Before I used Textbroker, I was pretty confident I was going to hate their service. I tried out two other “boutique” content writing services in previous months, and was pretty disappointed with their performance. Slow delivery times, low writing quality, and high price points were my main gripes.
As I filled in the forms and created my Textbroker writing projects, prices started coming up as less than half the price I paid at the other services. This was surely going to be some farmed, PLR, or scraped content, right?
Turns out I was wrong. I was genuinely surprised at how many boxes Textbroker was able to tick for me in terms of what I was looking for in a content service. Even so, there are a couple reasons they won't be the main company I look to when purchasing content online. Why? Where else do I recommend? Keep reading for more details.
Getting Started with Textbroker
Textbroker is pretty easy to figure out. In this article, I'll be reviewing them from the perspective of a client who wants to buy content. However, you can also make money with Textbroker as a writer, although the pay tends to be pretty low. For good or for bad, this means that from the client site, you get a great deal (more on that below).
Within the “I Need Content” option, you can choose the Self-Service content or Managed-Service content. I was very interested in trying out the Managed-Service option. The origin of this project of mine to test out content outsourcing services is that I'd like to create a website that earns $X amount of money while I spend $X – Costs, without me doing anything other than manage. In other words, it would be completely on autopilot making $1000 per month, while requiring $500 per month in spending to maintain and grow the website.
Seems easy, right? It's not as easy as it sounds. Managing content takes a lot of work, especially if you want the content to rank, convert, and for the site to grow consistently.
Unfortunately, I've had poor experiences so far with managed content services, and they didn't list any pricing options (only “request a quote”), so I opted for the Self-Service option.
Within the Self-Service option, you can choose between Open Order, Direct Order, or Team Order. One of the strong points of Textbroker as a business is that they are very transparent and helpful through the whole process of buying content for your website.
For example how do the three options listed above differ? No problem! They've got written and video explanations to help you decide (the same goes for Self VS Managed orders).
I thought their heading showing “Particularly well-suited for” was pretty helpful. Though I wanted to go for “Direct Order” because I prefer to work with one writer over a long period of time, I didn't know any writers on the platform. I decided to start with OpenOrder, and then I would tweak my options as I learned how the Textbroker system worked.
It was time to rock & roll!
Pricing: Is It A Good Price For What You Get?
The pricing structure at Textbroker is very easy to understand, and gives you plenty of flexibility in terms of cost and quality. This is not a “one size fits all” type of service. Personally, I've found that content writing services promising native speakers have underdelivered in terms of quality. A native speaker that writes poor quality content can take an hour or more to edit. A non-native speaker that writes great content with a few grammar issues can take 10 minutes to edit.
With Textbroker, they don't tell you where the writer is from, but they give you a star rating to determine the relative level of quality. Based on what my investigation from the writer-side of the equation, it takes some time to work your way up star rankings, so there is a system working in the background to ensure you get appropriate level quality of content, for the price.
These were my first impressions of the content pricing:
- 1.3 cents is crazy cheap. I'm scared to investigate what the quality is like
- 2.4 cents is still very cheap, but with 4 stars is worth investigating
- 7.2 cents is getting pretty expensive, so it better be 99% awesome when delivered
I tried out the four-star level. How good was it? I'll dig into content quality below, but as a sneak peak, I'll just let you know that it was better than expected, and I'll stick with the four-star category for now. I may try the five-star level at some point in the future, but the price almost triples to get that last star. I find it hard to believe the content quality can triple.
Here's the price I paid for my articles so far:
Considering the articles were delivered in 3-4 days after placing the order and required very little editing on my part, I'm extremely satisfied with the price per word at the four star level in Textbroker.
Oh, last thing to mention is that the projects were delivered on time. I gave each article a 3-day window to be written, and once it was picked up on from the open order, it was delivered within 2-3 days. No issues here! Some writers even contacted me personally beforehand to ask a question about the template I was using.
Originally, I was going to break down the whole writer hiring process, but it's very simple to go through. When placing an open order, you get to select what writer quality you want as well as specific things about your order like a topic category, word count, and some specific SEO stuff. You'll also give the project a timeline, though they have an interesting system here. You can choose a deadline date, as in “this article must be done by Friday April 13th. Alternatively, you can say “3-day deadline”, so then whoever picks up the article has three days to write it from the time they accept the project.
I went with the latter option. Your article then goes to the open community open market. What surprised me is that writers can contact you beforehand and ask questions to clarify! There was an issue with my keyword count (too low), and a writer contacted me to clarify. Unfortunately, I didn't realize that writers with anonymous names were labeled A-12345, so I ignored the email thinking it was spam. This delayed a writer accepting this project by about 5 days, but it was my fault.
I had a fantastic writer for my first article. She was such a good writer, that I contacted her after to see if she wanted to do the rest of the articles. Unfortunately, her “direct order” price was 6.7 cents, which was almost three times the 2.4 cents I paid for the first one. The articles for this Textbroker test were important, but not $80 important. The risk-reward ratio works out for me at $30 per article, but at $80, I need to target more specific keywords that are more likely get traffic!
It's very cool that you can “save” and contact writers directly through the system. However, DirectOrder prices tend to be higher. The tradeoff is fair I guess. With open orders, it's more competitive, so it drives the price down. With direct orders, you may get more perks like extra rewrites & familiarity with the writer.
About Keyword Research
Some article writing services offer keyword research services as part of their packages. Textbroker doesn't have this option, though their managed service may offer something similar. My issue with these “keyword” packages is that they are often not vetted for article potential. They are just random keywords that fit a specific type of metric on a spreadsheet. Not all great keywords make great articles!
Either way, you'll need to do your own keyword research here if you plan to use that as a writing requirement/metric on your order. If you want a more comprehensive solution, Content Refined is an option. I was not happy with the cost vs quality, so I don't actually recommend them, but they are an option if you need keyword research, writing, uploading, formatting, etc.
One suggestion I have when placing orders though, is to place wide ranges of keyword requirements, if any. I used the metric “3-5” for one of the main product names. I thought this was just a suggestion for the writer, but it turns out this was a hard limit. Since the writers were only able to use the product name five times maximum, they used some silly abbreviations to get around the limit.
It took me three seconds to fix after uploading to WordPress, but I will change my keyword strategy for Textbroker in the future. I tend to not heavily SEO my articles anyway, so I may just not use any keyword metrics at all, then insert a few sentences during the editing process to get things exactly how I want.
Content Quality Review
Though I didn't try the 2-star level, I was pretty surprised at the quality of content delivered at the 4-star level. It was so good, that I don't really think I need to try the five star level.
In terms of project specifications, the writers were able to follow all my html formatting instructions and deliver the article according to my instructions. Word count was spot on, keyword usage was spot on, etc.
In terms of project comprehension, content flow, and overall writing quality, the articles turned out great as well. I tried three writers, and all of them were able to create articles that took very little editing before publishing (about 10 minutes each). In fact, there were no grammar issues at all. My edits were just adding some personal flare in a few places.
The topics were “comparison” style reviews, comparing two products or services across five or six different categories. There was an introduction, the comparison categories, then a conclusion. I also provided some specific articles from my website to reference.
Since I'm actually using these articles for my websites, I can't reveal which articles they were or which keywords I used.
One of my main criticisms of past work done for my by content-for-hire services is that they writing was bland. Past articles delivered work that was obviously outsourced, and clearly written by someone that did some research over the course of a day. They were not “expertly” written at all.
By contrast, I thought the content for these articles delivered by multiple writers at textbroker “popped”. They weren't amazing thinkpieces, but they sounded like the writer truly took interest in the subject. Of course, this is a subjective opinion, but it's worth noting! For a final cost of $31.65 for 1200 words, that's only $0.26 per word!
Making Use Of Templates
One aspect of Textbroker that I found very useful was the “template” feature, so I wanted to highlight it in a section. Though you could build a template for any writing service you use, it's helpful to save your templates within the Textbroker dashboard to save time.
They have an interesting organization system where you can save templates according to projects and “groups”. Below that level, you can see which writer wrote which article, or what status the article in. The entire setup of the dashboard is very economical for scaling projects. Just based on my previous orders, I was able to pull up the exact template in three clicks, as shown below:
My templates were very specific to this set of ten or fifteen articles. Now, I just have to switch out the keywords and maybe a few specific about the template I want tweaked, and it's good to go! Otherwise, I can have a more general template, and leverage headings to have an “outline” for myself to follow so I can quickly type out the requirements for this single, or group of articles.
Textbroker in my opinion, is best for these template style articles. The writers here are not going to deliver a Pulitzer Prize, award winning piece of investigative journalism, that's clear. However, so far, they are really good at quickly knocking out “paint by number” content.
Negatives To Consider
- They advertise $8.99 per image. What? Canstockphoto.com has images for a dollar or two
- You have to purchase “credits” instead of just paying for articles directly
- There are a lot of anonymous writers. Having “A-456” produce my content doesn't feel as personal
- Directly hiring writers is significantly more expensive than open orders, meaning you get a random writer each time (so far all writers have turned out great)
- Continued, 1 to 1 communication is still better on UpWork
- A broader platform like UpWork can allow you to hire people to do a variety of tasks outside of writing (uploading, images, formatting, linking, etc)
- If articles are this cheap, writers aren't getting paid much
Final Word: Was TextBroker Content Worth The Time & Money?
I was honestly shocked at the level of quality TextBroker was able to deliver for the price. This was not a close “head to head” match between competing services. Textbroker (so far) has blow every other article writing service out of the water across the board. Writer communication, project customizability, content quality, and delivery speed surpassed my expectations.
Unless I find something better as I adventure on in the world of outsourcing content, TextBroker will be my #1 choice for template-style, low competition articles.
All that considered, when it comes to more complex projects that require more time, thinking, and more management across the board, UpWork.com is still my preferred way to hire. I can community quickly and easily through their app, and have long-term, fruitful relationships with writers that truly understand the deeper meaning behind projects. Sometimes, I'm not just looking for someone to write an article – I'm looking for someone to be part of a team, moving towards a mutual goal.