The Problem with Content Mills, or ‘Your Business, Your Baby’
So, like most us, I’ve had a dabble here and there with content mills. Don’t get me wrong, there are some interesting projects to be found and it’s definitely a way to fill in any holes in the old bank balance if you work hard - just don’t mention barstools to me. It’s too soon. I can’t even…
I like writing
I like writing. I think it’s an honest way to make a living and I think it’s a professional skill. I’ve worked hard and spent money gathering qualifications and honing my style over the years and I know the same can’t be said of everyone. There are many folk who get the shivers – and not in a good way – whenever they have to write anything. There are some people who simply do not care for the capital letter or the humble full stop. There are some of us (who shall not be named) who I judge heavily (but secretly) on FB because I can’t quite decode whatever it is they’re trying to say (and some of them I am related to). Then there are some of us who will spend huge chunks of time arguing the merits of the oxford comma, have a preference for a chap named Fowler, and quite like the sound of the word ampersand and interrobang – go on, say them aloud, lovely aren’t they?!
I suppose it all comes down to value. If you care about your business and your brand, then you care how your website looks and how you communicate with the rest of the world, a.k.a. your customers. You want your business to have a clear, uniform style and tone of voice, and you don’t want it riddled with pesky spelling errors and a scattering of randomly placed capitals.
You know how hard you have worked, please believe me when I tell you how hard I work too.
Let me tell you a secret – you can have this one free of charge. Paying someone on a content mill in the region of a penny per word (or paying anyone by the word for that matter!) is not going to result in quality. More likely it will attract a desperate writer who does not give a flying hoot about you or the business you’ve worked so hard to create. I have seen jobs on Elance where clients want writers tethered to Skype all day for a solid ten hours, busting out meaningless content and paid at less than the minimum wage – never mind the living wage. Jobs where writers must craft 1500 words for £6 go up on there all the time and heaven knows where these poor words end up. Content mills can be horrid human word factories that produce the lowest quality product.
Rubbish v Quality
We’ve all seen those dinosaur websites, they look pants, they have a weird black and steel-effect 80’s look with rubbish pictures and millions of crappy words about each crappy product (did I mention the barstools yet?!!). None of this works, your customers do not need, or want, this!
Visitors to your beautiful website, designed to within an inch of its life, want quality. Without quality, you don’t have trust, without trust, you don’t have a sale. I would much rather invest my (very) hard-earned dosh in a great site with high quality copy and content than a kind of 80’s boy-racer site that frankly looks more than a little bit dodgy – wouldn’t you?!!
The moral of this story is…
If you want great copy and awesome content for your business, obviously your first step should be to get in touch with me, but your second step should be to know that you must invest.
Hire a great writer who you can talk to and tell them everything about your business. The more you tell them, the better they will be at writing for you. Your business is your baby and your writer is akin to that baby’s aunty – they want to know how many times it pooped, how little sleep you’ve had, and what kind of parenting regime you might be trying out. They want it to look nice in cute little clothes and they want to spoil it rotten. They want to take it out and show if off proudly as people comment on how gorgeous it is in its cute little onesie and coat.
A great writer can make a big difference to your presence on the web and your real-life interactions with customers too. Investing in a professional is the only way to guarantee the quality that your business needs to thrive and grow.
So the moral of this story? Get in touch and work with me, it’s the right thing to do.