Paying for Content — Never Let an Amateur Write Your Content (and Yes, That Includes You)

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Paying for content from a professional marketing company can seem crazy.

Paying for content — blue man in business suit in front of orange paper and pencil

Some people like to do it on their own—and we get that. That’s why we created our marketing strategy ebook, Analyze Your Marketing—so the marketing do-it-yourself-er, who just needs a template and instructions, can write their own content and fit it into their overall marketing strategy themselves.

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However, other people, those who just don’t have the time to write a whole bunch of content on their own, often turn to the cheapest strategy available—having the intern, the cousin, the English major you knew back in college, do it for them (at a greatly reduced price, at least, compared to the sticker price of your average marketing company).

And what’s wrong with that? Why not just have an intern whip up some content for you?

I’ll tell you why (and you may not like the answer, but it’s the truth).

Because your intern sucks.

Your intern isn’t a trained writer.

Your intern doesn’t know a damn thing about writing content that persuades, informs, or directs customers.

Maybe your intern knows a little HTML and CSS, maybe they know how to put together a sentence or paragraph — heck, maybe they even know some marketing principles!

They took marketing 201 after all.

But that’s insufficient. Having an intern, or your cousin, or your friend’s brother’s wife who published a children’s book in the ‘90s, write the marketing content for your website…

Or your brochure…

Or even your business cards…

Is crazy.

Here’s why.

Paying for Content From a Professional Is an Investment — Paying for Content From an Amateur Is Setting Money on Fire

(Oh, and FYI, it’s equally crazy to write your own content, but I’ll get into that bit a little later.)

Having an intern or a secretary or an employee who isn’t a professional writer create your content is crazy.

Here’s why.

Your website has a variety of functions:

  • To display your product or service
  • To let people know you exist
  • To help people find you and contact you
  • To bring in leads

It may also have these functions:

  • To sell a product or service directly
  • To support existing customers
  • To take payments

So ask yourself this — are you willing to lose leads because prospects don’t know what to do once they land on your website?

Or because your content sounds like a college essay?

Do you want people to be confused when they go on your website to make a payment?

Do you want them to have difficulty understanding your product? Or difficulty researching you and your company?

Do you want them to get lost as they search diligently for a way to purchase your service?

Do you want to lose money? Or prospects? Or time?

If you’re not paying for content, or you’re “paying for content” by paying an intern or some random person or employee to write for you, you’re paying a higher price.

You’re paying in lost leads.

You’re paying in lost sales.

You’re paying in unhappy customers.

You’re paying with the integrity of your business and the image of your brand.

You may be thinking, “Ok, fine! I’ll just write it myself!

Gear it down big shifter.

Even if You Can Write Your Content Yourself, You Shouldn’t

The main reason? Confirmation bias.

Also the blind spot bias.

Or any of the dozens and dozens of biases affecting our ability to see the truth about ourselves and our endeavours.

(Enjoy that list, you can get lost in it for days.)

The point is this — you’re in too deep.

You run the show, you know your business inside and out, you know the minor details that make you the expert you are.

This is bad (at least, it’s bad for writing content).

You’ll make assumptions about what your customers know, assumptions that are completely unconscious, assumptions that are wrong.

You’ll write at a level that’s too high, or too low, for your customers. You’ll miss things that an outside observer will see in an instant.

You’ll even miss simple things — doubled words, typos, missing punctuation.

These are things an outside writer, paired with a good proofreader, will catch in an instant.

There’s Actually a More Important Reason You Shouldn’t Write Your Own Content

If you write it, you won’t be able to evaluate it properly.

If you’re paying for content from a professional, you can read over what they’ve written and notice mistakes or issues immediately.

It will be much simpler to get your content where you need it to be.

If you write it yourself, you’re just going to have a harder time finding issues.

Oh, and it will probably take you a lot longer to write it than you think it will.

Paying for content lets you avoid these issues.

Your Website or Print Content Is an Investment in Your Business — Don’t Skimp

You get what you pay for — that’s the ugly truth about marketing.

If you don’t pay someone who’s trained to write marketing content, you’re making your marketing less effective.

You’re paying for mediocrity.

Which is crazy.

Because you’re anything but mediocre.

Your brand is anything but mediocre.

Why wouldn’t you want the best for both?

Great marketing content can increase your sales.

It can generate more leads.

It can reduce customer complaints and customer service calls.

It can make your job a heck of a lot easier.

Your website, or your brochure, or your pay-per-click ad, or your Facebook page, can become useful tools in your effort to bring customers into the fold.

If they’re written right.

That’s the real value of paying for content — it’s like bringing on a new salesperson and customer service agent all wrapped into one.

You’re investing in the future profitability of your business.

You’re ensuring that your website supports your brand, helps your customers, and does what you need it to do.

Pay a Professional so You Can Get Back to Being a Professional

You’re a professional.

You have work to do.

You don’t have time to clean up messes (which is what you’ll have to do if you pay an intern or family friend to write your marketing content).

Paying for content is the best way to ensure you can focus on your business (and not marketing).

And the second best way to ensure you’re not putting out content fires for the 6 months following the implementation of that content your cousin wrote?

Well, if you want something done right…

Do it yourself.

Our Analyze Your Marketing ebook will show you how to do exactly that. In addition to walking you through content strategy, you’ll get an idea of how to fit content into an overarching marketing strategy.

Click the button to learn more about this ebook.

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Adam Fout

Adam might be a little crazy, but we love him anyway.   Weaving beautiful paragraph-baskets into blog posts ain’t easy, but we couldn’t think of a better job for a recovering tech writer.   Follow him on Twitter @adamfout2, LinkedIn, Facebook, or our blog if you like valuable information accompanied by snarky simplifications of complex subjects.

4 Comments

  1. Clement on September 18, 2016 at 10:25 am

    Hey Adam

    Good point about business making wrong assumptions about their customers. It’s a mistake that I see very often. It’s an easy one to make for people who are not trained copywriters.

    The thing is that many people believe they can write. And they’re often correct.

    But not many people can write copy.

    As E. Kennedy said, copywriting is “Salesmanship in print.”

    It requires a specific skill set, acquired through study and training.

    You wouldn’t get your friend’s brother’s wife to head your sales department would you? Well, not unless she was an experienced salesperson.

    Clement

    • Adam Fout on September 19, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      Excellent point! You always have the best quotes, Clement. I think this is a general problem really — many people make assumptions about digital marketing (or digital business generally) that they have no business making.

      For instance, we often get people who think a website should cost a couple hundred bucks. They think we’re ripping them off when we quote a figure far above that. They think that because someone in another country can build them a piece of junk for cheap that what we build them will be cheap too.

      And that’s just not the case 😀

  2. Tess Wittler on October 2, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Hi Adam,

    You make some great points, here, and naturally, I totally agree with your opinion! 🙂

    The one item I ran into a lot this year is a company relying on an internal person write their blog content, and when they finally come to me for professional help, I have to have the difficult conversation about plagiarism issues – where the content matches another source (unquoted) and the even more common problem of “lifted images” from other sources.

    A professional copywriter will know these rules and ensure the content is original and cited correctly.

    • Adam Fout on October 3, 2016 at 7:46 pm

      The images issue is a really common one—I think it’s so bad because the rules are really complicated and unclear. I always assume that I can use almost nothing without explicit permission, and even then, I make very certain to get proof of that permission.

      It’s just easier to have a designer make all the images, or even make your own. Canva is a great resource for this, and I use it for all my LinkedIn posts.

      Thanks for bringing these up! A lot of folks don’t even know that you CAN’T just grab images off Google and use them (or the legal trouble it can get them into).

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