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Friday, September 04, 2009

Marketing or Content Dumping?

Good friend Kirk Petersen sent over a link to a blog post touting using one's blog to market. Great! That's what we do here every day, right? The difference? The blog post was paired with a photo of a woman who, if she's not careful, could end up with a major chest cold. Her attributes were apparent, as was the message. Or wait - was the message apparent?

It's a post about a lot of thrown-together ideas, one of which is paying writers to write your blog posts. Here's the post in its entirety, but Kirk had pasted the gist of it in his note. It reads:

"You may shy away from blog marketing because you feel that you might not be a good writer, or simply don’t like to write. This is understandable. But the truth is that many blog marketers nowadays don’t even write their own content. They pay someone else to do it.

"In fact, you can pay someone else to write dozens of articles to keep your blog going. You can come up with ideas if you want to, but you can just as easily give your writers a broad general topic idea and have them come up with streamlined topics for blog entries. The best course of action is truly up to you, but paying writers to craft your blog entries is not expensive and may save you trouble in the long run."


Let's just guess how much the person who wrote that gripping prose was paid. But the idea that you can get "dozens of articles" written and that the cost of a professional writer is "not expensive" irks me. Yes, I've known for a while that this type of marketing "strategy" is the reason the writing profession has taken such a deep hit in the pockets. But the thing that is escaping entirely those writers who take these jobs - who exactly is your client?

How many articles must you write for some dude who wants to make $50K a year on residual income before you realize he's making the money and you're not? This is someone who doesn't know good writing if it ran him/her over. The copy you're providing? Yea, that's not exactly clip-worthy stuff. It's not just the way in which you write - it's the topics about which you choose to write. That all matters to the legitimate client.

At the moment I write for four blogs. All are on specialized topics (not generalized schlock). I get paid quite well for three of them. One is, in my estimation, underpaid. But in all cases the topics are such that any future client would see them and know I'm capable of handling her project. And I've not been ashamed to use any of them as proof of published work.

How do you know a quality job from a lousy one? Start with the pay. If it's not enough to buy a pack of gum, it's not worth your time. Quality clients aren't looking for bargains - they're looking for someone skilled enough to get their project done correctly and on time.

Also, if the client is using the content purely as a driver for all the ads on his or her site, you're not exactly associating with Fortune 500 crowds. In this business as in others, it really is about who you know. Your client's intentions will reflect on your resume whether you realize it or not.

Artwork - let's just say the woman's photo on the blog post instantly categorized the content in the "believe at your own risk" column. Anyone using t-and-a to get their message across has a very weak message. Ironically, I did see the point the author and writer was trying to make (the editor in me rewrote the thing as I read). But the wording and presentation were enough to repel me permanently from believing this was anything more than cheap, lousy marketing bordering on a "become a slum employer!" message. Don't associate yourself with someone who resorts to cheesecake to get the message noticed. That's a person who won't show much interest in paying you for good prose.

Thoughts? What are your red flags?

7 comments:

Kirk Petersen said...

Glad I'm still your friend after my snarky comment on your last post...

The reason you can't reach the article right now is that the site has been hit by a hacker... as has MINE. There is a hack that affects non-current versions of WordPress, and I'm wrestling with databases and debugging. Ick. (Your Blogspot blog should be fine, but any of your readers with WordPress blogs should click post headlines and see if they bust...)

I won't post the link article here because you chose not to use it. But let the record reflect that I didn't send you an actual porn site -- Miss Thunder Jugs was not unclad, she was just deeply cleavaged.

Oh, and I agree with everything you said. There's a huge installed base of BS blogs that are intended solely to send traffic to each other and generate pay-per-click ad revenue. A fair number of Entrecard blogs participate in this, unfortunately. A clear sign of this is a brief blog post about some consumer product with no apparent relationship to the subject of the blog, linking to the same URL three times.

Lori said...

She was indeed cleaved beyond what nature intended - and I pasted the link after all, Kirk. Thanks for sending it.

If it's any consolation, I noticed the comments on this particular blog netted people promoting their own sites/products/services. There's justice! Gee, maybe we should promote these blogs. What better way to group together the riff-raff?

Kirk Petersen said...

I hate when people post comments intended solely to drive traffic to their own blog. I never post comments with links to my blog unless my blog is directly pertinent to the article.

Wendy said...

This reminds me of a project someone wanted me to do awhile back. They had a keyword phrase and needed some articles written using that phrase. The keyword phrase was of a product that didn't sound like it even existed, so I googled it and came up with some sites that were actually splogs. (I think that's what they're called)

The sites were built around that phrase, but the "content" (if that's what you want to call them) was nothing but a bunch of jumbled words made to look like an article. Of course there was adsense on that site. I turned down the gig, but I was thoroughly disgusted that anyone would go so far as to ask a writer to contribute to this kind of junk.

Devon Ellington said...

I'm done nurturing the hacks. The reason they're writing for pennies is because they're not good enough and not motivated enough to go after legitimate clients who pair fairly.

Their excuses just don't wash. If they're not going to be responsible for themselves, that's their choice, and they get to pay the consequences.

To heck with them.

lwidmer said...

Devon, I hold that same opinion, but their actions are directly affecting us. When offline clients begin to lower prices and point to these Internet "jobs" as the reason, something must be done. Maybe instead of nurturing, tell them if they can't value themselves they should get out of writing? That's harsh, but in some cases it may wake a few people up.

I'm a Cancer. I nurture a bit anyway, so my approach is to educate 'em into submission. :)

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