Don't Just Create Content...
Don't Just Create Content...
It’s like a slap to your face, right?
You believed in them. You gave them the benefit of the doubt.
In fact, they barely had to sell you because you’re a staunch supporter in their craft and know deep in your gut that tired old line of content being king really is true. Or queen, at the very least…
Most importantly, you’ve been in business long enough to know the audience online is composed of REAL PEOPLE who need to be entertained, engaged, educated, and emotionally charged up.
But all these writers barking all over the internet about how they deserve better rates and preaching about the value of great content, well…
A Lot of Them Are Full of Baloney…
You’ve hired them, and let’s face it, they’re whining about low rates, but they get paid low rates because that’s exactly what they’re worth, right?
From your end of the transaction, it’s clear that writers who “get it” are about as abundant as politicians who really care “what the people want.”
So, when yet another self-proclaimed wordsmith sends you a flat, worthless article that’s barely better than keyword-stuffed internet filler, you feel like reaching through the Internet, grabbing them by their fat whiny face, and shaking it until your money falls back into your bank account…
So, is there a Reason Writers Have Lost Their Mojo?
Not all of them have.
Believe it or not. There are still blog writers out there who know how to sling some words together. Some are for hire, some aren’t, and in fact, it’s even possible writers who failed to deliver already are very capable of producing something at a much higher standard given different circumstances…
To explain what I mean, let me offer some insight into some common downfalls of paid writing relationships that can occur even when the budget is right.
Downfall #1: Many Freelance Bloggers Don’t Understand the #1 Skill Needed to Blog Effectively
I want you to read through this blog article with a marketer’s eye. What’s the key standout?
Well, it’d be hard to hold down just one with your finger, but if you know sales copywriting at all, it might not have escaped your notice that a lot of the tactics used here have a lot in common with a sales page.
It’s not exactly the same, but from the headline to the sub-headers to dragging out those pain points to the emotional closing (just you wait), we’re rounding some real bases here.
Most bloggers stick to blogging because writing to sell makes them feel slimy and gross.
But that’s a big mistake. Blogging is a marketing strategy. And even if the immediate goal isn’t monetary, you need content that reaches into your readers’ hearts and minds to convince them that you’re worth attention.
And that requires a few Jedi mind tricks…
Downfall #2: They Don’t Know How to Create an Emotional Response
Most content writers mean well. But even the ones demanding a little bit more cash often don’t get what it takes to create content that can go viral and get readers hooked!
So what do they do?
They write an article that’s accurate. They do great research. They edit out all of the typos and botched grammar.
Maybe they even create a piece that offers highly valuable information about the subject at hand.
And you know what…
All of that’s a great start. But it’s not enough!
You want blogging to shine its brightest, and you’ve got to move people! You’ve got to get people commenting like mad, sharing it with all their friends, jumping to action.
You’ve got to finish so strong that they email you to say, “This is one of the best pieces I’ve ever written!”
And that takes a whole other level of penmanship than just knowing how to write well – beyond copywriting tactics, it takes knowing how to entertain.
Downfall #3: They Get the Work Done On Time…
You want to know the ugly truth about most hired writers?
They aim to spend about one hour on each article they write. One single hour.
I mean, after all, they’re running a business here. And often that’s all they’re charging for. To make matters worse, the client often demands it!
So what do you get in an hour?
I’ll be honest. I’ve written some decent articles in an hour’s time. They were accurate. They read well – I’ve been doing this a while and am quick on my feet. Some of them even got a decent response.
BUT THEY DIDN’T SIZZLE!
My best work takes time. When I write for my own blogs, I spend 6 – 8 hours on a piece. Carefully crafting a hard-hitting, entertaining, and original work. And then editing it over and over again to make it really steam.
And all the most successful online marketers are doing the same exact thing.
Downfall #4: The Markets Have Killed Their Skill AND PASSION
Let’s face it. The writers are in a lot of ways at fault for their declining skills themselves.
But here’s the thing.
When the markets demand lower prices, what happens? Providers deliver.
And eventually, the quality of what they’re offering goes down to match – this applies to any industry, whether you’re selling articles or lumber.
It’s just basic economics!
If clients want a piece that takes 6 – 8 hours to write and energizes their readership with some well-placed copywriting tactics and intensity, possibly even going viral, well, they’ve got to pay for it.
That’s just business.
And since the market isn’t always willing to pay, writers have unfortunately stopped holding themselves to a higher standard. Produce sub-standard work on a regular basis, and the end result shouldn’t be a surprise.
The good news? When your competition is racing to the bottom and you’re racing to the top…well, it doesn’t take a genius to imagine who scrambles out of the bucket first.
Downfall #5: Your Mind Isn’t in the Right Place
Yes, you read that right.I blamed this one on YOU.
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve produced work for a client against my better judgment because that’s what they wanted to pay for…Businesses who are wise enough to get out of the way when bringing in outside help from other consultants for some reason just insist on not listening when it comes to their content marketing.
If you’re like many entrepreneurs, there’s a good chance you’re fully managing the direction of the work and using your writer like a bottom-dollar laborer instead of a strategist.
Maybe you’re forcing them to write about products and services instead of the things that matter to your readers. Maybe not taking into account that they probably know a bit more about written communication, and especially copywriting, than you do. Maybe you’re asking them to sell a little too much or say a little too little.
It’s perfectly fine to hire a writer as nothing more than a grunt worker. As a business owner, whether you take their professional input into account is 100% your call.
But you’ve also got to acknowledge that if you’re managing the content and the content doesn’t pull results, well…
It may be the management that sucks.
Downfall #6: You Hired a Good Writer
Speaking of strategy, you may assume a good writer means someone with a good handle on the English language. That if you get a retired professor in your corner that you’re on the right track.
That can be a good way to get good writing on the cheap.
But the main thing is this. If you’re hiring on writing ability alone, you better figure out how to direct, manage, and market what they produce because that will then be your role.
As mentioned in Downfall #5, results are closely tied to how content is managed.
Here are some questions to consider:
• Do they understand strategy? Do they talk about objectives, target readers, and competition?
• Do they know what you’re trying to accomplish? Or care?
• Do they understand how copywriting interacts with blogging – have they even considered the possibility?
• Can they bring in other writers if you need to expand your efforts? Have they ever managed a writing team?
• Do they understand this is a business, or are they just looking to get paid to write?
• Do they actively study marketing?
• Do they think like a publisher?
Downfall #7: You Threw More Money at Them
Hey, money is great.
I rather like the stuff.
And great content leveraged in the right manner can add plenty of value to your company, making it worth every penny.
But it’s laughable how many biz owners (or internet grumblers) say, “Well, I’ve tried paying writers more, but they still didn’t deliver.”
When all they did was throw more money at the same type of writer who produced lousy work at cheaper prices.
A lousy writer is a lousy writer at any paygrade
If you want to work with someone worth the investment, do your due hiring diligence and make sure they’re worth it first.
The Responsibility of Publishing Top Quality Content is Ultimately Yours
In this article, I’ve offered a lot of criticisms. I’ve criticized my fellow writers. I’ve criticized the clients. The internet marketing industry at large.
I’ve even criticized you.
But you know what?
At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter whose fault it is. Because criticizing doesn’t market your business!
And whether you outsource or otherwise, the responsibility to turn things around – just like any other aspect of your business – ultimate falls on you.
Let’s be honest. If a writer regularly produces fluff for you, it’s because:
a) You hired the wrong writer.
b) You didn’t make it 120% clear that type of thing was unacceptable for your campaigns.
c) You didn’t get rid of the wrong writer when they didn’t produce what you expected.
After all, do publishers of glossy magazines complain about the struggle to find top magazine writers?
No. They put together systems for vetting writers, attracting the best of the best, managing their efforts, and keeping them on track.
And they create good writers when they can’t find them.
At the end of the day, only you can demand more out of your content…
So do it.
Creative Commons image courtesy of MattysFlicks
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