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Where to Outsource Content Creation

Where to Outsource Content Creation

Well, its been quite the week!  I haven’t posted on here in the past week and a half because I have been staying busy with lots of projects.  But of more significance here is that I moved NichePursuits.com to a new VPS server.  I have moved a dozen or so sites in my time, so I thought it would all go well.  But alas, I missed a step somewhere and you may have noticed the site was down for a good part of yesterday.  What a nightmare!  Anyway, I’m keeping my fingers crossed that everything stays good now that its moved over.  There is still an issue with the thumbnails not working properly, but I’ll get it figured out.

I actually was going to write a detailed post about how to move a website from one host to another, but clearly with all my mistakes, I’m no expert, so I scratched that idea!  Instead I am going to write about something that I have tons of experience in: outsourcing content creation for niche websites.

Where to Find Article Writers

I have used a number of sources for hiring writers including: Textbroker.com, Elance.com, Freelancer.com, Odesk.com, and perhaps other places as well.  For a number of reasons that I will discuss, I have been happiest with Textbroker.com.

Textbroker has thousands of approved authors that are just waiting to write articles for you.  Each author goes through a grading process to determine what quality level their writing is.  Textbroker manually looks at original articles provided by the authors and assigns them a quality level of 2, 3, 4, or 5.  So, all you have to do is submit a job, pick what quality level you want, and that’s essentially it.  Any authors that meet your quality level or higher can pick up your article assignment and write it.

This is SO much easier than trying to hiring an individual article writer like you have to do on Elance, Freelancer, or Odesk.  So, I can literally submit a request to have 50 articles done on various topics and they will all be completed in a few days.  If I had to hire a dedicated author this would take weeks to get completed.  So, if you have a large amount of work that needs to be done, Textbroker is the way to go.

I personally require a level 3 or 4 (3 most of the time) for my articles.  Level 5 is extremely professional and extremely expensive.  Its interesting to note that professional companies hire writers from textbroker probably more than most of us realize.  It recently came to light that Sears actually is ordering TONS of level 5 articles through Textbroker.com for use on Sears.com and other places.  So, textbroker is an extremely trustworthy organization.

There could be upside to hiring an individual author on one of the other outsourcing type websites if you want a consistent author for a larger site that you have.  But you can also give a job to a specific author on Textbroker.com if you find someone that you like.  The only potential downside is that Textbroker.com is slightly more expensive.  But for ease of use and the quick turnaround, I think its well worth it.  The articles are great quality AND they have a built in copyscape checker so that you know all of your articles are original content.

Built in Settings at TextBroker.com

One of the issues that you have to pay attention to when writing articles that you hope will rank well in the search engines is keyword density.  This could be a entire blog post on its own.  But essentially you want to make sure you use the keyword in the first and last paragraph and a couple of times in the middle.  I would never use a keyword more than 1% of the time.  So, a 500 word article should never use the keyword more than 5 times – this just gets unnatural.

What I found with some authors outside of Textbroker.com is they actually thought using the keyword 10 to 20 times was a GOOD thing!  Wrong!  I had to spend TONS of time editing out all the keyword usage. However, Textbroker.com has a built in setting for number of times a keyword should be used.  You can specify how many times you want the keyword used – say 3 to 5 times for example.  If the author tries to submit the articles and they have used the keyword less than 3 times or more than 5 times, the article will be rejected.  The author will be required to edit the articles until they meet the specifications.  This is all done automatically by textbroker so that you don’t have to waste your time editing an article.

Textbroker also has article length settings.  So, if you specify the article length needed is 400 to 500 words; then the article will not be sent to you unless the author has met that criteria.  These 2 automatic settings have saved me hours of editing time.  This is really the reason I am willing to pay a little bit more for the articles.

How to Write Job Requirements

Once you have given the author a subject to write on, and the specific keywords to use, there is still more instruction that needs to be given.  I prepared a generic description that I then edit to match each article assignment.  Here is an example job requirement that I use.  Lets say my chosen keyword is “cheap laptops”:

Please write a professional article on the subject assigned.  These articles will be used on a top laptop review website, so please keep this audience in mind when writing the article.

In particular, please pay attention to the exact keywords that must be used 4 to 6 times in the article. Please use the exact keyword once in the first paragraph, once in the last paragraph, and a few other times throughout the article as is natural.

**Very Important**  Please be as specific as possible.  When reviewing the laptops, please use specific brands and models, prices, memory capacity, life span, and other detailed statistics.  In other words, don’t just do a general review of the laptops – be specific.

Also include both pros and cons of the laptops that you are reviewing.  Do an honest review.

If you have any questions, please let me know.

Anyway, I certainly don’t always use this generic description, but this gives you a good idea of what I request.  Feel free to use something similar as you hire authors on textbroker.  I have definitely found that the more specific your are in what you are looking for, the better the articles are that you get.

Overall, I hope this quick review of where I outsource my content creation has been useful.  Let me know your thoughts below!

 

52 Comments for this Post

  1. Andrew | Social Web Q and A

    Andrew | Social Web Q and A

    Helpful post as always! That description template looks like it would definitely get the point across appropriately, and you’re right, you never know what people might assume. That’s crazy that sears.com uses textbroker!

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Thanks Andrew! I find it extremely helpful to be as detailed as possible in my descriptions of work needed.

  2. Neil

    Neil

    Hey Spencer, have you used The Content Authority as well?

    I’ve tried Textbroker and to be honest I wasn’t very impressed but I’ve read some good things about TCA. Maybe I just got a dud author but it was a level 4 article so I thought it would’ve been better than what I received.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Neil – I have never tried the content authority. And its very possible that you got a dud. Even though generally speaking the quality of content is good – its only as good as the author is willing to put in. I have certainly found that using detailed descriptions of what you are looking for can help.

  3. Kevin

    Kevin

    Cool post. I’ve been ordering on fivirr. So far not too bad. This is my first time outsourcing, after spending too much time writing the content for one site, I don’t think I’ll write another article again. It takes too long.

    So I’m ordering about 45 articles on Fivirr.
    Positives: Out of 3 ordered received, they are well written. There are 2 for $5 deals which I use for secondary content. This cut costs by almost 40% since i still buy 1 primary article for $5 from good authors.

    Negatives: Since I am ordering a lot of articles at once, I am trying out different authors. It takes a lot of time to individually order articles, so it’s taken me a couple days. I also don’t know how good the authors are yet, so I will probably get some duds.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Kevin:
      Thanks for the quick info about your experience with Fiverr. I’m sure this will work just fine for many people. The issue as you mentioned is that you may have to try out lots of different authors before you find someone great. And even when you find someone great, you can’t overload them. You might have to wait a week or 2 to get a significant number of articles written. So, Fiverr is great for a large job if you are willing to try out a large number of authors.

  4. John | Prostate Cancer

    John | Prostate Cancer

    Very well written, as usual. I am beginning to really pay attention to all you say and your content is awesome! What about having a team of your own writers in, say the Philippines? That’s what I do now and I get lots of results for even less than just getting freelance writers. The fact that your outsourcing team are working for you everyday and only on your content, makes it awesome!

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      John – that is a great idea. If you can screen and find reliable writers this is probably a good way to go. I have always just found it very time consuming to find good authors and then the capacity of one author is very limited. If I need 100 articles this week – TextBroker.com is really much more quick turnaround.

  5. Chris

    Chris

    I like the leverage one creates by outsourcing some of this services. What about other services like VA? Where can you best outsource them?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I do have a full time VA right now. I found my via through Odesk.com.

  6. Przemek

    Przemek

    What do you think about 99centarticles.com? Did you use them?

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Never used them – seems pretty cheap (probably low quality) to me. But I have not tried it, so I can’t really say.

  7. MatthewN

    MatthewN

    Interesting.. I have tested textbroker, TCA and the rest and am massively in favour of private hiring through oDesk. The quality of content I get is basically perfect.

    I have a panel of established writers (4 at the moment). All I do is give them a topic, an amount of words, and they come back to me with a plan and once approved, they write. it works so well.

    • Stu @ drift camera

      Stu @ drift camera

      this post by Spence is great. I’m just thinking about hiring a writer..

      And thanks for the extra tips Matthew. Your idea with Odesk sounds good..

      I’ve never used odesk before so I’m not too sure how they work. do they propose a plan and then you hire if you like their plan? that would work well. save a lot of headaches and time to fix mistakes after hiring. I’ve had that happen a few times.

      Stuart

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Matthew – I think hiring some writers off of Odesk is a great way to go as well. In fact this is probably a good fit for a lot of people that are willing to take the time to find and screen writers until they find a few good ones. Im sure once you have a few good writers – the quality and price is probably unbeatable.

      • MatthewN

        MatthewN

        Spencer – exactly

        Stu – my recommendation would be to just post a job and and within it post your process.

        ie. “The successful candidate will be given a topic. You will then be required to conduct basic research on the topic and submit a plan for how you plan to distribute the words.”

        etc. etc.

        http://www.iptguides.com/content-creation/ – this is the link I send my writers to.

    • Melody

      Melody

      “…they come back with a plan…”

      Matthew, what do you mean by this?

  8. Tine

    Tine

    I am using thecontentauthoity.com which is basicaly a clone of Textbroker only their services are a little bit cheaper than on textbroker. So far the content I got returned was of outstanding quality. I ordered both level 2 and 3, both were very, very good writing. I mean, far better then I would have written myself. The turnaround time is extremely quick. I mean, a few days ago I ordered a couple of 600 word articles they were returned to me literally within less than two hours. What is also nice is that if I order, say, a 600 word article on a broad topic the writer doesn’t stop at it but returns me an 850 word article that is well researched and very well written. I don’t know why they’re doing it, since I am still only paying them for 600 words..!? I used oDesk in the past for content writing. I hired writers from the Philipines. Dont get me wrong, I love this service yet it still doesn’t compare to thearticleauthority when it comes to the quality of writing and the turnaround time.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Tine:
      Thanks for the review of thecontentauthority. I may have to give them a shot. If they are a clone of Textbroker and a bit cheaper – then maybe its still a good service. I certainly think there are probably lots of other great places that content can be outsourced. I just did a quick review on the service I personally use and why I like it.

  9. Ritsos

    Ritsos

    Good article Spencer … I’ve so far written all my own content but with only one of my sites hitting the top ten (though I don’t do much linking), I’m thinking I may test a couple of sites using outsourced content so will give TB a try …. One quickie … do TB check that the content isn’t simply duplicated from another site?

    • Christina Zila

      Christina Zila

      Hi Ritsos,
      Yes, we have a three-phase anti-plagiarism system in place. All items are run through Copyscape as well as an internal checker, comparing the author’s work to items that have been submitted to Textbroker but might not have been published yet.
      If either of these checks brings up a match, an in-house Textbroker editor reviews it and sends it back to the author.
      Thanks for asking!
      Cheers,
      Christina

  10. Dan

    Dan

    Great stuff. Thanks
    Is it completely anonymous or do you know who the author is? If you order a batch of articles (same quality level obv and a reasonable amount like say 5-10) will they all be assigned to the same author?
    Would you ever include some links/samples etc to give the author a better idea what you are after and how you prefer it written?

    • Christina Zila

      Christina Zila

      Hi Dan,
      You can see the author’s ID, which is either a number generated by our system and unique to the author, or a nickname they’ve chosen. You can set this author as a favorite, send them messages and work directly with them.
      We encourage you to give as much information as possible.
      If you have a URL that you really like, please include it, and let the author know that you like the style/subject.
      Every bit of information helps. :)
      If you choose an OpenOrder, each order in your project can be taken by a different author. The orders are available to our authors until they are chosen, so you can have the same author complete a few items for you if they are fast.
      Thanks,
      Christina

  11. Mk Akan

    Mk Akan

    Spence,
    i have not outsourced my article writing yet but i know it is definitively something we have to do if we must grow our online endeavors at a fast pace.
    I have just registered with them and will order some articles for my niche sites….

    I intend to try and automate my whole business ,which also mean outsourcing link building…how do you handle link building…that’s another part i love to outsource….
    thank you

  12. Mk Akan

    Mk Akan

    Spence,
    i would love to read an article on how you automate your business..the different services you use and all…that would make a good blog post…cheerz

  13. Rory

    Rory

    I can only indorse what Spencer has said.
    I have used text broker for a lot of different things, not just article writing for niche websites, and they provide a very professional service with a quick turnaround. Just make sure you are specific in your article requirements.

    Another great feature of TextBroker is that you can reject an article and have it re-done, at no cost to you, if you think it is below expected quality. I’ve never had to do this but it is a great assurance to have.

    Rory

  14. Seth

    Seth

    Can I ask what you have thought of the user experience of outsourced content? That is my biggest concern about doing more with TextBroker or anywhere else for that matter. I purchased a Level 4 article for one of my sites and it was really nice but interested to see what a batch of articles will look like continuity wise to the user experience. We are all in this game to make money but in order to make money don’t we have to provide value as well?

    Do these writers write well researched/ on topic articles or are they really well written articles that don’t do or say much for the user?

  15. Moro

    Moro

    Spencer two questions:
    Does textbroker have only native writers on board or do they come from around the globe?

    How detailed and specific should the description be? I have a 2000 word guideline on how to write a quality article, the question is however, whether someone is willing to read it.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I believe that all the writers are US based. 2000 words is too much I would think. The description I use above it almost exactly what I use.

  16. Zane

    Zane

    Thanks Spencer. I found you through a Pat Flynn podcast and this is the first post of yours I’ve read. I’m going to check them out. Thanks!

  17. Andrew Richardson

    Andrew Richardson

    Great content so far Spencer. I haven’t really strongly considered niche sites before downloading your ebook. I have a question about the article creation and the costs associated: For the average niche site how much do you end up paying for content creation?

    I’m just wondering this because I feel like it might be good to create the content myself for the first few niche sites I develop so I can get a feel for what works and what doesn’t.

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Around $30 to $40 to start.

  18. Dan

    Dan

    Very interesting article Spencer. I’m very new to the niche site game, so perhaps this is why I don’t understand.

    Obviously by their nature niche sites are very specialized and require specialized knowledge. So how do the writers actually produce articles that show knowledge of the topic? For example, in the laptop review site sample you use above (or for any review site), how would the writer get the information on the laptops? Obviously they can’t buy/get samples to write product reviews and such. Is this information just compiled by doing research?

  19. Owen @ Quitting The 9 To 5

    Owen @ Quitting The 9 To 5

    Great article Spencer!

    Just found your site and am really enjoying the content. You clarified a few questions that I had on things.

    I’ve started to use text broker on some of my newer niche sites but have never asked them to write a review before so might give that a try myself, do you ask them to do general reviews of a few products in the market eg. top 5 laptops or would you get them to review one particualr one? eg Sony Viao laptop??

    Thanks,

    OWen

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Depends on the keyword. But usually a review of the “top 5 laptops” is a good example.

  20. Ljuba

    Ljuba

    great post and ideas,
    Did you ever use Fiverr, for content creation?
    thnx

  21. Chris

    Chris

    Hey Spencer, great post – I’ll have to check out text broker. I sent you an email after subscribing to your site just now along these lines, but figured I’d ask here as well.

    At what point during your 200 site growth phase did you start outsourcing content? Did you start as soon as your earnings paid for it, from the very beginning, or not until you were making a certain amount?

    I’ve gotten to about 1K per month adsense income and am considering starting early. Appreciate your response in advance!

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I actually started outsourcing content creation after my first 3 or so sites. I saw the potential and decided to turn it into a business which meant removing myself as the writer because this was a huge bottleneck. I think I decided I was going to spend around $1000 and build my first group of sites. I started to see a good return after the first few months, so I began reinvesting all my earnings. That first $1000 was my only money I “borrowed” from myself to invest in my business. Everything else since then has been reinvested earnings from the business itself. The business has no debt whatsoever.

      • Jeremy DePrato

        Jeremy DePrato

        So you’re having 100% of the content of your niche sites outsourced?

  22. Niche Websites Hub | Niche Pursuits

    Niche Websites Hub | Niche Pursuits

    […] Where to Outsource Content Creation and How to Do it (Posted Sept. 30th, 2011) […]

  23. SoccerInstructor

    SoccerInstructor

    Great post.

    Was thinking about textbroker, but debating should I be using fiverr…
    This post makes it more clear which way to go

    Thnak you

  24. Amanda Gordon

    Amanda Gordon

    Hi Spencer,
    First and foremost, let me congratulate you on the success of your business.

    I have been working on niche websites for a while but not without too much success. Your blog has given me a lot of clues on where I might be going wrong. Thanks for sharing this stuff.

    The main question I have about your niche sites is this: typically what is the content length of your article? Do you use “one size fits all” approach or do you vary the lengths of articles depending on keywords?

    Thanks again for sharing the inner things about your niche business. Much appreciated!

    Here’s hoping that your authority sites and Amazon niches do equally well …

    Cheers,
    Amanda

    • Amanda Godron

      Amanda Godron

      Typo:

      “but without too much success”

      instead of :

      “but not without too much success”

  25. Ritsos

    Ritsos

    Just a late note here to say that Textbroker now have a UK site; textbroker.co.uk . This uses English, Australian and Canadian writers. I’ve actually signed up as a writer and, like most others there it seems, can only get to a level 3.

    I can’t speak for others, but the difference between a level 3 and 4 seems to be a missing comma or two, so level 3 should be perfect for niche content sites.

    Nearly everyone requests level 4 but this may be because, for writers, level 3 is described as ‘good quality’ but for clients, it is described as ‘average’ which is pretty cruel and may even be illegal. I’ve had ‘excellent’ from several clients but TB seems determined to keep me at 3.

    Anyway, my intention was to write 2 or 3 articles a day to top me up with a little cash but there is little coming through right now, possibly because it only started in December, so please feel free to send some work the way of the poor old UK :-)

    Thanks

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      I have enjoyed using Textbroker for a long time now! If the quality is essentially the same in the UK version as the US (which I’m sure it is), then charlie is essentially correct. The difference between a level 3 and 4 is usually very small. I typically go with a level 3 order.

  26. lou

    lou

    Sorry if this had already been covered. Do you do any of this yourself or is it all outsourced, if it is all outsourced how long before a site is ready to roll and roughly how much spend for all?
    How much original content is outsourced to writers if you also use PLR ? If PLR is used do the outsourcers spin for you or do you do it?
    Do you also outsource the website build, if so where do you recommend?
    Do you outsource your backlinking and give instruction on how to use UAW and My Article Network to them? (seoblueprint.org/blogblueprint is supposed to be very good as well, video here, not aff link just thought may be useful !!)
    M

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Most of it is outsourced. I spend around $50/site or maybe a bit more on some. I NEVER use PLR on my own sites. All the content is 100% original – nothing spun. I use textbroker.com for hiring content writers.
      Yes, I outsource linkbuilding, site building, etc. I have a VA that does all of this for me – I hired off of odesk.com.

  27. Shawn Manaher

    Shawn Manaher

    Hi Spencer,

    Shawn here from The Content Authority… I came here to leave some feedback about TCA, tell you about how awesome we are, and invite you to check us out… but while perusing your site I came across your 2011 video review: http://www.nichepursuits.com/2011-year-in-review-video/, which truly made me want to comment on that instead.

    I have to say I was pretty stoked and excited, not only for your success, but also for the fact that you decided to press on and not give up even when you got knocked down! Building a business is tough work and it was cool to see where you have found success! Your story is definitely inspiring and I look forward to reading more about what 2012 is going to bring you.

    I was personally motivated by the question you raised at the end “Will YOU be motivated to accomplish your goals?”. While I certainly have plenty of self-motivation, your video definitely added a nice boost!

    All the best!

    Shawn

    • Spencer

      Spencer

      Shawn, thanks for stopping by – and glad you found the video motivating! Best of luck with your goals in 2012!

  28. Bas

    Bas

    What do you think about outsourcing to countrys with low yearly income like phillipenes, india or kenya?

  29. Joanne

    Joanne

    Hi,

    Have you ever used PLR articles on your niche websites? If yes, how are the performance of those websites?

    Thanks.

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