A couple of weeks ago I wrote a blog on automating your business and a few of the online services that I use to make the management side of Words You Want easier. One of the services that I mentioned was CoSchedule. CoSchedule is a WordPress plugin that allows you to integrate your blogging and social media into one easy step. You write the blog and at the same time you can set up corresponding social media posts for that blog. To make things even easier, if you decide you want a blog or a post to go out on a different day, you just drag and drop them in the calendar. It’s so easy and a little fun as well!
After installing CoSchedule I got a message within the platform asking if I’d like a free notebook (and seriously, I never turn down anything free – I mean who does?). Today, that notebook arrived, as well as a nice, handwritten note from “Julie.” I have to say that I’ve never seen a business not only give me something free, but then top it off with a nice handwritten note. Totally made my day!
What Do You Do For Your Clients?
At the same time, this nice little gift got me to thinking. What do you do for your clients to add that personal touch? Do you treat them like they’re a part of the family? Do you try to make doing business with you fun? It may just be our Southern roots, but here at Words You Want, we’ve always tried to make doing business with us fast, easy and friendly. Sure, there are things we have to charge for that most writing businesses might not charge for (like phone calls), but we try to counteract that with fast and friendly email communications and not to mention service. Besides, email ensures you always have a direct line to us no matter where we are whether it’s Wal-Mart or half way around the world. It doesn’t matter if it’s 11pm on a Sunday night, I’m usually available to answer your questions – unless I’ve really just passed out from exhaustion – it happens.
We try to keep things a little fun and lighthearted as well. That’s one of the reasons we developed the Words You Want Wheel of Prizes. We could just give out a coupon code now and then, but what fun is that? Isn’t far more exciting to spin a wheel and see what you win? My point is – adding that personal touch whether it’s a fun way to win discounts, a handwritten note and a free notebook or even an ink pen can seriously make somebody’s day and encourage them to keep on doing business (or decide to do business) with you. I think it’s easy to live in this Internet business world and forget that there are real people on the other side of those email address and web pages.
So tell us, what do you do to add that personal touch?
7 am: Wake up & make coffee
7:15 am: Sit down at desk and begin answering somewhere around 40-50 emails
8:30 am: Get son in shower
9:00 am: Take son to babysitter
9:15: Answer more emails
10: 15 am: Hopefully get on the treadmill, unless there are more emails to answer
11:00 am: Hey, I’ve got time for a shower now!
As you can see, my mornings are hectic. If you’re a business owner or you have a full-time job, then I’m certain your mornings are just as busy (but you probably start earlier and take a shower before 11am!) Regardless, there’s not a whole lot of time in the day for social media, writing blogs and content and researching additional marketing options in addition to answering client inquiries and dreaded bookkeeping tasks. If I can automate something, I’m all over it. Here are some of my favorite web based software tools that allow me to automate my business so that I can spend more writing and responding to clients.
For File Management
No matter where I am and where I go, I need to know that I can access any of my files at any time. Dropbox allows me to do just that whether it’s from my phone, my tablet or my laptop. This isn’t exactly “automated,” but the simple fact that I can access everything I need from an app on my phone or tablet is huge for me.
I use both Outright.com and Freshbooks.com. Outright allows me to connect all of my credit card accounts, PayPal and checking account. Expenses and income are automatically logged for me. I just have to go through on occasion and remove anything that’s not business related or manually insert unique expenses such as mileage.
I use Freshbooks for invoicing, but it also has the option to connect your accounts for bookkeeping as well. I can set up automatic invoicing for clients that have repeating weekly or monthly orders. Freshbooks is also connected to PayPal and my credit card merchant account for easy payment options as well.
For Blogging & Social Media
All of my websites are on WordPress, which has many great features and automatic options in and of itself. However, I’ve recently discovered one particular plug-in that takes WordPress to the next level . CoSchedule is a unique plug in that provides you with an easy to use drag and drop calendar feature. With CoSchedule, you can write blogs, add them to your calendar and move them around to post on whichever day you want. Change your mind the next day? No problem, just drag and drop it to another day. While you’re at, schedule custom social media posts for Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and more.
SproutSocial is another social media tool that I’ve been using. SproutSocial provides you with a number of unique features such as unique, easy-to-read reports for free. Other social media tools that provide reporting actually charge you a pretty penny. SproutSocial offers messages where you can watch for mentions of your name and other keywords that you want to keep an eye on. You can also watch your feed and schedule posts, as well as the option to discover new followers and create new connections.
Make Your Life Easier!
Adding a little automation to life is the way to go. When you have more free time to focus on growing your business and thinking up new ideas, you’ll only be able to take yourself to the next level that much faster.
That title may seem like a bit of a tongue twister, but it’s one that rings true. There’s an interesting trend that I’ve been seeing over the past several months and that is that people want to pay less for content, but they want it to be higher quality. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work that way and, honestly, what product or service does work that way? To me, it’s like saying you want to buy an iPhone, but you want to pay the price of a standard flip phone. You simply can’t expect to buy something fabulous, but pay pennies for it.
I’ve literally seen people posting projects with budgets of $50 for 100 page ebooks! It’s insane. That’s a nickel per page! If it takes you an hour to write 5 pages of content, that’s just 25 cents per hour! What’s sad is that there are people willing to work at that rate, but that doesn’t mean that the resulting product is any good.
I recently stumbled across a SEOMoz Webinar by Ian Lurie and in that webinar he depicted the issue of low content budgets perfectly. It looked a little something like this:
Can’t see that little red dot? Yeah, I barely can. Ironically, content is a huge part of SEO, so why do companies budget such a small amount for content?
Too Many “Writers”
One reason is because the market has gotten to the point that it’s flooded with “writers”. I use “writers” in quotes on purpose because many of the individuals out there that are marketing themselves as writers have absolutely no idea what they’re doing. They are just writing on the side and hoping to make some extra cash. Worse yet, some are copying the profiles and samples of established, seasoned writers and trying to manipulate their clients into thinking they are something that they aren’t.
Unfortunately, they don’t know anything about SEO, they don’t understand the importance of quality and unique content and they put you at risk of duplicate content and plagiarism because of that.
Too Many Businesses Think They Can Automate Content
Much of what you read about SEO on the web today is grossly outdated. You’ll read about article marketing and article spinning. Additionally, tons of software programs were created to help you “automate” these processes. Unfortunately, if you automate today, you’re likely going to get penalized by Google Panda. It can be expensive, but the best route is to simply create new and unique content. That’s one of the keys to better search engine rankings.
Businesses Don’t Realize that Content Helps with Linkbuilding
This one goes back to content being an important part of SEO. If you write a report or a guide for SEO, you need a writer right? Of course, so the cost of that writer is going to come out of your content budget and not the SEO budget. Combining these two budgets may allow more businesses more opportunities in creating quality content rather than buying low quality content from low quality writers.
In addition, you need writers for a lot more than just SEO writing. You need a writer for web content, product descriptions, press releases and other pieces of content that make your website what it is. One writer can handle several services, so it’s worth it to expand your budget to accommodate all that needs to be written by a professional.
What’s “Expensive” Really Isn’t All That Expensive After All
We get a lot of feedback that our rates are higher than others and we realize that. We can’t compete with new and foreign writers and the low rates that they charge, but you also can’t put a price on our experience. We’ve been writing for the SEO industry for over 6 years and we’ve done over $1 million in sales. We’re not huge company, but we are:
- Knowledgeable in the best SEO practices (including the up-to-date ones) and always trying to learn more
- Timely in deadlines and communication
- Competitively priced
When you look at these qualities, it’s hard to say that we’re overpriced because we are provide a lot behind the scenes and we’re always available. We don’t automate, we write from scratch, we do our research and we try to provide the best quality that we can. We are always working to provide the best user experience for our buyers that we can. We offer revisions if we don’t hit the mark the first time (even though we try to very hard). That’s a lot of service that you won’t get with a lot of writers and I believe that justifies our rates, which I feel are actually quite competitive.
Don’t Skimp and Save Money Later
By not skimping on your content now, I can almost guarantee that it will save you money in the long run. We have had more clients come back to us because they went with someone cheaper and they received content written by foreigners that couldn’t be comprehended or they’ve experienced penalties due to duplicate content or similar issues. Prevent stress and save money by having it done right the first time.
A professional SEO writing company can help your business in various areas, so why not expand that content budget a little bit and see what quality content can do for you?
As a writing company, we pride ourselves on prompt communication and we try to make sure that we are clear on all project details and requirements before moving forward. Unfortunately, it seems that sometimes even this is not enough to have a project written without a hitch.
We understand that revisions sometimes happen and that we can’t please everybody, we learned this a long, long time ago. Even though we try to get a project 100% right the first time, there are times that revisions are needed and we understand that. However, it’s also important that our clients are prompt in their communication and provide us much detail as they can when it comes to writing their project.
To assist our clients in providing us with the details we require, we have three questionnaires that can be downloaded from our site. We also provide these on projects in Elance that we are awarded to further assist buyers who may need the additional help in providing us the details we require. We have questionnaires for:
- Web Content
- Article and Blog writing
- Press releases
They can be downloaded here.
One of the reasons that we use email as our main communication, we are able to keep all project details in writing and so that they can be later referred back to if necessary. This has proven to be important time and time again.
We take great pride in being very quick to respond to any and all messages. We often have clients who wonder if we even sleep. While we do, we make ourselves available to the very last minute, as many of our clients are out of the country and we try to be available as much as possible.
If revisions are required, we do our best to complete them promptly and usually within 24 hours. Revisions are offered within the scope of the project though, so we only offer revisions on what we wrote. We also only offer revisions 14 days after the work is turned in, as it is not feasible to request revisions on a project that is older than two weeks due to the conflicts with scheduling such a request can make.
Over the years and as business demand has increased, we’ve had to make a few adjustments to the way we schedule projects and perform work. However, one aspect still remains the same and that is that each project is scheduled a day (or more depending on size) and completed in its entirety. We don’t jump from project to project on a daily basis doing one article here for one client and another article there for another. Each project is worked on until all 10 articles or 25 pages are complete. This is to ensure quality and consistency across the project. It really does make a big difference in the outcome.
Here’s how our scheduling process works though if you are interested in making an order and need to determine when that project would be completed. It’s really rather simple:
1. Make contact by email. Let us know how many pages, how many words and the type of project you have. This will allow us to give you an accurate quote. If you know what you want specifically, you can also prepay via the Quick Order page.
2. After we’ve quoted you and you’ve given a definitive “go” on the project, we will send an invoice for half up front via our Freshbooks account. This system allows you to pay by PayPal or Google Checkout. You can also fill out our Credit Card Authorization form and we will charge your card directly. For very large projects, we’re also willing to accept bank transfers.
3. Once the invoice is paid or if you’ve prepaid, we will schedule you in. We book up a week in advance, so if your order is in before Thursday of each week, your project will be scheduled for the upcoming week. We have a 7 day turnaround time, although it is first come, first serve as well. We will try to schedule you in earlier if our schedule allows. If it comes in after Thursday, then you will likely be scheduled for the next, next week, which will put delivery within 10-14 days.
4. If you would like to receive a first chapter and outline for approval on an ebook or a first article for approval prior to the set being completed, just ask. We’re happy to accommodate.
If you need your content in a hurry, we do offer priority rates and we can often accomodate a quick turnaround. Just let us know what you need and how quickly you need it. We can ofte work something out.
As you can see, the scheduling process is not difficult. We really just need all of the details you can provide us, as well as a definitive “go” after you receive a quote. This way we can get you scheduled in without any delays.
The difference between web content and articles is an issue that I run into quite frequently because there’s a vary vague line as to where the switch over is in some cases. However, there is a substantial difference between the two types of writing and thus a difference in price.
Web content or web copy is defined as the homepage, about us, service pages, FAQs, etc. These are the pages of your website that have a sales oriented focus. This means that the content has to be written so that it focuses on the business itself and in a marketing style. Due to the sales oriented nature of web content, our rate is 10 cents per word. Basically, 100 words is $10.
Articles are defined as any content for a website or blog that is informational in nature and does not have a sales oriented focus. Granted, there are times when articles must contain a call to action at the end of it, but overall, these are informational articles that are there to inform the reader rather than sell to the reader. Our rate for articles and blogs is around 3 cents per word depending on the length of the article. Rates can vary because very long articles are more time consuming and thus our rate is adjusted accordingly.
The important difference here is that sales oriented content costs more because it’s more difficult and time consuming to write. It’s a totally different style and form of writing than article or blog writing. Although all content may be posted to your website, not all content is sales-oriented and that’s the differentiating factor for a writer when it comes to rates.
Fill out the form below to get started with your new web content or articles! We’ll help you identify the type of content you need to reach your audience and meet your goals!