This one is for anyone who deals with the written word on some level. What is a word worth to you? A penny? A nickle? A dime? I know it may seem like a weird question, but words have value, some a great deal of value.
Those blogs you’re hiring out to establish trust and authority with your readers or that social media marketing you’re doing to impress the wider world — have you considered what you pay for it? If you’re hiring cheap writers, it’s probably a great deal more than you realize. Do you take that copy you bought for pennies and spend even more time completely rewriting it, reformatting it or tossing it in the round bin? Or worse, are you just posting it so your site has SOMETHING to publish that week?
Believe it or not, Americans have become significantly more literate since the explosion of the Internet — the people who are looking at your website can read. That also means they can detect the errors and the rough parts in the text that taint your site’s impression immediately. Sometimes, it’s a subtle uneasiness that comes from reading text that was clearly written by someone who isn’t a native English speaker (pennies go a long way in those countries), that sense that we all get when we’re trying to establish trust with someone we perceive to be unlike us. Other times, it’s blatant warning sirens caused by truly fucking awful copy (now punished by Google, so watch your rankings slip as customers flee), filled with incorrect grammar, poor punctuation and rampant misspellings.
When you hire these types of writers, you’re telling your audience — your customers — that you really don’t care about connecting with them, or creating a space where they can learn more about your product. All you want is their money, today, right now. I know the ’80s and ’90s were all about short-sighted business plans, but in today’s market you’ve got to look further down the road.
Today’s marketing is made up of relationships, and it starts and ends with your brand image and communications. Since you have only a few opportunities to connect directly with your customers, you have to rely on your writing team to do it for you. Blogs, social media and the like are long-term investments in your business’s future — over time, they establish your willingness to do for your customers, prove your claims of a depth of knowledge and can turn you into a fucking online superstar — but it doesn’t happen overnight and certainly not for pennies.