What do you look for from article / content writers?

by Mark Andrews Banned 52 replies
What is the number one problem you run into based on your personal experience when looking for and employing the services of article / content writers?

What skills do you place highest priority upon?

Answers on a postcard please...


Mark Andrews
#main internet marketing discussion forum #article #article writers #article writing #content #content writers #content writing #writers
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  • Profile picture of the author harleepage
    oziomedia ... I've worked with this company for over two years... NOT ONE PROBLEM... all English writers and only 3 bucks per 100 words.. which really isn't that bad.
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  • Profile picture of the author HostWind
    I cant say Ive every hired a writer before, though I believe the main issue I would run into is conveying my message properly. It is easy to shoot ideas back and forth, but to give the exact impression you want to give is difficult.
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    • Profile picture of the author Indecision
      I think the biggest problem I find is that most content writers aren't actually very good writers. It is rare to find a writer that has a very good grasp of spelling and grammar concepts combined with a natural, fluent writing talent, either that or their research skills suck
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      • Profile picture of the author Jim Hughes
        Originally Posted by Indecision View Post

        I think the biggest problem I find is that most content writers aren't actually very good writers. It is rare to find a writer that has a very good grasp of spelling and grammar concepts combined with a natural, fluent writing talent, either that or their research skills suck
        Same problem here.

        In addition, lack of seo optimization skills.
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      • Profile picture of the author YasirYar
        Originally Posted by Indecision View Post

        I think the biggest problem I find is that most content writers aren't actually very good writers. It is rare to find a writer that has a very good grasp of spelling and grammar concepts combined with a natural, fluent writing talent, either that or their research skills suck
        Same here. Well, especially if they'd agree to take on a project at a very cheap price! That can be a sign that your writer will be unable to deliver the kind of content you are looking for. :p
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      • Profile picture of the author CDarklock
        Originally Posted by Indecision View Post

        I think the biggest problem I find is that most people aren't actually very good writers.
        Fixed that for you.

        Most people only know how to write in the sense that they can type words into a document - they're often literally unable to appreciate the difference between doing that and actually, you know, writing. As a craft. An art form. A profession.

        And those people are cheap, so if you go shopping based on price, that is all you'll be able to hire.
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  • Profile picture of the author laurencewins
    I think the biggest problem I find is that most content writers aren't actually very good writers. It is rare to find a writer that has a very good grasp of spelling and grammar concepts combined with a natural, fluent writing talent, either that or their research skills suck

    Either you haven't used many writers or you are just generalising here.
    Speaking for myself, I am told my work is excellent and often better than expected which is a nice compliment.
    I am sure there are many other writers who receive the same feedback.
    As a potential employer, it's important to ensure you're getting your message across and that the writer understands what you want before any money changes hands. I never take money until I fully understand a job as there has been the odd occasion where a job has been not something I could do well so have been honest and said so.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kurt
    I want articles where I actually LEARN something. Seems most articles just state the obvious.

    If I don't learn anything from the article, it's likely my readers won't either.
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  • Profile picture of the author Becky Rogers
    Most of the problems I've encountered are the use of English Grammar, spelling, and once in a while just the lack of not being able to follow directions as requested!
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  • Profile picture of the author theory expert
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    Distinct writing....some people just write superior to others. If you have a writer that has a distinct style you have a winner. Tough one to find cheaply though.
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  • Profile picture of the author David Sneen
    This is what I love about the forum. As a content writer, I now have a lot of input and quotes at my fingertips. It shouldn't be much of a stretch to write a post about this topic....I haven't configured that yet, but there certainly is a post, if not two...with several quotes. [thread favorited]

    The two points I find that I would be interested in, if I were a buyer, would be: humor and storytelling. The buyer wants interesting material....readable material (unless he just needs to fill space.) Readers will eagerly digest humor and storytelling, when they would otherwise leave...and they can be a great foundation for the major points of the post.
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  • Profile picture of the author goindeep
    Im a content writer and the two biggest praises I get are:

    1) The content was very refreshing
    2) Service and response time was excellent.

    I assume these are things people are fed up with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Ten
    I look for the them being, punctual, reliable, having good grammar, doing good research, and charging reasonable prices.
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  • Profile picture of the author Elle Davies
    Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

    What is the number one problem you run into based on your personal experience when looking for and employing the services of article / content writers?

    What skills do you place highest priority upon?

    Answers on a postcard please...


    Mark Andrews
    People have come to me after hiring other writers and have complained about their lack of research. I agree with Kurt - many enjoy stating the obvious rather than educating their audiences - after all, readers love a good statistic or three

    Spelling and grammar aren't difficult as long as you know how, these are 2 basic requirements that I think should be a 'given' when it comes to writing!

    The #1 thing that my clients ask me to focus on is the flow and tone of the article - if it sounds more conversational, it is easier for the reader to follow.

    So overall, I'd say the ability to write with a conversational tone (in the right situation, of course!) has got to be at the top of the list!
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  • Profile picture of the author lucky31
    Two important things to look for from content writers are:
    He should be good at english writing specially grammer.
    His content must be of good quality and he must provide helpful content to visitors.
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  • Profile picture of the author johnpaulgrant
    Hey Mark, I've hired content writers for my company and I have many good experiences with them than bad. I encountered a few who do not proofread the articles and perhaps this is the number one problem that I have experienced with them. As for the skills, I always look for writers who write excellently in English with zero grammatical errors, and etc.
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  • Profile picture of the author Michael Oksa
    I rarely hire people to write for me, but when I do, I expect them to be able to learn from and respond to my feedback.

    I do a lot of ghostwriting, so my standards are quite high. I understand that not everyone has the style or level of skill, but if they are able to be guided and make improvements in their writing (based on my needs), then I'm happy.

    All the best,
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  • Profile picture of the author SOCAL777
    I aim for native English article writers. I've had too many bad experiences with non-native English writers. I want articles that are nearly flawless. When I've hired non-natives in the past, I've had to do tons of editing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Rose Anderson
    When my prices were lower my clients were most concerned with keyword density and quick turn-a-round times.

    My prices are higher now and my current clients are concerned with proper research, an engaging tone, and the ability to put an interesting twist on even the dullest subjects.

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  • Profile picture of the author dreambody
    Originally Posted by harleepage View Post

    oziomedia ... I've worked with this company for over two years... NOT ONE PROBLEM... all English writers and only 3 bucks per 100 words.. which really isn't that bad.
    I'm a very good writer but how can anyone in the US or UK make a living as a writer for just 3 bucks per 100 words? Even without research time it doesn't seem worth it, or am I missing something?
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    • Profile picture of the author fin
      I write guest posts full-time and I have to make sure I get them approved by webmasters as easily as possible.

      Obviously the more the people have to work to get them published, the more money it costs them.

      Being published on decent sites means the articles have to be of a quality the readers will enjoy and help them either find something out or improve their life in some way, as well as enjoying them at the same time.

      I know from looking at some writers they can spell properly, but some have a hard time writing an article people will read.

      From feedback, even though some people have enjoyed an article, the content has been pretty basic, so I have to make sure it's completely unique (I'm not talking about copyscape) but at the same time not so crazy that it's just weird.
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    • Profile picture of the author SOCAL777
      Originally Posted by dreambody View Post

      I'm a very good writer but how can anyone in the US or UK make a living as a writer for just 3 bucks per 100 words? Even without research time it doesn't seem worth it, or am I missing something?
      $15 for 500 words is actually pretty decent if you can produce quality well-researched content in a short period of time and you aren't relying on that income to pay the rent.

      For me, income derived from writing is supplemental income. I use that income to cover web hosting costs, Aweber, and misc. IM expenses that pop up. After covering those basic costs, I still have plenty left over for personal expenses.
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      • Profile picture of the author cashp0wer
        I made a full-time income when I was freelance writing but I was very lucky to have clients that made me very well. Now that I hire writers I look for many things. Do they understand the topic well enough to write an article about it? Is the article high quality and original? I think it is a number of things that you should look for in a writer.
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    • Profile picture of the author jideofor
      Originally Posted by dreambody View Post

      I'm a very good writer but how can anyone in the US or UK make a living as a writer for just 3 bucks per 100 words? Even without research time it doesn't seem worth it, or am I missing something?
      Welcome to the club.
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  • Profile picture of the author Randall Magwood
    Proper english. Not grammatically correct, but simple sentence structure. They need to have samples/pieces of their work for view too. And having a case study of clients that they've worked with in the past is good too.
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  • Profile picture of the author uniquecontent
    First thing I consider is unique content with correct English. If writer can write unique and grammatically correct content then i will look for interesting and informative content. That's the second priority for me.
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  • Profile picture of the author locke815
    Non plagirized material.
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  • Profile picture of the author Fraggler
    Originally Posted by Mark Andrews View Post

    What is the number one problem you run into based on your personal experience when looking for and employing the services of article / content writers?
    Inexperience and dishonesty amplified by lack of communication.


    What skills do you place highest priority upon?
    Honesty, Confidence, enthusiasm. That combo seems to create some awesome content. It definitely worked when I hired laurencewins.

    It has failed me once though, but that's because honesty has to be earnt I guess.
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  • Profile picture of the author Mac Wheeler
    OK this could be fun, let me flip things around and look at the situation from the clients perspective.

    What would I look for in a content writer if I wanted to employ one?

    OK let's take the requirement that they can write in the first place as read. These are additional things I would come up with:

    First of all, they would need to demonstrate that they understand the value of a page of site copy (be it an article, blog post or whatever), and that its function is not just to fill up space on a page.

    I would expect them to know what bounce rate is, why it is an important metric, and how to encourage readers to stay on the site instead of clicking away.

    I would also expect them to demonstrate the ability to write socially engaging content, designed to illicit some form of social networking response from the reader.

    Finally, I would require them to have Google AuthorRank and allow me to leverage its value.

    I can probably think of more, but this is enough to get started with.
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  • Profile picture of the author Shadowflux
    I think one of the biggest problems in the field of content writing comes from a lack of good definitions. What I mean is that people talk about content writing in a very broad sense when they're actually referring to something rather specific. We make differentiations between things such as squeeze page copy and sales page copy but we treat all content writing as if it is the same thing.

    The truth is that there are at least two different types of content. You have basic web content and then you have feature articles. Basic web content is exactly what it sounds like, just a simple article that addresses some sort of topic. It isn't really meant to be a big traffic draw and is better used as a daily content update.

    Feature articles, on the other hand, are meant to draw in traffic. They're longer, often written to a higher standard and aren't as concerned with keyword density. These types of articles require real skill and good research. They need to be written to fit the audience that will be reading them and can often be used to really establish authority about a certain subject.

    I see a lot of people complaining that they can't find a good writer. I can't help but feel that many of these people are expecting feature quality work for basic content prices. You simply can't have both.

    Conversely, no one is going to pay $25-$50 for basic content. Most people I've worked with will order 20+ basic articles at once. No one is going to want to pay $25 for 20+ articles. When people say "You get what you pay for" they really mean that you can't order a burger and expect high quality steak.

    The point is that the rate a writer charges doesn't really tell you as much as you might think. There is so much bad information out there concerning how much a writer should charge. It's really important that you're clear about what you want. Don't pay too much for basic content and don't pay too little for feature content.

    Another problem I see is that whenever a newbie comes around and asks how they can make money people will often tell them to start writing content. This is both frustrating and, to be blunt, really stupid. Writing is a skill that not everyone has. I don't understand why people have such little respect for the craft of writing. No one says "Just go out and become a graphic designer" or "Go ahead and start making websites for people".

    I guess what I'm saying is that you can't go around telling newbies to write content and then be shocked at how crappy most of the content is.

    From the perspective of a writer, there are things I look for in a client. I've worked with a lot of people from all over the world and most of them fall into one of two categories. There are the clients who are experienced and know exactly what they want. They provide plenty of information and there are no misunderstandings.

    Then there are clients who are obviously new to the field of IM. They don't really know what they want. They often don't want to pay a lot and won't have much patience. They really don't have the ability to recognize high quality writing because they simply lack the experience.

    I will always happily work with both types of people but, to be completely honest, the experienced clients, the ones who know exactly what they want, are the ones for whom I can create specifically designed content. We can build a rapport and I can create the perfect material for them.

    If you're going to hire a writer then you need to know what you want and you should be as clear as possible when giving them the assignment.
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  • Profile picture of the author getdong
    are the articles on fiverr website a total waste? you can buy hundreds if not thousands of articles on fiver however hiring someone to write an article seems like it costs more than $5 for a single article
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    • What do you look for from article / content writers?

      A brain and the willingness to use it for good, not evil.

      Someone sent me a Fiverr product in hopes I'd sell it on my site. It included a SURE-FIRE! EASY! QUICK! PASSES COPYSCAPE! method for generating articles.

      You find five or six articles about the topic, take one paragraph from each and run the result through a spinner. You check to see if you need a few words of connecting text here and there, et voila! You're a writer.

      fLufF
      --
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      • Profile picture of the author myob
        It's nearly impossible to find a writer who has all the skills required to produce articles in some of my niches. Quite often one who is highly competent in a specialty topic does not have many of the communication skills to engage a reading audience. On the other hand, a writer with "impeccable" communication, spelling and grammar skills may not have the education background neccesary to successfully research and produce such articles in a timely manner. The educated and niche-relevant sentient writer, one who can communicate with eloquence, aplomb, and an engaging style, is literally worth his/her weight in gold.
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        • Profile picture of the author jvest
          Originally Posted by myob View Post

          It's nearly impossible to find a writer who has all the skills required to produce articles in some of my niches. Quite often one who is highly competent in a specialty topic does not have many of the communication skills to engage a reading audience. On the other hand, a writer with "impeccable" communication, spelling and grammar skills may not have the education background neccesary to successfully research and produce articles in a timely manner. The educated and niche-relevant sentient writer, one who can communicate with eloquence, aplomb, and an engaging style, is literally worth his/her weight in gold.
          A good writer can put in the research to understand almost any topic. In the past week, I've written in-depth articles on the process to become a certified pharmacy technician in different states. I didn't know anything about that when I started the project. I also did some technical writing for a circular saw user's manual. Again, it's not what I went to school for, but it's really not that hard. All the information needed to create great content is out there. You just have to put in the time to do the research.

          The issue is that unless a writer is paid fairly, there's no way they can afford to take the time and do all the necessary legwork. That's why most content is crap
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          • Profile picture of the author myob
            Originally Posted by jvest View Post

            A good writer can put in the research to understand almost any topic. ... All the information needed to create great content is out there. You just have to put in the time to do the research.

            There is no way even a "good" writer can do timely research for example in the sciences, medicine, health, engineering, technical, etc. Besides, an overwhelming amount of the information "out there" is factually dubious at best. When looking for a writer, I'm not going to pay for their time to learn or "understand" the topic, which is almost always referred to as "research" by the uneducated and incompetent. :rolleyes:
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            • Profile picture of the author jvest
              Originally Posted by myob View Post

              There is no way even a "good" writer can do timely research for example in the sciences, medicine, health, engineering, technical, etc. Besides, an overwhelming amount of the information "out there" is factually dubious at best. When looking for a writer, I'm not going to pay for their time to learn or "understand" the topic, which is almost always referred to as "research" by the uneducated and incompetent. :rolleyes:
              I have to take issue with that. Most professional writers in science, technology, and health do not have degrees in those fields. Because if you actually have a STEM degree, then why would you write articles, even at the high end of the pay scale? One of the most successful science writers today, Mary Roach, only has a degree in English.

              And when I refer to the information "out there," I am not referring to Google searches. I'm a graduate student, and I know how to do real research. That is the difference between a one dollar article and the kind of content that I write.
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              • Profile picture of the author myob
                Of course there are notable exceptions, but in my experience most so-called "professional writers" often lack essential components in education, to put it mildly. What I do is hire local university undergraduates and grad students who are majoring in allied fields within my niches and who also have core competencies in writing and standard research practices.

                IMNSHO, it is far more practical to teach such a student specializing in for example, quantum mechanics, how to write in my style and expectations than to expect some SEO-burnished "professional writer" to research and compose anything of real competence or compelling value regarding the topic. But, that's just me.
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  • Profile picture of the author MarkBrook
    Well I try some article writer they was good but after some time I feel that article writer force him self to write for me and about my products as they are not product specialist they just research and write so in my opinion now one can write better then you for your self.
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  • Profile picture of the author TheArticlePros
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Originally Posted by beaker123 View Post

      for writing stuff i like to hire freelancer and pay them if their content is good.....
      Originally Posted by JaRyCu View Post

      Are you saying you steal the content if it's not good?

      -- j
      I don't know if that's what he's saying or not, but he could be the poster boy for why you should ask for pay upfront. :p

      Terra
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  • Profile picture of the author alpinewood
    Banned
    sometimes they write in a too formal tone, the main problem i have is finding good casual writers that can write in an everyday conversational tone
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  • Profile picture of the author OmarNegron
    In the past when I use to get my articles outsourced I noticed that the toughest problem was getting the writers to stop being so robotic within the content. The spelling and grammar was not to bad but it was just how they gave out the message to the reader, there was just no passion behind the writing.

    Example:

    (Robotic) - Paper cups are good for your home since you will not have to wash them. Paper cups are very cheap and will make a great asset for your home.

    (Reader friendly) - Washing glass cups over and over can be a tedious task so why not get your hands on some quality paper cups. Make your life easier and get a set of paper cups today, don't worry about the price since most of them are very affordable.

    - Will
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  • Profile picture of the author ricoramiro
    The biggest problem I've had with writers is they don't proof read their work.

    I've gotten some writers who just copy'd an article online so you want to make sure you check the content on copyscape!

    There are a lot of quality writers out there. You have to check around and when you find someone stick w/them and pay them well. Then ask them for referrals.
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  • Profile picture of the author eternalsongbird
    I feel like pretty confident when I receive a topic to write upon. I accumulate information. But when I start writing, I feel like my pen is not moving smoothly. I take a long to finish my writing. Its bad.
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    • Profile picture of the author Steven Wagenheim
      Well, I don't use them BUT ... if I were to, I would look for:

      1. Good writing
      2. In depth knowledge of the subject

      I would NOT look for a cheap price. Anybody worth their salt is NOT going to
      write articles for $3 a pop. I don't care how poor a country you live in or what
      scraps you had to eat for dinner.

      I've seen $3 writing and it's GHASTLY. I've had students of mine outsource
      their articles and then send them back to me for review and they were an insult
      to the written word.

      You get what you pay for.

      And THEN you better make sure you KNOW what you're paying for.

      If you're paying $100 for an article to get some traffic to a CPA offer from
      an article directory, you're going to be seriously in the red by the time the
      smoke clears.

      But that's a whole other topic and not one I want to get into.

      Which is WHY I do ALL my OWN writing.
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    • Profile picture of the author ricoramiro
      Originally Posted by eternalsongbird View Post

      I feel like pretty confident when I receive a topic to write upon. I accumulate information. But when I start writing, I feel like my pen is not moving smoothly. I take a long to finish my writing. Its bad.
      When I first started writing the same thing happened to me. What you are trying to do is write and edit at the same time. That's a big time waster.

      Just keep writing until you run out of things to say. Then you can edit the article and when you do, you'll get more ideas and it'll come together nicely.
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  • Profile picture of the author williamcurti
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    • Profile picture of the author MissTerraK
      Originally Posted by williamcurti View Post

      I think the biggest problem I find is that most content writers aren't actually very good writers.
      Wow! I'm so sorry to hear that William.

      I do however, dare say that you have been searching in all of the wrong places as I personally know many fantastic writers.

      Terra
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  • Profile picture of the author bassem
    for me he must be english native citizen, and someone who have experience in wrtiting blog posts and reviews .
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  • Profile picture of the author techbul
    You indeed usually get what you pay for, but sometimes you can find some quality writers that don't demand so much. For instance, some years ago I hired a few Native English writers that were still in high school, so I got a very good price for the articles they wrote, and they had no grammar mistakes whatsoever.
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  • Profile picture of the author reneesbertrand
    For blog post i prefer writers who have free flow of article writing, who can even write on notepad without opening anything..! Ofcourse you need sources for studying things but once that's done close all the other things and start writing.
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  • Profile picture of the author Kevin McNally
    Over the years I have outsourced hundreds of articles and the writers I used most often had a few things in common.

    1. They were reliable....Always Delivered work on time.

    2. Their work NEVER required any editing or revisions.

    3. They had a feel for each subject and went beyond just rewriting a PLR article.
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