SEO

Craigslist is the New eLance, But Better!

Yesterday I found myself planning a new content generation & copywriting project, where I’ll need a handful of writers to generate topical blog posts on a daily basis. Just to be clear, I work with a couple of very good copywriting services which have always delievered quality work on time, usually worthy of posting without too much proofreading. Some of those services are offshore, some of them manage offshore writers, and some are based in the US. All of them, more or less, charge around the same price.

In the past I had found new writers for client or side projects via referrals, or via service sites like eLance. One problem with eLance however is that it took weeks to find a qualified copywriter, and once that was put together, I’d have to wait 5 days or so to get my assignments back to me. I also found out that some friends were laid off the other day, and given the current state of the economy, and knowing that more and more people are in need of side jobs, or a part time gig to hold them over, I looked into my favorite late night web destination, Craigslist and posted a part time copywriting and blogging job on the local Tampa Craigslist page.

At first, I thought maybe I’d get a handful of replies, and a lot of them from bots and people all over the world, wasting my time and energy. Boy was I wrong!

The post asked for :

  • List of Favorite Blogs
  • Writing Experience
  • Resume and Background Info
  • Must be Fond of Social Media and Search Engines
  • Links to Social Media Profiles

I have received over 100 replies to my part time blogging job post on Craigslist, 99% of them from the Tampa, or atleast Gulf Coast of Florida area. And these people are incredibly qualified. The applicants have been an amazing selection of college students and seasoned marketing people, with incredible resumes, their own blogs, highly connected Facebook and Twitter profiles, and some who work for local businesses, schools and government bodies that I already feel I should and can connect with.

People have written me back with lists of their favorite blogs, links to their work, their thoughts on blogging and social media, and even their Stumble Upon or Digg profiles. I am IMPRESSED.

I’m not saying that your business has to Buy American and get Nationalistic in these tough economic times, but I feel a sense of pride and accomplishment knowing that I can help out someone in my own backyard who is highly qualified, and can honestly churn out more and better work in an hour for a cheaper rate (in the office or Starbucks) than an offshore copywriter will charge for just one article.

By hiring a part time contractor, I can give them the goals of churning out one or two articles or posts an hour, get them commenting and using their social media networks to assist with our projects. These are also people who have networked in the local business area, and can perhaps bring in new clients or make excellent connections. They know other likeminded local people and can attract other students and interns to our business, and other Twitters via TweetUps. You can’t buy that on eLance, can you?

Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Craigslist is the New eLance, But Better!
Loren Baker is the Founder of SEJ, an Advisor at Alpha Brand Media and runs Foundation Digital, a digital marketing strategy & development agency.
Screen Shot 2014 04 15 at 7.21.12 AM Craigslist is the New eLance, But Better!

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10 thoughts on “Craigslist is the New eLance, But Better!

  1. You hit the nail right on the head with this post. CL is a very good resource. Just a word of caution to check the person you are talking with on the other end :)

    But yes it can be very useful!

  2. While your suggestion to consult sites like Craigslist is well meaning, it places the hiring party at significant risks that can’t be ignored — with the most biggest risk being a lack of a contract. You can make one up really quick, but it’s not enforceable without delaying the work process with meetings, faxes, or whatever it takes to literally agree on things. There goes your 5 days.

    Another risk is copyright infringement. Another is quality. Another is security (particularly if the hiring party seeks work for a company). I invite all to read an article that addresses the risks I’m talking about at http://www.outsource2documaker.com/2009/02/confronting-outsourcing-risks.html because you’re talking about outsourcing — a process that shouldn’t be taken lightly simply because ‘it can be.’

  3. The problem is that you get 100 people tripping over themselves to offer hours of service for $1/hour. There’s something alarming about that which I don’t care to investigate.

  4. We put up a Craigslist ad twice for a job and had an employee within the week. The hardest part was wading through the applications and there were a lot of great ones. These were for permanent jobs though. It beat our response through local newspapers that cost for a listing by 10 times.

  5. What a fantastic idea! …hire writers who are also very much into social media.

    Legal Note: When outsourcing, be sure to indicate “Work for Hire” in your project/job description. I also make it very clear that copyright and ownership of the deliverable will be transferred to me immediately upon payment in full for the completed project/job.

  6. Thanks for your post Loren. As an owner of an SEO/Internet Marketing firm, I totally understand what you are talking about. When my company first started offering professional writing for the purpose of article marketing, blogging, etc., I needed a few strong writers that understood keyword density and so forth. At first, I started with a few service providers on Elance. While the prices were great, the lack of punctuation and grammar skills was notorious. However, I did eventually find what I needed through virtual marketplaces like Elance and Guru. I would definitely recommend when searching for a writer that they understand your specific project requests. A service provider that is hired through Elance or Guru should be willing to without a doubt sign a NDA with you and sign a contract stating that they are giving up full ownership rights to the content material. We do a lot of business through Elance and our reputation is very positive. I think part of this reason is due to the fact that we send out project questionnaires which helps assist us in providing our clients with the most valuable content possible. From a service provider perspective, there are TONS of writers from India and countries that just can’t provide the quality needed for a professional article. However, what they can provide is .01 cents per word. Believe it or not, there are also TONS of buyers that actually pay for this type of work. My advice to anyone wanting to outsource work is to make sure you really evaluate the benefits of spending a little more money on a US based freelancer vs. spending the money on a offshore one. Sometime, it is better to spend a little extra, because the quality of work is exceptional.