Why Some Words Are Worth More

Do you think it’s worth paying your copywriter a decent rate? It seems like some companies these days don’t. I’ve lost count of the number of adverts I’ve seen offering $0.01 or less per word. I’m aware of infinite monkey theorem, but that’s still a lot of peanuts to get a decent post.

I get it. I do! There are content mills out there that offer posts, inclusive of SEO keywords and back links and they’ll do it all for little or no money. So why would you pay any more than that?

Well, let me explain.

I’ve worked for content mills. I’ve churned out assignments for peanuts. Here’s how it (usually) works. Your writer, desperate to put food on the table, logs into the content mill. They see a list of articles to choose from, they may or may not know anything about the subject.

But that doesn’t really matter, because they’re not creating content. Included in the brief from the mill will be a link or two, and the writer is asked to ‘spin’ that text and create a piece that will pass a plagiarism checker.

Here’s a genuine example of a blog post that was created in that way. Can you guess which keywords the poor writer was having to stuff in?

“Most folks refer to this process as “winterizing the RV”. When i hear the term “winterizing” the first thought that comes to mind is to protect the RV water system from potential damage caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. Frozen and damaged water lines are in fact, the most common problem related to not winterizing your RV or not properly winterizing your RV; but there is more to winterizing your RV than just protecting the water system from freezing.”

And yes, there is a grammatical error in there too. But to be honest, the company that paid for this got a good deal because an actual human being spun the text. Some less reputable mills use software to do that. To show you what the results of that are, I’m going to spin this paragraph for you, below.

What’s more, truly, there is a syntactic mistake in there as well. Be that as it may, frankly, the organization that paid for this got a decent arrangement on the grounds that a genuine person spun the content. Some less respectable plants utilize programming to do that. To demonstrate to you what the consequences of that are, I will turn this passage for you, beneath.”

Brilliant! Now, both of those examples serve a purpose. They contain keywords that will help with search engine rankings, and they’re part of a piece of long-form content that we know performs well in searches.

But if you think that’s all you need, you’re missing the fundamental point of search engines, and Dr Google won’t thank you for it. You see, the goal of search engines is to help their visitors find the sites they are looking for. And in order to do that, they’re getting cleverer and cleverer about how they work out search results.

What they look for now, in addition to keywords, is what the user experience is at a site. How long does someone spend reading the information, when they’ve clicked on the link? Now, I know. I’m a Grammar Nazi, and badly written text literally makes my skin crawl. Poorly crafted sentences are nails down a chalkboard. But I can’t imagine even ‘normal’ readers wanted to spend a lot of time reading either of those examples, can you?

And then there’s the question of depth, of knowing not just the subject but the brand. Of being able to relay layers of meaning beyond the obvious message. I’ve been writing for my favourite copywriting client for more than a year. I’ve learned a lot about their industry, and I know that the mix of psychology, humor and Sci-Fi references I concoct for them is right up their street. But you can bet they pay me more than $0.01 to deliver that for them.

So, if I write for you, I will expect a fair rate of pay. A rate that reflects my training and experience, and the (modesty aside) considerable skill that I bring to everything I write. It will also reflect time getting to know you, what you do, and what sort of ‘voice’ I need to use when I talk to your audience. 

And those words will work for you, so much harder than any spun or milled content could. Those are the words that are worth paying more for.

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