In this article, we’re running down the top alternatives to one of the most popular content writing services – Textbroker. Textbroker advertises itself as an affordable writing website that offers quality content, but it’s developed a reputation for a somewhat shaky level of quality. For this reason, we’ve created a list of alternatives for you to consider.
What is Textbroker?
If you aren’t familiar with Textbroker, we’ll quickly explain the service.
Textbroker is one of the oldest “content mills” around. Textbroker is a content writing service that offers custom content for business and website owners. Through a freelance platform, the Textbroker team assigns writers to create website content, like blogging, newsletters, products reviews, etc. However, the fact of the matter is that Textbroker works with thousands of writers, which means there is constant content without much supervision or quality assurance. As a result, some have found it increasingly difficult to depend on the quality of written content they receive from Textbroker.
It also doesn’t help that Textbroker consistently positions themselves as one of the “most affordable” content creation services. In other words, a freelance job on Textbroker won’t pay an experienced writer as much as their competing services, which makes it difficult for Textbroker to attract quality writers. And as a business owner looking for quality writers to create website content, you get what you pay for, as the saying goes. For these reasons, many are starting to look elsewhere for content creation. Here are some of our top picks:
Websites Like Textbroker
Writer Access is very similar to Textbroker in many ways. They have a large pool of writers with complex expertise, and they are able to match these writers with your business’s content requirements. Articles are written with your business’s goals in mind, and optimized for SEO. So far, it sounds a lot like your typical content service. The difference with Writer Access is the quality of their writers. Simply put, Writer Access pays better than many competing content services. Writers are paid based on experience level, but it typically is much more than competing content services. Additionally, Writer Access takes a smaller portion of the profits themselves. The result is higher quality writing for competitive prices. Definitely one of our top recommendations.
If you’re looking for a more personalized content creation experience, there’s Content Refined. Content Refined offers personalized content services tailored to your business, and each piece is optimized for SEO – including keyword optimization and relevance. Content Refined provides more individualized service than Textbroker. Content Refined pairs you with a project manager who will work with you to define your business’s goals, and help you create a custom content plan for meeting these goals. From there, they’ll assign the work to a writer well-versed in the subject matter. Content Refined has an extensive editing process, which ensures that the work is relevant, readable, and optimized for SEO.
Upwork is more of a “general freelance marketplace” than a standard content service. You can find all sorts of talent on Upwork, but you’ll have to be specific about it. There are many content writers of various disciplines, and each writer can set their own hourly rate.
If you’re looking to get a writing project completed on Upwork, you’ll submit a proposal, with a detailed explanation of what you want done. Then, freelance professionals can submit an application.
Our recommendation is to be prepared to pay if you want quality. There are many fantastic writers on Upwork, but they won’t come cheap. If you want a serious professional, you need to pay professional rates. Freelance professionals on Upwork are given “ratings” by past clients, so it’s not difficult to tell who the most reliable writers are. Upwork is also ideal for other sorts of freelance projects, including design, artwork, marketing materials, ad copy, and much more.
Scripted is another site that seems to be (no surprise here) quite similar to most of the other sites on this list. Once again, the difference comes down to the quality of writers. Scripted carefully vets its writers, and pays them very competitive rates. The result is a group of writers who are capable of writing quality stuff. As a client, all you need to do is join Scripted, tell them what you’re looking for (goals, CTAs, etc.), and they’ll use their SmartMatch system to pair you up with a writer to handle your work. It’s all pretty streamlined and intuitive, and we’ve been happy with the results. They’re trusted by some pretty major brands, including Adidas, LinkedIn, and IBM.
Verblio has a rather unique setup in that, once a writer is “vetted” by the service, they are free to take on just about any proposal submitted by a client. However, other writers can also choose to handle the same proposals, and the client only needs to accept one. In essence, writers “compete” for your business on Verblio. You review the submissions, and choose the ones you like best. If you particularly like the work of a certain writer, you can get in touch and work on more projects going forward. There’s a lot of quality writing to be found on Verblio if you’re willing to dig for it. So long as you don’t mind reviewing multiple submissions at a time, you’ll be happy with the quality of the work you get.
Making Your Choice
As you can see, there are many options at your disposal. Our top recommendation is to fully outline your content needs and business goals before you begin. You can’t buy proper content for your business if you’re unsure the type of content you are looking for. You need to know your business’s target market, what you’re trying to achieve with your content, and how you want these messages communicated. You won’t be satisfied with any content service if you are unable to communicate what you are looking for.
And remember, quality doesn’t come cheap. If a service looks too good to be true, it likely is. If the content service isn’t offering fair compensation, then the content you receive will be lacking in quality. That being said, we hope we’ve made this process easier for you going forward! There are many great choices out there for quality content, you just need to know where to look.
Copify is a popular content marketing service, but it is positioned in a market that has stiff competition. For high quality content, it’s best to take a look at where the experienced, established writers are to see where your business can find top-quality written content, blog writing, article writing, and copywriting service. In this article, we’ll give you a rundown of Copify’s service offerings, and also examine the top Copify alternatives for you to consider.
What is Copify?
Copify’s business model is very similar to competing content services. They offer a variety of writing services, including blogs, web content, articles, newsletters, and so on. As a client, you select the type of work you want, provide a content brief (or work with Copify to create one), and then select whether you want a “standard” article or a “professional” article. Professional articles are written by a more experienced writer, and cost slightly more. From there, Copify sends the brief to one of their qualified writers, who usually turns it around in under 48-hours.
It’s all pretty standard stuff, but what sets Copify’s content strategy apart is its low, low prices. Copify’s rates vary depending on the work, but it starts at around $0.03/word. Needless to say, their writers get paid even less than that, which makes it difficult for Copify to attract talented writers. Because of this, quality can be somewhat shaky. So if you’re looking for a content writing service with a more consistent reputation, consider our alternatives below:
Scripted has a similar business model to most of the content services on this list. The difference with Scripted is the quality of their writing team. Scripted accepts under 2% of writers who apply, and pays them above market rates, giving them a top-notch batch of writing talent.
Scripted also has a very intuitive platform. Clients sign up in a matter of minutes, outline the work they want done, and Scripted uses its SmartMatch system to match the work with a capable writer. Yes, all this means that Scripted is more expensive than most of its competitors. But if you want quality content, you need to pay for it. You get what you pay for, as the saying goes. Plus, Scripted is trusted by some pretty major brands, including Adidas, Adobe, L’Oreal, and Ticketmaster.
Content Refined offers content writing services with an extra emphasis on SEO. All of their work is optimized for keywords and relevance, which is a nice touch. Content Refined pairs you with a project manager, who works with you to craft a content brief that meets your content goals. You can be as hands-on or hands-off as you wish during the process. From there, work is assigned to their team of writers, who will deliver the content based on your desired turnaround time. Content Refined has developed a reputation for high-quality content that converts. They are SEO experts, and you can expect them to deliver content to get your business noticed.
UpWork is much more than just a content writing service. On UpWork, you’ll find freelance professionals of all sorts. UpWork allows freelancers to create profiles showing off their work. After they complete jobs, clients can rate their work. The best freelancers naturally rise to the top on UpWork, which makes it easy for clients to find quality content writing. This being said, quality work on UpWork doesn’t come cheap. Professional writers know their value, and you’ll have to spend if you want to guarantee quality writing. But unlike many other content writing services, UpWork gives you a direct line of communication with the writer, and you can work together to craft a content brief that precisely meets your goals.
Compose.ly, like Scripted above, puts a special emphasis on retaining top-quality talent. Compose.ly boasts that they only accept the top 1% of writers who apply, indicating that they are picky about who gets to write for their clients. Compose.ly works with you to craft a content brief that meets your business goals, and also offers basic SEO services for all clients. As you might expect, Compose.ly is more expensive than your average content marketing service. But if you want top quality writing, you need to be willing to shell out a bit extra. Compose.ly is a trusted service, having worked with brands such as Pacific Life, Mail Chimp, and Avvo.
Content Fly is also positioned as a “premium” content writing service. Like certain competitors above, Content Fly accepts only the top 1% of writers who apply. Clients can review each writer’s content, and only writers with consistently high reviews will stay on the platform. It’s a cutthroat environment, but the writers are paid well, so those who stick around are happy to work. And as a client, you benefit from a team of writers with consistent success. Being a relatively new company, Content Fly offers pretty competitive rates. They aren’t the cheapest service, but it’s fair value for what is offered. They also offer free rewrites and touch-ups on all work.
Of all the services on our list, Verblio has the most unique approach. As a client, you submit a brief to Verblio outlining the work you want done. The brief is uploaded to a writer portal, where Verblio’s writers get the chance to write the content if it meets their expertise. Multiple writers can tackle the same project – essentially “competing” for the client’s business. Once completed, the client can review each piece, and accept the work they like best. If you’re willing to dig for it, Verblio offers potential to find consistently high-quality content.
Which Should I Choose?
As you can see, the content writing space is competitive. With so many services offering similar value offerings, the difference often comes down to execution. In this article, we examine some of our favorite alternatives to Copify. In fact, we’d recommend any of these services over Copify itself! To find success with a content writing service, you need to have an accurate understanding of your goals. Know your business, know your business goals, and know how content will help you achieve those goals. From there, you can work with one of these services to create exactly what you’re looking for.
iWriter is a popular content writing service Using this freelance platform, iWriter advertises premium writing skill and service for rock-bottom prices. However, as is the case with many service offerings of this nature, some have found it too good to be true. In this article, we’ll examine whether it lives up to these lofty claims, and also give you several iWriter alternatives to consider.
What is iWriter?
iWriter, at first glance, is your standard content writing service. They work with thousands of writers to mass-produce written content pieces, and offer their service at very competitive prices. iWriter allows clients to purchase different ”tiers” of website content, depending on how much work, research, and SEO optimization they require. That being said, even at the ”Elite Plus” tier, iWriter’s prices are very low. The most you can spend for 1000 words of content is $72.
Of course, working backwards, lower priced content means lower paid writers. Therefore, it’s not reasonable to expect that iWriter’s writer base is comparable to what you’d expect from a more expensive service. That’s not to say that you can’t find talented writers on the platform, just that top quality writers know their worth. All this being said, if you’re looking for a more reliable content writing service, let’s check out some alternatives:
Alternatives to iWriter
UpWork is less of a content writing service and more of a ”freelance marketplace.” On UpWork, freelancers of any kind can create a profile, advertising their services to the world. Freelancers list their experience, list their expertise, and set their own prices. Clients can review their work, so the most talented freelancers rise to the top. As a client, you submit a proposal, and freelancers can contact you about the work (or vice versa). If you’re willing to put the time into building relationships on UpWork, there is fantastic content writing to be found. Just be sure to clearly outline your content goals in your proposal to increase your chances of finding the best match.
Compose.ly is quite similar in principle to iWriter. The main difference is in quality. iWriter carefully vets its writers, claiming to accept less than 1% of those who apply. iWriter also pays its writers much higher rates, which also means their service is quite a bit more expensive. But the level of quality tends to be much more reliable as well. Basically, you can expect high quality content from Compose.ly, but you can also expect to pay more for it.
Compose.ly also offers basic SEO optimization for their writing services. Compose.ly performs keyword research, and optimizes content to help it rank on Google. Compose.ly positions themselves as a premium content writing service, and we’ve found that they uphold this reputation. They are more expensive than iWriter, but the difference is noticeable.
Verblio has a rather unique setup in managing proposals and assignments. As a client, you submit proposals to have content written. You have a chance to outline your brand voice, content goals, and content outlines. From there, the proposal is uploaded to a writer portal, where Verblio’s pre-vetted team of writers can access the work, and write the content if it matches their expertise. Essentially, multiple writers can “compete” for your proposal.
Once the work is completed, you are free to review it, and you can accept the content that you like best. As long as you are willing to put in the effort to review the work yourself, you are likely to find something you are happy with. Verblio is priced competitively, and their writing team is competent. If their unique business model sounds good to you, then give them a shot.
Content Fly is a new company, but they’ve developed a solid reputation. Similar to Compose.ly, Content Fly invests their efforts into hiring top writers, claiming to accept less than 1% of those who apply. Also similar to Compose.ly, they charge more than their competitors for content. In other words, you can expect quality content from Content Fly. Content Fly offers a streamlined platform. It only takes a few minutes to join and submit a proposal. Proposals can be as detailed or basic as you want, but we recommend you clearly lay out your goals so you’re happy with the work you receive. Once a proposal is submitted, you can expect your work within a few days.
Content Refined takes a bit more of a personal approach to content writing. From the outset, you’ll be paired with a project manager, who will work with you to outline your content goals, brand voice, and so on. From there, they’ll work with you to create a custom content plan, which includes SEO tactics to help content rank. From there, they’ll pass on the work to one of their pre-vetted writers, and the work will be completed according to the deadline. Content Refined works with a diverse group of writers, who have expertise on many different subjects and topics. If you’re looking for a more personalized approach, check them out!
The Bottom Line – Pick The Service Best For You
In this article, we’ve given you a wealth of options to choose from for your content writing needs. The best choice is just the choice that best matches your needs. Before you consider any content writing service, you need to consider what you are looking to achieve with your content. Examine your business, examine your goals, and decide how content will help you meet those goals. This way, you’ll be able to work with a content provider to create a proposal to help your business succeed.
There are many quality options above, but it will be difficult to be satisfied with any option if you don’t know what you’re looking for. We hope you’ve found our list helpful. We know it can be difficult to sift through the crowded content marketing space. Good luck in your next content endeavor!
Well-developed content is the key to effective branding, but finding good content writing services for your business is harder than it seems.
Branding is the process of influencing customers to perceive your business in a particular way. It’s much more than catchy taglines and colorful logos. Engaging, consistent, and high-quality content impacts your audience much more than any other branding technique.
Creating cohesive content as a way promote your company cannot be overlooked. In fact, 11.58% of marketers agree that creating original content is the most effective way to promote a brand, outperforming even videos and other graphics.
As a business owner, you may not have time to create original content. You have enough to do running the business. Even if you do have. some time to devote to content development, it’s not as easy as it looks. Creating effective, high-quality content requires expertise, including SEO knowledge, writing skills, and finding the right tone.
If you don’t have the time to create your own content or want something engaging and effective but aren’t sure how to get it, don’t worry. There are many content writing services out there with thousands of skilled writers who can deliver just what you need.
Your List of the Top 10 Content Writing Services
Your search for the ideal content developer ends today. Here are ten of the best content writing services that can create the content you’ve been dreaming of.
Media Shower only hires professional journalists with extensive knowledge of a massive range of subjects to ensure they provide you with high-quality content every time. Their experts review each piece thoroughly before sending anything to clients.
Unlike other content services, you do not have to hire an individual writer. When you place an order on Media Shower, you hire a group of qualified writers and a dedicated editor to work collaboratively on your project.
Media Shower offers custom pricing based on the content type and length, industry, and target audience.
All writers on Media Shower are experienced with excellent track records.
This service provides just about any type of content, including articles, blogs, brochures, and even social media posts.
They offer complete content development and management services. You just need to place an order, sit back, and wait.
Media Shower offers custom pricing and lets you know the cost of a project before confirming your order.
Media Shower offers full-service marketing, a valuable tool for business owners looking to outsource marketing.
You can rest assured that your project is in safe hands. The experienced pool of Media Shower writers ensures that each project meets the quality standards.
Expert editors review all the content developed at Media Shower.
It is the ultimate solution to all of your content marketing needs.
The overall cost of developing a project on this platform is pretty high. Considering the experienced associates and the quality of the content they deliver, we do not feel their pricing is reasonable.
You cannot contact any of the Media Shower writers directly or appoint them to your company. Instead, you have to pay the monthly fees to work with their writers.
Content Refined is a high-end content development solution and the toughest competitor to Media Shower in terms of quality. The platform offers standard packages for developing, editing, and releasing website content.
Jon Gillham, the author of Website Income, is the founder of this content writing platform.
The best part about working with this company is that it has expert supervisors to monitor the production stage. Content Refined is the ultimate SEO solution for better search engine rankings.
Compared to Media Shower, Content Refined offers its services at a more reasonable price. It may be more expensive than regular content services, but you should expect to pay more for premium content.
Expert writers naturally integrate keywords in your project for better optimization.
Unlike Media Shower, registration with Content Refined is not limited to professional journalists. But dedicated editors ensure that each piece of content meets the same quality standards.
The platform includes extensive descriptions and portfolios in the writers’ profiles.
Content Refined has fixed rates per word. So, you do not have to pay extra for complex projects.
Besides offering full-time content production and management services, Content Refined offers effective marketing assistance to its clients.
Content Refined is a complete content solution that will help you grow your business.
You can easily contact their project managers to place an order or inquiry.
It offers additional services for keyword research and usage.
The company has a fixed rate per word and offers custom pricing for interested clients.
There aren’t many disadvantages of using Content Refined. They might charge more than other platforms, but they deliver way better content.
If you want mediocre content at a cheaper price, then you might choose other alternatives.
Upwork is a massive worldwide platform where you can hire all types of freelancers, not just writers.
There are skilled writers on UpWork, and you may find one – if you’re lucky. The sheer number of freelancers registered on this site makes it hard to find the right fit.
As this is not a dedicated content writing platform, all it does is match you with a writer. You and your freelancer have to work together to develop a content plan.
When you hire a writer on Upwork, you can pay them at an hourly or per-project rate. Upwork charges you 2.5% on each transaction.
As a client, you need to be practical about the pricing. UpWork might seem like a cheaper solution since you’re working one-on-one with a writer and can negotiate your rates. But remember, you get what you pay for. You cannot expect high-quality content when paying $2 to $5 per hour or when you’re only offering $10 for 1,000 words. If you offer too little for a project, it attracts low-end writers and even spambots.
Compared to the exclusive content services, the processing fee is low.
You can hire a good writer at an affordable rate, but it can take weeks to find the right one.
You can contact the writers directly.
Finding a suitable candidate may be a tedious job since so many freelancers are registered on the platform.
You have to vet the writers yourself, and you cannot be sure what candidates are competent.
You have to monitor and manage the project yourself or hire another freelancer to help.
TextBroker is a unique content service platform where you can find thousands of professional writers. Client reviews and ratings on each writer’s profile help you get some insight into their skills and competency.
What is unique about this platform is that it offers original content in ten different languages. TextBroker also offers complete content management services at $25.00 per project.
It offers a massive pool of writers with more than 100,000 available.
TextBroker has ten different platforms, each dedicated to a particular language.
You can hire the best writers on this platform at an astonishing 25 cents per word rate.
TextBroker charges higher processing fees than other content services.
Its project management services are expensive as well.
The writer profiles do not have enough room for sufficient information, making it difficult to determine their skill level.
Writer Access is an intuitive and user-friendly platform where you can find competent writers for your business. It has a relatively small writers’ pool with approximately 15,000 writers.
Writer Access has categorized its writers into six groups based on their experience, skills, and subject of expertise, and you can access them for a meager processing fee. Each category also has a fixed hourly rate; however, you may offer a flat rate and wait for interested candidates to contact you.
This site allows you to search profiles for the skillsets you need. Writers can add more than 300 skillsets to their bio.
You can subscribe to their premium plan at $39 per month with no minimum commitment; however, you can try out this platform with a 14-day free trial membership to determine if it’s right for you.
Writer Access also offers project management services at an additional cost of $349.
This platform allows you to take as much time as you need to locate the perfect candidate for your project.
Its management services cover all your requirements.
You can post an open project where writers bid to claim it and hire a freelancer from the interested candidates.
There are a limited group of writers to choose from.
Its pricing is set way too high considering sites like Content Refined offer more advanced services at lower rates.
Mixed customer reviews create confusion regarding the accuracy and quality of the content. We recommend hiring a writer from the top category for a better experience.
Constant Content is a paradise for those looking for freelance writers, and you can connect to an experienced content developer in no time.
This content writing service is one of the most expensive for business owners. We call it the writers’ paradise because a writer can demand any amount they please for a project.
Moreover, the website charges a whopping 35% processing fee from its writers per project, adding to the total cost.
Constant Content is one of the most reliable writing platforms. It tests the competency and grammar skills of each writer before they can register on the site. But we’re not sure this justified the expense.
You can order content in multiple ways, whichever suits you.
Although the writers have the privilege of deciding the price of a project, you get many options to choose from. Knowing that each writer can develop high-quality original content is reassuring.
Ordering on Constant Content ensures you grammatically perfect and well-structured content.
You can never get the upper hand in negotiation.
Its review process is too lengthy.
You cannot contact the writers directly.
In addition to the high cost of content, this platform charges a 35% processing fee.
Zerys is the go-to content writing platform for small and medium-sized businesses and freelancers. Here, you can reach out to a writer at your convenience, or you may post an open project for writers to bid on.
Zerys offers excellent customer support and allows you to request a revision if you are not satisfied with a delivered project. You only pay for the content after you get a well-structured project that you’re happy with.
This service is the bridge that connects business owners like you to skilled content developers, and it also offers content management and marketing services at an additional cost.
You can check the client rating on the writers’ profiles to verify their competency before hiring them.
You pay for a project only when you are 100% satisfied with its content. Otherwise, you may request revisions as many times as you want.
You can find writers with an hourly rate as low as $0.01, but you will mostly find amateur candidates at this rate.
Editing services are not included in the project fees.
You cannot hire management and marketing services, even if you are willing to make an additional payment.
The client rating system is often confusing, as the same writer may have five-star and two-star reviews.
iWriter.com is among the best content development platforms. It is a distinctive service provider designed by a former affiliate marketer and online business owner. iWriter.com’s interface may not be as sophisticated as other content services, but they offer experienced and skilled creators.
The web pages on the platform are simple and easy to navigate. You can quickly locate suitable candidates for your project, but you have to make an advance payment to prove your authenticity.
Many client reviews and writers’ feedback suggest that some of its web pages have technical glitches, and projects may often disappear.
iWriter has a lower commission rate compared to other alternatives.
Project submission is a simple process on this website, and you can add a lot of details.
It may take days for a writer to claim your project.
The website contains a few technical glitches.
You must make an advance payment for submitting a project.
There are not many details about the writers in their profiles.
WordAgents is an American content creation platform that offers SEO articles and blogs. You can order content from this site to scale a website at an affordable price and rest assured that the content is 100% original and written by an SEO expert. The ordering process is simple and allows you to send proper instructions and outlines to the writer.
You can order individual projects, but WordAgents lets you order bulk content for fast delivery. The platform can deliver 10,000 words of content within 7 days, making it easy for business owners to develop all the content they require at once. Plus, you may enjoy significant discounts when ordering bulk content.
You can order content in bulk and save money.
Writers provide in-depth research and keyword optimization.
The content is developed by expert American writers.
It promises a proofreading and plagiarism check, fast delivery, and two rounds of revision.
Small orders can be expensive.
WordAgents offers content only in US English.
Management and marketing services are prices too high.
The last content writing service provider on our list is Verblio. This platform has more than 3,000 US-based developers to offer you a diverse content production service for different industries. You are likely to find an experienced writer with extensive knowledge of your industry.
Verblio claims to be a content marketing enthusiast with its widespread network. It offers various content styles, including eBooks, product descriptions, social media captions, and even video content.
If you subscribe to its Pro services, you gain access to topic ideas, content strategies, and SEO assistance. Verblio also offers an easy-to-use dashboard to check the status of your order, history, and pending projects.
This site is different from the alternatives. Here, multiple writers pick a project and submit their content on Verblio. You can review each project and choose the best one to purchase.
You can order all types of content on this site, and it offers topic brainstorming and SEO assistance.
There are flexible subscription plans to choose from.
High-quality content is available from niche industry professionals.
Several writers create content for you, and you choose the best among them.
It is very rare, but sometimes you may not find a writer for your projects.
You get to choose the content, but the writer gets to decide the price.
When you need a cohesive content strategy, finding the right content writing company is the key to success, but that’s not always easy to do. The ten content creation services we mentioned are some of the best options out there, and each has something unique to offer.
Remember, choosing the least expensive company isn’t always the best option. When it comes to content creation, you get what you pay for. Some of the writers on these platforms may be unprofessional or inexperienced, so choosing a company with a reputation for quality is essential.
If you are building a website with the goal of generating traffic/making money your two most important hires are a VA and a Writer.
After some recent discussions with a couple people I am helping coach/consult with it became clear that these are the 2 most critical first hires!
This post will share with you how to find, hire, fire and manage both roles.
What This Post Will Cover:
My 5 Simple Rules for effectively hiring and managing a virtual team
My experience (including the number of hires I have had via UpWork)
How to Hire a VA
How to Hire a Writer
5 Simple Rules for Hiring and Managing a Virtual Team:
Hire Fast (no interview)
Hire more than you will eventually need (hire 3 if you need to fill 1 role)
Fire Fast (as soon as it is clear they are not an A player whether it is 1hr or 1week cut them loose ASAP)
Keep them consistently working
Have a system to track and manage their output with clear expectations of results expected of them and a way to feedback to them their performance
Over the past 9 years me and my team have hired A LOT of people via upwork (1,539!!)
But it all started with my first VA and a writer.
Here is a snapshot of what is reported via UpWork…
How to Hire a VA:
Hiring your first VA is a crtical step that I believe everyone looking to build a substantial online business should pursue.
The benefit of having a skilled VA that works closely with you to help with your business is huge! I have many that have been with me for A LONG time and I would not be able to operate without them.
I have mentioned it before but…
One started at $0.5/hr and rose to $6/hr!
One I was recently named as a god-parent for (among about 15 others)
Here is my refined approach to hiring a VA which I first shared over 3 years ago here
Of course you know I love sharing detailed tutorials and not just theory…so here it is… something that people have been asking for…exactly how I go about hiring virtual assistants.
Step 1 – Sign up at UpWork
The sign up process at UpWork.com is straightforward. You simply sign up and attach a credit card to your account.
Even though they have raised their fee structure the talent pool and management systems still have me using it.
Step 2 – Post a Job on UpWork
Post a job on UpWork. For me I used a very simple job posting in the administrative general category.
Some people like to use hidden keywords to qualify applicants or say no form cover letters. To me it only makes sense people would use form cover letters when the success rate of job posting has to be around 1/50 so who would spend time creating a unique cover letter. I wouldn’t so I don’t punish people who don’t. The bottom line is I don’t want to hire the VA with the best application I want the best VA at their job so the more applicants for me to select from the better! The ability with UpWork to see who is serious and who is not is easy with their previous work history so I don’t use the cover letter to judge how serious an applicant they are.
For most job postings dozens will apply in only a few hours.
I like to keep the momentum going of someone who just applied and hire them as soon after they applied as possible.
This momentum when managing VA’s is critical right from the start. When I hire someone I want to ensure they continue to progress through the work without a break…if a great VA has a 1-2week break from being assigned work they often are hard to get restarted.
When I have hired someone who applied to the job longer than 24hrs ago I notice a decline in their responsiveness. My focus in this phase is to keep the momentum moving and the cycle time from application to hired short.
Step 4 – Sort through the List of Applicants
Here are the 4 measures I use to find the best possible VA.
How many hours has the person worked on UpWork (~30% weighting) – The more hours the better, what often can occur is someone will sign up on UpWork, apply to a job but then never follow through on the assignment. Someone that is making a living on UpWork will be certain to deliver results for you and protect their positive feedback.
UpWork Feedback (~30% weighting) – Reviews are not good enough to sort out the top 50% but they can be reliable on cutting out the bottom 25-50% of applicants. If someone is below a 4 rating I would stay away. However, someone that has a 4.91 is not necessarily better than someone with a 4.78…reviews just are not to be trusted that much in my opinion.
Matching Skill Set (~20% weighting) – In my case I am looking for someone who has done similar work including WordPress, research and some SEO work. If they have another bonus skill I can’t efficiently teach I consider that as well such as graphic design or the ability to code.
English Skills (~20% weighting) – I want to find someone who does not have any broken English in their application. Whether it is selecting a category for a post or crafting a tweet their English skills need to be decent enough to put together a non-broken sentence.
Step 5 – Hire the 2 Best VA’s for the Blind Experiment
Based on the criteria above hire the 1-3 best potential VA’s with no interview. Simply select the 2 best and hire them.
Here is where the blind experiment method comes into play. Without an interview I just go ahead and hire someone then in the next steps there is the “experiment” to prove who is the best VA.
When the cost of making a hiring mistake is high (such as in real life) it makes sense to be as thorough as possible… however, in the online world where ending a contract costs only the few hours the candidate was working you can save yourself a TON of time bye not doing any interviews.
Step 6 – Assign Short Term Research Assignment
Once the VA’s have been hired it is time to send them their first assignment. It is important to follow up with the instructions right after you have hired them. The assignment I am looking to assign is something that is simple and will prove to me if they have what it takes.
Example of the 2 assignments I am going to assign…
Research Assignment #1 – Find 30 scholarships for College students in the US who are from China. Create a Google spreadsheet and share it with JonHaver11. I would like you to include the name of the scholarship, the URL of the scholarship and a copied short description of the scholarship. Please confirm you have received these instructions by emailing me at jonhaver11 immediately after being hired and send a very brief email daily with your progress (# found) and any questions you have. I would like this research completed within 2-3 days.
Research Assignment #2 – Find 30 scholarships for College students in the US who are from Canada. Create a Google spreadsheet and share it with JonHaver11. I would like you to include the name of the scholarship, the URL of the scholarship and a copied short description of the scholarship. Please confirm you have received these instructions by emailing me at jonhaver11 immediately after being hired and send a very brief email daily with your progress (# found) and any questions you have. I would like this research completed within 2-3 days.
That is it! I like to provide more detail on all future assignments but this clear enough but not too detailed job will show me what kind of person they are.
Step 7 – Review Work Completed by the VA’s
The review of their work starts with their communication, I like to see the confirmation come shortly after being hired saying they understand the job. If I get a ton of emails asking simple questions like “how do I create a Google Document” or anything they could easily learn with Google then I know they will be a burden on me or my team leads time and not free it up. If they are crisp with their daily communication and deliver great results in an organized fashion within the timeline then I know what kind of worker they are.
Using this test assignment has been a huge help to me and my team in terms of weeding out low performers before they have been a drain on my team.
The 4 basic skills I am looking at during this phase is…
Speed of communication
Quality of communication
Quality of questions they ask
Quality of final piece of work (did they “get it”)
Step 8 – Fire Lowest Performing VA
In the past I have spent time trying to train up low performers to make them high performers. However, I am now very convinced my time is far better off training up my best performers and churning through VA’s until I find some stand outs who can be top performers.
WARNING – You will get many emails after you end the contract of the VA asking to be re-hired and providing many passionate pleas why you should hire them. It does hurt to say no to some people. If I think I gave them a fair opportunity I can’t get too worked up about ending their contract but it still sucks. So if you plan on following my no interview hire 2 fire 1 strategy be aware there is pain associated with it.
Step 9 – Manage and Train Your VA
This step deserves its own section but here are some basic instructions that will ensure you are effectively managing a VA…
1. Require daily updates via email…
What has been done
What the plan for tomorrow is
Any issues that have come up
2. Use a Google Document that includes training, tasks and work completed
3. Provide consistent feedback both positive and constructive. Aim for a ratio of 4:1 positive to constructive.
How to Hire a Writer:
Much of this is the same as I wrote back in 2012 and although the cost per article has increased the principles still hold.
3 Hard Earned Lessons
Good writers are typically “flakey” and will disappear without notice so always have some backup
Native English writers is an absolute requirement
Paying promptly and communicating well will help reduce the churn typically experienced with good writers
My System for Hiring Writers…
Getting high quality articles written for a very low cost is a key strength for my online business. In this article and for the first time I share exactly how I get high quality articles created cheaply.
Here is how I get a 500+ Word High Quality Article Written for $8
ONE - Identify Articles to Be Created
I have a ONE simple Google Document spreadsheets for my various projects with a typical list of…
Type of content (Pillar 2000-4000 word article or 750 word blog post with a little bit of information added here to help guide the writer)
Link to eventual Google document of the article (for when the article is created)
Link to published URL (either on my site or another page online)
TWO - Post a Job on UpWork
The job on UpWork doesn’t have to be anything special. The key to hiring good writers is understanding what they are looking for and providing it.
My ideal writer is looking for an opportunity to get 5* feedback and steady work. I am looking for someone who is…
A Native English Speaker (USA, Canada, Great Britain, Australia)
Has writing experience
Newer to ODesk and looking for experience/exposure
Returning to the workforce and hungry to prove themselves
These qualities typically reflect themselves in a stay at home mom or recent college graduates who are looking to get experience.
Here is my article writing job posting I like to use…
Article Writer Post
I have a quick 5 article writing job if you are interested in getting some 5* feedback on your ODesk profile and potential long term work.
I will provide you with the article titles and would like you to research them and then write 750 word articles
Required: – Native English – Interested in completing this job quickly for the fixed bid amount and receiving 5* feedback – interested in potential longer term writing assignment after the successful completion of this job – Bid at or below the $40 for 5 articles
THREE - Hire 2-3 Writers for Each Group of Keywords
No need to interview since there is very little you can learn to better inform your decision. By not interviewing you take on 2 risks…
Writer is not serious and does not complete the work – However, I don’t believe interviewing would reduce this risk and the consequence of not getting your articles is minor since you are hiring 2 writers for each group of keywords.
You receive of sub-par quality content – Again, this risk is minor since you have 2 writers working for each group of articles and if the content is decent(which it almost always is) but just doesn’t add enough value it can be used as an article on my Private Blog Network.
Many people will disagree with me on this but hiring them right away without an interview saves me a lot of time!
If schedule is not important to you and you have a lot of articles ready to be written it can be a good strategy to assign articles 1-5 for one writer and 6-10 to another. By doing this if you do end up with 2 great writers you can use all the articles on your money site.
FOUR - Send Them a Message with Instructions
Here are the instructions I send via UpWork as soon as I hire them, this email is nothing special but lays out what deliverables are expected and when they are expected.
A great podcast if you are interested in running an efficient team is Manager Tools who teach the basic principle of project management is defining “who is doing what by when”.
One change I made to this template that improved the number of writers that completed their articles was asking for a small action right away “email me confirming you have received and understand these instructions”.
—- Email Template —-
Welcome to the team. I really look forward to working with you!
My name is _____ and I am the team lead here, please email at _______ to confirm you have received this email right away.
If you ever have any questions or concerns you can get in touch with Jon the owner at _______
Here are the 5 articles each article needs to be 750+ words and 100% unique…
Following the general instructions provided at the link below (specifically section 4)
Quality – Review the article to see if it is good enough to go onto the website, again if it’s not it can be used at a Web 2.0 property or private blog network.
I then have my team leader move each article to a dropbox folder and share the link on the google document.
SIX - Publish Articles (more to come in future posts)
Once the articles required are available (uploaded to dropbox folder and added to the content tracking spreadsheet) my content publishing VA is triggered to get the articles published on the given site.
Another complete post could be created on the different ways to ensure quality content is published.