Friday, November 19, 2010

Things You Can't Buy for $5 An Article

No matter how long you've been a freelance writer, you will continually run into the client whose frame of reference for hiring freelance writers is the $5-an-article market. These clients expect you to charge less than nothing. They think it should take you mere seconds to crank out 500 words. And part of them doesn't really understand why they should pay for writing at all: after all, YOU should be grateful that someone is paying you to write anything--and giving you all that free exposure on top of it.

If you're only willing to pay a couple of dollars per page, you may be able to find some misguided people who will take that deal. There's always someone out there who will work for less. But there are a few very important things you won't be getting. These include:

Research. $5-an-article writers don't have time to research. Most of these articles are taken from the top of the writer's head or rephrased from existing articles. If I was writing for $5 an article, I wouldn't have time to spend clicking around Google to find out if what I was writing was actually true. I'd be too busy cranking out words to try to make a living wage.

Fact-checking. You may get a lot of factual errors with cheap articles. That's because you probably aren't paying a separate fact-checker to do it--and your writer isn't.

Originality. Don't think that $5-an-article writers are spending time researching your market, looking up what's already out there, and coming up with an original angle for your article. In fact, for dirt-cheap article writers, it's better to go for the tried-and-true topics. That way there will already be plenty of info out there to cull from quickly.

Interviews. Interviews take time. It takes time to find the right people, time to schedule an interview, come up with the right questions, and then sift through the results afterward. $5 an article just does not cover this amount of time. And it's too bad. Interviews with people in the industry or involved in the issue can make the difference between something of substance and keyword fluff--and don't think your audience can't tell one from the other..

Good grammar and spelling. It's tough to proofread your own work. Spell-check programs aren't dependable, and it's often hard to spot errors in something you've just done writing. If you're doing it yourself, it's best to give a piece some "sit time" for a day or so to read it again with some distance. But $5-an-article writers don't have that sit time. The name of the game in this industry is "fast."

If you're only willing to pay bottom-dollar for writing work, expect errors in spelling, grammar, and accuracy. And don't be surprised if the articles just rehash the same topics that are already out there. This type of article isn't likely to appeal to an audience or set you apart from competitors. If you want writing that does more than throw keywords at search engines, expect to pay more than a nominal fee.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Include this on the list - A writer who values his/her abilities.

It doesn't surprise me that people want something for nothing - rather, it surprises me that there are writers out there who agree to it.