5 Reasons Not to Hire Content Writing Agencies and Mills



Here’s the thing about content mills– they can destroy your content marketing progress faster than you can say ‘quality’.


Google “freelance content writing services” and the first page is rife with content writing agencies and mills. Not only are they super in-demand, but they also seem to dominate conversations around hiring content writers in India.


That doesn’t mean they’re the best way to go– in fact, you’re probably harming your business by choosing a content mill over individual freelance content writing services.


Let me tell you why.


Content mills tend to favour quantity over quality


Many businesses run to content mills because they want thousands of articles in just a few days to bulk-upload onto their website. Quality over quantity seems to be a common understanding in the world of SEO– it’s also wrong. Today, search engines prioritise content that adds value to readers and doesn’t pander to algorithms. Take it from the experts:


  • Neil Patel found that Google has removed or demoted pages with content from mills and farms because they’re trying to satisfy algorithms, not human readers.

  • According to Backlinko, long-form, in-depth articles often perform better than short content. In fact, Google even has a designated area in the SERPs (search engine ranking pages) for them.

  • SEO isn’t about keyword stuffing anymore– it’s about natural language and organically optimised content.


As a former content mill manager, I can assure you that you’ll get quantity from content mills, but the quality of content delivered is usually a bit up in the air. This has nothing to do with the content mill themselves but everything to do with the industry setup, underpaid writers, ridiculous deadlines and half-baked SEO knowledge.


Again, your business will benefit from hiring freelance content writing services that can consistently ensure quality even if quantity fluctuates.


Content mills can’t always assure consistent brand tone


As a business or a brand, it is vital to the business growth that you have and stick to a brand tone, writing style and voice across marketing collaterals. Take it from a former content mill manager– you’re likely to get inconsistent writing that doesn’t always meet brand guidelines and doesn’t always translate to valuable copy.


Freelance content writing services are orchestrated entirely by an individual who can afford to pore over brand guidelines and create quality content. You don’t want people to struggle to figure out what your brand tone is– you want them to remember you for it.


Content mills are suited for templatised content, not unique copy


The term is an indicator in itself– content mills churn out run-of-the-mill copy that is repurposed for different pages and may pass plagiarism checks but isn’t entirely unique.


Freelance content writing services are better poised to create content that is quite unlike any other out there or, at the very least, offers a fresh perspective on a popular topic.


If you’re looking to stuff pages with Lorem Ipsum-like content just to get your site up and running, content mills might be worth it. But they’re not worth the money and the hassle if what you really want is engaging, unique copy that helps you meet business goals.


Content mills aren’t always SEO-friendly


The primary goal of content mills is to churn out copy. Whether it works for you on the SERPs or not, is an entirely different ball game.


If you have strict SEO guidelines, you might get away with using content mills by ensuring that they stick to what you’ve outlined.


However, if you’re still A/B testing or need SEO help, opting for freelance content writing services may well be your best bet.


In the long run, run-of-the-mill content will hurt your marketing goals instead of fulfilling them. Search engine algorithms are getting increasingly smarter, so you’re less likely to get a clean chit on mass content today that you would have been a few years ago.


Cheaper rates don’t equal quality


Content mills are often frequented by businesses that have low budgets but need loads of content. As a result, content mill bidding turns into a race to the bottom; they may be able to offer surprisingly low rates, but that means nothing when it comes to assuring the quality of your content.


Content mills don’t care about your business tomorrow– they’ll only write content that works for today.


Cheap rates are also unsustainable in the long run– you’ll find good writers upping and leaving because they’re underpaid, and bad writers being hired in their place just because they work for cheaper rates.


With content mills, you’re likely to spend more in maintenance and rework than you are in actually commissioning content. Therefore, if you’re willing to take the plunge now so that you don’t have to spend double the amount on corrections and penalties later, you’re better off engaging freelance content writing services.


What constitutes content writing mills?


Content mills typically employ hundreds of content writers to work on projects, often paying them low rates to maintain profit margins. They usually have a team of in-house and freelance editors whose role is to ensure copy is grammatically correct and plagiarism-free (in most cases).


Platforms that serve to connect writers to clients, such as Upwork and Fiverr, aren’t considered content mills. This is because the writer is usually in direct contact with the client and can clarify misunderstandings with them directly. So if you’re planning to hire a writer from such platforms, you’re pretty safe.


In content mills, you’re more likely to deal with an account manager– you won’t get access to the nameless, faceless writer who is working on your content. Content mills operate mechanically, with cookie-cutter setups that cater to mass-produced content rather than unique and value-driven copy.


Content mills also prefer working with larger companies that have templatised content needs because they provide bulk orders and a lot of money. You’d be hard-pressed to find a content mill that can write a few articles; you’ll probably be told that your volumes aren’t high enough to warrant an offer.


That’s when you know you need to run for the hills– or to freelance content writing services.


Looking for freelance content writing services in India? I've got you covered– check out my services or get in touch.

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