There is always a major demand for high-quality content writing. You can do this type of work as a freelancer, but you’re ultimately limited in earnings by the amount of writing you can do each day.
Once you work as a freelancer writer for a while and get a firm understand of how the industry works, you could turn your freelancing side hustle into a business by starting your own content writing agency.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed running this type of online business if you’re not careful. I’m going to discuss four key tips and strategies that can help you create a more successful agency while maximizing revenue and keeping stress to a minimum.
I spent years working as a freelancer online in the writing industry, and I even have experience running my own agency for about a year. It wasn’t the right kind of business for me, but the insights I gained while doing that type of work will be priceless to someone just getting started.
Why Start a Writing Agency?
Most freelance writers will eventually have more work than they can actually handle. When you reach that point, one option is to expand. By simply hiring other writers and managing them, you can complete much more work than you would be able to do solo. With enough writers, you could focus solely on finding new work and managing your team instead of writing yourself.
Your reputation online as a writer is important too. Without a strong work ethic and quality content being produced, you likely won’t have a great reputation and could struggle to attract work. When you’re highly regarded in your industry, more people will seek you out to do their writing projects and they’ll be willing to pay more money for that work. This is what needs to happen to propel yourself into creating a successful and profitable writing agency. If you’re not there yet, don’t stress about it too much. Focus on doing amazing work and exceeding the expectations of your clients and you’ll will eventually reach that goal.
Once you’re in high demand and can’t possibly keep up with your work requests, even without looking for new work, that’s when you should consider starting your own writing business and hiring other writers. Doing it from scratch without an existing reputation is possible, but it will be harder and take longer with a lower success rate.
Tip #1: Hiring Writers
The tricky part to running a writing agency is finding the right people to do the job. If you’ve been getting paid higher rates for high-quality work, you won’t be able to hire cheap writers to help lighten your work load. You will need other writers that have a comparable skill level to your own.
Make sure you carefully scrutinize writers before you hire them and even while they’re working for you. You need to make sure that content being produced meets your quality standards before you can send them to clients. The best time to begin this scrutiny is before you even hire them.
Asking for samples of their work can be one way to quickly judge an applicant, but it may not accurately represent the effort they’ll give to producing your content. One approach I’ve taken numerous times that has worked quite well is to give them an audition project. Offer payment to write one article. If they do an amazing job, you can hire them to work full-time. When you receive garbage in return, you cut your losses and move on to the next writer.
Tip #2: Work Quality
There’s a lot of horrible writers selling their services online. Finding someone to make fluff content written in poor English for a cheap price is easy to come by. For any real website owner that offers value, that type of content is useless. This is exactly why I highly recommend that you focus on quality instead. You’ll be able to earn higher rates per article and per word, which means you’ll need fewer employees while still making a higher income.
High-quality content is also what is in demand. A successful website could be making six or seven figures each year, so paying $100 or even more for a single article is actually quite reasonable if that content offers value to the reader of the site.
If you’re going to offer this type of work to clients, you need to make it really clear to your writers what is expected. Insist that research is performed for every single piece to ensure accurate facts and useful content. Make sure they’re being properly compensated to put forth this extra effort too. You can’t pay your writers $10 per article while you’re collecting $100 and expect to be successful. The saying that you get what you pay for definitely applies to content writing.
Tip #3: Content Review
If you ignore everything else that I have to say about creating your own content writing agency, please follow this one piece of advice: review every single article produced by your writers. It’s possible that you could hire someone else to review and edit content, but you’re going to have to be extremely confident that they will do a great job.
Here’s the main problem you’ll find when you hire freelancer writers, either to produce content for your own site or for your writing agency: a lot of them will try to cheat you. Plagiarism is a huge issue in this industry unfortunately. If you blindly hire writers and don’t review their content, you’re almost guaranteed to end up paying for stolen content eventually.
Even when an article looks great, you have no idea whether it was taken directly from another website. That’s when services like CopyScape Premium come in handy. There are free services available on that site, but if you’re running a content agency then you should pay the small price to use their premium plagiarism service. It only costs about 10 cents per article. You upload a text file, and Copyscape will check it against the rest of the internet to find out if it was copied. It’s not just looking at the article as a whole either. It will pick out individual sentences from the writing that have been taken from another site, even if a few words have been switched.
Copyscape was a lifesaving service for my own agency. Even though I was very clear with writers about my expectations, offered high pay, and only hired writers with excellent reviews, I still found that about 50% of them were trying to sell me stolen writing from other websites. If not for Copyscape, I would’ve paid for all of it and published it. You don’t ever want to make that mistake, especially with your own agency because it will be your reputation that suffers.
Tip #4: Agency Branding
Even though I’ve already touched on this subject a bit in other parts of this guide, it’s important that I talk about agency branding in more detail. Writing work tends to have price ranges that are typical in the industry. When you’re not explicitly clear about the quality that you provide to clients, you may not attract the right pay range.
Some clients want 1,000 word articles for $10 or $20, but that’s only 1-2 cents per word. I could aggressively write content straight out of my head and possibly do better than minimum wage at those rates, but it’s not feasible to do research and high-quality work for that price. Don’t bother trying to land those clients because they don’t understand the value of your work. Instead focus on the companies that are willing to pay a lot more per word.
For high-quality work, you should be charging at least 10 cents per word, which would be $100 for 1,000 words. However, you could potentially charge $500 – $2,000 for the same work depending on your level of expertise.
Also consider what kind of writing your agency will do. Basic article writing is one of the lowest paying types of work, while professional copywriting and ghostwriting can be much more lucrative. Someone with a lot of experience as a copywriter can easily get hired to write email newsletters for $2 per word.
With all of that in mind, how do you want clients to view your content writing agency? It’s important to consider this ahead of time to position yourself appropriately to be able to attract the high paying clients that you really want.