UPDATE NOV. 25, 2020
CAUTION: I promoted CleverGhosts to my email readers in early November 2020 based on my positive experience (read below).
However, I’ve received some emails from referrals and it’s been mentioned in the Fat Stacks forum that CleverGhosts failed to deliver content in a timely manner. In some cases, people received nothing weeks after signing up.
Back story: I used this service for months before recommending it in an email and on this site. I wanted to make sure I received good content on time consistently. For the most part I did. However, I CANNOT maintain a good review for readers when CleverGhosts failed to provide the same level service to referrals to date.
Accordingly, I CANNOT recommend this writing service.
Based on how this all went, I’ve severed all ties with Clever Ghosts.
The following is based on my experience as a content client… but I no longer recommend this service.
This CleverGhosts review could be a game-changer for your content needs.
It’s sure helped me get more content on more sites for a lot less money.
Today I’m talking about a CleverGhosts, a content service that has delivered more quality content for less money than any service I’ve ever used thanks to its “unlimited content requests per month” plan.
This review is 3 months in the writing.
In other words, I’ve been using this service for 3 months. I’ve received a ton if completed articles to date (I’ve lost track). Most of which are quite good. It’s cost me very little for all that content.
How much does it cost?
This is the nutty part.
They actually have an unlimited content requests plan that costs only $747.49/month
There are lower-priced plans, but I’m only interested in unlimited.
In reality, the unlimited is not unlimited returned content inside 30 days. If you send them 500 article topics you won’t get them all returned inside 30 days. I know because I literally did send them 500 topics out of the gates haha.
They drip-feed content back to me weekly.
Here’s what I can tell you. I receive a lot of content monthly for the price. And the content is decent.
All I do is send in hundreds of topics and I get content drip-fed back to me for all sites weekly. More importantly, the cost per word is ridiculously low… lower than I’ve ever paid.
How good is the content?
See for yourself.
Below are links to some articles on Cyclebaron.com written by this service. The following articles were not edited by me or anyone on my team, so you get a realistic idea of what to expect:
- How to choose a bicycle helmet
- How to properly apply oil to bicycle chains
- How to take off bike pedals without a pedal wrench
- Fixed gear bike vs. single speed – what’s the difference?
TIP: How you can get more content returned faster?
One way to get more content faster is to sign up for multiple unlimited accounts (the Elite account).
On the flip side, it doesn’t hurt to test the waters first. It’s a tough call. I sometimes throw caution to the wind. In this case, it worked out for me.
Is it too good to be true?
Yes and no.
While the pricing seems too good to be true (especially the unlimited content requests for $750/mo.), I want to make it clear that you must realize the service will return only so much content each month due to turn-around times.
Also, and this is very, very important. Onboarding can take up to a week or two (but then content starts coming in nicely). You must be patient but IMO in the long run it’s worth it.
This content service is more like those graphic design services where you submit tasks and they are returned in a drip-fed manner.
But this much is true… the content is very good for what you do end up paying per word. The resulting per word I’ve spent is lower than any service I’ve used.
If it’s so good, why do I also work with in-house writers?
I treat CleverGhosts as gravy content that’s trickled in for all sites weekly. It’s particularly good for my smaller niche sites for which I don’t have in-house writers.
I love the drip-fed weekly content.
My in-house writers focus on the more in-depth content as well as improving older content. This content service provides plenty of content for all sites that I use to fill in the gaps or publish more content daily.
Is this the service that inserted their own Amazon affiliate links in the articles?
Not too long ago I told you about a writing service that inserted affiliate links in the content.
Yes, this is that service that did that and it really ticked me off. But when I told you about that I also mentioned that while I considered quitting the service, I just couldn’t given the quality and cost.
I do not know of any other service that provides this quality of content in this volume at these rates. I chose to overlook what really wasn’t a big deal in the grand scheme of things.
In fact, this content service had no problem stopping the affiliate link insertions. They even went through all articles in inventory and removed the affiliate links.
Looking back I over-reacted, as I sometimes do. It’s all good now.
While the affiliate link thing ticked me off initially, it’s no longer an issue.
I suggest you ask them to not input their affiliate links in your content just so everyone is on the same page up front.
Do I still use this writing service?
Yes, I’m currently using it on all niche sites. I now have 4 Elite accounts.
Is this writing service for everyone?
No service is for everyone.
I believe it’s worth trying but please have realistic expectations. It’s fair to expect decent quality for low rates but you can’t expect 500 articles returned inside 30 days.
As for quality, please check the quality of the articles on Cyclebaron.com set out above. Again, do not expect the same quality you’d get hiring a PhD or best-selling novelist to write for you. But it is very decent. If you need PhD level content, this is probably not for you. You should hire a PhD.
And please, please, please be patient during onboarding. Onboarding does take a little bit of time.
After I sent out this write-up to Fat Stacks readers, many folks had more questions. Here they are along with my answers:
How much content have I received? How much did it cost per word?
Here’s the financial breakdown almost everyone asked about:
151 articles returned in total to date averaging 1,600 words. That’s 241,600 words approximately.
$4,650 spent over 3 months (multiple accounts).
It works out to $.019 per word to date. Let’s call it $.02 USD per word.
Month 1: I signed up for one account also enjoying the 70% discount: $225 (there was a 1st month discount when I joined).
Month 2: I realized one account wouldn’t get me enough content for all sites so I signed up 3 more accounts at $225. I renewed the original account: $1,425
Month 3: Renewed 4 accounts at $750 per account: $3,000
Total spent to date: $4,650
Sorry, I do not have a breakdown on the number of articles delivered each month.
The first month was a bit slow due to onboarding. I spent time explaining my needs. They assigned writers. I submitted topics. This all took time. I did receive enough content at the end of month where the $225 I spent was worth it and warranted renewing. In fact, it was sufficient for me to sign up for additional accounts.
Why does the service say unlimited when it’s not?
It’s a good question. I don’t have an answer for that. At first, I was perplexed and even annoyed but when I consider the quality of the content for what I end up paying per word, I’m still ahead. Hence I stay and pay every month.
Content volume improved each month
As I worked with my project managers, content volume improved month over month as we worked on workflow which we’ve streamlined considerably.
What’s the best way to use this service?
Here’s my approach. I have in-house writers do the more complex work. I then submit all the supporting “cluster” topics to this new service to fill out the clusters. It’s working very well.
Do they write product reviews and vs. articles?
Yes, they will but you can’t expect them to be good if they don’t use the product or service. They will do a good job with vs. articles that are conceptual such as “travel by plane vs. bus” but not comparing two specific products. Nobody can if they don’t use the products.
Do I provide content outlines?
No, I don’t. I just send in topics. In some cases, I link to examples on my site for writers to get a sense of what I want.
I use this service for the cluster content. I particularly like them for question and answer articles.
Could you provide outlines?
Sure. It’ll add to the workflow, but by all means, provide outlines.
Once you sign up you’ll have a backend portal but I don’t use that. Instead, I contacted them asking to have a manager get in touch so that I could provide a Google Sheet for topics. I find this to be way better.
As soon as you sign up, contact them and ask to get onboarded ASAP with a Google sheet system (unless you prefer another method).
How do I order content?
During the onboarding process we worked together to put Google sheets together. Since I have access to the Sheets, I just add topics. Each site gets its own worksheet. It’s very simple. Works great.
My head VA has access to these Sheets and all content delivered so I’m out of the picture.
Is there a word count cap per article?
No, there isn’t. But you’ll receive fewer articles if they’re super long and involved. I received some articles with nearly 3,000 words. Most of my articles are in the 1,300 to 1,700 words range.
One very nice aspect of this service is they have layers that include quality control. During onboarding, you’ll be assigned a project manager. That manager will assign writers.
When writers submit completed content, it’s vetted by editors. Editors either send it back to writers or approve it for managers to get it submitted to you.
I have all my articles submitted to me in Google drive. We set up folders for each site where published articles go. It’s a very simple, efficient process.
One of my VAs has access to the Google Drive account and she handles getting the content onto my sites.
Will this service publish directly on websites?
I believe they will but discuss it with your project manager. I didn’t want this because my VAs are well-trained on exactly how Iike my content published.
Will this content service find images?
They will look for images on Amazon and Shutterstock and insert URLs to those images in the content. It’s a huge timesaver for me. My VAs then get the images and put them in the article.
How you go about this is up to you and your project manager to discuss.
Who chooses word count?
I do. I indicate on the topic spreadsheet the approximate word count for each topic. However, I’ve told my manager to instruct writers to write an amount that will thoroughly cover the topic. Sometimes it’s more than I estimated and sometimes it’s less.
Will the service format articles (headings, bullet points, etc.)?
Yes, they will. In fact, they do a great job with headings, sub-headings, bullet points etc. They actually get h2, h3, h4 hierarchy which is really nice.
How do you cancel the subscription?
Just make sure that your billing or subscription is canceled in your account and you won’t be billed again. You are not in a contract. You can cancel any time.
This service is well-versed in how I do things
Turnaround Time (TAT)
UPDATE: I’ve had good results with CleverGhosts and so I recommended them to readers. They had a terrible experience. Therefore, I no longer recommend this service at all. I give it a high quality rating because the content they delivered me was excellent but many people I told about didn’t get much or any content.
I’ve been working closely with this service for months. They are very well versed in how I do things so I suspect they should be able to treat your account and content the same.
I’ve spent a lot of time on the phone and via email working with them to get the workflow smooth and the content just the way I like it.
You are free to ask that everything be set up similarly to my set up… although you probably have your own preferences.
That’s a wrap on the questions so far. Thanks for sending them. I appreciate it.
Jon runs the place around here. He pontificates about launching and growing online publishing businesses, aka blogs that make a few bucks. His pride and joy is the email newsletter he publishes.
Hyperbole? Maybe, but go check it out to see what some readers say.
In all seriousness, Jon is the founder and owner of a digital media company that publishes a variety of web properties visited and beloved by millions of readers monthly. Fatstacks is where he shares a glimpse into his digital publishing business.