There’s no denying it: You should be continually turning out fresh content on your company’s website.
But, honestly, who has time for that? I know from personal experience that it’s downright tough to squeeze writing into your schedule when you have other pressing tasks at hand.
Well, one of the best ways to both turn out new content and relieve yourself of the pressures of writing is to outsource your content creation. And one of your options for outsourcing is an article writing service.
But what is an article writing service? More importantly, how much does it cost? And what will you get for the money? Here are some answers—as well as some pros and cons to consider—to help you decide if an article writing service is right for you.
What is an article writing service?
While the range of services varies from company to company, a typical article writing service performs various writing jobs (like writing blog posts or other types of web content) quickly and at a low price. These companies typically have a large pool of writers you can select from based on a variety of factors. Sometimes they sell “ready-made” content you can browse through and purchase. They may even offer SEO and content strategy services.
Some popular article writing services include:
How much does it cost?
What’s the return on investment?
Here’s where things get a little tricky. Many believe in the mantra, “If you build it, they will come”—or, rather, “If you write it, web visitors will come.” Unfortunately, that’s just not true. While it is important to be continually turning out fresh content, there needs to be a strategy behind it to successfully generate visitors and leads for your company. This is what most writing services cannot offer you (in a truly meaningful way, at least).
However, if you have the strategy in place—you know who you’re talking to (your target audience or buyer personas), you’ve done your keyword research, you’ve determined which article topics will best attract your audience, etc.—a writing service may be just what you need to see a return on your investment.
Here are some pros and cons for you to consider to help determine if hiring an article writing service is the best move for your company.
1. You can experiment.
Most article writing companies don’t require any sort of commitment, so you can place a writing order with one and see how it works. If you don’t like the content or the process, you can walk away and try something else.
2. You can place an order with a few clicks.
This may not be true of every writing service, but with many, you can place an order online. You can input the information, press “Submit,” and you’re off.
3. It can be really cheap.
Article writing services are definitely one of the cheapest ways to get content up on your website.
1. Much of the work involved in writing an article won’t be covered under your agreement.
There’s a lot of work that goes into creating an impactful article that will generate results. For example:
- Keyword research: Figuring out which phrases your buyer personas are typing into search engines.
- Topic brainstorming: Figuring out which article topics will be valuable, helpful, and/or entertaining to your buyer personas.
- Project management: Overseeing the entire article creation process, including communicating with the writing service, keeping track of the calendar of articles and when they’ll be publishing, passing the article around to internal parties that may need to review or edit the article before posting, etc.
- Editing: Line editing, copy editing, and content editing the article.
- Article input: Inputting the text of the article into your content management system and scheduling the article to publish.
- Strategic analysis: Analyzing how many views and social shares the article received, determining whether or not the article was successful, etc.
You’ll be responsible for doing all of these things yourself (and more) if you want to make sure your content has a chance of appearing in first-page search results, reaches the right people, is done on time, publishes error-free, and is analyzed post-publishing to make sure you know how to move forward with future articles.
Now, some article writing services may offer strategic help or keyword research, but it will most likely not be a custom fit to your company’s goals or vision. If you’re looking to implement full-scale content or inbound marketing, you’re going to have to do a lot of the work yourself if you want great results.
If you do go with a writing service: Make sure you’ve accounted for and have someone to complete all the steps necessary to make sure your article is successful (or, at the bare minimum, published).
2. Starting prices may look pretty cheap, but if you want high quality content, you’re going to have to pay more.
Consider again this pricing chart from WriterAccess.com:
This is how a lot of article writing services price their content. Remember, you may be able to get an article for cheap, but high quality content will always come at a price—no matter who you’re working with. (Notice that this organization’s “6-star” content ranges anywhere from $0.10 to $2.00 per word—that’s a huge range!)
At WriterAccess.com, a 500-word, “2-star” article may only cost $10, but be honest with yourself—would that even be worth posting on your site?
As a business owner or a marketing manager, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going near 2-star, 3-star, 4-star, or even 5-star on this scale. If an article writing service has deemed someone’s writing as anything less than “6-star,” that means it’s lacking something—and I wouldn’t want any content on my site to be less than superior. That’s for two reasons: One, what kind of message does “sloppy copy” send to your customers about your product or service? And two, content marketing is becoming increasingly popular, which means it’s getting more and more competitive every day—and that means any content less than the best is going to be ignored. Period.
So, if you do go with a writing service: Make sure you review samples of each of its quality tiers, and don’t settle for anything less than high quality writing.
3. You will likely not be able to achieve a consistent voice, tone, or style of writing across your site.
Dealing with multiple writers (or maybe even a new writer for every article you request) from a writing service can be a difficult experience. Imagine having to answer a writer’s basic questions about your company over and over again—essentially starting from square one with every new writer. Or worse, imagine a writer who knows nothing about your company jumping in and writing from a perspective you aren’t comfortable or happy with?
If you do go with a writing service: Try to find one that will allow you to work consistently with the same writer(s).
There are many alternatives to working with an article writing service, but only one that we think gives you the best bang for your buck—working with an inbound or content marketing agency. Content marketing agencies can partner with your company to produce content tailored to your buyer personas.
For example, if you sign an inbound marketing agreement with Nectafy, along with all of the other strategic work we’ll do for your company, we’ll assign one of our in-house writers to write for your organization. Not only will you have a personal relationship with the author of your content, but the writer will also continue to learn more and more about your writing style and voice, your organization, your industry, and your buyer personas. That’s one of the best ways (if not the best way) to get the kind of content you need to attract website visitors and convert leads.
So, should you go with an article writing service or an alternative?
To answer that, you’ll need to decide what’s important to you. If you want a quick and cheap option (and you have the logistics covered), a writing service may work for you. But if you’re serious about attracting visitors and converting leads with your content (and you want to make sure every article on your site represents your company well), you may want to consider alternatives—especially companies that can provide you with a complete content or inbound marketing package.
Remember: Truly establishing thought leadership in your industry and providing visitors, leads, and customers with valuable content takes a lot of preparation, hard work, and post-analysis. My recommendation? If you’re going to do it, do it right, and benefit from the results!