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Based on our own experiences and what I’ve heard from many other large online publishers, one of the biggest challenges to scaling is finding and retaining good writers.

There are a couple of approaches to this. One is to hire freelancers, and the other is to use one or multiple content writing services.

Most of the bigger online publishers that I know of prefer to use freelancers. They do this because you can find specialized writers and potentially at a lower cost than a writing service.

We’re on the other side of the coin, as we mostly use content writing services these days. While we do still use a couple of freelancers that we found on Upwork years ago, we’ve mostly shifted to getting our content from writing services instead.

While it’s absolutely true that you can find specialized writers when working directly with freelancers, most of the content that we publish can easily be written by someone who doesn’t have specialized knowledge. In fact, part of our niche and topic selection process involves making sure that anything we outsource can be easily researched online.

Because of this, we don’t worry so much about the background of a writer when outsourcing content. We simply go with the “premium” option with any service that we use, which typically delivers a mix of good to great articles.

In this post, I’ll go over some of the reasons that we’ve chosen to use writing services, then I’ll end with some thoughts and examples from each of the ones that we’ve found to be the best and use across all of our niche sites.

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Why We Use Content Writing Services Over Freelancers

When we first started outsourcing, we strictly used freelancers. In fact, I didn’t even realize there was such a thing as a content writing service.

Over time, working with freelancers became difficult. This is because freelancers require management and interactions, which can be difficult to scale.

When working with freelancers, you’ll likely be looking for new talent regularly, as writers tend to only stick around for so long. You’ll also need to communicate with each one separately, train them to meet your standards, handle assignments and payments, and so on.

When an order comes in, unless you’ve worked something out with a particular freelancer, they’ll come in one article at a time. Those articles will need to at least be spotted checked until you’ve built up a good level of trust with the freelancer.

All of these things take up time, and a lot of it. The couple of freelancers that we still work with are fantastic, yet the process to handle a single article from them takes as long to process as a batch of 10 articles from a writing service.

This was the main driver for the switch to content writing services and is also why we’ve never looked back since discovering them. When scaling a business, time is a precious resource that needs to be valued accordingly.

The Benefits of Using a Writing Service

As I just mentioned, the biggest win for us when switching to mostly using writing services was the amount time that we saved. All that time that we’ve freed up has allowed us to focus on other projects to improve and grow our sites.

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Passion Posts

With a content writing service, you typically have a project manager that handles what you would normally handle yourself with freelancers. You essentially work with one person (or possibly just through a web portal), and in return, you get everything delivered back to you in bulk.

There’s no worrying about keeping people on track or motivated. You don’t have to worry about hiring and firing. You don’t have to worry about trying to get all of your freelancers on the same page with writing style, formatting, etc.

All these little things add up to a ton of time when you scale, so for us, it’s easily worth the slightly increased cost per word (which typically works out to about the same as hiring VAs to manage your freelancers anyway).

While all content writing services operate a bit differently, you’ll typically place an order in bulk by either emailing a spreadsheet to someone or uploading it to a web portal.

Once that order is uploaded along with your general formatting instructions, you simply move onto something else until that content is ready to be delivered to you.

All three services that we use deliver content in batches, so if we place an order for let’s say 100,000 words, we might get 30,000 words back in the first batch. This is nice, because it’s a large amount of content, but not so large that it’s overwhelming to process.

Because the content comes back to you in batches, you can quickly spot check multiple articles at once and make any formatting changes that you want to make in bulk.

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Speaking of formatting, this is easily one of the biggest wins with a writing service. With freelancers, everyone will likely format their articles differently unless you put them through a strict training process.

With writing services, all of your articles from a given service should come back formatted just the way you want them to be. If they don’t, you just work with the manager, who then handles getting all of the writers in line with your formatting instructions.

If you have issues with some of the content, you simply send it back to have it fixed. There’s no dealing with the writers directly, as the writing service will take care of that for you.

Once you have all of your articles formatted and spot checked, you can hop onto WordPress and upload them one after the other, all in one sitting.

For us, using a content writing service over freelancers all boils down to finding ways to free up your time to focus on growing your business.

The Best Content Writing Services (In Our Opinion)

We’ve tried several writing services, but the three below are the ones that we’ve found the most success with over the last few years, in order from our favorite to least favorite.

Each of these services has its own pros and cons, which I’ll cover in detail below.

A couple of quick points before we dive in:

  1. I’m not going to share exact pricing, as it differs based on the size of your order
  2. The examples are real posts from our public site, My Backyard Life

ContentPit

ContentPit is the most recent writing service that we’ve tested, but it also happens to be our favorite. I’ll start with the downside, since there’s not much, then jump into the positives that we’ve seen so far.

The only negative thing I have to say about ContentPit at this point in time is their turnaround time. We’ve placed a few 100,000 word orders with them, and they can take 3-4 months to get back to us in total (sent in four batches over that timeframe).

With most services, we wouldn’t bother sticking around with such a long turnaround time, but the positives easily outweigh the negatives. On top of that, they have been hiring additional writers, so that turnaround time has been improving.

As far as what we like about ContentPit, let’s start with the ordering process. Everything is handled via a web portal, and it’s about as easy as it gets.

To place a bulk order, we literally copy and paste a spreadsheet into a data grid in their web portal. This is done in one shot and takes a matter of seconds.

When the content comes back to us, it’s delivered via email, which is definitely ideal. Each article is in a separate file (which isn’t ideal), but because the formatting is so good, it hasn’t been an issue.

As far as formatting is concerned, we’ve had absolutely zero issues with ContentPit. They follow our instructions perfectly to the point that we could literally copy and paste each article into WordPress without reviewing them if we wanted to do so.

The content quality itself is where ContentPit truly shines. One of the first things I noticed with our first batch of articles is how good of a job their writers do of staying on topic.

With most writing services (and freelancers), if you don’t provide an outline (which we don’t), you’ll likely get some articles back that are full of fluff or go off on random tangents. With ContentPit, their writers are clearly trained to find related subtopics that target keywords and are relevant to the article being written.

As far as communication is concerned, I haven’t had any problems. Everything has been handled via email, and they are very responsive.

I only brought up a minor issue to them about a couple of articles once, and even though I said they didn’t need to fix it (just that they should fix it going forward), they had the edited articles back to me within hours of me sending the email.

As far as pricing is concerned, it’s right in line with all of the other services out there. If you order in large quantities, the pricing is actually quite reasonable.

Pros

  • High-quality writing
  • Formatting is clean and consistent
  • Writing instructions are followed every time
  • Writers do a really good job of staying on topic
  • Very responsive communication
  • Bulk pricing is reasonable

Cons

  • Turnaround time is very long

Live Examples

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Passion Posts

Passion Posts is another great service that we started using a few months prior to trying Content Pit. Overall, our experience has been great, but there are a few drawbacks to keep in mind.

Starting with the pros this time, the overall quality of the posts that we get from Passion Posts is typically very high. The writers for each of your posts are selected based on whether or not they have a background in that particular topic, and it shows.

With Passion Posts, the writers are also clearly trained to target the featured snippet, as they include a short answer in the intro of every article that’s optimized for it.

The writers also do a good job of pulling information from multiple sources and even include things like lists and tables within the posts. This is something you typically won’t see with other writing services.

The quality of the writing is the most important factor, so overall, we’ve been happy with Passion Posts. That’s not to say there aren’t some drawbacks though, which I’ll jump into next.

One issue that we’ve had with Passion Posts is that the formatting isn’t consistent at all from one writer to the next. They’re consistent in that they use headings and target featured snippets, but that’s about where the consistency stops.

We spend quite a bit of time with each order simply formatting the posts to match what we’re looking for. This might be something like the spacing of the paragraphs, using headings and subheadings properly, and so on.

Keeping your formatting consistent across your posts is important, and that’s just one area where you’ll have to put in the work yourself if you’re using Passion Posts.

Another minor negative with Passion Posts is their order management system. This might be different for placing small orders, but for large orders, everything is managed through a portal.

While managing orders through a portal is fine, it’s just a bit clunky. At the end of the day, it works fine, but again, it adds more time to the workflow, which is what we’re trying to avoid.

Lastly, the cost per word is a bit higher with Passion Posts than the other services listed. This is mainly due to the fact that they charge based on a range of total words, instead of a specific rate per word.

While it might not sound like it, overall, we’ve been quite happy with the articles that we’ve received from Passion Posts. The level of quality has been really solid, and that more than makes up for the other drawbacks that I mentioned.

Pros

  • High-quality writing
  • Good job of diving deep into a topic
  • Topics are thoroughly researched
  • Articles sometimes include tables and lists
  • Articles target the featured snippet

Cons

  • Formatting is inconsistent
  • Slow turnaround time (although this has improved significantly as of late)
  • Clunky bulk order management system
  • The pricing is higher than the other options

Live Examples

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Textun

The last content writing service that I’ll mention is Textun. We’ve been using Textun for a few years and have been happy with them overall.

Like the other two writing services that I mentioned, Textun definitely has its pros and cons. Again, if the pros didn’t outweigh the cons, we wouldn’t still be using them.

To start with the pros, they are very consistent in both formatting and turnaround time, which means we can rely on getting the articles back quickly and get them through our workflow just as fast.

Articles are delivered in batches, with each batch including multiple articles in a single file. This alone saves us a ton of time with spot-checking and editing.

On top of that, the articles are always formatted consistently. This makes the workflow very quick on our end.

The only issues as far as formatting are that one, they won’t use headers (they just bold the text instead of using H2s, H3s, etc.), and two, writers will occasionally not follow our instructions to keep the paragraphs short. Otherwise, we’ve never had a problem with formatting.

Regarding turnaround time, we regularly place orders for 100,000 words per months and almost always get everything back within 30 days. The order is usually broken up into 3-4 batches, delivered throughout that 30 day window.

Pricing is also really good with Textun, at least at the bulk rates. They are currently the cheapest service out of the three that I mentioned.

Aside from the minor formatting issues that I mentioned above, the only other issue that we sometimes have with Textun (and it’s a big one) is that the writers sometimes add fluff to hit the word counts. This is obviously not ideal, as going off on random tangents within an article doesn’t help you rank for the target keyword in any way.

Unfortunately, when you target a lot of low-volume, low-competition keywords, you’re going to get writers that struggle to stay on topic. This will happen with freelancers as well, but is not something you like to see.

This is the biggest reason why we like ContentPit so much. You see very little fluff in the articles that they produce.

Overall, we’ve been really happy with Textun, as they are very reliable, and it’s very quick and easy for us to process a large amount of content from them each month.

Pros

  • Each batch of articles is delivered as a single file
  • The formatting is consistent from article to article
  • Turnaround time is fast and consistent
  • Bulk orders are handled completely via email
  • Bulk pricing is very reasonable

Cons

  • The level of quality can be hit or miss, even at the “premium” level
  • Articles sometimes include fluff to hit the target word count
  • Won’t use heading tags (H2s, H3s, etc.)

Live Examples

Final Thoughts

When it comes to scaling your business, finding ways to quickly get good content onto your sites is key. The two most common approaches for this are either content writing services or freelancers.

Both approaches have their own benefits and drawbacks, and there’s no clear right or wrong direction to choose. In fact, a mix of the two might even be the best approach.

In our case, we’ve settled primarily on content writing services and have found it to be an effective way to scale our business with a minimal amount of management and handling on our end.

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    After spending several years struggling to find a reliable way to make money online, I finally developed a simple system that produces large and consistent results. My small team and I are now generating life-changing income for all of us by building simple niche websites using the basic steps covered on Passive Income Unlocked.

    2 Comments

    1. If Passion Posts changed their ordering options, making it easier to simply order X number of articles at X number of words each, I think they’d be a much better choice for niche site owners. Just placed an order with a different one of your recs above, and I spend 3-5K on content per month, FWIW. Also, great review and helpful so tku vm Jeff.

      • Agreed. Passion Posts is great overall, but they’re missing the mark in some areas.

        That’s a solid amount of content per month. I hope you get some great results from the service you’re testing.

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