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Post updated October 18, 2014…
Note: There are several mentions and links within this article to Odesk. Odesk is now known as UpWork – so any links that previously led to Odesk now lead to Upwork.com. The platform is essentially the same.
You are not misreading the title for this post! I didn’t add a zero to the number of articles by accident and I didn’t forget a digit in the cost. Last month I did in fact get 40 articles produced for me from various writers and the total cost was only $76.66! Each article is 500 words minimum and is written according to my specific instructions for where and how to include specific keywords. The quality of the content turned out to be perfectly acceptable for what I wanted to use it for. I wouldn’t consider it to be excellent quality, but great for secondary articles on some of my niche sites. My intentions for these types of articles is to target very low competition keywords that get a decent (lower) number of searches, with the goal of attracting more search traffic to my sites. In this post, I’m going to show you exactly how and where I get articles outsourced for such a low price. I’ll show you every detail, including how I attract the writers and exactly how I instruct them to write the posts.
My Experience with Finding Writers on oDesk
There are several places online where you can find writers to produce content for you. Quality and price will vary greatly. With my limited experience in outsourcing, I have no way of knowing which place is the best. I can only tell you what I know from my own experience. I actually started off using oDesk (affiliate link) based on a recommendation by Jon Haver from Authority Website Income. In my first attempt at outsourcing content, around April 2013, I was trying to follow Jon’s method to get articles produced for $2 or less. I ended up finding an American writer who agreed to write articles for me for $1 per 100 words. I hired her through oDesk for several jobs as we built up trust and a good working relationship. She now writes for me on a private basis and has been producing articles for me weekly ever since. I didn’t exactly accomplish my goal of getting articles written for $2 or less, but I did find a great writer who produces high quality articles for a fair price.
Fast forward to October 2013, and I had a need for some more articles. More than I could ask my private writer to produce for me. I saw this as a perfect opportunity to attempt the outsourcing of content again via oDesk for $2 per article or less. As you can tell by the title of this post, this time I had success! I posted a job on oDesk which explained exactly what I was looking for. Within only a couple of hours I had more than 20 applicants who were eager to write for me at such a low rate. 24 hours after posting the job, I reviewed the applications then sent job offers to four of them (10 articles each). About 7 days later, I had all 40 articles in my possession and I had paid a grand total of only $76.66!
Outsourcing Content for $2 per Article via oDesk
The user interface at oDesk is pretty straight forward and figuring out how to use the platform was easy, even for a first time outsourcer like myself. In my first attempt at article outsourcing, I had no clue what I should write in the job description. Even though I was copying Jon Haver’s method (changing the words slightly), I was still unsure about what I was doing when I sent out my first job. I was a little more comfortable with what I was doing my second time around. I had success with the process that I used, so I want to share the exact details with you. Feel free to copy any or all of it if you want.
Step 1 – Log in to oDesk
If you are not already a user, simply go here to get started at oDesk. It’s free to sign up. oDesk gets paid as a percentage each time you pay one of your freelancers.
Step 2 – Post a job
The following are the job posting settings/description that I use
- Category: Writing & Translation – Website Content
- Title: Keyword Specific Article Writing
I need somebody to write 10 articles for me (about 5000 words total) based on very specific keywords. I will provide detailed instructions after hire.
Qualified applicant MUST be native english speaking. I will want to see examples of past writing jobs to verify english writing skills.
If hired, you will be expected to research the keywords (all in the same niche) and produce the articles based on my instructions.
Upon completion of assignment (all 10 articles), I will provide 5 star feedback and payment as agreed.
I will be reviewing applications approximately 24 hours after I post the job.
Thank you for your consideration!
- Skills needed: article-writing, content-writing, blog-writing
- How to pay: Fixed Price ($20)
- Duration: 7 days
Step 3 – Review applications
Look over applications. Filter out applicants who bid more than $20 or whose english skills are obviously not up to par. Review examples of their previous writing that they should have provided to you. I would not consider somebody who didn’t provide examples. This shows that they didn’t read and/or couldn’t follow your simple instructions.
Step 4 – Offer job(s)
After you decide which applicants you would like to hire, you need to formerly offer the job to them. Likewise, they need to accept before you get started and send them the details. Both of these steps are very clear and easy to figure out within oDesk.
Step 5 – Send article details
It is pretty standard to communicate via the oDesk message system. I always start there and include my email address at the bottom of my instructions and tell them they can email me anytime with questions or concerns. Assuming you have your keyword research done – this is what I send out to my writers when I am ready to have them start producing articles (with specific keywords, etc. inserted)
In every article, please include the keyword in the following places:
– in the title
– in at least one sub-title or sub-heading
– somewhere in the first “introductory” paragraph (first sentence if possible)
– somewhere in the last “conclusion” paragraph
– no more than 1% keyword density (if the article is 700 words, use it less than 7 times)
Open each article with an introductory paragraph. Use at least two sub-headings in each article (use the ones I’ve listed for each article, another one with the keyword (if I didn’t list it already), in addition to any you come up with). Use (bulleted or numbered) lists in articles whenever possible or applicable. Close each article with a concluding paragraph.
Article Requirements for this job:
Article 1 – 500 words
(repeat previous 4 lines for all 10 articles)
If researching specific products for articles, make sure they are marketed to the United States.
If possible, please create articles on Google Drive and Share them with my e-mail address above.
Please complete all articles no later than 7 days after assigned.
Articles will be checked for plagiarism – make sure they are 100% unique.
I will provide agreed upon payment and 5 star review on Odesk upon completion and receipt of articles
Step 6 – Review articles
You should receive your articles within 7 days. When you do, read and review them. Make sure they followed your instructions for including the keywords in all of the appropriate places. Check for plagiarism. Copyscape is by far the most popular plagiarism checker. Here is another free plagiarism checker from dustball.
Step 7 – Pay and leave feedback
After you satisfactorily reviewed the work, find the option within oDesk to End Contract. Follow the instructions to pay your writer and leave them feedback. As long as they didn’t blatantly ignore your specific instructions, make sure to leave the 5 star feedback like you promised. Do this step as soon as possible after you receive the work to ensure that they will also leave 5 star feedback for you.
YouTube: How to Post a Job on oDesk…
How is the Quality of this Content?
As mentioned in my opening paragraph above, I’ve found the quality to be perfectly acceptable. The quality you will get using this strategy will vary greatly depending on who applies for your job and how you screen out your applicants. I probably wouldn’t use this content for pillar articles on websites that I am really trying to promote. But, this content is great for secondary articles that target low competition keywords that might not get as many searches as some of your main keywords.
Overall, I am completely satisfied with the quality of the content for the price that I paid! As it turns out – outsourcing content for cheap via oDesk is a viable and legitimate option. You can certainly pay a little bit more and get higher quality content if you want. But cheap outsourced content like this is perfectly fine for some of the things I plan to use it for.
Hint: This type of content is perfect for publishing on expired domains used for backlinking to your money sites!
Getting Very High Quality Content via Odesk
As I mentioned above, I originally found my regular private writer while trying to implement this cheap content strategy on Odesk. As it turns out, even the great writers need t…o start somewhere. If you are lucky, you can find them when they are just starting out and trying to build up their Odesk profiles. They may be willing to write content for cheap, with the hope of getting good reviews and 5-star feedback. More and more freelance writers are signing up and starting out at places like Odesk every day. Surely you’ll be able to find a good one that is willing to start out writing for cheap. Just be patient and carefully screen your applicants.
Even if you are unable to find one of these gems, you can still get extremely high quality content written by writers on Odesk. You just have to be willing to pay a little more. Plenty of great writers are already on the platform. Some that have great reviews and ratings and plenty of Odesk experience are able to demand higher rates for their work. If you’re unwilling to screen out the cheaper writers or just to impatient to wait – consider paying a little bit more to get that high quality content right away.
Remember, there are several dumb ways to create passive income online, but only one site that is blogging about it! Dumb Passive Income… dot com.
“Metallic ballpen…” from Flickr by photosteve 101
Matthew Allen is a full-time trucker, part-time blogger, and imaginary entrepreneur. He is the only known trucker who is blogging about creating passive income online. He is also the co-founder and co-creator of the most popular WordPress plugin for Amazon affiliates – AmaLinks Pro.