When you're in need of quality content, knowing where to look can be an overwhelming process. After all, you only have so much in your budget, and every dollar matters.
Unfortunately, there is a lot of bad content out there, and if you're new to content marketing, where you source writers can make all the difference. While quality content is worth every penny (and often than some), bad content can quickly drain your budget — and nothing is more frustrating.
Luckily, knowing where to look for content writers can make this process much more enjoyable, and most importantly, successful. To ensure that your content marketing dollars are well-spent, you must explore and weigh your options. Two well-known platforms include Upwork and Scripted. While both of these platforms provide access to a large pool of writers, they are not created equal. Here's how they compare.
An Overview of Upwork
What does Upwork offer?
Formerly known as Elance and oDesk, these online freelancing platforms were rebranded as Upwork in 2015. Over the years, it has become one of the largest platforms. However, larger is not always better, especially in terms of quality.
While clients can easily post jobs and will likely be flooded with proposals, the majority of freelancers are bidding on projects, completing jobs for below a living wage. Unfortunately, this often translates to poorly written content because in most cases, quality, professional writers are not on Upwork. Although this isn't always the case, and some expert writers can be found on Upwork, finding them can be tricky, as you'll need to sift through a long list of candidates to find a writer that might fit the bill.
What are some of the pros associated with Upwork?
- It's easy to find a writer as there is a very large selection to choose from (but again, be mindful of quantity over quality)
- Easy to track time when wanting to pay hourly (fixed rates are also available)
- The rating system can help guide clients in the right direction
What about the cons?
- The application process is very lax in comparison to platforms such as Scripted, meaning that the caliber of writers may be fairly low across the board
- While it's easy to find writers, the sheer mass of candidates makes it tough to find quality options (it's challenging to distinguish quality from the mediocrity)
- Per Upwork, it takes an average of three days to hire a freelancer
How much does Upwork cost?
After tweaking their payment structure, Upwork now offers a highly transparent pricing system. As a client, you will pay x-amount for the content you need, which is paid to the freelancer. In addition, you will be charged a 2.75% processing fee. For example, if you pay $100 for a whitepaper, you would then pay the platform an additional $2.75.
However, this option is the most basic membership. If you plan to invest in Upwork Pro or Upwork Enterprise, the increased level of support and professionalism you receive will come at a higher cost. For example, when opting for Upwork Pro, you will be charged a $500 fee for each handpicked talent search + a 12.75% processing fee on the project amount. You can learn more about their payment structure here.
There is also a service fee that is charged to the freelancer. This sliding fee is as follows:
- 20% for the first $500 billed with you (the client)
- 10% when the lifetime billings with you fall between $500.01 and $10,000
- 5% when the lifetime billings with you exceeds $10,000
The idea behind this new pricing model is that it is intended to initiate higher-value, long-term working relationships. However, many writers who have been working on the platform for years (prior to the merge) have expressed their concerns. It is challenging to reach the $10,000 lifetime total with a single client, which would allow freelancers to benefit from the 5% fee.
As a client, you will notice a wide range of pricing options. However, if you hire someone who charges $5 per hour, do not expect quality work. Be realistic about what it is you need and price your job accordingly.
How does Upwork compare to Scripted?
There are a number of resources online that offer freelance suggestions (that are not Upwork).
Well, because many clients have had a poor experience after choosing Upwork. However, it is important to note that some companies have developed long-term working relationships with quality writers on this platform, and are indeed happy with the content they produce (more on this below).
For those specifically looking for a quality, reliable writing service, Scripted is often found in the short list of recommended platforms. Although we are similar to Upwork, in that we are a freelance marketplace, we take a different approach.
At Scripted, we are known for:
- The quality of work our expert writers produce. This is due to our rigorous writer vetting, as only 2% of applicants become Scripted writers. Best of all, each order comes with a satisfaction guarantee. Our clients only pay for what they love -- and with a 98% acceptance rate across the platform, there is no denying the high quality of work you'll receive.
- Our level of community, as companies develop real human relationships with the writers they work with. Whether you are messaging a writer on the platform or are scheduling a phone call, communication remains open. That way, expert writers understand exactly what it is you're looking for so that you can focus on what really matters -- your business. Writers can also pitch ideas based on your industry or suggested topic.
- Convenience, as Scripted, not only prides itself on being a professional platform but one that is also fast and easy to use. The platform itself makes it easy to order, edit, and export content. There are also analytics options so that you can better track traffic in order to maximize your marketing strategy.
In comparison to Upwork, Scripted's pricing system offers various membership tiers. This provides opportunities for businesses of all sizes to obtain quality content. Whether you are a small, growing business or a large enterprise, Scripted will help you reach your content marketing goals. Be sure to check out Scripted's Cruise Control if you're ready to kick your content marketing strategy into high gear.
Here's what users have to say about each platform
When you are interested in using a new service, it's beneficial to see what others have to say. Of course, each situation is unique and some have better experiences than others. However, honest reviews can provide you with the type of insight you've been searching for.
Starting with sitejabber.com, it is clear that the jury is split. Although Upwork received 501 5-star ratings, they also received 439 1-star ratings. This is likely based on the spectrum of freelancers available, as Upwork offers writers of all skill levels.
Of the poor reviews, there are some concerning comments. Past clients have discussed issues with management, a lack of control (resulting in "fake" freelancers), and poor quality -- just to name a few. Overall, clients believe that Upwork is a "hit and miss" platform, which should be used at your own risk.
"A complete waste of time. I should have trusted the poor reviews before signing up. Their platform is totally archaic at best. They boast over 50K jobs available, but the majority are scams or low-brow offers. Hardly worth the time and energy."
"Not superb though, not user-friendly either. I am satisfied because I found cheap labor but not quite satisfied with their performance. At first, they were excellent but then started to let me down more and more. I ended up doing the job myself which is the complete opposite of why I joined in the first place. "
"You can find some legit gigs on here, but you have to be careful because there are a lot of scams."
Depending on which site you visit, you will see mixed reviews. The majority of sites showcase an average rating of 2.5 stars. However, Upwork did receive a 4.1-star rating (out of 5 stars) on Indeed. From an employee's point-of-view, the majority of individuals were pleased with their experience.
Depending on which site you visit, Scripted has received an average of 3.5 to 4-stars. On Featured Customers, Scripted received a 4.5-star rating based on some of the following reviews:
"We published over 300 blog posts last year and we saw the most page views and revenue came from posts that listed top products."
"We have found that our clients have experienced a huge increase in engagement. The articles written by Scripted's writers receive a large number of organic social shares with no budget invested by the client other than having the content written."
"Through Scripted we've been able to greatly scale up our content production and output which has helped us create a better buyer journey for our clients. We have so much knowledge and insights within our organization that it was nearly impossible before to prepare multiple articles a week. Scripted's writers have been amazing in grasping our unique concepts and delivering excellent content that requires no in-house editing from us."
On Clutch.co, Scripted received a rating of 4.8 stars (out of 5 stars). On this site, 60% of the clients were small businesses, followed by 20% within the mid-market range, and 20% who were enterprises. Here is what some of them had to say:
"Throughout the whole relationship, we've felt that we're dealing with actual people rather than an interface."
"They set timelines that they meet, which is incredibly helpful for us."
"Scripted's work has been published on conference websites and shared more than any other content. Scripted was easy to work with, provided dedicated project writers, and responded quickly to short turnaround times and deadlines."
Poor quality content may be hurting your brand or business
The old saying, "you get what you pay for" could not be closer to the truth when it comes to online content.
Research shows that just 7 percent of marketing experts believe that their company's content is exceptional, and 43 percent say it is "meh." These are alarming stats and if you fall into the "meh" group, it's important to recognize the impact your current strategy may have on your overall growth and success. You may be pouring marketing dollars into a strategy that is less than effective — so, what's the point?
Although poor quality content will save you money upfront, it can wind up being incredibly costly in the long run. This type of content is essentially money wasted and what's even worse, your reputation may suffer. In fact, research shows that 41 percent of companies that experienced a negative reputation event reported a loss of revenue and brand value.
When it all boils down, poor quality content adds very little value in terms of rankings, conversion rates, and credibility. In comparison, quality content is engaging and shareable, helping you maximize your ROI. Meaning, where and how you source your content matters!
Businesses that find the greatest success with content marketing are consistent in terms of the content they publish and when outsourcing your content needs, it's important to find a writer who gets it. After all, your time is precious, and the more of it you waste sifting through less than ideal writers, the less effective your content marketing strategy becomes.
Don't settle — Scripted offers highly-vetted writers you can trust
While Upwork does offer some benefits, if you're seeking high-quality content that converts, it's best to stay clear from this platform. Although you may partner with select writers you can trust over time, Upwork's application process is much less meticulous, in comparison to alternatives like Scripted. Meaning, you may have a hit or miss experience — which equates to time and money lost.
On Upwork, it will be up to you to recruit writers from a massive pool of candidates, while Scripted has already done this heavy lifting for you. After all, Scripted takes a different approach when it comes to who is accepted. While Upwork offers a large selection of writers, more is not always better, especially when it comes to quality. On Scripted, clients still have access to thousands of writers. However, the difference lies in who those writers are.
Scripted only accepts 2 percent of applicants, completing the hard work in advance. No need to browse through an endless supply of writers, wondering who is actually qualified to write content you're proud to publish. By taking the guesswork out of those who are of the highest quality vs those who are mediocre, you can efficiently hire expert writers with ease.
Best of all, these quality writers bring a lot more to the table than their ability to write. Since we source writers from all background and walks of life, you will be able to find a writer that is an expert in your industry. The benefit here is that they'll understand your target audience and help you represent your brand in an impactful way.
In turn, this will help you:
- Establish trust and loyalty with your audience
- Increase audience retention rates
- Gain better social media traction and a stronger overall online presence
- Generate more leads
- Boost conversion rates
- Build credibility and authority, allowing you to rise above your competitors
This is the power of high-quality content marketing. When you source content from expert writers, the return on your investment can be immense — just as investing in poor quality content can have the opposite effect.
As discussed, Upwork works for many businesses because they want fast, cheap content. Although they can often obtain bulk content, that will not often translate to long-term growth. While there are skilled writers on Upwork, they can be tough to find. In comparison, on Scripted, the available talent has already been assessed and in most cases, categorized based on their areas of expertise.
While Upwork and Scripted showcase a fairly similar hiring process on paper, based on some of the variables discussed above, it's much easier to find a reliable writer quickly and efficiently on Scripted. This process is often more time-consuming on Upwork based on the wide range of skillsets.
When it comes to pricing on Upwork, this platform charges an additional 3 percent as a processing fee. However, there is also a 10 percent service fee on all payments to freelancers. In terms of access, there are varying membership levels ranging from basic (free) to business ($849/month). It's important to note that if you choose the free plan, you'll be limited to sending just three invites to freelancers per job post. That means you only have three chances at finding the right writer.
Although Scripted's memberships are slightly more expensive up front, there is no comparison in terms of what you'll get in return. If you're a brand or agency that is serious about growth, you can choose from self-serve basic, self-serve premium, or cruise control — which will really kick your content marketing strategy into high gear. Scripted also offers a satisfaction guarantee. Learn more here.
While both Upwork and Scripted can help you fulfill your content needs, Scripted offers consistent quality, saving you time and money. While using Scripted's all-in-one platform, you will be able to recruit expert writers, receive content, and provide feedback in one place. Best of all, Scripted offers you the option to work with a professional team, the type of that will help you scale and grow.
Ready to get started? Try Scripted for one month on us. Start your free 30-day trial today!