We all know that the lifeblood of any website is TRAFFIC.
And because most of us mere mortals don’t own an online behemoth like CNN or WebMD, we turn to the niche website model, because it’s possible to find a virtually unlimited number of long tail keywords with low competition to rank for on Google.
You may be the one writing articles based on your list of keywords right now, but if you want to scale your business, eventually you’ll have to look into outsourcing your website’s content production. Here are the main three options to turn to for publishing consistent, quality content on your site:
- Hire an in-house writer
- Work with one or more freelance writers
- Pay a content writing service for blog articles
Right off the bat, most of us won’t consider hiring a full-time writer until our business is bringing in a lot of predictable revenue. Working with freelance writers can be effective, but you have to go through the steps of hiring, training, assigning work, paying, and managing any issues on your own.
If you’re looking for a truly passive way to meet your content needs, that leaves content writing services. There are many options for this kind of service, but I’m going to focus on Content Refined, a service we use and recommend here at Niche Pursuits.
In this Content Refined review, I’ll be sharing the pros and cons of working with Content Refined for content writing, as well as how to get the most out of it for your website.Try Content Refined Today
- Content Quality - 88
- Reliability - 92
- Customer Service - 85
- Price - 75
Content Refined Review
The big value add with Content Refined is that it takes care of every single stage of content production, including keyword research and publishing posts with images. It may be more expensive per-word than alternate writing services, but Content Refined is an obvious choice if you need a strategic content partner to help you grow your website. Try Content Refined here!
- A complete end-to-end service for content marketing
- Provides a project manager as a single point of contact
- Offers an optional service to handle your keyword research
- A range of pre-defined packages to choose from, as well as custom quotes for odd jobs
- Frees up your time to focus on strategy and other business opportunities
- Content quality can be uneven
- A more expensive per-word rate than other options, like Upwork writers
- 1 What is Content Refined?
- 2 Working With Content Refined
- 3 Content Refined Packages and Pricing
- 4 Content Refined’s Enterprise Tools
- 5 Results to Expect With Content Refined
- 6 Is Content Refined Worth It?
- 7 Why Not Just Hire Freelance Writers?
- 8 How to Get Started
- 9 Conclusion
What is Content Refined?
Content Refined is an end-to-end, done-for-you content production solution. The service offers a series of standard packages for producing, updating, and publishing content on your website, as well as a handful of other related marketing services.
It was founded by Jon Gillham, creator of the blog Authority Website Income. Jon is experienced in the niche space with many successful affiliate websites.
After creating a content production system to help with his own portfolio of sites, Jon opened it up to help other aspiring niche website owners with their content production. You can learn more about Jon’s approach to scaling quality content in the ultimate content creation guide, a guest post from Jon hosted here on Niche Pursuits.
Jon’s background is probably the most important point in favor of Content Refined – unlike content mills or other content services, this agency was built from the ground up specifically for affiliate marketing and niche websites.
That’s important, because you’re not just looking to fill up a bunch of pages on your site with low quality content – the goal is to publish profitable content.
Other Content Writing Services
Of course, Content Refined is NOT the only content service out there. You’ve probably come across several others in the past, such as:
- Content Pit
- Writer Access
If you’re curious how they all stack up, we’ve written about many of these different options already – check out our post on the best content writing services.
But what about Content Refined? How does it stand out among the best content writing services? And is it the best way to get a lot of quality content on your website? Let’s find out!
Working With Content Refined
The primary value proposition for Content Refined is that it’s an end-to-end solution for content production. That means you could conceivably pay them to do EVERYTHING for you, from keyword research and project management to writing and posting.
That’s pretty cool, right?
With any plan you choose, you’ll be assigned a project manager as your point of contact. It’s their job to ensure that your order is fulfilled, including writing, editing, search engine optimization, and publishing to your site.
It’s no secret that Content Refined is nudging you toward their packages of monthly content – who doesn’t love that sweet, sweet recurring revenue? But it is possible to work with them on an individual basis as well, if you request a custom quote.
Content Refined Packages and Pricing
One of the big considerations with any content service is obviously the price. After all, you have a lot of options out there for getting content written!
If you’re looking to find a long-term solution for your content production needs, Content Refined offers many different packages to match your needs and budget. Here’s what you get for each.
New Content Packages
The best way to grow your website is through consistent publishing of quality content. For brand-new content, Content Refined has three different tiers of content creation packages:
- 6 Months
- 12 Months
Each of these tiers has three different packages based on the number of posts you’re looking for:
- 4 posts per month (4,000 words)
- 8 posts per month (8,000 words)
- 12 posts per month (12,000 words)
Most of Content Refined’s packages include the keyword research and titles for your articles, but you can do that part yourself and just hire them to produce a certain number of posts on a monthly basis instead. Here are the packages you can get without keyword research or a content plan included.
Obviously, you’ll get slightly better per-word rates when you commit to a larger number of posts, and if you commit to 12 months, you get a 10% discount on any package you choose.
There are quite a few options here, so it might help to see how all of these plans compare on a per-word rate. Let me just do a little bit of math here…
|4 Posts||8 Posts||12 Posts|
|Monthly Package||10.7 cents per word||9.6 cents per word||9.3 cents per word|
|6 Month Package||10.7 cents per word||9.6 cents per word||9.3 cents per word|
|12 Month Package||9.6 cents per word||8.6 cents per word||8.3 cents per word|
|Monthly Package (no keyword research)||8.2 cents per word||7.6 cents per word||7.3 cents per word|
Okay, so what’s the bottom line for picking a content package?
Well, unless you’re absolutely positive you’ll be using Content Refined for a full year – and you want to nab that 10% discount – you can just start off with a monthly plan and see how you like working with them.
There’s no extra benefit to the six month package except for a longer-term content plan, but you can always move to that package later on.
And don’t forget, you can try Content Refined with a 10% discount today using the code “spencer” at checkout!Give Content Refined a Try
Existing Content Upgrade Packages
Another service available from Content Refined is updating (or upgrading) the content you’ve already posted on your website. These upgrade packages include an audit that will uncover the most valuable opportunities on your website.
I really like that this is an option for customers, because it keeps the momentum going on older posts and maximizes their value.
Here are some of the main tasks Content Refined does as part of updating your existing posts:
- Adding 500 to 1000 words of new text
- Reviewing and editing them with a full-time professional editor
- Optimizing for search engines with a tool called MarketMuse
- Pushing the content live on your website
Like with brand-new content, you can completely outsource the process of upgrading old content, from finding the opportunities and improving your posts to pushing the changes live on your site.
One downside to this service is the turnaround time: four weeks. Time is money, especially when there’s a delay between what you publish and when Google actually crawls the content. There’s also an upper word count limit of 5,000 words for the posts they take on for those prices. (Although this shouldn’t be an issue for most of your posts – who are you, Herman Melville?)
This upgrade service may well be worth doing as a one-time project, capturing the biggest gains from updating existing content pieces. If you DO upgrade your five or ten most important posts, you can quickly see significant traction on Google. This strategy has already been working great for Niche Pursuits, and it’ll probably be helpful for your website too!
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- Simple yet effective internal links reporting: what has lots of links and what pages need more links?
Keyword Research Packages
In addition to its content packages, Content Refined provides three different keyword research packages.
If you have other ways to get content written, and it’s just the keyword research you want to outsource, Content Refined will do the research for you and provide content plans of 10, 20, or 30 articles that you can write yourself or give to writers you’ve hired.
Content Refined also provides a detailed analysis of your site’s keywords, backlinks, and articles; your competitors’ keywords, backlinks, and articles; and actionable keyword opportunities.
A Caveat About Keyword Outsourcing
Now, it is convenient that Content Refined offers keyword research as a service, and they do use excellent tools to do it. But if you’re serious about your niche website, this is one area I would NOT recommend outsourcing.
Consider everything you’ve learned from Niche Pursuits, plus the experience you’ve accumulated in your niche. On top of all that, think about how much data you can already access on your own with affordable keyword tools like Long Tail Pro. Taken together, you have everything you need to understand what your website needs to rank for.
In other words, you’ll probably do better keyword research than anyone you hire, agency or otherwise, because you’re the most invested in your project. You’re the visionary!
However, if you’re inclined to outsource your keyword strategy, a content marketing agency started by a niche site expert is a pretty good way to go. Just make sure you provide them with input on your strategy and set aside time to review the keywords they choose.
In my experience, some agencies will find low competition keywords without necessarily ensuring the profitability of those phrases – so even though you could end up ranking for them, they need to be search terms you can monetize, or what’s the point of getting that traffic in the first place?
Content Refined’s Enterprise Tools
With all that said, I want to take a little time and point out that Content Refined utilizes some very high-end marketing tools as part of their process. This software is pretty expensive for individuals or even small teams, so if you want to tap into the power of the best marketing tools out there, working with Content Refined is a smart way to do it.
I won’t delve into all of the software too deeply, but this should give you a sense of the kind of research and optimization you can expect.
Robots aren’t taking over the world just yet, but AI and machine learning ARE playing a role in content planning. MarketMuse is a robust enterprise software suite for planning, analyzing, creating, and optimizing content.
Officially called an “AI Content Intelligence and Strategy Platform,” MarketMuse does some crazy things, like analyzing thousands of other articles on a topic in real time to tell you what yours is missing.
Content Refined primarily uses MarketMuse to help determine which posts on your website are the best candidates for getting updated. It’s a cutting-edge tool that’s great to have supporting your business!
You’ve heard all about SEMRush before, but in a nutshell, this is the premier search engine marketing tool on the market.
It offers tools to analyze everything your business needs to grow an online presence: backlinks, historical trends, search traffic, keywords, and competitors.
Content Refined uses SEMRush for its keyword, backlink, and article analysis of your website, as well as your competitors’ websites. It’s an invaluable tool for seeing what competitors are ranking for.
If you want to learn more about SEMRush, check out our detailed SEMRush review.
SECockpit is another keyword research tool that Content Refined uses. It’s specifically designed to offer results that are useful for niche websites, fast. One way SECockpit stands out is that it pulls keywords from additional sources besides just Google, such as Amazon and YouTube.
Content Refined uses SECockpit to come up with low competition, high traffic keywords. This is another tool that’s pretty pricey for solopreneurs or small businesses, but provides some great intel at scale when used in a marketing agency. If you want to learn more about SECockpit and how Content Refined uses it, check out Authority Website Income’s SECockpit review.
Results to Expect With Content Refined
All of this might sound good, but the question is, what kind of results can you expect with Content Refined?
Well, here’s one example of a client of theirs who gained 5,000 additional monthly visitors and tripled the size of his site in 5 months while working with Content Refined.
When it comes to content quality, this definitely tends to vary by niche. For more general topics like health or parenting, you may have better luck than with more technical subjects like cryptocurrency.
Of course, our own personal experience has been positive with Content Refined as well. This is a trustworthy service, and Jon Gillham is the real deal in marketing niche websites.
I especially appreciate that he’s so transparent about his agency’s approach to content marketing, going so far as to provide in-house SOP’s and documents by article type for potential customers to look at. If you’re curious, be sure to check them out!
Is Content Refined Worth It?
Okay, I’ve talked about packages, pricing, tools, and results with Content Refined. Now, it’s time to ask the bottom-line question in this review: Is Content Refined worth the money for your business?
As always, it depends, but I would break it down this way: If your time is currently stretched to the limit, and you want to hand off all content production tasks to keep up your site’s growth, Content Refined is a solid choice. Having a single point of contact is a huge time-saver, as is working with a group that’s committed to regular publishing schedules.
They handle a LOT of tasks for you for with one simple monthly payment:
- Keyword research (optional)
- Headline writing (optional)
- Creating a content plan (optional)
- Writing posts
- Editing posts
- Finding images
- SEO optimization
- Adding links
- Scheduling posts
All of this is fantastic. However, you should definitely be aware that when you work with Content Refined, you’re paying a middle man to manage all of these tasks for you. In other words, a lot of your money is going to project management – which is perfectly valid, if that’s something you need.
However, if your main goal is quality content, there ARE alternatives for content writing that will cost less per word, and they may end up being higher quality articles as well. On average, even without keyword research, you’re paying about $0.08 per word with Content Refined.
This isn’t terrible, but it’s not inexpensive either. Which begs the question: What about freelance writers?
Why Not Just Hire Freelance Writers?
On Upwork or Fiverr, you can often find great writers with rates between $0.02 and $0.05 per word. Establishing a direct relationship with freelance writing experts in your niche can work very well, but you do need to have the time and energy to find them and manage those relationships yourself.
And when I say relationships (plural), I mean it! You can’t afford to pin all of your content writing on just ONE freelancer, no matter how good they are. What if they ever get sick, or find themselves too busy, or change their work situation?
Then you’ll have to pick up the slack yourself without warning, or scramble to establish a brand-new freelance writing relationship right away.
The biggest benefit of Content Refined is that you maintain one relationship with a single project manager – and if they need to hire new writers, it doesn’t affect your day-to-day at all. Nice!
How to Get Started
Are you interested in reviewing Content Refined’s results firsthand? If you’re ready to get started, just pick the package you want based on the options described earlier, considering the number of posts and whether you want keyword research or not.
From there, you’ll go to the checkout page, where you can enter the “spencer” content code to apply the 10% discount. As soon as you hit “Start Now,” you’ll be put in touch with your project manager – and can turn on that content spigot!
Personally, I feel like writing at least some of your own content is a good idea, if you have time in your schedule for it. The same goes for keyword research.
However, both activities are easily full-time jobs in themselves, so if the time has come to outsource content strategy or production, here are a few considerations for working with Content Refined:
- Can you identify other more valuable tasks to focus on besides writing content yourself? If so, outsourcing to Content Refined makes perfect sense.
- Are you prepared to spend over $500 per month for at least six months? This will get you the best bang for your buck in terms of content production in the long run.
- You’ll probably want to set aside some time for approving keywords and reviewing finished content.
- Determine your monetization strategy and any specific goals and metrics for your website, so that you can communicate these to your project manager.
- While you can outsource keyword research to Content Refined, it saves you a decent amount of money on your package if you do it yourself.
I hope this Content Refined review gives you an idea of whether the service would be a good fit for you and your business. If you do decide to give it a shot, grab your 10% discount today using the code “spencer” at checkout!Click Here to Try Content Refined Today
Do you have questions about hiring content writing services or freelancers? Do you have personal experience working with Content Refined? Let us know in the comments below!