As a niche site builder content is the life-blood of my business.
If you're building a niche site, outside of hosting costs, content is going to be your biggest expense.
This can be a big hurdle if you don't have a lot of spare cash to hire quality writers.
I've been there.
Fortunately there are some ways you can hack content creation and cost-effectively produce massive amounts of content.
6 Ways To Hack Content Costs
The first one is to use a dictation app.
(*Update: Now I use Google Docs and the Voice Typing feature located in Google Docs > Tools > Voice Typing)
For many of my product reviews, I'll transcribe content using my iPhone and the Recogniser app in conjunction with Siri's voice recognition.
I find that Recogniser captures technical language better, while Siri is better for simpler words and phrases.
I've transcribed hundreds of thousands of words this way. Most commonly I've done this for my general product review site.
For example, if I'm reviewing the best Asics running shoes, I'll head over to a product page and do a on-the-fly, voice rewrite of what reviewers are saying.
Very often this will be bullet-pointed content that I insert at the bottom of a review post with higher-quality, outsourced content sitting above it.
Or I'll find a really simple article about something related to Asics shoes- how to clean sneakers, how to choose the best athletic shoe, etc. and do a on-the-fly voice rewrite of that.
This a fast way of producing a lot of content. Plus it's easy to incorporate lots of long-tail keywords.
It should blow your mind: you can speak into a phone to create traffic to a website that can make you money while you sleep.
Another of my sites is in the ticket niche- so I'll use voice apps to rewrite Yelp or TripAdvisor user reviews on the fly:
Many novice site owners I've spoken with get stuck on creating content- they think they have to outsource all content creation right from the start.
Combine that with an inability to cost-effectively hire writers and they get in the red overpaying for content when all it takes is half an hour to bang out a 1,000 transcribed words.
It's actually very easy to transcribe a 1,000 words of content and then copy-edit it into something high-quality. I'll email myself the transcription and then paste it into Grammarly where I'll copy edit it before I migrate it into the post itself.
For over a year, the first thing I would do every morning would be to transcribe a 1,000 words of content.
This amounted to hundreds of thousands of keyword rankings:
and hundreds of thousands of dollars of affiliate commissions.
2. Data Scraping
Here's a weird one- try using the Instant Data Scraper Chrome extension. The way it works, the extension quickly scrapes pages and pulls information into a downloadable spreadsheet table.
Depending on the type of content you're producing, you can easily scrape other pages for relevant and useful information- perhaps formatting it into a handy comparison table, importing it with TablePress, or maybe you scrape links from Reddit and quickly create some listicle content.
When you paste a Reddit URL into WordPress, it generates a link preview if you're working in the standard Visual Editor. Unfortunately, since this post uses Thrive Architect page builder, which I've generally stopped using, the link preview won't populate here.
Try out the extension on different pages- you'll quickly see that you can pull in some unique content very quickly. Sometimes you have to touch it up a bit to make it unique and reader-friendly, but it's an interesting strategy.
4. Article Spinning
*Disclaimer: I don't use this tactic myself.
If you're not familiar with spinning software, programs like TheBestSpinner let you select multiple synonyms of words and phrases from a piece of content, remove the original word, and produce a technically unique piece of content.
This black art is a staple of old-school SEOs- it's why you often see garbled comment spam on your site. An SEO somewhere is running a blog commenting campaign, perhaps with Scrape Box, with auto-spun comments.
That said, there are two primary ways you can spin content: automatic and manual.
Many people use spinning software to do automatic spins- this generally makes the content unreadable because the software is only marginally capable of auto-producing readable content. I don't do this nor do I recommend you do this.
To use spinning software correctly, people those use these tools recommend that you do a manual spin (like Matthew Woodward demonstrates in the above video) as opposed to an automatic one.
That means that you will go word by word through a 500 word piece of content and swap out words with different alternatives.
That said, I don't use this strategy because I can easily recycle a portion of my affiliate profits back into my internet business to hire writers, but if you want to add a chunk of content to a review post for SEO reasons, many grey and black hat SEOs will give it a quick manual spin to make it unique.
This method can be effective when the language you're rewriting is really technical and complex and voice transcription tools annoyingly can't decipher the terms.
Spinning is really of supplementary utility- it's never going to wholly replace hiring writers and doing some of the content yourself, but it has its purposes.
5. Hire ReWriters
A rewriter will 'rewrite' an existing piece of content. The value here is that you can hire rewriters for lower rates than you can for 'writers'. Check out my UpWork hiring guide for a detailed outsourcing strategy.
For example, if you want 500 words on web hosting, it can be cheaper to have someone rewrite a Wikipedia entry than hire a writer to create something.
Plus, unless your writer is good, and you're also able to provide detailed instructions, it's likely that the content they create won't have the structure and comprehensiveness of the rewriten content.
Use UpWork Search Filters
One of my favorite hiring strategies is to use UpWork to recruit Native/Fluent English writers who don't have any work experience.
There are many American college students, for example, looking for part-time work. They can write coherently but because they haven't successfully billed any clients on UpWork, or only billed for a couple small projects, they don't get much attention on the platform.
Plus, these writers often aren't savvy enough to apply to the jobs you post on the UpWork hiring platform. These novice writers might need some training and feedback to get up to speed, but can be a cost-effective way to scale your content creation once trained.
Many new freelance writers will discount their UpWork rates in exchange for an honest rating using UpWork's freelancer review system.
All that said, it does take some effort, patience and ingenuity to successfully recruit writers on UpWork.
Below are some search filters I use to find inexpensive, qualified writers.
Cheap Inexperienced Writers Who Speak Fluent English
Check out these UpWork search filters:
These U.S. based writers include those with an hourly rate that is below $10, they have billed more than 1 hour, and their English level is "Fluent".
This produces hundreds of writers with cheap hourly rates, who speak Fluent English, and have billed a small amount of work.
This is a good population to find cheap, quality English writers.
Cheap Experienced Writers Who Speak Fluent English
Or, try toggling the Earned Amount to "$10k+ earned". This returns 39 writers that are inexpensive, Fluent English, but have significant experience writing on UpWork:
Eastern European Writers With High English Test Scores
Here's another interesting one- I filtered by Eastern Europe and Top 10% in the "English Test for Writers".
This provides several writers based in Eastern Europe who've taken one of UpWork's English language tests and scored highly on it.
Foreign writers are another fertile source of talent you can leverage for inexpensive content.
6. Use iWriter
I did a whole writeup of how I use iWriter here.
Plus a video tutorial showing me actually ordering the content:
If you're unfamiliar with iWriter, it's a self-managed content agency.
You manage the writers- which means you place content requests and these content orders are filled by writers on the marketplace.
You can get decent quality writing there- it's written really fast and you have the option of rejecting poor quality writing.
I'll often use iWriter as supplemental content- instead of dictation. I give very detailed instructions- you can grab my iWriter Order Template here.
The takeaway here is that you shouldn't be too fancy. What's stopping you from taking a half hour out of your day to dictate 1,000 words?
Combine that with hiring an inexperienced writer for $8-$10 for 1,000 words and begin cranking out content. The two of you can easily produce 10,000 words of content a week.
That's five 2,000 word posts. Hire another writer to do another 5,000 words a week and another and another.
Hire a virtual assistant to do all the formatting and publishing- and before you know it you have a content factory pressing out tens or hundreds of thousands of words a month.
Trust me, you will have success if you commit to publishing like this- as long as the content is unique, it's decent, and you're targeting buyer keywords.