Disclaimer: it is not my intention to criticize any specific company or individual living overseas (outside of the United States). It simply describes my experiences in the past when I have attempted to work with freelance writers to secure content for my own websites. Your experiences may be different…
If you live and work within the United States, or need to provide content for a US-based audience, you may have already discovered how challenging it is to find a reputable overseas firm to prepare these materials for you. In this article I would like to outline my own experiences, and also share with you some tips on how to avoid potential problems when dealing with such companies or individuals.
Problems and Shortcomings
Based on my experience in the past, there can be many potential difficulties in dealing with overseas content providers. Chief among them are the following —
1. Quality. While I am sure that there are providers who take great pride in the quality of the work that is submitted, my general experience has been that these overseas content providers oftentimes get careless and submit work that is filled with grammatical and spelling errors. Sometimes this is due to a lack of knowledge of the English language, but I suspect that much of the time this sloppiness is simply due to the fact that these firms operate in an “assembly line” fashion. The company must churn out a high volume of articles, web pages, e-books and other materials in order to remain profitable — which means that they will probably not spend a lot of time in researching or proofreading.
2.Style. Related to this is the problem that often these overseas content providers do not employ writers who can write using natural U.S. English. You will find that this is especially true if, like me, you are targeting an audience in the United States — as most of these firms employee people living in former British colonies, where their exposure to the English language is in the British form rather than the American style of writing.
3. Availability. Another thing I discovered when I used to rely on overseas written content producers is that many of these folks are here today, and gone tomorrow. In some locations of the world a kind of cottage industry has sprung up, with many different people trying their hand at writing English language materials — but many of them simply don’t stay in business. It is frustrating to find that someone that you have been dealing with suddenly goes out of business without any warning. If you need online content produced on a regular basis this is simply not an acceptable situation.
4. Uniqueness. Other companies that I have dealt with in the past tried to submit written material to me that was not unique. In some cases portions of text from different online sources were simply copied verbatim and pasted together. Again, some of these firms are simply trying to churn out as much work as possible in the shortest amount of time — and I had some real bad experiences, having paid for material that was not unique at all.
5. Timely Communication. Keep in mind that if you use an overseas firm or individual located in another country to produce your written material, that they will be living in a different location/time zone. If you intend to communicate with them via e-mail, this means that there may be a 24 hour delay before you get a response to any of your communications. If you have a telephone number, you may still not be able to contact them outside of their office hours, and will have to pay long distance charges. Again, not a great situation, especially if you are looking to forge a long-term relationship with your content providers.
Learn from My Mistakes
If you feel that you must — absolutely must — deal with an overseas content producer, then learn from my mistakes and insist on the following:
Do not ever pay 100% of your fees upfront. It is certainly acceptable to pay a portion before you receive anything, but to protect yourself try to make arrangements to use some sort of an escrow account to hold all funds. With a true escrow account you, as the customer, will be able to control when those funds are released to the freelance writers. In the meantime they will be able to verify the amount of money in the escrow account, so they know that they will not get ripped off either.
Remember, once you have paid in full you will have NO negotiating leverage with a writer to be able to request that rewrites or corrections be made to their material. Make sure that your content is EXACTLY the way you want/need it to be before making that final payment!
Always insist on writing samples when dealing with an overseas writing firm. It is the only way that you can verify that the quality of the writing will be up to your standards. An individual or company who is unwilling to supply you with samples should be avoided at all costs!
Whenever possible, get the phone number and physical address (including number, street name, city or town, province, postal code, etc.) for your records. Do not rely solely on an e-mail address! If that e-mail address suddenly becomes nonfunctional, how will you communicate? Without a phone number and/or physical address, you will be left high and dry.
Finally, always inform your overseas content producers that their submitted work must be 100% unique. Tell them that you will be submitting this content to the Copyscape web service, and that their material must “pass” before you will send a payment/final payment.
In conclusion: consider very carefully both the potential risks — as well as the possible benefits — before you make the decision to use someone overseas for the preparation of your English-language materials. “Let the buyer beware!”
Howdy. . . Let me introduce myself. My name is Slim Walker, and for years I struggled to find good-quality freelance writers. Like many of you, I have tried all the traditional approaches, and I have recently discovered another way. If you are interested in getting more information, please feel free to visit my site at FindAGoodWriter.com
http://www.FindAGoodWriter.com/) . . . There is no cost or obligation for doing so, but I gotta warn you — it might just radically change how you get freelance writing talent for your next online content project!