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January 27, 2014

The Content Enigma: Why You Need to Invest More Than Ever in Web Content in 2014

Enigma: A thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.

Is your content an enigma? You can quickly tell what content falls into this category — it’s typically puzzling or contradictory to its purpose. In the content world, that typically involves those who want great content and marketability, but don’t want to invest in it to achieve that. Sound familiar?

Before Google and its spree of algorithm updates, content was sold to the lowest bidder and most companies and website owners viewed content as a low priority. Most companies and website owners weren’t willing to invest in their content — why should they when there are companies out there offering content for practically nothing?

You Get What You Pay For… Seriously

Let’s face it; cheap content is not so great. If you’re sporting poor content on your website, what are you accomplishing, really?

It’s likely readers aren’t going to keep reading much past the first paragraph (if they even get that far) and they certainly won’t come back for more — because they’ll assume all you have to offer is poor-quality, useless content.

Poor quality content takes your chances of going viral down to minimal — if at all. No one wants to share content that is hard to read, offers nothing valuable or worse, and is obviously written by someone who doesn’t speak English. Would you share it? Didn’t think so.

When it comes to content, you always get what you pay for. If you pay practically nothing for your content, plan on getting practically nothing in return.

So Are You Saying I Have to Pay Hundreds to Get Good Content?

Absolutely not. But, if you’re hiring or outsourcing to companies offering bottom-priced content, expect bottom level content in return for your measly payment. Quality content comes in all forms and it doesn’t mean you have to spend $75 on one 500-word piece either.

Quality content means investing in your content. No more using your budget leftovers to buy your content — it’s time to actually set aside funds and pay for your website’s content.

That is, if you like conversions, return traffic and going viral.

A Few Facts to Chew On

Digesting the fact that you need to spend more on your content is never easy. But to help you swallow the idea a little easier, consider these interesting facts provided by Hubspot:

  • There are 27 million pieces of content shared every day — and trust them when they say poor-quality content pieces are not included in that estimation.
  • 78 percent of customers feel a company or brand is more trustworthy and worth their business if they have quality content — after all, if a company invests in the content it shows they’re interested in gaining more customers.
  • 90 percent of consumers find quality, custom content useful — which means they’re more likely to come back for more and share the content they find.

Be Serious About Your Content Budget — Don’t Be Stingy

It’s easy to say you’ll start spending more on your content, but will you really? According to the Content Marketing Survey Report of 2013, 62 percent of businesses said they still only spend $100 or less on their content each month and only 43 percent actually spent five hours per week on their content strategy.

Great content requires money, commitment and time. There’s no way around it and certainly no shortcut.

Now that we’ve established you need to set a budget, you need to really set a budget! Don’t just toss what leftovers you have at your content budget. Be serious about it; put forth some good money and you’ll get good content in return.

OK, So How Much Should I Pay?

There’s no set dollar amount you should pay per word or even per piece. But, it’s important to remember as quality goes up, so does the price. Many United States companies outsource their content to companies that use English as a second language.

While these offer budget-friendly content pieces — often barely a penny on the dollar — the content is shoddy and unreadable.

Would you lower the price of your products or services? You set prices because of your skill, brand and quality — so do content writers and content writing services. If you’re leery about pricing, don’t be. Instead of looking at dollar signs, look at the quality of the content.

A few things to look for in a good content writing service would be:

  • Skilled writers with multiple backgrounds and specialties.
  • An editorial staff ready to refine your content and make it shine.
  • A company that doesn’t outsource to non-English speaking writers or countries.
  • An organization that offers bulk order capabilities (often giving you a considerable discount in return for contracted, predictable work).

Your Content is an Investment… Period

If you have looked at content as a drag on your bottom line, it’s time to change the way you see it. Google has already made it clear that poor quality content won’t get you anywhere.

With the emphasis being on quality versus keywords, it’s more important than ever to start investing in your content. Trust me, the investment will return to you tenfold in the end.


Julia McCoy is a serial content marketer, entrepreneur, and bestselling author. She founded a multi-million dollar content agency, Express Writers, with nothing more than $75 at 19 years old. Today, her team has nearly 100 expert content creators on staff, and serves thousands of clients around the world. She's earned her way to the top 30 worldwide content marketers, and has a passion for sharing what she knows in her books and in her online course, The Content Strategy & Marketing Course. Julia also hosts The Write Podcast on iTunes.