Note: Before we start, I want to clarify. I don’t think that new or fledgling writers trying to gain experience are scammers, everyone has to start somewhere. However, this post is looking at the type of ‘writers’ who lie about their credentials and experience, or just copy/paste from somewhere else on the internet looking for ‘easy money’. This also applies to those who flat out lie, BS their testimonials and try to ‘fake it until they make it’.

Writing services are abundant nowadays.

But, that doesn’t mean they are all to the same standard.

When you’ve been screening potential writers for your business, how many times have you stumbled across a writer who seems amazing, only to be disappointed with every article or blog post they deliver?

Finding excellent writers that are the perfect fit for your business is rare.

Honestly, here at Silhouette Creatives, we aren’t always the best fit for everyone. I’ve turned clients away or recommended them elsewhere when this is the case!

The market has become oversaturated with wannabe professionals with no experience, credentials, and in some cases, actual writing ability. That makes it hard to even find someone of a reasonable standard!

Writing scams cost you time and money – the two resources you actually want to save by finding a good writer!

Unfortunately I’ve seen businesses scammed by these ‘writers’ too many times. So, I thought I would make it easier for you by sharing the telltale warning signs of writing scams that I’ve come across in my experience!

Quality & Style Inconsistency

Consistency. It’s essential for your content marketing strategy across all of your platforms.

You need to make sure your business’ blog, marketing materials and social platforms are all aligned with the same quality, tone, and style.

But, one of the most obvious signs you’re being scammed is that the pieces being handed in are drastically different from one another. Whether that’s the tone, writing style or even using different language dialects.

This symptom usually indicates that more than one person is creating that content, and you might have fallen victim to a content mill. These are when writers hire other freelancers to produce content for them for much lower prices, reflecting badly on the overall quality.

The structure and format of a content mill is similar to an agency, with one major difference. Content mills are akin to sweatshops- but for online writers – who can be paid as little as $2 per 500 words!!

One thing I will say here is that consistency can also be a problem with many agencies, and this doesn’t mean they are a scam. Luckily, we have a winning formula for ensuring content consistency.

So, if you’re working with an honest agency, things should still be salvageable. Request the same writer for your business, or find an agency that assigns you a specific case manager that is more in depth and consistent.

Content mills however, have introduced themselves under false pretenses, which is not a great basis of any kind of business relationship.

If your writer is indeed an agency, they should disclose that it is actually not them who are writing the articles, but their subcontractors or employees!

Work Riddled with Errors

High-quality content should be pretty much error-free (obviously everyone makes mistakes but you get my drift.) If you receive an article written in poor English, riddled with grammar and syntax errors, there’s not much you can do. An article full of awkward sentences written in barely understandable English after a good proposal indicates you’re probably dealing with a scam artist who has employed someone else to write their sample piece. Or it wasn’t even theirs to begin with).  

Content ‘Spinning’

Spinning is the practice of using software or manually changing select words and phrases to try to camouflage already-published content. This is an old practice that can get your website blacklisted. Search engine algorithms are proficient enough to detect a spun article, and plagiarism checkers will spot it too.

You do also get clever – but lazy – writers who will just “rewrite” an existing article so that there is no value or added content, but technically it is not plagiarism. This is pointless, and in my opinion, a scam that’s not worth wasting your time on.

Out and Out Plagiarism

A writer who delivers content that is already published elsewhere is a 100% scammer. Let’s say you receive a blog post that was copy and pasted – even in part – from elsewhere. If you publish it, you are using plagiarised content and the responsibility (and liability) falls on you.

Always check the content your writer delivers with Copyscape or another plagiarism checker. If the writer is trying to resell their content, blacklist them ASAP.

Plagiarism is one of the worst offences a website can make and can not only hinder SEO but can result in real legal troubles.

Lack of Interest in Your Business

Before producing content for your business, the writer should show real interest in what you do, and hope to achieve.

They don’t necessarily have to share your experience or love of your industry. But, they do have to show an interest in the business they are writing for. Your goals, processes and strategy all help form the basis of your content, so if they don’t care (or even ask) how will they encapsulate this when they are writing for you?

Writers who pay no interest in who you are, what you do or who you’re speaking to won’t give you in depth or optimised content. Plus, they often don’t stick around for long either.  

Minimal Processes = Minimal Experience

A writer without processes, or at least an understanding of what is needed, is often not a good match. When hiring a content writer, you should always ask about their procedures – initial research about your company, questions they want you to answer, their writing process, how much content they can deliver weekly, etc.

Without this, it’s easy for content to get off track and the results are low value. Any form of questions they ask and processes they offer can give you insight into the experience level of the writer you’re dealing with, and spot some of the signs of someone inexperienced.

On an unrelated note, make sure to ask them about rewriting content and copy-editing. If they don’t include these services, you might want to opt for someone who does.

Generic Content

Your website needs high-quality content that is unique to perform well and adhere to Google’s content guidelines. This means that any type of generic, basic content is just a waste of money! Plus, this is a sign of the writing scam that involves spinning the same article several times and selling them to unsuspecting blogs or businesses!

In fact, generic content it might also hurt your conversion rates and rankings. If your writer dishes out content that could easily be slapped to any other business in your industry, they aren’t putting any time or effort into research and you’re better off finding someone else.

Take Your Time Hiring a Good Content Writer

Ultimately, when looking for content writing services, always make sure to check for plagiarism in the beginning. Also be sure to check out some of these ways to avoid hiring inexperienced writers. Never accept content that doesn’t emulate the voice and tone of your business or are generic or written in bad English.

UWhen aiming for the top, you will need top content. So, if you just want to make things easier, get in touch and we’ll see what we can do!