When it comes to online content, it's worth paying a premium for high-quality writing. Here's why.
Out of the many types of content marketing services available, there’s one that almost any business, large or small, will commit to with little thought involved: a business blog.
But while a weblog is simply a publishing medium like any other, many companies have an expectation that blog writers, no matter how experienced they may be, should be working for intern-level wages. Writer Carol Tice discussed this topic in 2009, and rates haven't improved since. I’ve seen sites offering as little as $5 per post; $30 is often considered a generous “market rate” for a thoroughly researched article that may even include an interview or two.
While you may be saving money on your marketing budget by paying low rates for blog posts, you’re doing your business a disservice. Why?
Low-wage writers aren’t motivated to create professional-quality work. If a blogger gets paid $20 for a post that took him two hours to write, he’d be better off flipping burgers, once you deduct self-employment tax and other expenses from his paycheck. Don’t expect him to double-check his facts, or take the time to make the revisions you’ve requested. It’s likely he’ll need to write nine or 10 more blog posts that same day to make a living income. Even if he’s a good writer (which, don’t get me wrong, many low-wage writers are), he simply can’t afford to put in the time to turn in a polished article.
Your blog is a representation of your business. Don’t think of your blog as ephemeral. Thanks to search indexing, entries submitted two years ago are still likely to be found today by potential customers, so it’s important to make sure that every single post provides an accurate representation of your company’s voice and viewpoint. If your blog posts tend to contain typos, run-on sentences, and faulty logic, your prospects might start to wonder whether your product will let them down, too.
Quality is far more important than quantity when it comes to getting traffic. Business owners often hire the lowest bidders for blogs because they believe it’s important to put up as much content as possible. If they pay more, they might argue, they’ll have less content, and therefore, fewer visitors.
That couldn’t be further from the truth: When you make the effort to seek out legitimate professional writers with magazine or corporate writing backgrounds and quality LinkedIn references, you can count on readable, useful content that provides real value to your target audience. Though posts may not be as frequent, high-quality content is far more likely to receive backlinks and social media promotion, which will, in turn, increase your search engine rankings.
In contrast, if you hire writers to crank out articles as quickly as possible, your site is likely to be penalized by search engines. Last year, Google’s Panda algorithm change sucked the organic search traffic away from “content farms” like Demand Studios and Associated Content, while it rewarded expert-written sites like the authoritative SEO blog SEOMoz. Pay professional rates for professional work—typically anywhere from $0.50 to $2 a word, depending on research needs, level of complexity, rights granted, and other criteria—and you’ll have a business blog that you can be proud of. Better yet, it’ll be attracting (not repelling) new business leads for you every day.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than a decade.
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