The 3 Big Dangers of Entrusting Your Writing to a Content Mill

One of the reasons people create content themselves is that they think it saves them money. If they decide to pay a writer, they sometimes resort to a content mill – a site that sells content creation as a commodity instead of a service.

On the surface, there are some benefits to hiring a content mill writer. You’ll probably pay significantly less than you would if you hired a professional freelancer. You might be able to get very quick turnaround on your project, too.

On the surface, there are some benefits to hiring a content mill writer. You’ll probably pay significantly less than you would if you hired a professional freelancer. You might be able to get very quick turnaround on your project, too.

Guess what? That convenience doesn’t necessarily mean that your money has been well spent. In fact, you could be opening yourself up to some significant risks.

Risk #1: Sub-par Content

The biggest risk you’ll be taking when you hire a writer from a content mill like Freelancer or Fiverr is that you’ll be getting sub-par content. Many of the writers there aren’t native English speakers and their writing reflects their lack of fluency. It’s awkward, ungrammatical, and ultimately, ineffective.

I have been hired to rewrite some work that came out of content mills. It’s excruciating to see what passes for professional writing. It’s no bargain to pay for a blog post or eBook if what you get in return is something that’s barely literate.

Of course, literacy isn’t the only issue with content mill writing. A piece of writing can be literate and still be ineffective. A trained freelancer will have marketing experience. They’ll understand SEO and be able to craft content that will bring traffic to your site and help you convert leads into paying customers.

When it comes to writing quality, you get what you pay for. There are some good writers who find work through content mills. I did some work at Freelancer when I first started freelancing, but the odds aren’t in your favor. You’re far more likely to get unusable content in return for your money, and when that happens, you’ll need to rewrite it (or pay someone to do it for you.)

Risk #2: Stolen Content

Let’s say that you take a chance on a content mill and get back a terrific piece of writing. That’s a win, right?

Maybe not.

To illustrate the point, let me tell you a story. In my early days as a freelancer, I bid on a job to write a short eBook. I put in my bid along with a detailed cover letter about why I thought I was the right person for the job. To my delight, the employer awarded me the gig.

I wrote the book and felt very good about the work I’d done. I submitted it to the employer… who then vanished. They never paid me a dime. My repeated inquiries were ignored and – because I was new to the site and didn’t take precautions – I had no recourse. I was out the money.

For months after that, I checked Amazon periodically to see if the book was there. If it showed up, I figured I could submit a copyright violation. I finally gave up and forgot all about it. Then, someone hired me to write a book on a similar topic. I thought of it, checked Amazon, and there it was. Thanks to the “Look Inside” feature I was able to read the introduction. As soon as I saw the first sentence I knew it was the book I’d written.

I got lucky in that the publisher had been misled by the writer he’d hired. I was able to prove that I’d written the book and he ultimately paid me for my work.

My story had a satisfactory ending but that’s only because I was persistent and took steps to impede the publisher’s ability to sell the book. If you end up in a situation where a writer copies content or dupes somebody else into writing it for them, it can affect your reputation and your bottom line.

Risk #3: Lack of Personal Attention

The best content comes from someone who understands your business and crafts their writing to your specifications. After all, in marketing it’s essential to maintain a consistent voice and brand personality. Your content must be created with your audience in mind. If it isn’t, your brand can suffer.

Content mill writers are often just scraping by. They’re writing an obscene number of words each week trying to make a living. I know because I did it. There were days that I wrote upwards of 15,000 words. I can tell you from personal experience that’s too much. Nobody can maintain the quality of their writing at that pace.

A skilled freelancer will take the time to get to know you and your business. That might mean a phone call or Skype session. At the bare minimum, it should mean asking a series of questions designed to help the writer perfect the voice of your brand and understand your core values and marketing goals.

Good writing takes time…

That’s the bottom line. When you hire a professional freelancer, you’ll pay more than you would for a content mill writer. But, you’ll earn that money back – and then some – because you’ll be getting content that’s tailored to your business and truly representative of your brand.

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