As you might have heard, Alex recently went down to Florida for a mini-vacation and was not able to post at all for the week. Of course this meant – I had the blog to myself for a whole week! It was quite daunting at first, to post + manage + moderate the blog on a daily basis, but so far – so good.
I thought of trying out “Article Outsourcing” as the receiver for the first time. (Usually I write for other people, but a good change.)
In this time-span of about a week, I’ve wasted almost $50 and came across some very frustrating people to deal with. But I’m not stressed at all, because I walked away with some valuable lessons. Just so that you won’t suffer the same fate as me, I want to share with you my mistakes + their solutions (only if I thought about these last week!)
What is Article Outsourcing?
“Article Outsourcing” on a broad term, has been around ever since we invented writing material (pens, papers and even the Egyptian civilization’s “early-paper” – papyrus). Just like the traditional meaning of “outsourcing” means to “subcontract a process to a third-party company” – Article outsourcing means quite the same. It’s the process of actually getting another person to write your content for you.
Why Would You Do This?
Time. That’s the only reason anyone would out-source their articles. When things get hectic, and you get caught up in other things (even your offline world, which is fair to say) – you can find it hard to spend a solid 2-3 hours writing a post. Now, some people out-source their content because they are just lazy – I don’t consider this a reason, because if your too lazy to write your own content – then you shouldn’t probably be running a blog.
Quite frankly, when Alex told me he was going – I knew I wouldn’t have been able to post everyday for a whole week. Still, I promised myself – I would try my best. Luckily though, he left me with two unpublished guest posts (Overcoming Blogging Barriers and Tracking Your SEO Performance).
This gave me a couple of solid days to really work on something of my own. I spent more time brainstorming and research than actually writing but I really like where it’s going. If you’ve missed the first post, check it out: The Top SEO Blogs Series. All is well, but it is taking much longer to produce than I had first anticipated.
So, what did I do? I went on the hunt for some good writers to help me cover a day or two. This didn’t work out as well as I had planned but I learned some very, very valuable lessons.
The 6 Tip-Top Tips.
1) Don’t limit yourself to a specific place.
Personally for me, I find myself on the DigitalPoint Forums more than any other, and quite reasonably – I feel quite comfortable dealing there. Sure, there’s many hoax-sellers on it, but my comfortableness around the forums itself – helps me make some reasonably fair decisions. Quite ironically though, this kind of overshadowed my other possibilities – I found myself eager to find a writer from solely the DigitalPoint Forums.
Later did I only realize that there were many other forums, services and communities at large – that offer the same thing. As I was saying, DigitalPoint was where I felt the safest to outsource my articles but it greatly narrowed down my choice of writers. So, consider all your options and give yourself the chance to select a good service.
2) Check for Author’s Reputation
Almost every website that offers a service – tends to have some type of a feedback system. Some of them get really advanced such as the system eBay uses, then quite oppositely – some of them are simple like ‘iTrader’ found on forums. Use this to see, what kind of person your are going to be dealing with. If the majority of the feedback is quite negative; then no matter how sweet the deal sounds – don’t do it. Simple as that.
Having said that, not all feedback must be taken into factual consideration. If you let little complaints prevent you from working with the writer – then you’ll never find one. Stay open-minded and just use this feedback to help narrow your choices down – and not eliminate the writer as a whole.
3) Make sure you request a sample, beforehand.
As the buyer, you are entitled to see what you are getting. If the seller denies a sample excerpt of the content – then it’s most likely because he/she is hiding something. It’s absolutely critical that you do receive the sample – because then you can judge for yourself on so many things, including; writer’s style of writing, grammar, punctuation and also the effectiveness of the article itself.
Just keep in mind – People can babble on about something and produce 1000+ words OR they can write an honest piece of 300 words and still make a better point. Quality over Quantity any day.
4) Check for uniqueness/authenticity of the content.
From a SEO perspective – duplicate content is one of the biggest “No-No’s“. So if your serious about your blog and want to dominate the SERPs – don’t ever submit duplicate content on to your blog. This is a gray-area when it comes to outsourcing your articles because you just don’t know for sure how uniquely written the content is. With that said, there are a couple techniques to help minimize the chances of copping some of the bad stuff.
First up – Copyscape is the best tool out there to detect plagiarized content. It’s not fool-proof but it catches most content, unless you buy a premium account which has some promising features.
Then you can type an excerpt (perhaps a sentence or two) between inverted commas (“content”) and run a quick search on Google. This will pick up any other text on the web that has that word-for-word sentence structure. It does bring in some rogue sites every now and then, but once it retrieves the URL you can go check for yourself.
5) Verify the content is not re-written using software.
Before you get your articles outsourced – you need to know about the dreaded software that just rewrite content. The purpose is to get a body of words, then match it to similar words using their thesaurus database.
Most of the time, the article loses a lot of it’s coherency and you can pick up rewritten articles quite easily. But what if someone actually took the time to rewrite the article? These would pass Copyscape + The Google trick quite easily as well.
When this happens, it’s a bit harder to pick up – but try Googling the title of the content. Most times, devious writers spend a lot of time rewriting the body but simply forget to change the title of the article. Out of the many articles I bought this week, many of them were found to be rewritten – and all I did was Google their titles.
6) Understand their perspective.
Finally, a point that takes on the writer’s perspective. True you are buying a service, and your paying for it. However, you can’t expect everything to be as perfect as you want it to be. The writer is a completely different person – and will write according to his/her style.
So, expect things you personally don’t like in articles – words you don’t understand – grammar/spelling mistakes etc. It’s the inevitable. As the cliche that gets thrown around so often; if you ask 10 people to write a description of an incident they all saw at the same exact time – you’ll get 10 different stories. Just like that, the articles you outsource (regardless of niche) will be somewhat different to what you would initially expect.
There We Go!
Hope I didn’t bore you to death – but turned out to be longer than I thought it would be.. Hopefully you can take something from my experience and prevent yourselves from falling into the same misfortune. Good luck!
Wait, before you leave – tell us what are your 2 cents on Article Outsourcing?