If Content is King, Are You Treating Your Writers Like Pawns?

With newspapers, magazines and trade journals folding at an alarming rate, this leaves a lot of professional writers in need of work. Many turn to the Internet where “content is king.” Unfortunately, there are content mills and public companies helping to turn every writer into a pawn, treated poorly with high demands for well-written and well-researched content while paying rates low enough to buy dinner for one at a fast food restaurant.

Business need to hire writers to provide articles, blog posts, press releases, tweets and marketing materials. But with so many professional writers and aspiring writers vying for work, it seems like a buyers’ market. Why else have the rates for writers barely improved over the past 20 years? Many companies see situation as an opportunity to get content that is good, fast and cheap. If a writer turns down 1-cent a word or less work, there are plenty of new writers willing to accept the rate.

Shall We Blame the Content Mills?

Content mils make it easy for many non-writers to call themselves writers because they are making money. Many people who had never considered writing as a profession saw writing as a way to make money from home. While the quality of online writing is definitely decreasing, the quantity continues to increase exponentially. And that is not a good thing.

With large public companies like Yahoo and Demand Media responsible for millions of articles on the Internet, while paying the writers rates most professionals would balk at, it’s not hard to understand why the average small or medium-sized business doesn’t know what a good rate is for writing jobs.

Companies can’t expect to attract top-notch writers with low rates. If professional writers do agree to a low rate, they have to write very fast to make the pay worth their time. However, the best writing comes from creating a first draft, putting it aside, and then revising it again and again and again. At $5 or $10 for 500 words, a company can’t expect much.

Smart Companies Value Writers

Smart businesses recognize that writing is a skill like any other. To get the most experienced and skilled writers, a company needs to pay them a good rate. Some companies need to be taught this, while others understand this concept but simply don’t have the budget.

Fortunately or unfortunately, there is no standard rate of pay when it comes to freelancing. Every writer has his own requirements. But most writers can agree on what an insultingly low rate is. In the content world, writers have to stop being the pawns. Demanding more respect for their skill and talent and recognizing how important writing is to any business are the first steps.

Companies need to remember that without writers, their companies wouldn’t exist. If there is no one to write ads, sales pages, press releases, emails or articles, how are customer to know about the products and services for sale? One of the best ways for a company to grow is to hire professional freelance writers at a rate that is worthy of the writers skill, talent and time.