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Hiring cheap content writing services seems like an easy solution. But how much is one piece of written content totaling approximately 500 words really worth? It is a straightforward question with no solid answer. Some cheap content writing services may charge five dollars for it, while a magazine could pay more than $100.

Because there is no real consensus on what content should cost, websites and businesses should instead focus on the true value of the work.

Why Cheap Content Writing Services Are Not Worth the Money

When formulating a content budget, it is tempting to cut corners on writing and assign a low figure. After all, there are thousands of people ready to take on the job for very little money.

Yet this does not save money and can do real harm to a brand. Here are five reasons one should avoid low-cost written content.

It tanks reputations.

Imagine an engineer visiting a site to read an article about a particular measurement tool. As they begin scanning the copy, it is obvious that the writer has never used the tool. Furthermore, the copy is rife with basic spelling and grammatical errors. There is even a typo or two.

What can one suppose that the engineer thinks of the business or individual that hosted this content? To be sure, they would not consider it a reliable source they would seek out in the future.

It turns visitors off.

When turning out fast, cheap content, many budget writers get stuck on sales. Non-stop hard selling is a very bad content strategy. This type of content does not help build a relationship with the reader or viewer.

Add in the reputation-tarnishing mistakes referenced above, and there’s little chance that the most eager prospective buyer will be sold on the product. 

It has no appeal.

Cheap content is cheap because the writer does not spend enough time and effort making it great. That includes pre-draft research, where they identify the target audience.

Without audience knowledge, the content becomes unfocused and vague. The company posting it would be very fortunate if their target audience even bothered clicking on it, as it all begins with the headline.

It is not dynamic.

To be perceived as a brand – even before being trusted as a brand – an organization must have a fleshed-out identity. Cheap content writing services do not work on areas like accompanying visual material, diverse formats, and more which comprise a complete experience.

Instead, their clients get walls of text. There is no common theme or point of interest. As for the audience, they again do not get what they are looking for.  

It can cost way more than quality content.

Following submission, cheap content requires additional work. A business might save a certain amount on cheap writing, but they will then have to pay – in either time, money, or both – to fix it.

There are also many cases where a piece is flat-out unfit. The client must then hire another writer and pay for completely new content all over again. Clearly, the best solution is to pay for quality content the first time around.

Must-Have Features of Quality Content

Cheap content writing services turn out low quality work that takes half of the time to create. But how does one spot quality content? Here are five ways to tell that a piece is worth publishing.

Useful.

Every writer should be asking what the audience can do with the content they have read. Does it help inform a purchase? Does it show them how to take the next steps in a process? For written content to “live on” and continue serving a brand, readers need to leave with a solution to their problem, or other actionable advice.

Engaging.

Speaking to a target audience automatically means the content is engaging with a particular group of people. In addition to using the tone and format that the audience wants, sites should be prepared to add visual interest to written content with high-quality photos or related videos. Writers should use relevant examples to drive their point home while ensuring the copy remains highly readable.

Original.

Here’s a dirty little secret that low-budget content writing services would never share with their clients: they do a lot of re-writes. That does not mean that they have writers re-write their work to make it better, it means that the writer regurgitates other work they find online.

They alter it just enough so that it is not technically plagiarism, but it also isn’t totally original. Unoriginal work does not attract an audience, and it also does not help a page’s rank in search results.

Factual.

Another important factor in content writing is the truth. For example, a writer working on an article would derive their information from scientific journals and studies, if available. Other types of content would rely on reputable publications and well-known authority sources. They would not make the information up themselves or link out to little-known blogs or opinion pieces. Real sources provide evidence.

Flawless.

When good content reaches the client, it does not need much else in the way of editing or optimization. It reads naturally, there are practically no errors, and the structure and length are appropriate for the purposes.

It is key to remember that even if the audience is not comprised of writers or English majors, they still know when something is poorly written and insufficiently edited. Even on a subconscious level, they will mentally rank a piece of content lower than its competitors. And that’s the most important rank of all.

Saving Money on Content

All of this is not to say that clients should expect to pay the highest estimate in order to guarantee good work. Ultimately, the best work will come from writing services with a proven track record of success.

That is why businesses should keep an eye out for services that offer decent, competitive pricing, but not the cheapest. From there, a commitment to vetting and testing their writers is important, as are reviews and references. If suitable content is fit to publish the moment it arrives, that’s a good indication it will perform better than the typical piece from cheap content writing services.