Finding Paid Writers

Paid Writers
When I first started out blogging I used to write all the content myself, it didn’t take me long to realise that this is exceedingly time consuming and puts limits on how much you can produce in any given day. I’m also somewhat dyslexic so I have to triple check everything that I write (spelling and grammar checkers are my friends) . Investing in paid writers makes it a lot easier to maintain regular updates to a site or blog and help it grow, but finding good paid writers can be difficult, in this post I’ll share where all the writers for CG came from.

I was very fortunate with the first paid writer I found for CG, I advertised on the DP forums and only got one applicant, Anita, who proved to be a very valuable asset to the team. Using forums to locate writers can be very hit and miss, I find for every decent applicant I get 2 or 3 messages that you need a degree in gobbly gook to understand (bleeding obvious tip, if you’re ever applying for a writing job use a spelling and grammar checker). One of the added benefits of using forums to find writers is you have a history of what they have written before.

The next method of finding writers was to advertise on specialist job boards. If you are looking for a fulltime blogger or just temporary holiday cover you can try a service like that at Pro Blogger. For a fixed fee you can advertise to thousands. When I tested this service I received plenty of applicant, ranging for utter dross to professional journalists who wanted a fee to match.

By far the best form of writer advertising I’ve done is on the blog I’m after writers for. To do this you do need a relatively healthy readership and you know that the people who apply have an interest in the blog. I’m currently using this method on CG at the moment, out of 15 applicants I rejected 4 straight off for badly worded applications or for not supplying the info I asked for. One applicant rejected my offer of a trial as he eant 20 times as much per word as a journalist (nice work if you can get it).

Another obvious but often overlooked method of finding writers is to ask your friends, it makes sense that your friends have similar interests or could just surprise you and be closet writing geniuses. When I first started CG I approached my mate Marc about coming in as a partner, to which he agreed. For the first four months he made some fantastic posts and found gadgets to write about that I’d never heard of. Unfortunately due to promotions and house moves he had to stop working with me on CG before the site really took off, though as a thank you for all his early work I will be taking him to Vegas every year (if he wants) to help me cover CES.

Scott came up with a great idea for finding writers. Put adverts up at Colleges and Universities on the notice boards of related subjects. This will enable you to target writing adverts at people studying subjects you want to cover and as they are students they generally need money, so this could be a win win for all concerned. I’ve not tried this approach yet but will be doing in the future.

About Al Carlton

Al quit the 9 to 5 rat race in January of 2007, before then he was a software engineer and systems architect of financial system. Nowadays Al spends the days running his various businesses and experimenting with different ideas and opportunities.
Al can be found on twitter at AlCarlton.

Comments

  1. I guess even with the best laid plans you need a bit of luck and Anita sounds like the break you needed at the time to move up a gear.

  2. I can vouch for the university route, having worked for a uni.one thing you will always find are young souls after work and most have at least a basic grasp of grammar.

    They also have another major benefit they are cheaper and easier to work with, particularly if you can work with them to help them use the writing within their studies or to just add to their CV.

    One thing you didn’t mention was paper/magazine free ads and classified section, for niche markets these can be a great place to locate writers who would perhaps not normally be found on the web.

  3. Thanks for the public recognition Al πŸ™‚ Although I couldn’t be with you all the way on CG it was still great to be there at the start and watch it grow from the sidelines!

  4. Yeah Scott, Anita really made life easier at the beginning, it was a lucky break to find her.

    I know a few students that I’m still waiting for answers on questions I asked them about copyright. They are eager but beer, parties and deadlines don’t encourage speedy answers. I do like the idea on papers and magazine ads, thanks Tim.

    Great to see you’re reading here Marc, like I said in the post you helped out big time with your findings and general gadget sourcing advice. I still owe you a load of thanks which I hope CES trips compensate for (though you’ll still have to work your journalistic butt off:) )

  5. So you guys are the reason Anita was always late with my articles lol you must pay better than me…

  6. Goodfela says:

    Its a very interesting post. I have a couple of business sites in spanish. Reading about your experiencie on DP Forums, I’m thinking to start a blog, but i dont wan to pay writters from the begining…

  7. Great post!
    Scott’s idea just inspired me,thanks! πŸ™‚

  8. That’s what it’s all about Richie πŸ˜‰

  9. Nice post…there are definitely some talented people out there if you look hard enough.

    Another piece of advice would be to search for promising new blog writers who have little traffic of their own. That way you can already judge their writing skills and talent before making contact

    One month after launching a personal CFD trading blog, a couple of site editors actually propositioned me to guest write regularly on their more established sites. It was an ego boost at the time (lol) and the only reason I turned it down was because I was so busy

  10. Andy,I disagree with you.
    Good at writing doesn’t mean good at marketing….

  11. OMG, I’d love to be in a position to be able to afford paid writers! Are they responsible for finding content?
    Richie, I get where you’re coming from – As Perry Marshall says: The one who markets a business best is normally the guy who pays the bills

  12. Hi Sean, all of my writers are responsible for sourcing the content and stories. When I started out I had to pay for my writers out of my own pocket but it was a very worth while investment.

  13. I feel that Al did a great job in finding quality writers for CG. I cannot help but admire and feel envy for the fact that his management skills have kept CG growing at an incredible rate over the past one year. Well, I do see that the investment has definitely paid off really well.

  14. Arrrrg I knew I’d missed someone from that post, Keith. Keith (above) has been at absolute star by writing on CG for free, both Keith and another friend Alexia helped me out by making posts when I was starting out (and this is all the thanks they get).

    When Keith has the spare time he’s another guy on my take to Vegas list πŸ™‚

  15. Hey Al,
    Great blog, it’s really interesting reading all the factors that have gone into making your success happen. How do deal with duplication if you have writers finding their own content and stories? Since gadgets are quite popular subject these days, I know you mention you trawl through loads of RSS feeds and news as I do for my subject, do you find that your posts are often rewrites of gadgets/news you find on other sites? Problogger talks about finding your own voice but sometimes it can be quite difficult to put an original slant on something that has already been posted about in few places – does it feel like a bit of a race?

  16. I m enjoying every article on this site ..
    oh i ve another two aricles open in the tabs ..
    thanx for writing such great articles…

  17. Thanks Saffron and shashank, I’m really pleased you’re finding the content useful and put the effort into commenting, thank you.

    With my gadget site it does seem to be abit of a race at times to find original stories and as there are so many blogs in that niche it can be very difficult. As we have quite a wide readership now we are able to write about stories from other sites as a lot of our readers use us as an aggregate as such. We try to avoid duplicating the same story on CG by searching before writing but accidents do happen (probably weekly with the worst being the same gadget being written about 3 times in 6 months and I wrote about it last which was a bit embarassing)

  18. Thanks for the response, Al, I’m wondering then if what you are saying is that all your different gadget reviews are unique surely not as you yourself say there are so many blogs in the niche now. Naturally as you become popular readers use you as their principal info source but do you just put an original slant on say the apple phone which has had massive coverage in all sorts of places? Where do you go to find original stories first before everyone else?

  19. We are certainly not 100% unique with the topics we cover but the content generally is. I find a get a lot of my articles by checking what’s new pages, traditional media, press releases and shows. I do follow a lot of RSS feeds but so do all the other sites so I try not to use that source as much.

  20. What you need Al is a team of inventors making the gadgets, then you’ll always get the scoop πŸ˜‰

  21. I do have one inventor on the Payroll but he’s really secretive as he always seems to be waiting for patents to come through.

  22. I’ve found that conversations with friends or things I see as I’m out and about spark some good finds, or at least make good material to go and research.

    When you love technology for it’s own sake you find that gadgets are all over the place if you keep your eyes open! It’s even possible to find something different in a shoe shop…

  23. I used to write a lot of articles for people through one of the more popular auction sites where you writers bid on the projects you post. It was a good experience most of time, and I had all the work I could do, but wanted to be on other side of this and be the employer. We are launching a new site to match writers with buyers for many types of communication. Articles, translation, podcast voice overs, and many other types. I don’t want to plug our site on someone else’s blog so I won’t, but it’s a good way to find people to write for you at the price you accept. This site has some great information for bloggers. Thanks

  24. As a potential employer of freelance writers, I would be very interested to know when your site is launched, Ron. My contact details are on my site.

  25. Ingeniousmac says:

    How much does a freelance writer cost?

  26. I loved your article about tips on getting paid writers. It has really inspired me to move forward with my blog and recruit more bloggers to add more content to the website.

    I have started recruiting through my website but in the next couple of weeks I will look at hiring through university campuses. At the moment I have received some positive responses from my website advertising, however I have a few questions which I was hoping you could answer:

    > What do you think is a reasonable proposition to pay bloggers and what did you start by paying your bloggers?
    > What terms and conditions do you use in order to ensure that you will receive quality posts from your bloggers.

    Your help will be much appreciated!

Leave a Reply to Al Cancel reply