Hiring Writers Directly - My Experience So Far

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I recently tasked myself to hire a small team of writers for one of my niche websites.

This experience was an eye-opener for me so I thought it might be helpful / interesting to some folk if I shared my journey so far.

Background​

I own and manage a small portfolio of niche content websites. I'm currently trying to scale up my content output.

I’ve been using content platforms such as WriterAccess and TextBroker, but even after putting time into recruiting suitable writers there, my orders were only being picked up slowly and by a very small number of writers.

To be fair, the small number of writers who DO pick up the orders there are very good and I’m happy with them. However, I can’t scale at the speed the orders are being picked up at.

So, I needed to change my approach and hire direct freelance writers and build my own team.

I created a job posting on the Cult of Copy Jobs group on Facebook. To help identify people who pay attention to detail, I buried a codeword into the job description text and asked them to include it in their application.

The Application Process​

21 people applied. Only 9 mentioned the requested codeword. I decided to give a trial order to all applicants.

Interestingly, to jump ahead a little, if I had instantly ruled out the 12 people who did NOT mention the codeword, I would have missed out on some good writing talent.

For future adverts, I’ll continue to add the hidden codeword buried in the text because it is interesting to know who reads the application in detail.

Out of 21 applicants, 17 proceeded to a trial order stage. The other 4 were ruled out when their rate was over my budget maximum of 3 cent per word. One of those writers requested an upfront payment of 50%. I politely explained that I can’t amend my payment terms.

Rates Per Word​

I asked each of the 17 applicants to quote their best rate for bulk orders:

⚡ 12 quoted 3 cent per word
⚡ 2 quoted 2.5 cent per word
⚡ 2 quoted 2 cent per word
⚡ 1 quoted 1 cent per word

Next, I assigned 1 article to each applicant. The word count for the articles varied from 800 to 2,000 with the average being 1,440.

I gave the same deadline of 5 days out to each applicant.

3 writers pulled out before submitting anything. Another writer responded saying she’ll submit 10 days AFTER the deadline. (I’m still leaving her in the process to see what she comes back with).

Results​


All but 2 remaining writers submitted on time. I still haven’t heard from the 2 writers who missed their deadline.

So, out of 12 submitted articles:
⚡ 6 were well written to a good standard (almost ready to publish)
⚡ 2 were well written but needed minor tweaking,
⚡ 2 were completely plagiarised,
⚡ 2 were poorly written with bad grammar and a lack of proper structure


I made 8 offers of further work to the top 8 writers.

For the 2 writers who plagiarised articles, I accepted their offer to resubmit and when they do, I won’t be hiring them for future work.

Overall, 8 good writers were found out of 21 applicants. I believe this to be a very good result.

Bear in mind that this is very early days. Each writer has only written one article for me.

The real test will be to see how consistent their quality and reliability is over the medium to long term.

Writers, like any freelancer or employee, will come and go. But the one thing I’ve learned is that I can find good writers relatively easy online, once I know where to look.

I hope this helps others who are planning to scale up their content production.

Best of luck in the SERPs
Keith
 

secretagentdad

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50% hit rate is solid. At 3 cents a word sounds about average.
That's a totally workable rate for productive grinders.

Update us when they get to 100k words? I'm curious about retention.
 

bernard

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I'm always surprised at how many incompetent people sign up to be writers.

I mean, what makes someone who can't spell or do basic research think they're cut out to write for others?
 
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Interesting. I'm doing the exact same thing right now.

In what quality level did you buy from Textbroker?

But how can someone make a living on $ 0.03 per word?
And I'm not sure if I would say $ 0.03 creates good Content ...
 
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In what quality level did you buy from Textbroker?
4 star @ 3 cent per word

But how can someone make a living on $ 0.03 per word?
On that rate, they couldn't possibly make a living where I live. However, it seems to be a good rate in some countries. Remember, I asked writers to tell me how much they charge and an overwhelming majority quoted 3 cents per word. After a few weeks of trialing them, their quality is very good.

And I'm not sure if I would say $ 0.03 creates good Content ...
It's hit and miss. You have to test. I got lucky with finding good writers at that rate.
Last year, I also hired writers for 8 to 10 per word and they turned out to be poor writers.
This is all about trial and error.