January 31, 2016
Content production is not a one-size-fits-all affair.
Content mills are just middlemen standing between your ideas and the overworked writers bringing them to life.
People don’t want to read bad blog posts!
Content mills are a lot like puppy mills.
They both mass-produce a bunch of cute li’l things, and tempt you with rock-bottom prices.
But then you take your puppy/content home, and the problems start.
Turns out both kinds of mills are nothing more than factories fueled by unfulfilled dreams and broken promises. They churn out faulty products that leave you heartbroken and disappointed, and looking at the inner machinery of either is enough to turn your stomach.
Am I being dramatic?
No, not at all. And I’d love to see content mills disappear from the face of the planet.
Besides being hell on their writers, mills are a raw deal for you as a business owner. Let’s pull back the curtain and take a look inside, and see why you’re better off distancing your brand from these digital sweatshops.
Your website’s goal is to generate value, and by extension build interest and trust in your brand. Whenever you hire an outside agency to fulfill that goal, you assume that agency’s content strategy is in-line with your own.
That’s not always the case.
The content farm method is to mass-produce as many blogs, sales letters and web copy in as little time as possible for as cheap as possible.
They don’t care about building your brand or retaining customers or turning your website into an industry leader. That’s just silly!
Why waste time delicately crafting a handful of superb posts every months when you can get 40 or even 80 articles for the same price? What a bargain!
Before Google overhauled their search engine to eradicate this type of spam, mills did exactly that—churn out hundreds of articles per month for clients to boost their Google rank.
Well, that doesn’t work anymore. Mills have reorganized and (partly) shied away from pure-SEO articles (which don’t even work) to more value-driven blogs.
So they’re good to use now, right?
How do you think mills can afford to deliver content for so cheap?
It’s because they pay their employees close to nothing.
This isn’t some moral crusade about low writing wages, though. It’s about value.
Let’s pretend that somehow, some way, you hire a mill who manages to staff an all-star writing team willing to work for wages that aren’t even livable in most places.
Even if a mill is filled with talented writers, how on earth could they generate content of value when they’re spitting out hundreds of articles every week?
Price is what you pay. Value is what you get.
— Warren Buffett
That’s because the mill’s company values are completely out of sync with the businesses who hire them and the people who read their articles.
And that says nothing of the fact that many content mills hire outside the developed world to keep their overhead low. How can a writer from Bangladesh, China or Egypt understand the nuances of American English?
Take a hike. Tougher than nails. Bite the bullet.
These are all simple phrases built with simple words, yet very few non-native speakers will learn these until they’re extremely proficient in English, ie too expensive to work for a content mill.
OK, so content mills are low in value, but at least they’re cheap.
But really, they aren’t even cheap! Take the money you’d spend on 60 posts at a mill and invest it in 4 posts with an agency who gives a shit, and you’ll be blown away by the difference.
Don’t believe me? Here’s a sample you can expect from a content mill:
With more than 25 years of marketing experience, ContentFarm offers you the answer to all of your marketing needs. Our marketers are ready to bring top-notch marketing to any and every company in Southern California—plumbers, doctors, lawyers, software developers—you name it. ContentFarm is just a click away, and won’t cost too much, either.
We offer one of the most affordable content marketing agencies without sacrificing quality. Whether you need the whole marketing team or a solo writer for your next campaign, trust ContentFarm to bring you the success you want. We’re all writing experts, so we guarantee your business needs will be met by some of the most talented writers in the world.
Basic, boring, worthless.
How could you rewrite this passage to make it kick ass? Well, take a look around you. Look at our clients’ sites.
And here’s why you can trust me…I wrote that first passage a long, long time ago.
You see, back when I first started writing, I worked at a content mill.
I know first-hand that mill writers never work with their clients directly, don’t have time to put thought into any of their blog posts, and generally just don’t care about their work.
It’s a toxic business culture that could sink your online marketing attempts if you take their bait. I’ve seen it before.
The key takeaway here is this:
Based on what I’ve observed over the years, people just don’t want to read bad blog posts.
You can put lipstick on a pig with fancy SEO tricks ‘n tactics, spam out links across social media, do the whole song and dance…but if your content is garbage, it’s garbage.
Best case scenario, you get ignored. Worst case scenario, people associate your entire business with the trash heap of content you’ve been producing.
Produce content that benefits your readers, not content that saves you a quick buck. The long-term costs of crap content far outweigh the upfront benefits.
Trust me, I’m a recovering mill writer.
Niches we like as a inbound lead generation agency: