The Low-Down on Low-Cost Content Solutions
Traditional media is dead.
So they say. “They” means marketers and businesses, large and small, foregoing traditional or “offline” media channels. Most opted for the more updated “online” digital marketing tools to reach out to targeted B2B and B2C clientele.
In the strictest technical sense, traditional media did not really die out but rather evolved into its digital iteration. These providers are the very same ones publishing the same high-quality features, articles and award-winning photographs – but in their digital forms.
But amidst all these digital transformations, one thing remains constant though – content.
Good, high-quality, engaging and readable (or viewable) content is the lifeblood of any marketing campaign, offline or online, digital or otherwise. Without good content, you’ll run out of audiences and all your marketing efforts will be put in vain.
So-called SEO experts tell people that quality content is the only way to effectively connect and engage with targeted customers. Businesses can hit bottom-line goals and gain faster ROI’s if they use an effective content marketing strategy. “Content is really king” but this Internet-age adage does not end there. It goes on to say that “original and high-quality content is king of kings”.
But, this is what many business owners and digital marketers completely missed out on. In their mad scramble to get a steady stream of keyword-targeted content, many rely on the services of content farms and article mills.
These providers supply articles about any topic for blogs, websites, newsletters, social media and other digital marketing channels – regardless of quality. But is it really worth investing in these so-called content farms?
SEO and the War against Poor Content
When it comes to organic or natural sources of traffic, SEO is still the most important tool business owners use to attract targeted customers. Other sources like social media are of course available and widely used. SEO, however, is a proven and reliable method to draw tons of targeted traffic – and all you need is content.
Google came up with major changes to their search algorithms. This is part of their bid to squash black-hat link builders, spammers, and websites laced with keyword-laden articles but devoid of any relevant content. The search engine performs over 400 regular maintenance updates each year. This is their commitment to rid search results with poor content and give search users what they truly need.
Search engines will continue to make changes and improve their algorithms. Website owners have only one route to give targeted audiences a great user experience – high quality content.
The Low-Down on Low-Cost Content Solutions
So, how do businesses and digital marketers produce content? They can make use of in-house resources and create content, or they can rely on outsourced materials for their campaigns.
But whether in-house or outsourced, many of these companies turn to low-cost solutions to produce the content they need. These companies may rely on content that are just “good enough” to fill up their websites up with content.
The following provides an overview of these low-cost content solution. Check them out and see if these strategies will be good for your business or not.
Automated Article Spinning
Digital technologies nowadays are so advanced that programs can now actually churn new articles based on a pre-existing ones. The program will automatically change or swap words with their synonyms. They can make changes to the sentence structure without trying to change the article’s context. You’ll then have a completely new article with just a few clicks of the software controls.
Automated article spinning is very cost-effective and fast. However, the words written in it that may sound very awkward or even meaningless to real human readers
There are certain nuances in language and writing that requires real people to execute. This gives life and meaning to the words and sentences. Article spinning software just focuses on synonyms and is not capable of such nuances
Although words are replaced by synonyms from one spin to another, the articles produced will have the same context. This leaves you with a bunch of articles that are practically one and the same
Article Spinning Services
Instead of using spinner software, these services hire and use low-paid, non-native English speakers to perform the spinning work for them.
These low-paid freelance writers appear to write the article in English. The context and the way words and thoughts flow will still appear very awkward to native-English readers.
You cannot get any new or creative ideas from content written by these article-spinning services. In the first place, they’re just re-writing (or rather changing words with synonyms) a pre-existing content. So, if you want something new and original, this is not the source for you.
Freelance writers working for these services are paid pennies, so expect penny-quality articles produced from these services.
And of course there exists the content farms, article mills, content mills or whatever names these types of providers are called nowadays. These content providers have an army of freelance writers. They churn out tons of articles on any topic, category or whatever the client wants written at very low prices.
Content written by these farms are basically serviceable articles laced with keywords clients required. Don’t expect to receive feature-quality articles or content that are well-researched and carefully planned.
These writers need to earn. Because of the low fees they receive, they write ridiculously large amounts of articles just to earn a living. Their goal is to write fast and match the word count requirement. They forego creativity or even originality in their article structure and context. Human writing machines are what they are relegated into.
Because of this, the quality of content terribly suffers. It is not unusual to find several grammatical, punctuation and sentence structure errors in articles produced by these content farms. Many are also non-native English speakers and will write in a flow and style that seems awkward for native-English readers.
Content farm writers are assigned topics about anything under the sun. In most cases, they need to write something about a topic or theme they really do not know anything about. In some cases, they are forced to write an article about a topic that they are not really comfortable writing. They end up just going through the motion of filling up pages with fluff just to meet word-count requirements.
The Content Creation Solution
Now that you’ve got a clearer understanding of the risks of low-cost content solutions, the question nagging at your mind at this point is – where to get high-quality content.
Of course, if you have the budget for it, you can form your own content marketing team. You can have a pool of researchers and professional writers to create the kind of quality content that you need. But that is not always the case.
As a small business consultant, I know that many business don’t have the same unlimited budget as other large corporations have. There are however cost-effective ways where you can have a good balance between cost and quality in producing the content you need. You don’t need to go through the risks embedded in low-cost content solutions as presented earlier. These solutions include:
Hiring the Services of Independent Contractors
Creative and high-quality content can be written and produced by qualified independent contractors, professional bloggers, and freelance writers. These writers do not work for content farms and have a great portfolio where they showcase their previously published works. These writers get in touch with their clients directly. They can also work through a freelance brokerage site that offers protection for both the client and content provider.
Legit bidding sites offer some protection against low-value content. However, some article spinners and content farms pass themselves off as professional writers. They have their own accounts and can make their moves through these bids. You may end up paying premium rates for materials that you may otherwise get from content farms
The key here is to thoroughly check the credentials of the independent contractor. Never commit to big projects unless they have proven that they are capable of giving you high-quality content that you need
Many of these freelance writers and independent contractors have full time jobs from a totally different industry. They only do freelance writing to supplement their income and may take on more projects than what they can handle. Dealing with both jobs, these writers may burn out. They eventually produce content that are not well-researched, planned, or written in haste just to meet deadlines
Several of these independent contractors are experienced professionals who have worked in various fields and industries. They are very capable or knowledgeable in the subject matter that they are writing content for. You can get assurance that the content you are getting comes from an authoritative and well-researched source
Working with independent contractors through bid sites can provide you with some protection from low-quality providers. You can always return the materials if you’re not satisfied and get it replaced with something according to your standards – or don’t pay at all
Hire the Services of Content Creation Specialists
Instead of getting materials from content farms and article mills, you can instead work with professional SEO companies and content creation specialists. These companies are qualified in producing high-quality content according to your specifications.
These companies have an in-house team of researchers and professional writers to create the content you need. They can produce the materials you need according to the timetable and specifications you required.
These companies however may require premium rates for their services. They are relatively not a cheap option as compared to content farms or hiring independent contractors directly. However, working with an established company can give you protection and assurance that you’ll be getting high-quality content for all your marketing needs.
On top of that, these SEO firms are up-to-date with the latest changes in search engine technologies and algorithms. They’ll know how to craft their content according to these new requirements.
In summary, getting the services of these low-cost content solutions will put you at a risk of ending up with very low-quality or mediocre content.
There are however, good alternatives available, short of having your own content marketing team. They may prove more costly but the investments you will pour into these efforts will be truly worth it.
If you insist on going the low-cost way, then options are available for you to explore and exploit. However, with search engines cracking down on unreadable or low-quality materials, your website will be slapped with a whole bunch of penalties that will cast you out to search engine oblivion.