There’s a lot of debate about a new content mill called Copify: a service that promises fast content from as little as 3p a word – paying their writers between 2p and 8p a word.
Some copywriters are seeing this as a threat to their business; luring clients away through cheap prices.
Customers of Copify are paying for a basic service of content writing. They want to put in their order and receive their word count as quickly as possible. If they want, they can pay more to “super-size” the quality of the writing.
It’s the kind of service synonymous with the fast food industry.
Will this fast food content clog the arteries of your copywriting business?
I live in Brighton. We have plenty of fast food outlets that bring in a strong crowd. But we also have shops and cafes run by people who are passionate about food, who take time and care when preparing it and as a result charge a lot more for it.
People are willing to pay more for this. There is no competition between Burger King and the popular organic food shops. They attract different customers.
The problem copywriters have about the per word basis with Copify is that it reduces the idea of copywriting to a commodity.
Copywriting is not a commodity.
Copywriting is a personal service. Each writer has their own particular niche, expertise, experience and style of working that will attract different clients.
Good copywriters take time to understand their clients’ objectives, but this doesn’t necessarily make them slow. Many good copywriters offer an express service for urgent deadlines and can often re-schedule to turn copy around quickly for them.
If you’re a copywriter concerned about losing clients to content mills then take time to revisit your niche.
What is unique about your service that makes clients want to use you?
If you are offering a content writing service unique to your experience, personality and style of working then you are offering a service that doesn’t have to compete with Copify because it’s like trying to sell a bacon double cheeseburger to a vegan. It’s not going to work.
What else can you offer current customers that may be tempted to use Copify instead of you? (Hint: this shouldn’t be lower rates).
Do you want to attract Copify customers who want to spend the minimum amount on a copywriting service?
Copify state that their service will “make people think differently about content writing”
I agree. I think it will make people realise the value of a good copywriter and make copywriters rethink how to find clients more suited to their individual style of working.
Anything that makes us more aware of the copywriting and content marketing industry can only be a good thing.
Hi Martin, thank you for stopping by!
Interesting point. This wasn’t a post about the quality of your writers, but how content mills offer a different style of service to individual freelance copywriters. There is a demand for both types of services and they attract two different types of customers.
However, even Copify suggests that price affects the quality of writing.
Copify charges more for “premium” copy, implying that the less you pay the more inferior quality of writing you will receive…
This echoes the assumption most will make about the quality of work between the pay-per-word model and the fixed-fee / per-hour basis most freelance writers work to where the latter offers a service based on not just a word count but includes ongoing consultancy, specific experience, amendments, research etc.
Thank you for your comment.
Martin Harrison says
Thank you for your blog, which I read with interest. Your analogy, comparing Copify to a fast food outlet is an interesting one. However, who is to say that what our writers dish up is of inferior quality to the copy that you produce? Do you have any evidence for this?
Thank you for your comments Tom!
I don’t see Copify as a direct competitor to most copywriters. Most clients using freelance copywriters rather than content mills want and expect a completely different style of service.
However, the introduction of Copify, and the subsequent debates have been useful in refreshing and reinforcing in my mind, the tailored content solution that I offer my cients. I think a lot of copywriters will experience the same renewal of confidence in their business when they realise they have a unique offering compared to a content mill.
Tom Albrighton says
Good post. While I admit to being unsettled by Copify when it launched, it actually acted as a catalyst for exactly the sort of reappraisal you describe here. The key point is that the value for the client is not in the deliverable (i.e. the words), but in the process. Anyone can deliver some words that, on the face of it, meet the client’s stated need. But it’s quite another thing to work through a creative, business-focused process of understanding target audiences, refining messages and feeding that into content. And, of course, that process can’t really be supported or justified via a per-word pricing model.
My own thoughts on the topic are here:
Incidentally, one of the best meals out I ever had was at Terre à Terre in Brighton – not a junk food outlet by any stretch of the imagination. For the joy of revisiting a veggie menu that wasn’t all omelettes and risotto, I would gladly pay double what I actually paid.