How to Outsource Content Writing: Hire Native English Speakers for Less

  • how to get quality content for less
  • how to stop kissing frogs and pick the best writer right from the start
  • how to make sure your content is 100% unique
  • if you can’t use PayPal

Do not be naive: At this very moment, while you are slaving away on some project, there are vultures circling above trying to figure out a way to survive and even thrive off your creativity…
– Robert Greene

If you are serious about online business chances are you can’t do it alone. This is especially true if you are trying to build a brand – and I mean really BRAND – something that people love, not some little affiliate website. If you have been around for any reasonable amount of time you probably already get how incredibly complex the whole thing is

internet business manifesto by schefren

This image is the courtesy of Rich Schefren from Strategic Profits 

 

And this feels like…

 

kung fu panda flying

Things become even more complicated when you are using English as a second language. Just like me… So where is the solution if any?

People usually assume I am paying tons of money to my writers. This doesn’t apply to this blog of course. It is MY diary so I speak MY English (sorry for that, I am trying my best). See it all started when I was born. Right from the beginning I was born into a mixed family and then I traveled a lot… The result is I speak 4 languages – none of them perfect, including my own language. In fact, I am not even sure which one is my own ;-). Anyway I am paying as less as $1 per 100 words. My writers are from UK – it’s incredibly easy to work with them. They are obviously educated people with a lot of experience in writing. They write high quality original content that is really useful. They are also reliable and seem to be grateful to have me as a client.  This is absolutely possible and to be honest I don’t think it’s hard. You just need to develop a new skill – the skill of hiring people!

The Art of Hiring

It takes a little skill to hire right people to do the work. I myself figured this out with some trial and error and I am going to share what I learned here. And you don’t have to be someone who uses English as a second language. English might be your native language but you are not a great writer, or you don’t have time, or you are trying to build something huge – chances are you need help too.

There are many outsourcing sites, but I like to speak from my own experience and I only worked with Freelancer.com. There isn’t any particular reason to believe that Freelancer.com is better than eLance.com or oDesk.com. I really have no idea, but that’s where I do my stuff. The reason for that is that I live in a country not approved by PayPal and there are many sites I can’t use because of this problem. Freelancer.com however offers an option of Moneybookers (lately renamed to Skrill) and this is the reason why I chose them in the first place. So if you are having issues with your credit card not being accepted by some systems or not being able to use PayPal, Moneybookers is likely to be a solution. I didn’t compare rates but I have heard that Moneybookers charges are less than PayPal so even if you have no issues with payments Moneybookers could be still a good idea.

The minimum cost of a project at Freelancer is $30. I think anyone who works online can easily afford that. If you are doing this for the first time the system might be a little confusing – you are presented with too many options and too many people will be reassuring you they are the best catch… Hopefully I can save you some time and frustration with my simple steps to opening a project. This is not the only way to do it, but this is how I do it and it works for me.

  • Open an account at Freelancer.com – it’s free.
  • Ignore everything, search for nothing and noone. Hit big orange button which says “Post a Project”
  • Don’t go into details (most freelancers don’t even bother to read what you are saying  there) but make a descriptive title, something like: “Native English Speaking Writers Needed $1 per 100 words Fitness Niche”
  • The first thing in the project should say something like !!! DO NOT BID IF YOU ARE NOT A NATIVE ENGLISH SPEAKER!!! (they will bid anyway, but this will still stop some)
  •  Again don’t go into details, you will tell them everything they need to know privately. Say something like: We need a native English speaker to write for our online fitness magazine. We offer $1 per 100 words, if you are really good long term work is possible. You have to be ready to write a few paragraphs on topic of OUR choice in order for us to take decision. Happy bidding!”

The crucial part here is that

  1. you don’t play bid games. You have a budget and you are sticking to it.
  2. they are going to write a few paragraphs or a whole article if you wish for free in order for you to make a decision.

This is very important. Never assume that if the person is coming from US the writing will be good by default. I had a HORRIBLE experience with that. Also if you are not a native English speaker yourself, don’t let smart educated foreigners convince you to accept them. They can be great, but still they are just like you. They might make these little mistakes – we will never be able to eliminate those – and you will never realize. Take only someone from US or UK.

It is critical that you choose the topic for a test article yourself. They shouldn’t be able to prepare for this. They usually try to show their previous work, but asking them to write something especially for you is more effective.

Many freelancers there have their own teams. While it might seem that they are operating alone, they are more like companies. They might have a US flag near their names but they hire cheap work force from other non-English speaking countries to actually do the writing. Pay attention, don’t accept them for your project!

It might be hard to recognize those. Some of them might lie to you if you ask them directly, but anyway take all measures to avoid them. Here is how

  • Ask them. It’s good if they say no, hopefully it’s true, but don’t stop just here.
  • Spy on them. Each freelancer has a profile with his own intro and reviews of other buyers. You usually will find some clues there. If you check more than a dozen of profiles chances are you will spot a complicated web of their relationships with each other.
  • Each member, including you has a profile as an employer and as a freelancer. It is a good sign if your freelancer has only a freelancer’s profile. If he was also an employer, see what kind of projects he ordered. Was it article writing? If yes, forget him!
  • If they are telling you they have no problem with delivering 10 articles a day every day – run in opposite direction.

[box style=”warning”]Take only someone who already has worked before. Don’t take newbies no matter how sorry you are for them. Look for someone who already has plenty of good reviews from previous employers. [/box]

Definitely each of them has started at some point of time when he had no reviews and no stars. But I also know that you have no time for experiments, you will have plenty of other good choices anyway. I personally don’t take someone with less than 5 stars and 50+ reviews. When you finally find someone who passed all the criteria, go ahead and read the reviews. A few bad reviews is not an issue – there are crazy buyers too.

Make your choice, usually only one or two freelancers will fit all the criteria. Ask them to write a few paragraphs for you and take your decision.

Freelancer.com offers an escrow system, which is very convenient for everyone. You basically will upload your funds to Freelancer.com, a full project amount or a part, create milestones and Freelancer.com will hold it for you. This way your writer knows he will get paid because you already paid money. You know your writer will not be able to get this money until you are fully satisfied with his work.

How to make sure the content is unique

There is no problem with passing Copyscape. However if your article passes Copyscape it still doesn’t mean it’s unique. Obviously, for $1 per 100 words your native English speaking writer is not going to go to library and make a special research for you. It is also obvious that he or she has no Ph.D. in whatever area you want them to write about. The only solution is to provide original research materials yourself. If you want unique content provide unique research materials – it is that simple. And this is not a kind of material that is already available online. This doesn’t mean rewriting other people’s articles. This means that you are actively involved in research process. Buy books and magazines in your niche, make notes, build your home library – it will pay off.  Get yourself a scanner. Scan chosen materials and send it to them. This is the only way. 

Finally, don’t be bossy. Be nice. Once you have found a good writer treat him like gold. Let some small imperfections pass as if you didn’t notice. Thank them for work and compliment them always – they will do even better. Usually when you build a relationship with a few writers you don’t have to pass through the process of screening the candidates, you will always have someone ready to write for you.

Hopefully this helps someone. Here is the link once again – Freelancer.com. I fixed the comments on this blog so please let me know what you think. How do YOU hire? What is number one difficulty YOU face when hiring people?