Message For Content Users, Content Writers & Content Mills

Hello Everyone!

I’m pleased to be back here after an unanticipated absence. Before I move forward with today’s post, I want to address something.

Anyone who visits my blog is welcome to leave a comment. However, I just marked 6 comments as spam, mostly from the same place, because they had suspicious links or took me to websites that had no connection to my blog, or to me for that matter.

I don’t have time for this. If you have no intention of reading my blog but want to use it for unauthorized self-promotion, you’ve come to the wrong place. Please do not spam me.

If you have a legitimate business proposition for me or wish to work with me, there are proper channels to work through.

Now that I’ve got that out of the way, here’s my Message for Content Users, Content Writers & Content Mills.

Something has happened in online marketing. I’m not alone in saying this but it’s disturbing. It’s specifically related to content.

If you’re marketing your products or services online through a blog or website, you’re probably aware of the phrase, “Content is King.”

That being said, I am an ambassador of the King for sure. I write content for a living, mostly for business services. I’ve done more than 300 content pieces for clients ranging from roofing companies, dentist offices, travel companies, even a couple cryptocurrency marketers, just to name a few.

I take their subject, research it as necessary, pick out main points that match the client’s aim for the piece(s), and then I write and edit the content.

If you have never done this for anyone on any level, you should know that it’s WORK. In fact, it is very often hard work. If you’ve worked hard for anything, you expect to be compensated fairly.

Well, I’m in favor of all good content writers being compensated fairly. More to the point, I think they should be compensated way more fairly than they are as a general rule.

Granted, experience and ability come into play here. Ideally, a writer of any kind should be charging fees that justify their ability.

But imagine someone like me, with over a decade of experience, a successful record in a variety of niches, with praise and positive reviews to boot, not gaining a client SOLELY on price?

First of all, I am NOT THAT EXPENSIVE to begin with. My rates are either at or below the averages for the kinds of projects I’ve done.

So what’s the problem? In the past, MY problem was selling myself short. In all candor, I should be earning more money. So the implication is that I should be charging more – not for the sake of charging more, but for the sake of earning what I’m really worth.

But the other part of the problem is that many prospects I deal with have the mentality that they can get Rolls Royce quality on a Yugo budget.

Not here they won’t.

Anyone who even nominally uses content marketing knows that the quality of the content is highly important. Why?

Quality content does at least 4 things:

  1. It gives real value to your readers and keeps them engaged.
  2. It helps readers see you as an authority, who may one day pay you for a solution they need.
  3. It can help transition people from being readers to buying customers.
  4. It keeps you ranked in the search engines the right way.

If you want a writer to achieve one or more of these things, then you should be willing to pay a fair and reasonable fee to the writer to do that.

Let’s get one thing straight, though. I don’t just mean “fair and reasonable” to YOU; I mean for the writer too. If they’re good, and they charge a certain fee, there’s a reason.

Generally speaking, a writer’s pay should not be dictated by a customer’s budget. Of course, if a writer feels they can work with it, that’s their choice. And while no writer will charge exactly the same fees for each project in every place, there’s no need to complain to the writer because their fees are too high.

Bottom line, if you want “Rolls Royce” results, you better be willing to pay the price. Let’s illustrate this.

Let’s say that you owned a restaurant. You have a menu with set prices for each item, whether it’s an appetizer, beverage or a meal.

Now imagine someone comes in and orders a meal from you. The wait staff asks them how they’re enjoying the meal, and they reply with enthusiasm, or something on the lines of “compliments to the chef”. In other words, it was a good, quality meal.

After a bit, they receive the bill for the meal. Let’s say it’s $10.00.

Now imagine that same enthusiastic person going to the cash register and asserting that they are only going to pay $3.00 for the meal.

Would you allow this person to get away with that in YOUR restaurant? I venture to guess that you would NOT.

Or, can you imagine walking into a Mercedes-Benz dealer with a 100-dollar bill and expect to walk out with a brand new car?

This is what’s happening to a large degree in the industry, except in circles that VALUE and APPRECIATE what content writers and copywriters do.

Trying to stiff a writer, not because they failed to do the work, but because you simply want to pay less, is like that customer who enjoyed your food but didn’t want to pay the price you charge for it.

You probably know people who expect everyone to pay their prices, but put up a fight to pay everyone else what they charge.

This is what’s happened to content writing. It’s become more of a price war than a quality war.

You content writers out there – if you’ve gotten to a point where you can deliver results, DO NOT SELL YOURSELF SHORT. If writing is all you do to make a living, and you can deliver quality, charge the right price without gouging, but enough to justify your skills and ability. Don’t be afraid to tell your prospects about it either. Tell them the value you’re giving them for the fees.

Something quick about content mills…if you’re a beginner with some strong writing skills and some good samples, this could be a good place for you to get some experience under your belt.

But be advised that they generally do not pay well. Most will not pay better than 3 cents per word, and you would have to accept that – for a while. Every successful assignment will lead to more, or in rare cases, better paying work.

Just don’t lean on it like a crutch. If you’re good enough, consider going out on your own. If you market yourself enough, and in the right places, you’ll get clients. But be willing to work hard at it and stick with it.

You content mills – I may have worked for some of you, and I appreciate the experience I gained. But you truly do not value your writers as you should.

Sure, you have to get the clients. I get that, because I have to do it too. And maybe you know how to edit, and of course, you have expenses.

Some of you may be aware that some or many of your writers may be in a situation where writing is their only hope to earn a living. They have expenses and responsibilities too.

You can’t just play it off by saying stupid crap like, “Your problem has nothing to do with us/me.” It may be true, but that is a cop out.

You rely on writers to make your business thrive and prosper. Their well-being should be your concern.

So maybe you should consider this: If your writers are doing their job the way you expect and helping you keep your customers, building your reputation and making you money, there’s no doubt that quality will improve. Then you can charge your clients more so you can pay your writers better.

And why not? If they keep getting better and better, bringing in more business, they ought to be rewarded for doing so.

It’s easy to take your cut and just go on ignoring your writers’ concerns and complaints, but let me say this to you:

Without your writers, you wouldn’t have a business!

I know for a fact that content mills generally have a lot of turnover. Part of the reason could be performance, but it’s a very small part. Some of them are leaving for other reasons.

Could one of them be lack of livable wages? I think so.

So stop regurgitating the same excuses, like “Well, that’s just the way it is in freelancing.”


Freelancing gained in popularity because of the meltdown in 2008. Companies were laying off hard-working people left and right and the job market was a mess. Many turned to freelancing. I could be wrong, but maybe some of you folks running content mills also turned to freelancing.

It was supposed to be an alternative for making a livable wage, not a device for turning hard-working people into slaves yet again after being sacked from their previous master.

So I conclude here, after a much longer post than I planned, to say I think it’s time we bring things into balance.

Who is with me?

Regards, Mark

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