Quality unique content for cheap?

By Mark Ling
Quality unique content for cheap?


Hi everyone,

Creating a high quality niche website, one that is very useful for the visitors, usually requires articles and/or video that contains great quality relevant information.

Most of us remember the 'bad days' when you'd go to Google and search for something only to find a bunch of websites peddling rubbish PLR articles that didn't even look like they were written by an english speaker.

Those days are mostly behind us, though there is still a lot of uniquely written 'garbage' circling the internet. The kind of content that people look at for 5 to 15 seconds, then leave and go to another site to find what they are REALLY looking for.
If people are leaving your websites that quickly you'll find it difficult to maintain high search engine rankings, as your content will be deemed as either low quality or not relevant. Not to mention, you won't be getting the repeat traffic to your websites that you need to make a really great income online.

The big problems

1. The first big problem with creating unique content is that it can be expensive. Either expensive hiring the top quality writers, or expensive in terms of your time and efforts at researching and writing this content.

2. The other big problem is the lack of quality writers out there. There are LOTS of writers who write with great grammar, however there are few who are good at doing the research required to write a GREAT article (or who already possess the subject matter expertise you require for your niche).

Overcoming those problems

I've found a really good way to overcome these problems and get quality content created for relatively low prices.

It involves using www.iwriter.com, in a specific way...

About iwriter

Firstly I'll give you a bit of background about iwriter.

Iwriter is a place you can go to online to get articles written for you for really good prices.

Their basic writers are as low as $1.50 for a 300 word article.

Their Elite writers cost $12.50 for a 500 word article (this is very reasonable for a good writer).

Problem with iWriter

The problem that some people find with iwriter is that they either go for the basic writers, who end up doing a low quality job. Yes you do get what you pay for.

Or, they don't give any instructions to the elite writer and just expect a great article by giving them the title of the article.

The solution

The title isn't enough. When you get a writer at iwriter to write an article for you, you need to give them more details.
Yes this might seem like a bit of work, and once you get good at it, it'll take you about 10 minutes per article, however, it's WELL worth it.

Iwriter Elite writer write with excellent grammar, and have some good ideas in their writing however, due to the relatively low rates that they charge themselves out at, they don't spend much or any time doing great research.

So you can easily get an article from them that is well written gramatically, but doesn't really say anything that is beneficial to the reader.

Instead, what I recommend that you do is you prepare for them an 'Article Snippet'

This is where you explain 3 key ideas that you'd like to be mentioned in your article, and you even link to 2 or 3 articles on the internet that explain each of these key ideas.

Tell them that you'd like to see more of their own ideas also from their own research (subtly dropping the idea that you are expecting them to do research).

Tell them that the article is going to be placed on a high quality blog.

Let them know the tone on the article (ie first person, with enthusiasm, vs textbook like tone).

And give the article title a number.

e.g. Instead of:

How to lose belly fat (this is an example from the weight loss niche)

Make the article title:

7 Ways to Lose Belly Fat

That way they will be forcing themselves to include at least 7 specific pieces of information, rather than spending too much time in their article waffling on to fill up the word count.

Let them know in your instructions that you want the article to contain a lot of useful information and not too much waffle.

And tell them NOT to worry about keyword optimizing your article (let them just concentrate on writing a great article). You can optimize it yourself later if you wish.

The other thing to do, is to show them samples of high quality articles (say 3 or 4) so that they can see the quality of writing that you are expecting of them.

Do all the things that I've mentioned in my article above and you'll get great articles written by iwriter writers.

Oh and make sure you select their elite writers for 500 or 700 words. I usually go for 700 or 1000 words, though that costs more it means I get better articles as great articles often take more space.

Look at this article, it's not just 500 words is it?

Anyway, the best thing you can do right now is give this a go, get 1 single article written, learn from it and go from there.

Btw I'm not an affiliate of iwriter, and you could use what I've mentioned in the above article with a different service. I just mentioned iwriter as that's the one I usually use for these kinds of content based articles.

Oh and another use of these articles is for scripts for your own YouTube videos.

I hope this goes well for you, let me know your comments and/or suggestions.

Talk soon,

Mark Ling



View all 57 comments (Currently displaying latest 50)

Ross 11 years ago
Hi Mark,

Good to hear from you. Its been a while. I thought you might of sold up all your affiliate companies and retired on a private island somewhere in the carribean.

Is kid no3 on the way? Must be time for a girl?

I am missing the personal stories from you Mark, some latest travel stories maybe. Or blog posts about you building a school in the Phillipines or building an indoor cricket pitch in your new house, if that is still happening.

Take care

Mark Ling 11 years ago
Hi Ross,

I've been here the whole time, but have been spending more time doing what I teach (ie the niche site building/marketing etc) so that means that other Affilorama staff members who are experts in their own right can contribute based on their expertise. It's not all about one person here, we are a team.

No plans for a 3rd child yet, 2 are a handful as it is lol. We plan on going to Hawaii, Disneyland and Las Vegas on our next family vacation in Late April / May.

I'm working on a cricket coaching website on the side for coaches and players, that's a free thing to make players better (no plans for monetization). On a side note, we built a classroom in Kenya and feed 300 kids a day there.

We are currently building a new house also in a good schoolzone for the kids.

Phew, that's about it for the Ling family updates. Great to hear from you and all the best!
Ron 11 years ago
Excellent advice.

For the gentleman that said it is easier to write his own stuff, that is true if you are only needing 1-4 articles per week. But if you are working with clients, you are going to get sick of writing about roofing or insurance after a while. A service is critical to have diversity of content and to meet deadlines.
Shahzad Taj 11 years ago
Great suggestions Mark! I was thinking to try iwriter. Now i will take into account all of your suggestions to get quality articles written. Thanks
Ros 11 years ago
I have used iWriter a few times and the articles are usually good. However, one of the applicants came back with an article within about 5 minutes so obviously hadn't put in any research! I hadn't thought of being so specific in the requirements section and your advice is very useful. Thanks!
John 11 years ago
Good advice Mark.

I use a mix of iWriter and my own articles. I find iWriter okay for ministes, but for authority sites. there's really nothing to beat your own voice.

Uron 11 years ago
Good one. Thx.
Can you please elaborate more on this sentence:
"Oh and another use of these articles is for scripts for your own YouTube videos."?

Thanks again.
Mark Ling 11 years ago
Hi Uron,

You may wish to set up a youtube channel and record videos, either as powerpoint slides or with your face on the camera.

You could use the work done by the writer to form the basis for your youtube video script.

At the end of your video you could link to your website or use an affiliate link of yours to a relevant product.
wengwer 11 years ago
I keep on receiving this error


You don't have permission to access / on this server.

Additionally, a 403 Forbidden error was encountered while trying to use an ErrorDocument to handle the request."

Is the server down?
Asim Bawany 11 years ago
One of my biggest frustrations is clients who ask for great content without wanting to give us any angle or direction on the required content. As you mentioned, most clients would give very broad keywords/topics, in some cases single words and expect the output to be laser targeted to their audience.

When our writers do get specific instructions like you mentioned, the quality that comes out is substantially better because they know what points you want covered in the article and can focus on researching those specific points during their research.
Glenn Ellis 11 years ago
Great tips, Mark. I was wondering how best to go about getting an article written and your email popped up in my inbox. Talk about timely!

Thanks a lot and keep up the great work.

Abul Kashem 11 years ago
We have to hire writers all the time for our clients . For the last year we have been using iWriter. I have found even though I metioned clearly that only writers from USA /UK should take my project , there some Philippines writers have took the project hiding their identity . It happened with me several times.

We have to reject the articles a couple of time - it is waste of time.

I think iWriter should add writers after verification and when show their country with their profile.

iWriter should be more transparent to their clients .

Anton 11 years ago
Thanks for the great tips on Iwriter Mark! I'm using this service for unique articles that I place on my private blog network, and it's very cost effective.

But what you advise here I do for my premium writers, always do own research and provide them with:
1. URLs with facts (let's call it the "meat" of the article)
2. My sugested storyline ("bones" of the article), what to talk about, how to structure, what product to recommend and how, what angle of review for specific products etc..
3. URLs of sample sites, that already have live articles that my writer can use as examples and model them, not copy (how the ideal aricle can look like)
So I get amazing and high converting content (10% CR on average), that attracts social signals as well.
Mark Ling 11 years ago
Great system you have there Anton. I guess the key is that you recognize that their writers are writing for low prices, so while they may be good writers, they might be rushing through your article, so to provide them with the research etc at their fingertips, makes it much more likely you'll get a quality article that says something useful to the reader, as opposed to a well written article that says nothing but fluff.
Joan Stalker 11 years ago
Thanks for sharing, Mark. Great advice as usual!
Eru 11 years ago
Having been on both sides of the coin, I can totally vouch for every point mentioned here. This is exactly what I used to do when assigning work to writers, and when I'm taking up writing projects, the details mentioned above does help a lot.

Sometimes I even go out of my way to ask these details from my clients.' A little more time consuming, yes! But the outcome is mutual satisfaction. :) Thank you for this great article, Mark! :)
Leonard Aberts 11 years ago
I had signed up at iWriter and was looking at how you needed to work your way up to become an Elite Writer. The advantage to becoming an Elite Writer is you make more money from your articles. To a customer, the Elite Writers have "proven" themselves as quality writers and that is why they get more money.

Shortly after I received an email with an offer to buy a position as an Elite Writer. For a fee, I could bypass the entire "proving" process. Since I had not had a chance to even submit an article; it means they don't care if I can write to become an Elite Writer.

So I would be very careful when choosing an Elite Writer as they may have paid a fee and can't write their way out of a wet paper bag.
Kathy 11 years ago
Hi Mark,
I still haven't pulled the trigger on hiring writers yet, but I do see it happening soon. I appreciate your tips very much.

Brandon Espinoza 11 years ago
Thanks for the iwriter post. I've never tried iwriter. I usually use epicwrite. I really like your instructions and guidelines for how they should write. I'll use those instructions definitely thank you. With a busy work schedule purchasing articles has allowed me to be the editor-in-chief with ease. Usually in my PLR articles I tell them to use my keyword in 1-3% too, it saves me some time then I finish the rest.
Ryan @ Trusted Site Seller 11 years ago
Solid tips on how to get the most out of these services. Specifically I have found your suggestion of including a number in the article title very effective for receiving quality, useful content for my projects. Also, you didn't mention that if the quality isn't up to your standards you can always reject the article which makes managing your content much easier than if you were using odesk or another freelance site.

I have had success with Iwriter and also have started using hirewriters.com over the last couple months. Both seem to be working out pretty well.
Jade Campbell 11 years ago
Yes, I agree with Ross - I thought Mark was absent too. Although I imagine a much needed break was required no one can do 24/7 indefinitely. Always wonderful to get a post from you Mark, thanks for the tips on iwriter and outsourcing in general.

Problem I have with outsourcing the writing is that your "voice" ( personality) is missing. and your subscribers know it / feel it . I find it quicker to record my thoughts as i am researching, and structure the articles accordingly, it works because I plan the order in which the research is done just in word doc for a whole series of articles on same subject / niche at a time, while my head is in that zone. ( at least 7- 10 articles). Titles, Questions, Issues to resolve, History, Proof / Evidence, Info source, Rec. further reading, It's fun usually no more than an overall average of 60 mins per article on niches areas I know something about, because the research has been done in a block and the words just flow. The editing and polishing I also do in a block for all articles in that series to ensure it all sits in sequential order, to be as educational and factual as possible. I have been writing and teaching art related "how to's" for many years - so I guess that helps to streamline things, and fully expect it to take longer when I move to niche's I know nothing about, however the working approach / structure will remain the same, because it works for me. . So 7.5 – 8 hrs for 10 articles around 600-800 words, then another 2.5 – 3hrs to edit/polish add photos, diagrams etc.. around 10-11 hrs – to do a series in a good solid day.
Mark Ling 11 years ago
Hey I agree to a point about your 'voice' missing if you outsource the articles. But,... often people are getting articles written for websites that they don't have a 'voice' so to speak.

For instance, what if you are guest blogging on someone else's blog in order to build links to your website? Or what if you are getting the article created so you can turn it into a squidoo lens for link building. Or what if you own a number of websites in different niches where you don't have a set 'character' or personality that everyone knows.

Even if you do wish to put your own name on these articles, you can still take what gets written and put your own spin on it and edit it, thus saving you a lot of time forming the large base of the article, but still putting your own personality into it.

All the best!
Sandy Halliday 11 years ago
Good advice Mark. I have had some excellent articles written by writers from iWriter but I have always given explicit instructions as to how they should be written as you have outlined.

I have never used them as they are though, preferring to make them more my own by putting my own spin on them.
Mark Ling 11 years ago
Yes they can be an excellent timesaver even if you wish to use it as a base for your own articles.
Sadie Gecke 11 years ago
Mark, appreciate the good advice in this post. In response to a previous comment: It may seem like it's too much of a time/effort investment, but not if you plan/strategize ahead of time to use the same writers over a period of time - especially for an authority site/blog.

Sadie (sweetbribes)
Mark McKnight 11 years ago
I have tried many writers and have never been able to find a formula for them to follow to write an article the way I want it. I have more or less given up and do all my own writing now. It really does eat into your time though!
Julie Trade 11 years ago
As a writer who writes content for clients, I know that it takes me at least 30 minutes to one hour to write a well-research 500 word article. And, I work quickly. Thus, iWriter is paying these so called "elite" writers probably less than $10.00 an hour to write. No professional write would work for this rate. I encourage your readers to work with skilled native English speaking writers who take the time to research and write properly. Good content can me repurposed in newsletters, eBooks, articles, etc, and can definitely help define a business's brand. Bad content sticks around on the Internet for a very long time and says a lot about a business in a very negative way! ...Just my two cents!
Calgary Marketing Company 11 years ago
Great information, Mark.
always providing great content to your loyal customers and clients.
As a Calgary Marketing Company I try to do the same and I recommend traffictravis to all the people who come to my workshops as it's a great tool.

We all use article Posting as part of our Seo program and I am definitely going to look into www.iwriter.com.
Once again Mark, thanks for providing the excellent content.
Asiaplus Voyages Vietnam 11 years ago
Thank you for sharing this with us.
Rob Reid 11 years ago
Hi Mark, as someone who writes and manages other writers for a living I can speak whole heartedly in support of this article. The better and more detailed the instructions, the better we can provide what you're looking for. A little time spent up front saves a lot of time for everyone in the end!

(btw, I manage a small team of excellent native english speaking writers who are easily top tier quality on iwriter, no bs, and we sell 500 word articles for $8 if you happen to be interested :) !

Sameer Manas 11 years ago
I've never come across iWriter before. The pricing is amazing. Thanks for the tip Mark.

Time to get my first iWriter article !
karen phelps 11 years ago
I am a writer and it is not possible to write really great articles for these prices as writing a good article takes time to research and write well. Maybe these writers live in poorer countries as this is the only way they could work for these rates and if so then their writing will not be fantastic. But rates are going up as the standard of living and costs rise in places like India. I can now get websites developed in NZ for the same price as I am quoted on guru for developers in India and without the hassle. If you want real quality you do have to pay for it I have found.
mary castro 11 years ago
Hi Mark,
I have certainly had some major GROWING PAINS in learning to outsource.
I want to rewrite some of it anyway and add my promos without having to do all the research so my standards arent that high---but when it is FLUFFY BANTER that says nothing I can do little with it.
I have always outlined and added links and still got awful articles (but I am such a pushover that I tend to buy them anyway, this is hard to admit).
I use iwriter as well.
I didn't know about elite. I will do that next time. Thanks for your time on this important subject! Maryl
Art 11 years ago
I have used several different types of services but not iwriter. I found I have to do most of the heavy lifting..do the research and distill it down to 3-4 bullets for each topic and give them the sources to fill in the missing pieces. I focus on how to articles.
Elene Gusch 11 years ago
It is dismaying, to say the least, that people expect to get quality writing at $12.50 for 500 words, less than the average table server gets for his or her time. You are all speaking of writers as if they are no more than pieces of software, certainly not human beings who have real professional skills that have taken years to hone. Maybe that's why some of you have had such trouble finding writers who will produce exactly what you want.

I applaud those who do their own research and writing. But it's clear that a person who doesn't even know that "English" should be capitalized does need serious help.
Kris 11 years ago
Thanks Mark,
This article is great. As everyone knows with SEO these days it's all based on Good quality content. You get what you pay for that's for sure!
indiekiwi 11 years ago
Great tips. Hope you wrote this article yourself! :)
Praveen Arun 11 years ago
Have your articles written by iwriter pass the Copyscape with green colours? Only two of the articles written by them passed Copyscape and the rest of the articles were orange and looks like spun as well. One of the articles that has passed was written by an elite writer but the rest of them are not completely unique. Do you think I should report the members and ask for a solution? Or is light orange color and brighter orange color okay?

Patrick Sekhoto 11 years ago
Hi: Mark
thanks for the advice, but I want to find out if you want to hire i writer freelancers to write eBook for you for Example,
Does that also means that you had to give them a Scope?
Paul Warner 11 years ago
I have been to iWriter many many times and I debated a lot whether writing for them would be worth while and decided that the money compensation even as an Elite writer was not worth my time. As a standard writer you get $1.62 for three hundred words and $2.43 for five hundred words, you have three hours to write the article in, so if I had written three articles at nine hours I make approximately $7.50 for the day. That to me is poor business and yet what you have to go through to get to be an Elite writer but then the same situation exists when you get to that level that you really can't make enough money. As for laying the groundwork for having an article written for me I think me doing the research and the writing myself is the way to go, but it is good to know that iWriter is there as a back up if you need one.
TJM Philpott 11 years ago
Hi Mark,

appreciate the time and effort you put into explaining the strategy you suggest for using iwriter! I've tried using 'commissioned' writers in the past and have found their work to be somewhat disappointing! I have now gone back to creating content on my own and although my posting frequency has decreased, at least what I do post is original and in 'my' voice!

Great share and enjoy my visits here thoroughly!



Chris S-C 11 years ago
iWriter - I have tested the waters and even with lengthy instructions I still received "spun" content, content not relevant to the topic, a keyword rate of over 10% and more problems.
Follow Mark's guide and go for the top end writers as it may work for you. When you find a good writer add them as a favourite. Like most of these writing sites the writers move on so you may lose contact.
As for me I've decided to write my own content using Dragon Naturally Speaking Version 12. This was a hard program to use a few years ago but this version is giving me incredible levels of accuracy and transcribes as fast as I speak.
Happy writing ....
11 years ago
Great article, I used once iwriter and just like you mention I used the low Q. cheap writers and that’s what I got a very bad article I did not complained because that’s what I paid for, am sure I still have some money in my iwriter account so I am going to try again with a solar panel article for my electrical contractor business website.
ashok Sinha 11 years ago
Mark Congrats...good one
sheikh.ovais 11 years ago
It's always a pleasure to hear from Mark. :)
Nick Fauchelle 11 years ago
Thanks, that is a great post!
Tom Haase 11 years ago
THis is a great article and provides valuable content. I appreciate the info on writer.
Karen 11 years ago
Hello Mark, after reading your article about iwriter.com, I decided to give it a try. I have to say that I am quite pleased as to the high quality of writing that I am receiving from the Elite writers at iwriter.com. I have started outsourcing my articles to them. I have never outsourced my articles before. As you mentioned you should only use the Elite Writers if you want the better articles. I am quite addicted now to outsourcing my articles. I wish I had of started this years ago, its help make my workload much lighter and now I have been able to work on other parts of my business that I have not had a chance to get to. Outsourcing my articles has actually increased my work productivity in growing and marketing my online business!!!
I do think it is an absolute must to give your writers a complete outline scope of the job you want created by them, thats if you want a win-win result; include a list of all your sub-headings, you want the writer to write about. If you want things outlined in dot points - also let them know. As my site is an authority site, I do all the research and give them the links and information that I want them to use for inspiration when writing my article (I know researching for the writer adds a little extra time on my part), but the result is 99% of what I want,. Also don't be afraid to send an email to your writer and ask them if they can write about your subject before submitting job, if your uncertain Within 1 week of using the iwriters.com I have listed 4 favourite writers and one in particular I have sent 'special requests' so that only they will write my job at the same price as submitting it to many writers. At least with sending directly to your favourite writer, you can feel confident with the writing results or style that you want (and they earn a little more as well without costing your any more $$).
If you want to test iwriter.com without too much money outlay, then request a few different jobs to elite writers at say 300-500 words (which is much cheaper) and see what comes back - you may be surprised.
Anyhow, hope that helps others thinking of using iwriters.com.
PS. I have checked all my completed articles in copyscape and none (not even 3 words) of them have come back with any duplicate content issues.

PSPS I'm thinking of trying hirewriters.com but have not tried them yet, but hope to give them a try in the next week.
Alexander 11 years ago
I have tested Iwriter now a couple of times using these instructions and it has worked very well. Not a native english speaker so writing articles myself is not an option.
William Fenerson 11 years ago
The problem I have with using these types of services when you are first establishing a blog is with the tone. Everyone has a unique personality and it is reflected in your written as well as spoken word. I want people to be able know just by reading that this is original and unique, as well as high quality.

If I use these services, which I do on occasion, it's because I didn't feel like doing the research. Once I get an article, I always re-write it anyway to give it my voice.

I don't have any clients, so I am not swamped with article responsibilities. I prefer writing my own articles and will continue to do so.
Anna Ashmore 11 years ago
I used this service and they were HORRIBLE. Just go in your backyard & burn your money ... that would be smarter!
Marijan Sivric 11 years ago
I didn't try this service, but I think I will because I started my own website and newsletter and I need some fresh content. So, thanks for sharing. Still, paying $12 or more to professional writer for a high quality article, is a bargain for me.
Marius Fermi 11 years ago
Oddly, I feel like a complete idiot now - this morning I went onto Freelancer and basically requested an academic article to be written and researched, the only thing I supplied was the title.

Back to the drawing boards it is for me then!
Mait M2gi 11 years ago
Thanks, Mark, your posts are inspiring as always.
I personally can't afford outsourcing, but no matter- I try to read your posts with the attitude of getting something useful for myself.
And as for this post, here's a lot of great tips to write content by myself, so thank you :)

Azees Ishola 11 years ago
Great resource. I think is just best you pay writers to do what they do best while you concentrate on other things. I called this using money to buy time and getting result. After all that's all that matters.

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