When English Isn’t Enough
When it comes to outsourcing and hiring freelancers, content writing is probably the trickiest field. On its face, the reason is simple: There’s nothing quite like content from a native English speaker, and they don’t come cheap. Sure, you can outsource content writer from countries as Pakistan, Japan or the Philippines, and you’ll get near-native quality content, but it’s still not quite US or UK native, which can make all the difference.
Foreign writers VS native writers
Browse around Upwork.com, and you’ll see projects for $25, $15, even $10 per 500-word blog post. Even the $25 price, however, isn’t likely to attract too many natives. Instead, you’ll see that writers who take on these projects are likely Indian, Pakistani, or Philippine. And while their grasp of English may be good, it’s likely to fall short in critical areas that will cause your content to be annoying or difficult to read by natives. In some cases, natives will simply leave a page rather than gamely trying to plow through a post where the writing is just a little bit “off.”
Here are a few common problems with these lower-priced writers that may seem small but can cause you serious headaches:
Will the article include contractions? Conversational English is loaded with contractions, and for the most part that’s how natives like to read their content. The problem here is that even many natives from the Philippines simply don’t use contractions. They’ll say things like “You will need to…” rather than “you’ll need to…” A tiny difference taken by itself, but it slows readers down and makes your content less engaging.
How about those colloquialisms? English, both UK, Australian and American, is loaded with colloquialisms. What do colloquialisms do? They make the reader feel like the author is someone just like them, which can work wonders for brand awareness, PR and marketing campaigns. Used correctly, they can make the content come alive to your target market. Used incorrectly, they can go over like a lead balloon. A writer who has mastered the art of utilizing colloquialisms in their content is worth a few extra dollars in that aspect alone.
Will the writer be able to correct their mistakes? American and British writers can most certainly drop the ball when it comes to grammar or word choice. English writers from other countries can make these errors as well. The difference tends to be that native writers can see these mistakes, acknowledge them and correct them. A writer from a country like Pakistan may not even realize that they’ve made a mistake in the first place. So then what do you do? Do you spend valuable time that you could have otherwise used to grow your business correcting each article? Wouldn’t your business be better off if you spent a little more money up front for a quality, reliable writer who makes fewer mistakes and can easily correct any errors that they do make?
These are some of the sticking points when it comes to outsourcing writing tasks.
Quality and service
As a content marketer more concerned with quality and service than quantity, I go about shopping for writers a little differently. I don’t always consider the rate first and foremost; rather, I focus on whether the content writer will be a good fit for my clients. The fact is that writers who charge $25 per blog post don’t always cut it. Sometimes it’s necessary to pay a bit more for higher quality and less headaches.
The other aspect I look for is customer service. Being completely customer-centric myself, I want a writer who will communicate well before, during and after the project – because that’s the kind of service I provide my clients. It may not always be the cheapest, but the overall experience will pay for itself in short order.
Any thought is welcome. Please leave it in the section comment below.