Blog SEO copywriters: Pay peanuts, get monkeys
December 1, 2008 • Glenn Murray
Pay $10 – $25 per blog post?! Wow! Put me down for 200 of those. I imagine they’ll be top shelf link bait! Just what I need for my SEO…
C’mon! I know blogging is hard work and takes a lot of time, but do you really think the answer is outsourcing to someone cheap? How good do you think the result will be?
What’s involved in writing a really high quality post?
Let’s think about the logic for a second: it takes YOU about half a day to write a quality post, right? And you’re the subject matter expert. How long’s it going to take a copywriter? They have to get their head around your offering, your customer, your target reader, the purpose of your blog, the purpose of the post and the fundamental message of the post. Then they have to research and understand the details, plan the post, write numerous headlines and choose the one that’s most engaging, then write the post and optimize it for search. All the while, ensuring their terminology is credible!
At least, that’s what they’ll have to do to write a quality post!
How long would it take me?
Now I can’t speak for everyone, but it takes me a good day or two to get through all of that (6-12 hours), depending on the complexity of the subject matter. Of course, that’s assuming it’s about something I’m not an expert on. Which most posts are.
And I’m no slouch. I’ve been writing professionally since 1994. I’ve run a business since 2002. I have a Bachelor of Arts in English Lit and Linguistics. And I have a Master of Arts in International Communication. So I research effectively, I learn fast, I understand business and I write fast. This isn’t a sales pitch, it’s all fundamental to my argument.
How long would it take another SEO copywriter (to do it properly)?
So if it takes me a good day or two, let’s be generous and assume it’s going to take most SEO copywriters about the same. Let’s say 1.5 days per post. Now if you’re paying $10 – $25 per post, that equates to around $7 – $16 per day for the writer. That’s only $2,555 – $5,840 per year, assuming they work every day! There’s no way in the world that any decent SEO copywriter will work for that! (Well, there’s a miniscule chance you’ll find a great junior SEO copywriter who’s just starting out and desperately needs the money. But finding an SEO copywriter like that is like finding a needle in a haystack. And they won’t stick around for long. Trust me, I’ve been down that path.)
Why not send it to India?
I know it’s tempting to say, “Send it to India,” but that’s not going to solve the problem, either. A cursory scan of Indian job search site Nakuri reveals that a half-way decent copywriter can earn around 4,00,000 to 8,00,000 Rupees per year. That’s around USD $9,390 to $18,780 per year + benefits. So why would they work for $5,840 (much less $2,555) per year?
No. What you’ll get is a blog post that was written in an hour (two, if you’re lucky). Poorly written, rehashed rubbish with no subject matter expertise, and certainly no relevant opinion or thought leadership.
Be honest. Would you subscribe to, return to, talk about or link to a blog like that? Of course not!
And after all, if you’re blogging for SEO, it’s all about subscriptions, return visitors, buzz and voluntary backlinks. Which means you have to repeatedly offer original, helpful thought provoking blog posts. Blog posts that people consider worth bookmarking and worth sharing with their own visitors and networks. What’s more, if you’re touting that sort of rubbish in places like Twitter and Google+, you’ll quickly lose all credibility, and stand no chance of developing a following.
That’s why it amazes me when I hear so-called ‘social media experts’ suggesting this tactic. They should know better!
What should you do instead?
My contention is that if you’re serious about your blog (and not just blog-spamming – which is no better than article spamming), you have only four options:
- Write your own blog posts;
- Write your own blog posts and have a good SEO copywriter with social media knowledge edit & optimize them;
- Have a good SEO copywriter with social media knowledge ghost-write your blog posts (which will cost a lot more than $10 – $25 per post); and/or
- Try to attract some good guest-bloggers who’ll do some for free.
If you’re not up for any of those options, then you can forget about blogging. It’s not for you.
In blogging, there’s no quick and easy option. Just as there’s no quick, easy way to write your corporate web copy (Home, About Us, Products, Services, etc.). Would you settle for $10 Home page copy? If you’re serious about your blog, then you have to treat it with respect. You have to value it as highly as you value your other promotional material. It may not be selling your product or service, but it’s selling something, nonetheless. Something much more important, in the long run: your brand and your reputation. And if your purpose is SEO, it’s selling to a very jaded audience: social marketers.
Social media is the key to SEO these days. And it will remain the key for a few years to come. Certainly blogging is going to be massively important for years. WHAT we blog about may change, but the ACT of blogging will be critical for a long time. The key is expertise, usefulness, credibility, frequency and accessibility. And you’ll never get that paying $10 – $25 per post.
Pay peanuts, get monkeys! And that’s all I have to say on the matter 😉