I hired a writer - I don't know what I got

25 replies
I hired a writer.

Her works not bad. It's sort of generic, but it's not bad.

It doesn't have the "pop" that I feel my own articles have when I write about my stuff. That's okay, because she just started, and she's pumping these things out in pretty sizeable batches. Takes me five or ten minutes each to rewrite them to a salvageable level. Still no "pop," but better than generic. And, they passed "copyscape," which I presume, is in and of itself, is no real test of originality.

The question I have is ... how do low end writers pull together the stuff that they do?

The paragraphs "seem" related, but definitely not original. Like they are generic content with with keywords added, then modified to sort of stitch random but related thoughts together.

I've seen a lot of what seems like generic writing around, is that what she's doing, stitching paragraphs together?


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#hired #writer
  • Profile picture of the author ankur sharma
    I think what she is doing, giving a quick search in google. Then pasting that thing in word doc and finally rewriting it quickly. From what i read in your post, this is what it looks like.
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  • Profile picture of the author Nigel Greaves
    Sounds like Ankur has it nailed. A lot of low priced writers do just that and hope it passes your acceptance point!

    I think, unless you happen to strike lucky, the chances of getting articles which have the "pop" factor from low priced writers is slim. This "she's pumping these things out in pretty sizeable batches" would suggest she's having to work fast just to earn a living wage. That being the case she, and this is just a guess, won't have time to go back to the article and add in the "pop" factor.

    Nigel
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    • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
      Originally Posted by Nigel Greaves View Post

      Sounds like Ankur has it nailed. A lot of low priced writers do just that and hope it passes your acceptance point!
      That ties with what I'm thinking. I just couldn't put my finger on it.

      I am lucky in that I have a use for this stuff that doesn't really require the "pop," but it does need to be better than G-scrape. Which is why I am spending a minimal amount of time doing my own modifications. The one thing positive I can say for her is that she writes with a more US based sound. Which is better than some of the "stilted" lingo I used to get from offshore low priced writers.
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  • Profile picture of the author AFI
    Your thread title amused me. I can SOOOO relate!!
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  • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
    May I ask what you are paying per article? Also word count per article?
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    • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
      Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

      May I ask what you are paying per article? Also word count per article?
      $5 per article.

      It started as a cross between a "test" to remind myself want $5 articles were like, and to see if they could be used for anything. It takes me a bit of time to write with the voice I want, and there is just soooo much to do in building a content based membership site. Sigh.

      After I got the articles, I remembered that I have an "associate" who isn't particular about his content (the dummy) and wanted me to fill up his site with "starter" content "for the search engines." (Again, the dummy.) I'm going to give these to him for free and let him do what he wants with them. He'll be getting what he paid for.
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      • Profile picture of the author John Romaine
        Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

        $5 per article.
        There's your problem dude.

        For the few bucks you save, you lose in wasted time messing around. Believe me, its just NOT WORTH IT.

        I have a great writer in the Phillipines, who is originally from Canada, so her first language is English - and I pay her $15USD per article. From my experience, anything under $15USD tends to be garbage.

        The whole purpose of hiring writers is to leverage your time, not waste it.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
          Originally Posted by ramone_johnny View Post

          There's your problem dude.

          For the few bucks you save, you lose in wasted time messing around. Believe me, its just NOT WORTH IT.

          I have a great writer in the Phillipines, who is originally from Canada, so her first language is English - and I pay her $15USD per article. From my experience, anything under $15USD tends to be garbage.

          The whole purpose of hiring writers is to leverage your time, not waste it.
          If I thought I was going to get a good article for $5, I think my subject line and question would have been a lot different. I know it is not what I want on my site. I was trying to remind myself of what articles are like at that price, it's been so long since I bought one.

          Quality does have a price.

          For site content, I have regularly paid $50 plus per article. But that writer is a full time reporter for two major US dailies, and writes on news in my field. For pitch pages, I have paid as much as $1,500 for a nationally recognized copywriter. (Don't see much use for a $10,000 per page copywriter on the internet.)

          Getting good content for $15 or $20 per article is hard. It might be well written, but good content comes from a writer that REALLY knows the subject. And, that usually takes time to learn. You can pay them to learn it, or you can hire someone who has learned the subject on their own. Either way, someone has to pay for the knowledge acquisition, and then they have to be able to write so other folkses will read.
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          • Profile picture of the author bnwebm
            Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post


            Getting good content for $15 or $20 per article is hard. It might be well written, but good content comes from a writer that REALLY knows the subject. And, that usually takes time to learn. You can pay them to learn it, or you can hire someone who has learned the subject on their own. Either way, someone has to pay for the knowledge acquisition, and then they have to be able to write so other folkses will read.
            Exactly! When I write for someone, they not only get an excellent article, they benefit from either the research i've done or my master's degree education. I won't accept a writing job that involves a topic about which i'm not familiar, because it would be impossible to write an article that has value.
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  • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
    Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

    I hired a writer.

    Her works not bad. It's sort of generic, but it's not bad.
    No offense, but it sounds like you're dealing with the wrong writer. "Not bad" simply isn't good enough. After all, this your business we're talking about! Quality content has always been important. It seems to have taken more of a priority now, in light of the Panda update. If you really want to have the presence you want, "not bad" isn't going to cut it.

    Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

    It doesn't have the "pop" that I feel my own articles have when I write about my stuff. That's okay, because she just started, and she's pumping these things out in pretty sizeable batches.
    It's really *not* okay. If you're dealing with a professional writer, everything they do should "pop". Would you be willing to eat subpar food at a restaurant just because you had a table of 10 people? After all, that's a sizeable amount of people to serve at once... but it doesn't mean that the chef can slack off


    Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

    Takes me five or ten minutes each to rewrite them to a salvageable level.
    I hate hearing this, and, unfortunately, I heard this alot. Hiring a professional writer *should* mean that you can take what they've given you and publish it as-is. Going back to the restaurant example, would you be satisfied knowing that once your meal came out you'd have to add some oregano to it? It's no different!

    Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

    The question I have is ... how do low end writers pull together the stuff that they do?
    I've often wondered this myself. At the rate many writers are charging, the focus goes from creating quality content to simply churning something out so that you still make a profit. Unfortunately, by trying to work that fast, you're right, you don't get the "pop" that you need.
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  • Profile picture of the author calfred
    Hehe, if you paid her peanuts, you certainly got what you paid for.

    But here's the thing.

    Most of the time, hiring a writer and expecting him / her to perform exactly how you want them to be off-the-bat is not ideal.

    You will have to give them specific instructions. You have to train them. This is your part as an employer.
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    • Profile picture of the author NicoleBeckett
      Originally Posted by calfred View Post

      You will have to give them specific instructions. You have to train them. This is your part as an employer.
      Specific instructions?
      Yes.

      Training them?
      Absolutely not.

      Like Lindsey said, no one's a mind reader. A couple of quick sentences about what you're looking for is enough for a quality writer to take and run with.

      When I take orders, I ask clients for a few things - their target keywords (for obvious reasons ), their URL (so that I can see, for myself, what they're all about and what their style is, so that I can match it), and any special instructions they might have.

      After that, the client is done with it. They don't need to "train" me. I know how to create compelling content. I know how to spell properly and how to use proper grammar. If I needed someone to "train" me, I would seek the advice of an English teacher, not an internet marketer.

      If you're spending time training your writers, you're wasting your time... and your writers are more trouble than they're worth.
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  • Profile picture of the author RhondaG
    There is also one other point you should think about. Did you let the writer know what style and format you like, or show her examples of the types of work you like?

    I know as a writer myself, when I get a new client, I go and study their website to see what is on it, then before I write the article I asked how they want the article to be slanted. Do you want general information, or articles that have a call to action in them.

    Sometimes a writer is only as good as the instructions they get from the client.

    Thanks
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    • Profile picture of the author LindseyRainwater
      I can see the point of the last couple posts, but at the same time writers need to make sure they have a "checklist" that they set forth right from the get-go.

      I've been scoffed at when I tell people my unique articles are a minimum of $15 for 400+ words, but before I even get started I cover tone, research depth, SEO, and anything else I can think of. That is MY job, as the professional writer.

      And if a client doesn't want to communicate their needs to me, (such as, they think I'm just supposed to KNOW what they want) I generally tell them they need a mind-reader, not a writer. That gets the point across.

      A writer-client relationship is give and take. Yes, the client needs to provide some specifics. But when you're the writer, it's YOUR job to make sure things get done right.

      Just my two cents.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rob Marr
    It is hard to find great workers and you can only find them if you are paying them well enough.

    What I normally do is create a quick note to structure my article. I tend to write a quick note for each section within an article which they must pay attention to. This way they understand what they need to do even they don't know your niche or the topic you want them to cover.

    If you are vague with information you send to them they will give you a very generic article.

    As mentioned by RhondaG give your writer what kind of style you like done at least they have an idea.
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  • Profile picture of the author Talltom1
    Kirk,

    A number of people have mentioned that the writer was doing a bit of surfing on Google, and plagarizing the content.

    Sooo, take the first sentence of a paragraph, and do a Google search and see what drifts to the surface, jes wunnerin'

    Talltom
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  • Profile picture of the author Ken
    Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post


    The question I have is ... how do low end writers pull together the stuff that they do?
    There is a piece of software on the market (Instant Article Wizard) that
    will do exactly the scraping and homogenizing you speak of.

    Ken
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  • Profile picture of the author Transcripts
    I sometimes write for content sites when my other work is low. I don't really consider myself a writer, but this is what I do. I'll Google the subject if I'm not familiar with it, so at least I know what the heck I'm talking about, then I just write off the cuff.

    Some of the places I work for I can at least pick the project. So, I'll, of course, try to pick something that I know about, so I can churn it out quickly. One of the places I write for I have zero control over what I get. Got stuck doing 15 articles on industrial lubricants and grease last time I worked there...and haven't been back since :-)
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    • Profile picture of the author Obelisk
      If I had to venture a guess it would be as mentioned above.

      Instant Article Wizard is probably the culprit! Simply google it and watch the demo video on the homepage, it creates the content exactly as you have described it...Not bad, but just generic...

      Depending on your use, these articles can still be of use, I just wouldn't use them on a sales page or a page that is trying to push an action. If you were building out a Wiki type site then this would be a pretty good solution I guess.

      Take care,

      Chris
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    • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
      Originally Posted by Transcripts View Post

      Got stuck doing 15 articles on industrial lubricants and grease last time I worked there...and haven't been back since :-)
      That's sort of the problem I have. My topic is sort of a non-IM specialty.
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      • Profile picture of the author Transcripts
        Originally Posted by Kirk Ward View Post

        That's sort of the problem I have. My topic is sort of a non-IM specialty.
        I don't think the subject matter is a problem. As I said, I have one place I write for in which I have zero control over what I get assigned. What a writer does have control over is how much time they invest in a project.

        I know lots of work-at-home parents that earn a living writing content. The key is to not spend a lot of time per project, that doesn't mean they write garbage, but it does mean if you want uniquely turned phrases on technical subject matter, you probably won't get it at pay which requires a person to turn out several articles an hour to make a decent income.
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        • Profile picture of the author Kirk Ward
          Originally Posted by Transcripts View Post

          I don't think the subject matter is a problem. As I said, I have one place I write for in which I have zero control over what I get assigned. What a writer does have control over is how much time they invest in a project.

          I know lots of work-at-home parents that earn a living writing content. The key is to not spend a lot of time per project, that doesn't mean they write garbage, but it does mean if you want uniquely turned phrases on technical subject matter, you probably won't get it at pay which requires a person to turn out several articles an hour to make a decent income.
          After reviewing some of the responses in this thread, I took a second look at how I was working with this writer, and why I hired her in the first place. I hired her because while her samples were not in my field, they were rather decent.

          We've started a conversation and discussed what I'm looking for, and she has offered to rework the first batch and work harder on the second batch. I told her not to spend time reworking the first batch, as that was like a first date. We were just getting to know each other. I've tried to point her to writing that reflects what I want, and given her ideas about how I think she can meet my needs.

          We'll be working together to see what we can do, and as I learn how to communicate my needs, and as she learns my wants, I feel confident we can reach a point where she makes enough to cover her time, and I get satisfactory content.

          First step in this was me communicating my needs to her. If there's no improvement on the second batch, I can quietly slip away.
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        • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
          Speaking as a writer who has written on a wide range of topics, it is up to the employer to provide information about their requirements.
          As a writer, I always ask certain questions before I even start so I know where I am going as I don't want to waste my time either.

          Employers do need to be aware that any writer won't write exactly the way they wish at first. It takes time to get a feel for how the employer wants articles to be.

          The bottom line is that give and take and communication are all essential.
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  • Profile picture of the author peter gibson
    Judging by your reply to Ramone J it seems you understand full well that paying 5.00 is gonna see copy/paste style nonsense delivered. So I'll only add what my writer tells me, which is ...

    You'll get what you pay for from me every time. If you think my time is worth $5.00, you'll get what I think $5.00 is worth from the skill set I bring to the table. I normally get 60.00 for 1 article (roughly an hours work), so divide 5.00 into a 60.00 per hour wage and that's roughly how much time I'd have to spend on such a request, especially if I was desperate enough to need a 5 dollar gig.
    That basically tells me not many writers of ilk will accept a job @ 5.00, but if they do I should only expect something that takes them a few minutes of their time to complete. For someone who needs to make money accepting 5.00 jobs they really haven't the time to spend providing a quality product - if making money is their motivating factor, even if they have chops up the wazoo.
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