I was paying my quarterly visit to a client when the online marketing manager mentioned he needed quite a few SEO articles written. I asked if I could help. No need, he said, I’ll just order them on TextBroker for ten cents a word and run them through copycheck to be sure they weren’t plagiarized.
I’ve always had a smug attitude toward the link bait that pops up when you search on a technical topic. It’s pretty obvious they’re partly machine-written and/or English is not the writer’s primary language. So to have my own client go this path was a bit unsettling. I signed up for my own TextBroker account and commissioned an article on Bengali cuisine for my food blog. The author would have to say what makes Bengali cuisine unique (specific spices and ingredients used) and provide a defining recipe as an example. All this for a maximum of $75.
2 days later, _Liz came through. She hit all the markers and the article is good enough that with a couple of tweaks I’m going to use it. The cost? $65.08, for something that would have taken me the equivalent of $500 or more at my hourly rate to research and write. By the way, why did I choose that topic? Because I assumed the writers were South Asia based and I might get lucky and find a real subject matter expert. But TextBroker tells me their writers are 100% in the USA.
Here’s the other reason we copywriters might as well trade in our keyboards for flip-flops. The Wall Street Journal, which I rely on for sports perspective for some reason, has twice reported in the last few days on organized races with declining registration. First 10Ks, now “mudder” type obstacle courses. The explanation? Those darn millennials. Studies show they don’t enjoy competition as much as previous generations, hence less interest in organized competitions.
Of course, the reason we as copywriters get paid what we do is that we convince readers they can rise above the competition—whether you define that by economics, status or ability to do a job better—with the help of our client’s product or service. If the reader no longer cares, where does that leave us?
A long weekend in New Orleans is looking mighty good right now.