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  1. Rob McGuire wrote on

    I agree with what you said. I’m no copywriter, but my view on the industry is that yes, quality copy does cost money. It costs more than what some people would prefer to pay. But your content also plays the role of a 24/7 salesman, and I would prefer my “salesmen” to be top notch.

  2. Angus wrote on

    I agree Glenn, especially with points 2-5. (For that reason I’m not a huge fan of the phrase “pay peanuts, get monkeys” but never mind.) I’ve been a destitute graduate student myself, and at the time I probably *would* have taken on sausage factory work (I guess it’s better than working in an actual sausage factory!). But I certainly wouldn’t have liked it, nor would I have been on board with the notion that this was how all writers should work and be paid.

  3. Aprill Allen wrote on

    Hallelujah! I am totally with you on all counts, especially number 5.

  4. Brian V. Hunt wrote on

    I’d like to ask everyone who makes the argument that appropriately-paid copywriters (read: ones who make a real living) are overpaid to do the following exercise.

    Do a search on something you really want.

    Before you click a link on the SERP, tell me why you’re going to choose that link. (If the copywriter was on the ball, they wrote the meta tags too.)

    Find a web page that you feel has convincing copy that would convert you from traffic into a lead or a customer.

    Analyze the page and tell me why it’s that compelling to you. Not just why it’s compelling. Why would it convert you?

    Tell me how long you think it took to write. Then let’s email the company and see if we can find out from the copywriter.

    One of my favorite recent rants from a freelancer was in response to a client who was outraged that they wanted to charge so much “for only a couple of hours work.”

    The freelancer replied, “Yeah, two hours and fifteen years of experience.”

  5. Judy Olsen wrote on

    Point 10: There *are* some bad expensive copywriters out there, sustained by peer networks that are very difficult to break into, especially for women. Point 11: Successful business people understand the value of copy, but too many think they can add that value themselves. The ‘best’ clients understand that in-house resources are not ‘free’, and are happy to hire a specialist copywriter, paid and respected in the same way as any other consultant.

  6. Glenn (Owner) wrote on

    Wow guys! Great comments. Thanks so much.

    I don’t know if you could tell from my post, but I was actually a little worked up about the recent debate with the gentleman at SEOBullshit. I know I shouldn’t have been, and I know my response was just what he was after. But on the other hand, I’m seeing this attitude more and more, and if it perpetuates, it’ll be just one more thing we’ll have to educate clients about. Good writers aren’t in the business of ripping anyone off, but that doesn’t mean we want to spend more time educating clients. I’m certainly busy enough as it is!

    And I guess another positive came out of it (for me anyway). I at least crystallised my thoughts on all of this.

    Once again, I really appreciate your comments and support. And I agree with all your comments, btw.


  7. Amanda Gonzalez wrote on

    Nice one, G.

    Good content will also:

    1. Make sure you shine over your competition (most likely, sausage factory content).

    2. Have an exponential impact on your profile and cred – worth much more than what you’ll ever pay to an expensive copywriter.

    But apart from all this, why waste your energy and cash on shortcuts in the hope of an easy buck?

    And do we really need more mediocre content in our lives?

  8. Mike McCaffrey wrote on

    Yup, yup.

    I think we can rest assured that quality content wins. Too much of that sausage stuff makes me feel funny. It is temptingly cheap, though. I can see why some never get past it.

    Then you have the chap who massages his cows and plays them sweet, sweet music. He’s passionate about those cows. And the word has spread. All that hard work and passion has paid off. Pound for pound those steaks ain’t cheap. But one bite and you’ll never look at that sausage meat again.

  9. Glenn Murray wrote on

    Ha! Very funny Mike. I’m still chuckling.

    Amanda… We both know you’re right. Stop wasting my time with accuracy and intelligence. My blog isn’t the place for that! ;-)

  10. Mike McCaffrey wrote on

    Nice one.

    We are quite subtle beasts really. Memorable copy has life. It reflects what was put into it. Like everything I s’pose.

    Good forum, Glenn. Glad I dropped by.

  11. Paul Mackenzie Ross wrote on

    Regarding point 1; “I think webmasters and SEOs have every right to use sausage-factory content, and they should NOT be penalized by the search engines.”

    My initial knee-jerk reaction was to totally disagree. I’m still mulling over this and all I can say is that:

    1) For the sake of freedom and liberty people should be allowed to write and publish whatever they want however…

    2) By penalising poor quality pages and websites then it would discourage the practice of churning out virtually worthless words. After all, it’s a waste of everybody’s time and money to write and then read articles of such low value, so why encourage more of the same? It just adds to what Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, said of the Internet being a “cesspool”.

    3) On a more moderate note, then maybe there shouldn’t be a penalty but more of a refusal of awarding merit.

    I’m constantly amazed at how often poor grade web & SEO tips are repeated on forums by people who haven’t the first clue of what they’re talking about or, more often, simply repeating ad verbatim. I think this aptly demonstrates the point that there are people out there who really don’t now any better and, by removing the source of the crap that they repeat would be a great step in “making the world a better place”.

    Other than that I’m pretty much with you, Glenn :)

  12. Ren wrote on

    I find it perturbing that a copywriter has to justify the right to make a decent living. That manky sausage meat just clogs up the internet with content that users don’t really want, and I agree that it’s only a matter of time before Google makes this rubbish worthless.

    Happily, savvy clients DO recognise the value of quality copy and are willing to pay for it. So the detractors can all go…eat a sausage.

  13. Laura Jennings wrote on

    Great article. So many people do not realise the value of good copy, not only for SEO but also for usability (something I think many people out there have forgotten about!).

  14. Amy C wrote on

    Interesting article. I am just becoming aware of the importance of copywriting. A lot of service professionals, for example, don’t seem to realise how awful their websites are for any range of ‘laypeople’ clients. Good copy should do that in succinct language.

  15. havuz wrote on

    you click a link on the SERP, tell me why you’re going to choose that link. (If the copywriter was on the ball, they wrote the meta tags too.)

  16. Susan wrote on

    Content is King! I know – it’s glib and overused, but truly, what is copy without quality content? It just doesn’t amount to anything much other than (at the risk of over-extending the metaphor) offcuts of the stuff we actually consume, digest and grow stronger from.

    Thanks for another good post, Glenn. When I lose focus and get off-task, I always come here to get re-grounded. Thanks for sharing your experience and drawing together a network of quality writers.

  17. John Carraway wrote on

    There is so much bad content out there on some really high ranking sites and a lot of good original content on low ranking sites. Unfortunately, some of the best writers turn out to be less skilled when it comes to marketing. It’s not just about writing good content, but also getting lucky when it comes to SEO, SEM, and SERP.

  18. Chip Tudor wrote on

    I completely resonate with you. I’ve lost numerous assignments because I refused to accept ridiculously low pay. And I’ve thought the same thing about the time involved in writing quality material. I’ve even had self-doubts–am I really THAT SLOW of a writer? Thanks for reinforcing what I’ve thought all along:Quality seo content is not produced in a flash. And you get what you pay for.

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