that went into the copy, layout, and graphics. If you've ever looked at a screen cap of a multi-page Word doc then you know what I'm talking about.

      I also don't like the idea that a prospect might click on a PDF sample of mine and have that cursed Adobe Acrobat tell them that they need a newer version of their software or some other hair-pulling mess.

      The advantage I have (and other established top guns like John) is that I'm established. I can "get away" with saying contact me for other media type samples. I can "get away" with saying that I write both offline and online marketing and have proven winners in both media types.

      But starting out... play to your strengths and show your best work only.

      Take care,

      Mike
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  • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
    An idea, maybe, that shows quality clients can be picked up without revealing a portfolio or a website.

    I've just drawn up a quick piece of writing that I'm going to trial on this site. I was going to be contacting webmasters directly to fill a few gaps in my client list, but I'll trial this instead for seven days and see how it goes.

    I'm going to pitch prospective clients, and immediately isolate cheapshot marketers who want something for nothing. This is likely to cost me an hour or so each day for the next week, but it'll be worth the effort if it works (mainly because I'll make sure I use the damn thing again!).

    I'll be at a disadvantage because many marketers looking at my ad will be looking at this part of the forum as well, but I also know that if they're as serious about my business as I am about my own, they'll be inclined to use me anyway.

    I'll feed back the results and a link as and when the forum approves my post, and keep you updated as the week goes on. Please bear in mind this pitch was written in an hour or so, and it would be more effective if I had time to dedicate to it today.

    The selling point here is quality, and a chance to sample it for free. I'm betting I get five new, and highly reputable, clients within a fortnight, and am prepared to stake beer on this to prove I'm serious about it! Maximum wager is a pint. Allcomers accepted!

    Link to follow...
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    • Profile picture of the author arfasaira
      Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

      An idea, maybe, that shows quality clients can be picked up without revealing a portfolio or a website.

      I've just drawn up a quick piece of writing that I'm going to trial on this site. I was going to be contacting webmasters directly to fill a few gaps in my client list, but I'll trial this instead for seven days and see how it goes.

      I'm going to pitch prospective clients, and immediately isolate cheapshot marketers who want something for nothing. This is likely to cost me an hour or so each day for the next week, but it'll be worth the effort if it works (mainly because I'll make sure I use the damn thing again!).

      I'll be at a disadvantage because many marketers looking at my ad will be looking at this part of the forum as well, but I also know that if they're as serious about my business as I am about my own, they'll be inclined to use me anyway.

      I'll feed back the results and a link as and when the forum approves my post, and keep you updated as the week goes on. Please bear in mind this pitch was written in an hour or so, and it would be more effective if I had time to dedicate to it today.

      The selling point here is quality, and a chance to sample it for free. I'm betting I get five new, and highly reputable, clients within a fortnight, and am prepared to stake beer on this to prove I'm serious about it! Maximum wager is a pint. Allcomers accepted!

      Link to follow...
      A very interesting idea...and can't wait for your results....maybe if this works for you we can all give it a try to weed out the cheap clients...

      best of luck!
      Arfa
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  • Profile picture of the author Julie McElroy
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  • I tried elance for a while and, it's bull****. If you believe in your work, do your own thing. Like a website or anything else on your own to get clients to come to you.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      For those who are interested, the trial has been published. It's a long way from being the best ad in the world, but I've never professed to be a copywriter. I'd normally pay someone to do this for me, although most entry-level writers won't have the funds to do that. I've knocked up something myself, as other writers who are starting out would, and hope to bring some positive results.

      Trial
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      • Profile picture of the author cynthea
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        For those who are interested, the trial has been published. It's a long way from being the best ad in the world, but I've never professed to be a copywriter. I'd normally pay someone to do this for me, although most entry-level writers won't have the funds to do that. I've knocked up something myself, as other writers who are starting out would, and hope to bring some positive results.

        Trial
        Good luck with this! Do you consider this an experiment? If so, I'm going to be very interested in hearing your results. I've been wanting to do something like this, although not offer articles for free. But picking and choosing your potential clients is a GOOD THING.

        I hope you'll share your results.
        Best to you,
        cynthea
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        • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
          Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

          Good luck with this! Do you consider this an experiment? If so, I'm going to be very interested in hearing your results. I've been wanting to do something like this, although not offer articles for free. But picking and choosing your potential clients is a GOOD THING.

          I hope you'll share your results.
          Best to you,
          cynthea
          The approach I've used is experimental compared to the way I usually approach clients, but the response shows that there's a definite interest in quality on this forum, although that's not too big a surprise. It's just a good opportunity to show that anybody with solid writing skills doesn't need to be writing for peanuts.

          This isn't so much a question of offering free articles. I prefer to see it as giving potential clients an opportunity to sample quality work that relates to their niche topics. Although I've made it very clear I'm asking for nothing in return (not even reviews), I'm expecting to convert interested marketers into clients, and not all of those who do become clients will neccessarily be the ones who get a 'freebie'.

          I've already had more messages and emails than I have slots, and those who don't get an opportunity to take one of the original seven slots will be offered something else. Always be selling! So far, there's been 11 forum members expressing an interest, and one or two look to be type of individuals you'd like to have on board.

          Obviously, I'll keep you informed of conversions as and when they happen.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
    When I was first starting out I didn't need to advertise at all, I just wrote a letter detailing how great my writing is, how much it can help their business and how professional I am.

    I then fired this letter out to anyone I saw was looking to hire writers. Send out 6 letters, get 1 client.

    Granted, I was working pretty cheap but that's because I saw so many other people working for cheap as well. It didn't take me long to find out that these writers were pure crap, not native English speakers and had no concept about effective writing or marketing at all.

    Just write yourself a really killer letter and then send it to anyone who might be looking for a writer. Rinse and repeat, you'll have more clients than you can handle lol

    Or you could try sites like:
    Textbroker
    ConstantContent
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by Shadowflux View Post

      Or you could try sites like:
      Textbroker
      ConstantContent
      Definitely a better way to go if you want to write straight away, and don't neccessarily need the money. I've never used Textbroker, but I've sold a few articles for between $50 to $100 on Constant Content. I still think their cut is a bit heavy, and the automated process makes it difficult to obtain testimonials for your work when a buyer comes along, which doesn't help in building up a portfolio quickly.

      However, the one thing I love about Constant Content is that it gives newcomers the chance to write about the things they have a passion for. I've completed, and sold, several articles that were public requests. Even so, I've made most of my money on the site writing about my favourite subjects. Another good thing about Constant Content is the occasional surprise. I've still got a few articles on there, and last week I sold a piece that I'd totally forgotten about for $50. I think it must have been on there for over a year, but it sold eventually.

      Which leads me to another thing (as always!). Rejection. How many writers try to forge a career in writing, only to disappear from the radar as soon as they get their first rejection? The most common forms of rejection I see come from the article mills. Newcomers try to sign up to DMS, IBP or any of the other big boys and when they aren't accepted, they just give up.

      REMEMBER - Just because you get rejected, it doesn't mean your article wasn't any good. It just means that your article wasn't what the client was looking for at that precise moment in time. The article I sold on Constant Content last week was originally written as a sample for a prospective client. He decided to go elsewhere for work (actually, he went 'cheaper', and I wasn't prepared to play ball over the amateurish 'rates' he adhered to). Eventually, the right person saw the article and purchased it at a fair price. I made a nice little payday out of a job I'd originally completed for free, the buyer got a great article and Mr Cheaprate is probably flipping burgers somewhere earning peanuts, just like he used to pay his writers. Karma? I'm still a believer!
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      • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
        Just a brief update on the trial.

        All seven slots were filled last night, and I've communicated with each of the WF members individually. One has already expressed an interest in using me for 20 articles a week IF he likes the work I produce. Another is a respected WF member who I've enjoyed reading in the past and I know he's a professional who will value my work. I fully expect to convert him.

        I rejected more than 20 applications for a sample article. Some were so obvious in the way that they were trying to obtain free work that it beggars belief. Others were more credible but simply unlucky. However, I may be prepared to offer them review copies or an introductory discount at a later stage if I don't get my five new clients from the samples I've agreed to.

        Nothing conclusive yet, but I have generated plenty of interest. Those who have applied have read my sales letter, know I won't work for peanuts and are prepared to look at the benefits of using a superior writing service. Importantly, I've been able to weed out potentially good clients from potentially bad ones. Some have mentioned their current budgets and are already paying less for an article than what I usually charge. That's not a problem, because I'll convert them on a basis of quality rather than price. It's better to have one highly informative article on a website that compels the reader, than to have two that have no impact at all.

        I'm still convinced this trial will show that there's no need to fall into bidding wars where the only beneficiaries are greedy marketers with little or no regard for themselves or their writers. Any writer can produce a sales letter like mine, because the one thing I've never claimed to be is a copywriter. A valued WF member made a great point in a PM yesterday about any good writer being able to produce stimulating sales copy relating to their own services, even if they don't follow the gurus letter-by-letter. My advice is to just go for it. I remember when I used to break my back painting cars, and there was a motivational poster above my oven door that said something like "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" or something like that.

        Very, very true...
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        • Profile picture of the author SC83
          Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

          Just a brief update on the trial.

          All seven slots were filled last night, and I've communicated with each of the WF members individually. One has already expressed an interest in using me for 20 articles a week IF he likes the work I produce. Another is a respected WF member who I've enjoyed reading in the past and I know he's a professional who will value my work. I fully expect to convert him.

          I rejected more than 20 applications for a sample article. Some were so obvious in the way that they were trying to obtain free work that it beggars belief. Others were more credible but simply unlucky. However, I may be prepared to offer them review copies or an introductory discount at a later stage if I don't get my five new clients from the samples I've agreed to.

          Nothing conclusive yet, but I have generated plenty of interest. Those who have applied have read my sales letter, know I won't work for peanuts and are prepared to look at the benefits of using a superior writing service. Importantly, I've been able to weed out potentially good clients from potentially bad ones. Some have mentioned their current budgets and are already paying less for an article than what I usually charge. That's not a problem, because I'll convert them on a basis of quality rather than price. It's better to have one highly informative article on a website that compels the reader, than to have two that have no impact at all.

          I'm still convinced this trial will show that there's no need to fall into bidding wars where the only beneficiaries are greedy marketers with little or no regard for themselves or their writers. Any writer can produce a sales letter like mine, because the one thing I've never claimed to be is a copywriter. A valued WF member made a great point in a PM yesterday about any good writer being able to produce stimulating sales copy relating to their own services, even if they don't follow the gurus letter-by-letter. My advice is to just go for it. I remember when I used to break my back painting cars, and there was a motivational poster above my oven door that said something like "If you always do what you always did, you'll always get what you always got" or something like that.

          Very, very true...
          This is really interesting to see. I'm just curious, did you discuss with the applicants you were going to select what your usual cost was for writing articles to see if it was something they could feasible afford?
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          • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
            Originally Posted by SC83 View Post

            This is really interesting to see. I'm just curious, did you discuss with the applicants you were going to select what your usual cost was for writing articles to see if it was something they could feasible afford?
            Hi,

            No. As stated earlier in the thread, I'm just trying a different approach based on the debate between WF members. I trying to generate interest on a basis of quality and nothing else. The first applicant, who received his article yesterday, was very pleased with the work, left a really nice review (even though he'd been told it wasn't required), accepted my prices when he finally asked for them, has convinced me membership to his site is a good thing (it definitely is!) and earmarked me for his authorative articles in the future.

            I've had one or two enquiries from non-applicants about prices, have secured one job from those mails and expect to have another confirmed today. That's two new clients, possibly three, on the first day. I'm aiming for five.

            People will pay for quality, and that's why I hope this trial shows that nobody with medium to high level writing talents needs to sell themselves short.
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            • Profile picture of the author SC83
              Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

              Hi,

              No. As stated earlier in the thread, I'm just trying a different approach based on the debate between WF members. I trying to generate interest on a basis of quality and nothing else. The first applicant, who received his article yesterday, was very pleased with the work, left a really nice review (even though he'd been told it wasn't required), accepted my prices when he finally asked for them, has convinced me membership to his site is a good thing (it definitely is!) and earmarked me for his authorative articles in the future.

              I've had one or two enquiries from non-applicants about prices, have secured one job from those mails and expect to have another confirmed today. That's two new clients, possibly three, on the first day. I'm aiming for five.

              People will pay for quality, and that's why I hope this trial shows that nobody with medium to high level writing talents needs to sell themselves short.
              Thanks for the clarification on that, it seems this is really going well for you. I've been trying to find ways to market myself more off bidding sites, so this really interests me. I'm at the point now where I want to increase my standard rates but am still at that slightly scared stage to do so... I think seeking out work elsewhere would be a big help in the right direction.
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        • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
          Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

          ...

          Any writer can produce a sales letter like mine, because the one thing I've never claimed to be is a copywriter. A valued WF member made a great point in a PM yesterday about any good writer being able to produce stimulating sales copy relating to their own services, even if they don't follow the gurus letter-by-letter.
          ...
          This is not completely true.

          In fact, it's a deadly assumption writers make.

          You don't have to follow gurus advice letter-by-letter, fair enough.

          However, most good writers cannot write sales copy to save their lives.

          Why?

          Because sales copy is not about good writing. It's about salesmanship.

          You obviously have marketing and selling experience. So you can write a letter that sells your services.

          Plus, you understand lead generation, and how making an offer works.

          On the other hand, good writers who don't know how to sell need to learn a few things. They must follow advice, as much as possible.

          I have seen many writers who write their sales copy as if it's a novel, or a piece of literary art to be admired . Well, it's not...

          I just thought I would chip this in.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
            Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

            This is not completely true.

            In fact, it's a deadly assumption writers make.

            You don't have to follow gurus advice letter-by-letter, fair enough.

            However, most good writers cannot write sales copy to save their lives.

            Why?

            Because sales copy is not about good writing. It's about salesmanship.

            You obviously have marketing and selling experience. So you can write a letter that sells your services.

            Plus, you understand lead generation, and how making an offer works.

            On the other hand, good writers who don't know how to sell need to learn a few things. They must follow advice, as much as possible.

            I have seen many writers who write their sales copy as if it's a novel, or a piece of literary art to be admired . Well, it's not...

            I just thought I would chip this in.
            This is one of the reasons I'm glad the mods let this thread continue. As much as we like to deny it, copywriting and article writing will frequently cross paths because of the arena we work in.

            I don't disagree with any of your points really, although you've given me way too much credit on my marketing potential! I try different things out, get my fingers burned when they fail, but occassionally hit on a successful formula that works.

            Perhaps I was being too general. I've seen abysmal sales copy from article writers (and from copywriters!) but any writing professional who's in tune with their own talents should be able to market them effectively enough to gain quality clients. That was the point I was trying to get at.

            For the sales page I created (and I use the term sales page very loosely because I know that reputable copywriters could probably rip it to shreds), I simply focused on quality and nothing else. So far, it's worked fairly well and I'd use the formula again if it gets me the five clients I'm aiming for.

            True. Nobody has to follow the gurus letter-for-letter. From the little I know about writing copy, there are plenty of 'rules' that can be broken to great effect (Thanks, Mr Hancox!). I bend things quite regularly when I sell my services, but never break rules when I write articles unless it really demands it. You couldn't be more right about following advice though, and that's something that writers from all genres should be prepared to do. My rule of thumb is to always listen to advice, but I won't use that advice directly if it doesn't help my work. What I never do is go against that advice. I just drop certain aspects from my writing if I can't make them applicable, stick to what I do best and use quality advice to improve the skills I already have.

            It works for me, but might not work for everybody.
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          • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
            Some good stuff as always, Ken. It's interesting to see the 'conflict' between copywriters to a certain degree, and it's raised one major issue with me that relates more to articles, but it touches on your points and those of AdwordsMogul.

            Is there a major difference between good writing and something that is well-written, and how do you differentiate between the two?

            The answer to that would probably be 'yes', on the priniciple that good writing will have the impact it's supposed to have, while something that is well-written MIGHT have an impact but possibly won't. I know I'm clouding the issue a bit here and maybe it's one the article writers will understand more. Articles still need to do a job, although they'll never be as high-earning as sales copy, but what has more value? Is it just about the information holding the reader to the page? Is it the level of authority a writer uses? Is it perfect grammar? Is it the search-engine friendly nature of an article?

            Yup! I know that a great article will combine all of those things, but many don't. What single key factor should every article have? One for me to think about today amongst other things, so thanks to you both for the inspiration.

            A quick word on performance of the trial yesterday for those who are still following it. Another sample completed, but on a subject I'd normally prefer not to write about. Fad health products aren't my thing; I researched the subject enough to know that there are no genuine benefits to the product, even though some websites say there are. I trust the words of scientists more than the words of article writers who have sensationalised their work to appease their paymasters.

            I completed another article of good quality, but know deep inside that it might have been too neutral for the client even though I focused on factual positives. However, I selected the applicant and made a promise to complete the work, and I fulfilled it. I normally wouldn't have taken on that article for pay. I had a message of thanks for receipt of the article, but know it won't convert. I wasn't convinced beforehand that the sample would turn into paid work, and I still don't think it will. Importantly, I've met by obligations and that's all that matters. I lost a bit of time (but am in profit with the trial), but that's all.

            I'm really looking forward to doing my sample for today. This WF member seemed to be one of the more serious ones that I heard from, and made it clear beforehand that he's struggling to find writers who can produce work that meets his levels of expectation, so this is a FANTASTIC chance for me to impress. It's a marketing article, there's bags of research available and he's going to get exactly what he needs. I'm confident this chap will be client number three.

            Just a quick word about the trial ad. I completed work for a customer yesterday who contacted me on the back of it, and REFUSED to take a sample article. He gave me two website pages to complete (on auto servicing, unbelievably, and I've worked in the motor trade for nearly 25 years before moving to writing), paid me before I even received the brief, and called the work 'superb' before confirming he'd use me for every company website he builds in the future at my preferred level of compensation. A great client who knows what he wants, and doesn't mind paying fair money to get it.
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          • Profile picture of the author celente
            Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

            Sales copy is very much about good writing. Good writers understand audience, voice and purpose. There's nothing magical about writing sales copy. Any writer who understands his craft can do it.

            .

            Yes this is true. But there is something magical about it if you know the connection between your offers and what people want. Too many times people guess what people want, when all you have to do is ask.

            I have done this many times and it has helped with my copy and bring in more sales. maybe it is not magical, but it sure is powerful. It takes a bit of practise but after a while you get good at it. If you can go to antarctica and sell ice to the eskimos then you are on a WINNER!
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            • Profile picture of the author cynthea
              really diggin' this thread. thank you mods for keeping it. thank your rigmonkey for pursuing and actually testing the idea that buyers will pay for high quality writing. may it bring you many wonderful clients!
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              • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
                Originally Posted by cynthea View Post

                really diggin' this thread. thank you mods for keeping it. thank your rigmonkey for pursuing and actually testing the idea that buyers will pay for high quality writing. may it bring you many wonderful clients!
                Thanks Cynthea.

                Just a quick update, but there was something about the chap I worked with today that had all of my excitment bells ringing as soon as I heard from him. Article sent, and responded to, and he's very pleased. There's an offer of work, which I haven't yet commited to as it's quite specialised and I want to make sure I can give this guy EXACTLY what he wants. There's also interest in my other servives from the same prospect.

                Again, it's another indication that quality prevails. I really hope my research gives me enough information to satisfy this particular client as I'd really like to work with him. I've noticed that the WFH section of the forum now has one or two advertisements from writers advertising on a basis of quality. Great to see, and it'll be even better to see them deliver on their promises. That's good news for all of us.
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          • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
            Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

            Sales copy is very much about good writing. Good writers understand audience, voice and purpose. There's nothing magical about writing sales copy. Any writer who understands his craft can do it.

            Having a sales background helps, but it isn't necessary. A lot of people work with ad agencies right out of college and do very well.

            One thing sales people and writers have in common is strong communication skills. Another is a good understanding of human nature.

            If someone can look at a piece of sales copy, understand its purpose and structure, they can write sales copy of their own provided they have the necessary writing skills. The rest is just honing and testing.

            The thing that separates the winners from the also-rans in both writing and sales is the ability to recognize and apply abstract principles.

            Without that ability, the copywriter will spend his life re-writing Gary Halbert stuff, and the sales person will be grinding out straight canned pitches forever.
            You're entitled to you opinion - nevertheless the reality remains.

            It's not about good writing - it is about salesmanship.

            At least it's good you recognize the need to study at least one good example of sales copy.

            Honing and testing? Exactly - that's part of how you learn to write good copy.

            You see, there is nothing wrong with canned pitches and rewriting Halbert's stuff.

            The difference between good copywriters and good writers is that copywriters don't need to be original. Our job is to generate sales not to win an award for great style.

            Sales copy goes way beyond good writing as far as it's purpose is concerned.

            When you create copy your writing doesn't have to be great - it only needs to be good enough to convey the sales message (which has to be great).
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            • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
              Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

              You're entitled to you opinion - nevertheless the reality remains.

              It's not about good writing - it is about salesmanship.

              At least it's good you recognize the need to study at least one good example of sales copy.

              Honing and testing? Exactly - that's part of how you learn to write good copy.

              You see, there is nothing wrong with canned pitches and rewriting Halbert's stuff.

              The difference between good copywriters and good writers is that copywriters don't need to be original. Our job is to generate sales not to win an award for great style.

              Sales copy goes way beyond good writing as far as it's purpose is concerned.

              When you create copy your writing doesn't have to be great - it only needs to be good enough to convey the sales message (which has to be great).
              How can you sell if you don't write well? Poor grammar, odd-sounding words, flat-out incorrect diction and confusing language won't help that salesmanship you speak of. :s
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              • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
                Originally Posted by CopyAcolyte View Post

                How can you sell if you don't write well? Poor grammar, odd-sounding words, flat-out incorrect diction and confusing language won't help that salesmanship you speak of. :s
                Read what I said again: did you see anything about poor grammar, odd-sounding words, flat-out incorrect diction and confusing language?
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                • Profile picture of the author CopyAcolyte
                  Originally Posted by AdwordsMogul View Post

                  Read what I said again: did you see anything about poor grammar, odd-sounding words, flat-out incorrect diction and confusing language?
                  Sorry if I came off rude.

                  Maybe we have different definitions of good-writing in mind. However, I'm open to other ways of looking at it.
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            • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
              Originally Posted by Ken_Caudill View Post

              Please. If all you have to do is simply rehash Halbert, ANYONE can do it.

              You're right, that takes little, if any, skill.

              Sales copy is simply another writing genre, nothing more, nothing less.

              If your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.
              Hahaha! This is so funny!

              Here is the deal: anyone can learn how to do it, then they can do it.

              And it takes much more than knowing how to use a swipe file.

              It's just like writing a novel, or even dancing: you can study all the technique, rules, structure, and grammar.

              But that's not enough to be really good.

              To compete, you have to be dedicated.

              So, of course, just like everything else in life, anyone can dedicate time and become good at it.

              The mistake people make is they under estimate what it takes to become a good copywriter.

              In many markets with little competition, almost any copy will sell, as long as the people are really hungry for a product.

              But hey, it's no use arguing about this.

              If a writer believes he doesn't need to learn how to sell, that's cool by me.

              As long as he's making money, it's all good.
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  • Profile picture of the author Deepikarajpal
    to get freelancer work you choose guru. freelancer.com, elance, odesk all of these sites are good they regularly update there projects
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  • Profile picture of the author MrUnderwood7813
    Well, today there is a large number of sites/professionals that offer a great product. I have a close personal freelance copywriter that produces great work. Her name is Mary Ellen Biery. She has produced work for the WSJ and Times. She can be found at goodwritingfast.com. Another great service that I use often is ecopywriters.com Cheers!
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  • Profile picture of the author simonbuzz
    Banned
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    • Profile picture of the author cynthea
      I'm still convinced this trial will show that there's no need to fall into bidding wars where the only beneficiaries are greedy marketers with little or no regard for themselves or their writers. Any writer can produce a sales letter like mine, because the one thing I've never claimed to be is a copywriter. A valued WF member made a great point in a PM yesterday about any good writer being able to produce stimulating sales copy relating to their own services, even if they don't follow the gurus letter-by-letter. My advice is to just go for it.
      what he said.

      rock on there rigmonkey
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      • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
        First day report. Let's see how bad it's been!

        Actually, it's been anything but bad. Completed the first sample article for a charming gentleman who was delighted with the work. Although the trial offer made it clear that reviews weren't required, the chap has insisted that he's going to write one anyway.

        Quality client.

        The same chap has explained how he works. He's currently working on an admirable content management project, similar to Fiverr but with an emphasis on higher quality and price, and I've already joined his site. I now have a potential revenue stream through that alone.

        Quality client.

        He also produces his own articles but his content management site keeps him busy, so he outsources much of his own work. He's asked what I charge, and I've told him. No baulking on price and he's offered to use me on anything that requires the style I provided this morning.

        Quality client.

        So far, so good - And to get value from my $20 investment, I added a second week of samples to create a little more demand. Looking forward to tomorrow already!
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  • Profile picture of the author Julie McElroy
    First, I am glad they are keeping this post!

    I think copywriting can play into this post anyhow. Copywriting demands a large market online and offline. It is also a skill that some writers are not very savvy at. Many writers who are not in the IM world do not understand SEO and copywriting. It is a different animal than the more expository/creative writing. But, I think there can be a balance. Learning copywriting "style" writing is something I am trying to hone in on because I know the value.

    There are professional writers who also want to be a part of the IM world, but get discouraged because of many of the newbie's who do not have a budget and want to find people to write the $5 articles. This can be discouraging to writers. This post is a great way to keep the inspiration and motivation for real writers alive. Anyhow, I went on and on about this on my recent IMI blog post (link in sig) because of the relevancy, etc. I encourage you to comment -

    @rigmonkey - good for you! Would still love to chat offline sometime.
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by Julie McElroy View Post

      First, I am glad they are keeping this post!

      I think copywriting can play into this post anyhow. Copywriting demands a large market online and offline. It is also a skill that some writers are not very savvy at. Many writers who are not in the IM world do not understand SEO and copywriting. It is a different animal than the more expository/creative writing. But, I think there can be a balance. Learning copywriting "style" writing is something I am trying to hone in on because I know the value.

      There are professional writers who also want to be a part of the IM world, but get discouraged because of many of the newbie's who do not have a budget and want to find people to write the $5 articles. This can be discouraging to writers. This post is a great way to keep the inspiration and motivation for real writers alive. Anyhow, I went on and on about this on my recent IMI blog post (link in sig) because of the relevancy, etc. I encourage you to comment -

      @rigmonkey - good for you! Would still love to chat offline sometime.
      I'm glad the thread has remained as well, not least if it helps newcomers to clarify those big, big differences between copywriting and article writing, and why the copywriters deservedly make more in terms of money. They're the ones who have put in the time, purchased the courses and marketed their services. However, the newcomers will still be able to see that article writing is a thing of value.

      I'll arrange a chat sometime soon, Julie - I'll also take a closer look on the blog link this evening!
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  • Profile picture of the author Russell Barnstein
    Wow! I just don't get this particular dispute. Look, here's the way I see it: if you can't write good sales copy, then you can't be classified as a "good" writer!

    One of the first and most critical things a professional writer learns is the difference between informative and persuasive writing. This is drilled into writers over and over again because they are always the two principle formats you will use when writing. So if you claim to be a "good" writer but in the same breath you say you can't write sales copy, then you are NOT a good writer. Why? Because you can't write in one of the most fundamental styles every writer should know.

    A "good" writer is well-rounded and can adapt to any writing style. Selling is about persuasion, and if you can't persuade with your writing then YOU'RE NOT A GOOD WRITER.

    The fact of the matter is that most writers simply loathe writing sales copy. It's easier to simply say that you're terrible at something than to press your boundaries and challenge yourself. Sales copy isn't every writer's dream, but what writer dreams about articles on weight loss, financial aid, building muscle, penis enlargement, affiliate marketing or the never-ending list of inane topics that we write about on the internet?

    Rigmonkey is a perfect example: a professed non-sales writer who tried his hand at it and performed well. Why did he perform well? BECAUSE HE IS A GOOD WRITER. Tell him you need a technical manual and I bet he could do that too. Tell him you need beautiful song lyrics or simple prose and he'll get that done and it'll be good.

    That's how a good writer is defined: they have a mastery of the written word regardless of what medium you want them to put it in.

    I'm sure I'll invoke a lot of spiteful responses with this, but since we're all putting our "2 cents" in..... Writers who claim to be professional but state that they can't write sales copy are really just making excuses. If you profess to be a good writer, give writing sales copy an honest try. Can't do it? Perhaps you should re-evaluate your skills and start challenging yourself. Or face the fact that you're not that great of a writer.
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    • Profile picture of the author Julie McElroy
      Originally Posted by Russell Barnstein View Post

      Wow! I just don't get this particular dispute. Look, here's the way I see it: if you can't write good sales copy, then you can't be classified as a "good" writer!

      One of the first and most critical things a professional writer learns is the difference between informative and persuasive writing. This is drilled into writers over and over again because they are always the two principle formats you will use when writing. So if you claim to be a "good" writer but in the same breath you say you can't write sales copy, then you are NOT a good writer. Why? Because you can't write in one of the most fundamental styles every writer should know.

      A "good" writer is well-rounded and can adapt to any writing style. Selling is about persuasion, and if you can't persuade with your writing then YOU'RE NOT A GOOD WRITER.

      The fact of the matter is that most writers simply loathe writing sales copy. It's easier to simply say that you're terrible at something than to press your boundaries and challenge yourself. Sales copy isn't every writer's dream, but what writer dreams about articles on weight loss, financial aid, building muscle, penis enlargement, affiliate marketing or the never-ending list of inane topics that we write about on the internet?

      Rigmonkey is a perfect example: a professed non-sales writer who tried his hand at it and performed well. Why did he perform well? BECAUSE HE IS A GOOD WRITER. Tell him you need a technical manual and I bet he could do that too. Tell him you need beautiful song lyrics or simple prose and he'll get that done and it'll be good.

      That's how a good writer is defined: they have a mastery of the written word regardless of what medium you want them to put it in.

      I'm sure I'll invoke a lot of spiteful responses with this, but since we're all putting our "2 cents" in..... Writers who claim to be professional but state that they can't write sales copy are really just making excuses. If you profess to be a good writer, give writing sales copy an honest try. Can't do it? Perhaps you should re-evaluate your skills and start challenging yourself. Or face the fact that you're not that great of a writer.
      I am not sure if I agree 100% with your definition of a "good" writer. Just like any vocation, there are things you may specialize in and things you don't. Sure, I can write sales copy, but it is not something I am as good at compared to other writing. Yes, I am sure with time and practice I can. But, it depends on what someone wants to focus on as a writer.

      Not all writing is the same. I could stare at a blank page for hours before any type of poetry leaped into my brain.

      A musician can not just pick up ANY instrument and be good at it, or any doctor get in and perform open-heart surgery, an artist create a sculpture, an athlete play any sport. You get the point. Most writers specialize to some degree. Sure, you can be extremely broad, but I don's see how that is productive. It is uncommon (not unheard of) for fiction writers to write non-fiction and vise-versa.

      And not every writer "loathes" salescopy. Just as not every dancer "loathes" a specific genre of dance. Or a singer loathes a genre of music. Most people specialize in their career. It is not different from writer - to a degree....

      Yes, TOPICALLY I can write about almost anything, but I am pretty sure I could not write a technical manual on how to build a turbo jet engine. Why would I? There are experts that would gladly take that one.

      While I agree, good writers need to be flexible. However, I would not say that if you are not a strong writer in a certain style it automatically means you are not a "good" writer.
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      • Profile picture of the author Russell Barnstein
        Hi Julie;

        I did consider almost your exact argument before creating my post, as I always try to see things from as many angles as possible on an issue. But I'm not talking about being able to write well in all styles: I'm talking about being able to write in the only two ways that you can for the internet:

        Informative Vs. Persuasive or Content Vs. Sales/Copy

        I get the whole thing about heart surgeons versus pediatricians and pianists versus guitarists and I really did consider that angle. But I guess I'm more of the opinion that a "good" writer who can only write Content/Informative is like a pediatrician saying they're not good at anatomy or a guitarist saying they don't know scales.

        But in all honesty, I think your post only proved my point. You're a good writer: you said you can topically write about anything, you could write poetry but it might take a couple hours, you are good at "other writing" and your post demonstrates your persuasive ability- at least on a soft-sell level. And I know damn well that you COULD write that technical manual on jet engines if you knew about jet engines, or if you studied them.

        A good writer is someone with a mastery of the written word; a good writer can take words and assemble them however they need to with few limitations. I'd venture to say that you fit in this category based on your post, and I know there are LOTS of others here in the WF that are good writers as well- I see it in posts every day. ;-)
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  • Profile picture of the author DougHughes
    Hi Sorry, I'll take this opportunity to put in a shameless plug for my new book "101 Places to Write for Money."
    ยท

    Which contains...yes...101 legitimate places to get freelance writing work online broken down into the following categories:

    • Academic Writing
    • Article Writing
    • Blogging
    • copywriting
    • creative writing
    • essay writing
    • letter writing
    • news writing
    • review
    • technical writing
    • web content writing
    If interested there's a link to the WSO for this book in my sig.

    Good luck
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  • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
    Some fantastic thought and observations over the last day or so, and looking forward to commenting on them when time allows.

    Just a quick update on the trial. No response from the sample article yesterday yet, but I'm confident there will be one in due course. The new client harnessed on Wednesday continues to be extremely communicative, has now given me four different pieces to work on and has offered the opportunity to finish pages on his website, so it's all looking very good in the direction. Another sample to do today, and we're currently at three new clients from the five I wanted to get from this trial (Edit to add: The client on day five of the trial has already posted his article to site and has requested my pricing and full range of services within minutes of sending out the sample, so we could be up to 4 new clients with two days to run).

    Not much response for the extended second week, which I'm putting down to the original ad slipping down the pages of the WFH section of the forum. I could pay to bump it, but I'll wait until this week is out of the way before deciding to do so.

    Importantly, the trial IS picking up new clients who are prepared to pay a fair price for the right articles and I hope it shows other quality writers that they don't need to be selling themselves short in bidding wars as long as they have a small amount of money to invest and a little spare time.
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    • Profile picture of the author AdwordsMogul
      Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post


      Importantly, the trial IS picking up new clients who are prepared to pay a fair price for the right articles and I hope it shows other quality writers that they don't need to be selling themselves short in bidding wars as long as they have a small amount of money to invest and a little spare time.
      You know there is another good thing you're doing.

      You're showing people that when they create a specific goal and take ACTION, they will see results.

      Good stuff!
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      • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
        Just to put a close on this one, but the trial finishes today and there are five new clients on board with the possibility of several more if I can squeeze them in. The ad cost $20 to post, and it's already paid for itself many times over even when you consider the time it has taken to complete the sample articles.

        The whole thing has probably proved much more than it originally set out to, but the emphasis on quality was the most important thing. Good marketers DEFINITELY want quality articles, and the growth of inbound marketing techniques will only increase the demand for well-written pieces.

        I've spoken to several writers over the last week and many are much like myself. They come from a different working background and have left it until much later in life to earn money from writing, but still have the ability to create excellent work. Many say that they are still selling themselves short. They shouldn't be. I'm a 45 year-old paint sprayer who started from scratch, and I've managed to find my own corner of the market because I won't sell my talents cheaply. There will always be better writers, the same as there will always be better paint sprayers, but my work has a value to me and I won't give it away.

        The bidding sites have a place in the current marketplace, but I still believe they compromise your earning potential, your abilities and your reputaton. This trial has shown you can walk away from those places for as little as $20, so do another five $5 articles if you have to, then try something yourself.

        Cheers to everyone for their support and kind words over the last week. Now... who owes me a beer?
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  • Profile picture of the author madhatseo
    It doesn't matter. It depends upon how you present yourself. No offense, but certain people in some countries are instantly ignored by me primarily because they throw the same thoughtless cover page back. The recommendations are good but differentiate yourself on the interview.
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  • Profile picture of the author aesoprock
    I completely agree with not giving your services away cheaply. Your time is worth much more than you think and the best way to increase your perceived value is to charge accordingly. The same problem exists in the design market where anyone with a copy of photoshop and a distinct lack of taste is suddenly a designer.
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  • Profile picture of the author topgear2
    I think Freelancer.com is the best site if you are looking for cheap and professional writers thanks..
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  • Profile picture of the author Teacherman
    I am so glad I stumbled on this thread! I am a writer who has been developing his own blog, but I am looking for some side cash to help jump start a few things. I have a pair of degrees from the University of Manitoba and consider myself a pretty experienced blogger and niche article writer. I am so sick of competing with these guys that produce crap articles and will work for peanuts! I hope you don't mind Rigmonkey but I intend to take your example and run with it. I checked out the thread you started and the responses you got, and that is exactly the type of setup I am looking for! Thanks for all the relevant advice and views that were posted on this thread!
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  • Profile picture of the author Bazbo
    Thank you, Rigmonkey!!!

    This thread has given me hope that I really can develop a substantial article writing business that's worth the time I put into it.

    Four years ago, as I began looking into internet marketing, I heard about article writing. I was in a bad way financially, and I've always been told I have a way with words, so I thought I'd give it a try. It took a while to find my first clients, but I eventually started writing 20-30 300 word articles a week. Unfortunately, I was only being paid $5 each to write them. I got a ton of compliments on my writing from my clients, but every time I tried to raise prices even slightly, they would move on.

    At first, I didn't understand this. Frankly, it mystified me. These clients, who had just told me that the quality of my articles was far, far superior to what they were used to, would then decline my services if I raised my prices even slightly. Why? I mean, I know that it's human nature to be a cheapskate, but if my articles were really that much better, then surely they could see the value of them, right? But no, they didn't. But I was in desperate straits financially, so I kept plugging away. Somehow I scraped along, usually managing to replace a client who had balked at my higher prices with a new client, but at my old price of $5 for 300 words. I was still writing about 20-30 articles a week, making about $125 on top of my regular (and very low paying) job. But my hourly writing pay was terrible.

    Then, one day, out of the blue, I found part of the answer to the mystery of why people wouldn't pay just a few bucks extra for articles that were 2-3 times better than average. It happened this way. I had an ad somewhere, or maybe a free blogger site, advertising my services, and offering one free sample article. So someone wrote me and asked for a sample article. I took their keywords and had their article written and delivered to them within just a few hours. I also sent him links to several articles I had written that were online. Certain I had a new client, I checked my inbox every hour or so. But nothing came of it. I assumed they were busy, and I would hear from them shortly. After a week went by with no word from them, I decided I would email him "just to make sure he received the article", etc. He quickly replied that yes, he had received it, and found it well written and interesting, but he wasn't interested in hiring me to write articles. I wrote back to say I understood that "money is tight these days", etc, and while he might not be in a position to hire an article writer at the moment, if he ever were, I would love to work for him. He replied that it wasn't a question of money; he was NEVER going to hire me. Why?

    Because my articles were too good!

    No, I am not making that up. He went on to explain that his IM business revolves around Adsense and CPA offers. He needed content to put on the pages, but he didn't want it to be very good. It should be good enough to attract Google spiders, and good enough that it's not obvious spam at first glance, but not so good that people actually find it interesting. It should attract Google, and it should "look right", but it should not have any content of value, he explained. With him, articles had two purposes. First, attract Google, and second, turn off the reader after about a paragraph. Again, I'm not kidding. He went on to say that when the reader gets disgusted at how bad the article is, he'll decide that the site is crap, and start clicking on the ads in hopes of finding whatever he was looking for when he landed on the page. That was the very foundation of his business, and he was making thousands of dollars a month, every month.

    I was shocked, of course. I wrote back and asked him if this was a joke, although it was pretty clear he was dead serious. He replied that not only was it not a joke, it was how a whole bunch of IMers operated. I was told that you should never put up quality content on an Adsense or CPA page, because if you actually give readers the information they're looking for, they'll never click on your ads. I googled around a bit, and found out that there were plenty of other people out there just like him. I found forum threads where IMers were discussing how to write/where to find articles that were basically garbage but didn't appear so at first glance. (It was important that they "look right" so that the unsuspecting reader wouldn't just hit the Back button immediately, but would get drawn in and read a bit before realizing how useless the content was.)

    I had no idea that a significant percentage of people who make money in IM do so by deliberately flooding the internet with garbage. But the revelation did help me understand why so many IMers refused to pay for quality writing. Even if they weren't so crass as to deliberately put up known garbage, they weren't very particular about what they did put up. The main thing they cared about was that the articles had the keywords in the right ratio. And there are plenty of people who can write so so or even terrible articles with proper KW density for $5 a pop (or even lower), so when I raised my prices, I was gone. My higher quality articles were a nice bonus in their opinion, but not one worth paying for. All that mattered was KW density.

    This disgusted me, and it wasn't long before I quit writing articles altogether. I assumed that these attitudes were the prevailing ones among all IMers, and decided I was barking up the wrong tree. I would see article writers on WF talking about making hundreds of dollars a week writing, but figured they were either lying, or "knew some people", or were just incredibly lucky, or didn't mind working 18 hours a day. But I was tired of knocking myself out for $125 a week, so I gave it up altogether. And I went out and got a part time job to go with my other full time position.

    That was about 3 years ago. Things have changed significantly since then, in more ways than one. For one, the Panda/Farmer update is starting to put the fear of God into some IMers, and they're starting to realize the importance of quality content. A lot of them have seen huge drops in their income, and they must surely be aware that this is only the beginning, as Google has got to make HUGE changes or become irrelevant. And we're still a long way from seeing just how huge these changes will eventually be. For another, I'm in a much better position financially. It seems my writing finally did pay off. Some of my friends knew I had done some writing, and about a year ago I was asked to ghostwrite a biweekly political email newsletter for an aspiring politician. I thought it was over my head, but agreed to give it a try. Well, the client couldn't have been more pleased, and I got the job. In fact, he was so pleased that he offered me a job working for him full time, at a really good salary. I had to move halfway across the country to accept, but I'm making more money than I ever have in my life.

    And now, after following this thread, I'd like to try my hand at article writing once again. Now that I'm not desperate for money, I can turn down the 2 cents a word guys, and demand what I'm worth. Rigmonkey has shown us that if you offer high quality writing, and refuse to sell yourself short, people will respond. I'm going to try it myself in the next couple of weeks, and hope to emulate his success. I'm also studying copywriting, and hope to move into that one of these days, where I will apply the same principles.

    Thanks again, Rigmonkey!
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    • Profile picture of the author Rigmonkey
      Originally Posted by Bazbo View Post

      Thanks again, Rigmonkey!
      Any appreciation due certainly doesn't belong to me. It belongs to those I've religiously followed on here who never falter from what they believe to be right. That's not just writers, but also the IM specialists who have always believed the importance of adding credibility to their websites instead of keywords.

      To survive these days, your websites have to have authority. You have to be a trusted source of information and you have to build your profile for the longer term. Everything is changing (it's not just Panda and the like; outbound marketing is slowly but surely giving way to inbound techniques that are less aggressive, and marketing articles of the highest quality is one of the most important tools of all for many online businesses). The demand for great writing continues to grow, and our marketplace is a fresh, exciting world with enough rewards for everybody.

      It was always going to happen.
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      • Profile picture of the author cynthea
        Originally Posted by Rigmonkey View Post

        Any appreciation due certainly doesn't belong to me. It belongs to those I've religiously followed on here who never falter from what they believe to be right. That's not just writers, but also the IM specialists who have always believed the importance of adding credibility to their websites instead of keywords.

        To survive these days, your websites have to have authority. You have to be a trusted source of information and you have to build your profile for the longer term. Everything is changing (it's not just Panda and the like; outbound marketing is slowly but surely giving way to inbound techniques that are less aggressive, and marketing articles of the highest quality is one of the most important tools of all for many online businesses). The demand for great writing continues to grow, and our marketplace is a fresh, exciting world with enough rewards for everybody.

        It was always going to happen.
        ooh ooh ooh... likey. likey.
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        > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
        Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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  • Profile picture of the author cynthea
    wow Bazbo, that's a pretty interesting story! thank you for taking the time to share it.

    I really do hope that the ramifications of Panda will mean that fewer and fewer of the really crap sites get to stay ranked... but I was on the Google forum and more than 40 peeps responded to one of the Google bloggers on quality. They generally were very negative and didn't seem to hold any hope that Google is serious about maintaining high quality content.

    I was very surprised at the reaction.

    Am I being naive to think that the Panda update was for real? That Google actually is doing some long overdue housekeeping?
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    > Former Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Writer Available to Work for You <
    Ghostwriting |Copywriting for the Web | Information Architecture
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  • Profile picture of the author Stuart S
    I'm certainly glad that I stumbled across this thread. I think there are some very valuable tips in here not only for writers, but for any business person in general.

    I'll definitely be applying some of these principles to my growing career as a freelance writer and will try and help those who are in need of information like this as well.
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  • Profile picture of the author Teacherman
    Wow, great story Bazbo, sounds like your in a similar position to me. Any Google updates that make high quality writing more valuable are OK by me!
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  • Profile picture of the author kururunfa
    This is an interesting thread.

    I started out on content mills, and have managed to claw my way out of those sites. It took a long time for me to up my rates, but I'm glad I did.

    I do think that the low paid stuff was OK for portfolio building, but it's not sustainable long-term - and once you have a reputation as a cheap writer, it's hard to break away from that.

    I didn't manage to get ODesk or Freelancer.com to work for me, but I have heard of people getting good jobs from those sites, so they must exist. Perhaps I just don't use those sites properly. These days I prefer to use forums (because I'm reading / posting anyway), and word of mouth to get most of my jobs.
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  • Profile picture of the author MsConnie
    This thread struck a chord with me. I write for content mills and a private client for which I've written articles and blog posts. I've browsed jobs on both Elance and Odesk and end up frustrated with all the jobs for writers at $3 per 600-word article. I currently write for one content mill that shall not be named, to the tune of $15-$20 per 400-word article, but the requirements for those articles make writing them not worth the pay.

    What's gets under my skin is seeing writers jump on jobs that pay $3 to $5 per 500-word article because "it's better than nothing". Then I go on writing forums and read posts from writers who can write 2-3 articles in an hour, while I'm good if I can do one article in a hour tops because I make sure my research is on point and I actually care about my work and refuse to rush through it and end up with crap--with MY name on it--on the Internet.

    Copywriting appeals to me because I can take the time (for the most part) to write my best and get paid well for it. It will be a while before I can make my mark on the copywriting arena, but in the meantime I'm looking for writing opportunities with private clients that will pay more. Right now I would love to write blog posts, which is what I've done for my private client and actually like it.

    The changes with Google have had an impact. Last year, I wrote for 5 content mills; this year I've mostly done work for my private client and only write for the one content mill. The rest have changed so much that I find nothing to write about anymore, or their requirements have become more stringent that it's not worth jumping through all the hoops for the modest pay.
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  • Profile picture of the author tiwi
    This forum was truly informative not to mention entertaining. The exchange of ideas were very dynamic, I lost myself from reading and honestly, I forgot what I wanted to say. To the one who started this, just read and you'll definitely learn a lot from these wonderful guys!
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I am amazed that nobody seems to have mentioned vworker.com
    I have done a lot of jobs from there and it has given me a few regular clients that I work with and charge more for now.
    I do go out and get my own clients as well through various sources but it has certainly helped me a lot, both in confidence and experience.
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    Cheers, Laurence. Writer/Editor/Proofreader.
    Visit my site for more info

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