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Sunday
Apr172016

A Professional Copywriter’s Experience and Rejection with Copify

Rather than being biased from the outset for the post I wrote concerning copywriters being paid by the word on content mill websites like Textbroker and ContentWriter, I decided do some research first and sign up to one of these content mills - Copify. 

Copify market themselves as providing “quality content from approved copywriters” at costs around the £15 - £25 mark for a 400 word blog. 

As the copywriter on the receiving end of the these projects, you’d imagine that - less the cut of the middleman - you’d be receiving around £12-£16 per 400 words. Already this is a very low rate of pay, and far less than a professional copywriter like myself would charge to clients looking for even the most basic of blog posts. 

But, it is what it is, and for more junior copywriters or those starting out, it could be a good place to start and earn both experience and a little extra money. If client work is short, then needs must. 

Signing up with my credentials  

I’d seen Copify crop up a few times here and there doing some market research for my own company, so I thought, why not, let’s sign up and have a first hand look. 

Well, I didn’t get very far. 

Part naivety, part arrogance on my own part, my application to be a copywriter for them was rejected. I find it rather amusing now, but initially it was a shock. With more than three years experience working as a professional copywriter and with my own, limited company serving both small and big businesses, I’d confidently assumed that I’d breeze through the application. 

Arrogantly, I thought just one look at my CV, LinkedIn profile and experience would have me welcomed aboard. 

So I’m not going to lie, I didn’t take the sample writing test very seriously. It simply said, write 200 words on ‘how to save money on car insurance’. And so I did; a super quick intro, four key points, some SEO keyword variants thrown in to show off a bit, and I thought the job was done. 

Falling foul of the system

You’re timed on this application. One hour. I was done within seven minutes. I had a phone call from a client right when I was finished, so rather than let the timer tick down, I just hit submit.  

A few minutes later, I got an email saying I had been unsuccessful. Naturally, I enquired further, as this was all it said. I was then told, in a short, stroppy and arguably rude email that my first line was filler and there was repetition about car insurance. Oh and a grammar mistake where I'd included an extra word unnecessarily.  

The grammar mistake I fully hold my hands up. I didn't check over the work. I would argue that any good copywriter would always leave their work at least 24 hours before proofreading, if not actually giving it to someone else to look at, as a 100% accurate proof of your own work is near impossible.  

But the other points, well, I'd introduced the piece, as any good writer should, and I'd use keyword variants as anyone with SEO knowledge would. The one line brief never mentioned anything about jumping straight in or not focusing on SEO, so I duly replied with this comment, and suggested an improved brief. 

I never received a reply. Read into that what you will. 

Naively, I thought this exercise was a rubber stamp; nowhere did it say it had to be 100% accurate, free from filler or that if I failed, I would have to wait three months to try again.  

Maybe, I might have put a little bit more effort in then, or maybe, I’d actually saved myself a lot of wasted time.  

Dividing opinion - Copify and copywriters

After doing a bit of research around Copify and other such content mills, it quickly became apparent that many others had been in similar positions to myself, whilst others were quick to abhor the business and any work done through them. 

For almost every professional copywriter in the UK, anyone who calls themselves a copywriter in fact, or anyone who writes and earns a living from it, these types of content mills are the devil incarnate. I’d certainly go so far as to agree in that they are certainly bad news for any copywriter and most businesses. 

Many skilled and highly qualified writers have been turned down for ‘not being verbose enough,’ an ‘austere’ writing style, being ‘too witty’, or simply no apparent reason at all. Others have had rude and angry comments from moderators about work not being done properly, and a mistake every 3000 words or so. They don’t tolerate mistakes, and accounts have been revoked.

Remember that rate of pay I mentioned at the start of the article? Turns out that anticipating £12-£16 per 400 word blog was way off; at between 1p to 3p per word, you’re more likely to earn about £6 - not even minimum wage. 

Are there any benefits to be had?

On the flip side, there are some writers who will wholeheartedly defend this type of low-budget work. Given the prevalence of unpaid roles in the writing industry as a whole, and the need to feed families, pay mortgages and earn money, they’re a good place to go. Copify is better than many it seems. 

If you have a good work ethic, write well and fast, and respect their policies and Ts&Cs, then it seems you can do OK from churning out copy on these sites and earn a supplementary wage. 

One copywriter claims he uses it effectively to supplement his real copywriting work, making the comparison of buying a fast food snack versus sitting down to eat a fine dining 3-star Michelin meal. He delivers quick, basic, no frills content for one, and more thoughtful, engaging copy for another.

Cheap and quick copy will rarely be good 

But the problem is that sites like Copify, and the clients who use them, don’t want quick, simple pieces of content. They want high quality, 100% factually accurate, keyword appropriate, well-written copy; and they want it for a really low price. 

The need for either time spent researching a subject or specialist knowledge is evident with title requests like “How to improve the acoustics in places of worship and community halls.”

To continue the restaurant analogy, you have to ask yourself what kind of chef would be working alternate nights in both of these establishments, a fast-food place and a fine dining restaurant? 

As a business, you’re either getting an exceptional deal and the writer is really selling themselves short, or you’re not getting the high quality you are expecting, and the results won’t be pleasing.

Whichever way the pen falls, this is exactly why both copywriters and businesses should avoid working with any kind of content site that charges by the word.

Avoid cheap content sites like this, and ultimately you’ll be rewarded, with more money in your pocket, and better results overall. 

Have you had any experience with Copify or other similar sites, either in the UK or abroad? Share them with us below. 

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