There is a high demand for writers. HIGH demand. Google “writing jobs” and you will get what I mean. So that’s the good news. The bad news is, there are plenty of writers out there who are willing to meet that demand. When there is high demand and high supply, the result is low prices for writers. I call this the dollar article – where articles can go for $1.
Dollar articles reminds me of mass produced goods.
It is cheap.
It is everywhere.
And it is contentious.
I have been there, done that – churning out articles at a rate I’d would have earned more per hour if I worked at a convenience store instead. And here goes the chorus of writers around the world who lament about their plight at being at the mercy of tight-fisted clients who have not a clue how much to pay for good writing.
Here’s the thing: if you are looking to hire writers for dollar articles, know what to expect from dollar articles.
I am going to be direct here: You get what you pay for.
Ask yourself, what kind of time and attention would a writer spend on a dollar article realistically - no matter how talented or good or honorable or professional the writer is? Even if you dangled $100 for 100 dollar articles, what would be the real usability factor of those 100 articles? And even if you did get some articles that were usable, would that writer be willing and happy to work with you on more?
A client of mine went to a website that sold services for a fiver for a magazine she was tasked to put together. (I shall not name names here.) She ended up with plenty of articles but they weren’t exactly cheap - $200. But the articles were not usable. Definitely not magazine-quality. And obviously the writer wasn’t going to re-write or edit the articles. Did she get what she wanted? No. To make the articles usable, she had to spend more hiring a competent editor and a fresh round of writers. By the time I was asked to come on board – the project was behind schedule, the ad team was held back as they did not have quality content to show to prospective ad buyers, and the budget was overun.
I am all for penny-pinching – but it still has to work. If cheap upfront means double work or delays in the end – then where are the savings?
I’m going to ruffle the feathers of some writers when I say this: For the record, dollar articles have a place and purpose in the writing world.
If you are the client, aim for error, grammar and typo free dollar articles, focused on a single topic – the more specific the better. I had a client once who managed dollar articles brilliantly. She wanted writers with specific niches and knowledge – which meant that minimal research required, less time needed. And she gave specific instructions on what kind of dollar articles she was after, right down to what to write in each paragraph. How's that for clear instructions and scope?
And writers - the next time you are offered to take on dollar article jobs - how about supporting your client by defining the scope as to what you will deliver for that price? If we do not step up to educate our clients on the real value of the work we create - who can?
From a writer’s point of view, dollar article creation can be a form of training – both technical writing skills as well as focus and discipline. Set strict limits as to how much time to spend on it. Dollar article creation are also useful as fillers in-between jobs. And if you have cub-writers or new clients, dollar-article jobs work well as starting points. I am going to go out on a limb and say that if you love writing, what will you be willing to do for your love of writing? The writing world isn't glamourous. Yes, we are all waiting to for that best-seller that will earn us millions and be part of our legacy. But in the meantime, when was the last time you pushed your limits as a writer?
Would I do it again? Let’s see. I am getting paid to get better at what I love to do. You bet I will.