Hiring Writers with E-A-T

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E-A-T has become a much bigger part of SEO and I truly believe it is the right thing to do long term, regardless of SEO. I want to build a serious publication even if it is a small website with limited resources.

I have been buying content for a few years. Not a lot, but chunks here and there. I've used services from some of the members of this site and I've also used Upwork/Elance. Every article that I've ever purchased has gone up on my sites with no by-line, with a "Staff Writer" by-line, or under my personal by-line.

If you look at any serious internet publishers like news, finance, health, tech sites, or even something like Harvard Business Review, you will see that every article is written by real experts with bios. You rarely see "staff writer" and you never see the same person writing every article unless it is a personal blog.

I wrote to Brian Lam (founder of theWirecutter) back before he sold to NYT and asked him how he found writers and how he could afford it on small/no budget. Holy crap, he wrote back!! He said, "find people you like and offer them a job and a mission." He also said that he paid writers ahead of himself for a long time and most of them made more per hour than he did. I'm a little scared about how much a writer will charge compared to the content producers we all use, but you never know until you ask!

Do any of you hire individual writers for specific articles based on their expertise? How do you find them? How do you convince them to write for your no-name website?

How about the technical aspects. Do you handle payments through UpWork or some other system to take care of 1099s and to make both sides comfortable that you won't get screwed?

I assume this can also help build legit links since people tend to promote their own work and if they are legit experts then their links will be more natural and valuable.

Any other thoughts on this?
 

CCarter

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I'm a little scared about how much a writer will charge compared to the content producers we all use
I think you are seeing the cost instead of seeing the benefits of an article and that's why you are scared to invest.

Look at it from this perspective - if I pay a writer $100 to write me an article - that article can potentially produce unlimited amount of revenue for me.

Lets say in a year time I make $2000 in new revenue that can be contributed to that article - is making $2K worth spending $100? HELL YES!

At that point it's all about scaling your business, that extra $2K will get you 20 more articles that can generate you $40K at that point. But this line of thinking requires you seeing your website as a real business with real expenses and real projections.

You can go off of past results to create projects - if you create a website with $1000 worth of content and generated $8000 - that's a 4x return on investment in the first year, everything afterwards is gravy. But you have to start from somewhere when you have no revenue.

I do that with videos and marketing content I create. I created a series of 20 videos ($5K investment) that ended up generated over $100K in a year, going off of that, scaling and growing that business is as easy as creating more videos or doing content creation - or whatever moves the needle for your business.

As well businesses fail all the time - I'm going to have to shutter another operation I spent a good chunk of money off of that never got off the ground, but that's a part of the game.

In the end whatever you do - hire writers, get one off of TextBroker/Fiverr, or grow a team, you have to look at your costs as a true investment in your business. And if you can't get over that mental block of seeing the cost as an investment then maybe running a business is not right for you.
 
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I think you are seeing the cost instead of seeing the benefits of an article and that's why you are scared to invest.
Ah, crap. This isn't what I wanted this question to focus on. I've been told various versions of what you wrote over and over by plenty of people here and in real life. I know your advice to be true. I'm looking at hiring more expert and qualified writers so I think I am over that hump (although, obviously not all the way :wonder:). I do want to make a long term investment.

I'm hoping to get some advice on how to find these experts and develop a relationship with them. How to get an expert to write for my little site. How to deal with the administrative side.

Has anyone out there gone this route?
 
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I've gone through what I think is a similar thought process to what you describe, and have found a simple solution that works for me.

I still find my writers on the likes of Upwork, however I take more care in finding those that have experience/qualifications that I can leverage on my site. I do this by specifying clearly in the job description that I want people with relevant experience, and then of course confirm this during the hiring phase.

If for example I was publishing content about guitars I might hire only musicians, or for health blog only personal trainers. You'd be surprised how many writers have other qualifications or experience. I then get them to include an author bio when they submit the article, and often link to their personal site/blog if they have one.

Not sure if this approach will work for your niche but it works well for me.
 
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First of all, the site needs to be something that at least doesn't repel serious people.

Which means it must look good and trustworthy.
 

Tao

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Another option you have is to use an existing writer (if the quality is ok) and then pay the qualified person to review and put their name to the piece - eg: "Medically reviewed by" rather than "Written by".

I am still trying to recover from the update that (seemed) to focus on E-A-T. Apart from using a paid writer or reviewer, another option I thought of was to ask established authorities in my niche to "sponsor" a post where they could put their name as a reviewer and get to link back to their site and put their comments/blurb in the article too.

Not sure if it would work though :smile:
 
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I'm still surprised we haven't seen some sort of persona creation services popping up where someone creates a name, social profiles and makes a bunch of "name citations" across the internet. Probably unlikely to move the needle but a good productized service to sell on Fiverr.
 

CCarter

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I'm still surprised we haven't seen some sort of persona creation services popping up where someone creates a name, social profiles and makes a bunch of "name citations" across the internet.
Why don’t you create that service? This is how unique business are started - with an idea that fills a gap in the marketplace.
 
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Why don’t you create that service? This is how unique business are started - with an idea that fills a gap in the marketplace.
Ideas need execution - I don't want to get distracted away from my other projects.
 
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Coming back to this since I'm struggling and it seems to be a very popular topic around here of late.

I posted a job to Upwork 3 days ago. It was a very specific request for articles with specified word counts per article. I know that specifying word count isn't a good way to get quality (1) (2). However, that is what I have always done and those two posts came a bit late for me.

I also posted with a "budget" of $5 thinking that it would be clear that I was trying to say "no budget". The idea being, I didn't want to lowball the bid or encourage people to overbid. I want to pay a fair price for both the writer and for me.

I requested by-line links to articles written previously to show that you have experience writing these types of articles. I want to have someone who already has EAT in this topic. I also requested native English writers, but said they can be located anywhere in the world (I don't want to exclude a native English speaker who happens to live in another country than mine).

I received 4 bids. One was broken English so I would have to spend a lot of time editing (been down this road before - no thanks). One was a $5 bid with good English, but their location name and timezone don't match up plus the proposal didn't answer any of my questions. One was a writer in a semi-related field who picked up on a keyword that I used, but which wasn't a main topic...all of their example links except one were in a language other than English. The last was a cut and paste proposal that talked about writing copy and increasing my CTR.

I used Elance back in the day and I got a similar mix of garbage, but I ended up hitting on one good proposal and I used that guy for a bunch of articles.

So how do I fix this? I will let this sit for a couple of more days and see if anything compelling trickles in. Some specific questions that I have...

  • How do you handle the "budget" question?
  • Do you hire hourly? Or hard bid for a project?
  • When you hire writers, do you post their work with a by-line and link to an author bio? Or do you credit them as "Staff Writer"? Or no byline at all? Like I said in the first post, I want to lean toward a journalistic approach to enhance the site's EAT ranking (not for Google, but for visitor trust).
I'm leaning toward letting this post expire and then rewrite it as a longer term commitment as suggested by @secretagentdad in this post. I will say that I am looking for a writer in my niche to write 1 article per week, that we would start with a test run of two articles plus more based on success, and have people bid on an hourly rate. I might give them by-line credit and a bio on the site (still unsure about this). The articles will not have a set length, but will be written for humans and as long as they need to be to cover the topic. Edits may be required and billed at the hourly rate.

Would this likely be more successful? I really want to establish some good relationships with writers to help grow my two sites. I'd rather be a publisher/website owner than a writer anyway.

I'd love any input that the BuSo community can offer. Thanks...
 
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I also posted with a "budget" of $5 thinking that it would be clear that I was trying to say "no budget".
This is your problem, I'd think. Upwork may have a way to filter by budget, and if they don't most people probably saw that and assumed "they want 3rd world writers, not me." I wouldn't have assumed $5 meant "no budget," I'd have assumed it meant it exactly what it said.

You could probably post the same ad with a higher budget just to make points of contact with good writers, and then you can create jobs specifically for them at any budget after the first one gets paid.
 
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So I changed it up and posted a new job on Upwork, but this time I did it as an hourly job for two articles with the hope of extending the relationship if it works out. Crickets. So I started to sift through freelancers and invited people who have done similar work in the past.

I eventually got 3 unsolicited proposals that were all garbage. I got one response to my invitations and I hired that guy.

I think some of my trouble getting interest may have to do with the fact that I have ZERO hires on Upwork. I used it way back when it was Elance, but all of that history vanished.

We'll see how this goes. It is all a learning curve.
 
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The amount of garbage proposals on Upwork is staggering. I just posted a job and the results are sad. I noticed a trend I haven't really seen before: loads of fake profiles of US- and UK-based writers (with corresponding profile pics), where it's obvious from the cover letter that the person is not a native speaker.
 
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I wouldn't have assumed $5 meant "no budget," I'd have assumed it meant it exactly what it said.
Right. As both a consumer and seeker of work on that platform, I'd have assumed the same.

So I changed it up and posted a new job on Upwork, but this time I did it as an hourly job for two articles with the hope of extending the relationship if it works out. Crickets.
You posted an open-rate hourly writing job (with future potential) on Upwork and got zero responses?

No. Something is missing from your post, because that's not possible. Either you specified a comically low rate or your ad did not get published, because the Upwork writing crowd would be all over that shit like housewives on Ellen.
 
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The amount of garbage proposals on Upwork is staggering. I just posted a job and the results are sad. I noticed a trend I haven't really seen before: loads of fake profiles of US- and UK-based writers (with corresponding profile pics), where it's obvious from the cover letter that the person is not a native speaker.
I've tried looking for Swedish writes on there. I write a short description about the job, and I ask the applicants to send me their emails in Swedish.

Most of the answers I received were from foreign people in English, some of them wrote the first lines in (broken) Swedish. The English equivalent would be "Hi see I that you need swedish writer. I speak swedish very good and also writing excellent I am interesting please let me know about job"

I understand if some people are desperate, but surely, they must understand that Google translate won't cut it.. Or maybe there are people who actually hire these people.
 
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Perhaps you could post at ProBlogger jobs?

But like some members have pointed, you'll struggle to find good writers at $5
 
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Perhaps you could post at ProBlogger jobs?

But like some members have pointed, you'll struggle to find good writers at $5
I may look at locations other than Upwork, but I’m working with a writer that I like now.

To clarify, I’m not looking for $5 articles. I used the lowest possible rate because I didn’t want to set an upper limit. This was obviously a mistake and I learned my lesson.