Like most people who work in the marketing space, I’ve been hearing more and more about “demand media” and “content farms” in recent months and how they are either the death of quality writers or the greatest thing since sliced bread. Rather than sit on the sidelines, I thought I’d give it a test drive before forming an opinion.
First things first, this is NOT A SPONSORED POST OR REVIEW. I paid for this service with my own money. They didn’t know who I was or that I was writing a review when I placed my two orders. There is no incentive (past, present, or future) for writing this post.
OK. Into the nitty gritty. I’ve used “cheap” copywriting services before and, while affordable, the content was always hit or miss, usually with a lot more misses than hits. Most of the time it wasn’t useful for anything other than churn and burn MFA stuff. I’d given up on them a while ago and just started hiring real writers using services like the ProBlogger Job board or referrals from people I know and trust. But not everything needs to be high quality. Sometimes you need mid/low level grunt stuff that doesn’t suck and isn’t “dismembering infants” but doesn’t cost a fortune. This type of content is what I decided to test. I looked at few different services and decided to give TextBroker.com a shot.
On the main client page, they have samples you can read and pricing. I tested the $1.60 per 100 words and $2.20 per 100 words service after reviewing the linked examples. I ordered 4 pieces of 350-400 words at the $1.60 level. When the first piece came back, I was a bit disappointed. The writing was fine, but the piece had the wrong editorial “feel” to it.
It was at this point I remembered something I read in the 4 Hour Work Week about how to spec things out for a personal assistant. I realized I hadn’t done a good enough job describing what I wanted, which set the person on the other end up to fail. So I refused the piece as it was, gave a few suggestions about how to fix it, and fired it back. Within an hour I had the rewrite. While it wasn’t stellar, it was good enough for what I wanted. The remaining three articles, though (again) not stellar, were good enough. If I had done a better job up front specifying what I wanted and how/where the copy was going to live, I probably would have gotten better results. If you haven’t read Chapter 8 of the 4 Hour Work Week I suggest you do. If you have read it, skim the chapter again to remind yourself. Your results will be better for it.
For the next trial I went up to the $2.20 per 100 words level. I requested 7 articles. The pieces started rolling back a few hours later, and I was very happy with what I was getting. It may not have been flagship quality writing, but it was very good. Some writers were better than others and extremely good, but all the articles were better than average, and I was very happy with the results.
- Speed – You get your work back fast. Very fast. I ordered 11 articles and got 10 of them back within 4 hours of placing the order. The last article arrived in less than 24 hours.
- Value – You can decide how important the copy is and adjust the price to match your needs. There’s no need to overpay for something you don’t need.
- Quality – The copy was always in English, readable, and of good quality or better.
- Inconsistent Tone – Unless you select a specific author (which has a different price structure), your work is kicked into a general pool for all authors. This can lead to completely different editorial styles and a bit of a hodge podge feel.
- Prepay – You have to prepay for the service. You use paypal or a credit card and are billed the a dollar amount up front which sits in your account. You use this to order articles from. With most writers, you pay a small deposit up front or pay at the end of the month. The accelerated billing puts your costs at the front of a project.
To conclude, I can say that overall the Textbroker.com copywriting is service is one I’m very happy with and will continue to use in the future. I got an excellent value for the price, the articles delivered were of good quality, and they were delivered quickly. It won’t replace flagship content created by high quality writers, but it has a lot of value for the cost.
If you order a lot of articles, and, like me, use wordpress as a CMS for your projects, here’s a tool to make migrating the posts in easier. Get the CSV2 Post plugin from Zack Preble. Use the article export feature from Textbroker to export your articles in batch. Then use the plugin to import in batch mode. I set the publish date in the import file to a future date, so nothing publishes as result of the import. I can then tweak the articles, add images, add tags, or make any other changes. If you want to use the imported articles as pages and not posts, you’ll need Post to Page Converter Plugin.