UPDATE DEC. 19, 2019
I’m currently not using Content Development Pros. I’ve switched to WriterAccess and I hired a full time in-house writer. I decided it was time to improve content quality further. I’m paying quite a bit more per word on WriterAccess and to my in-house writer but am publishing much better content.
If you have very simple content requirements (listicles), Content Devlopment Pros is good but if you need solid research, I suggest WriterAccess (put together a list of favorite writers as you order content over time).
END OF UPDATE
Ask any niche site publisher scaling up and they’ll tell you one of their best assets is their writer or writing team.
At least that’s what I’ll tell you.
I have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on content over the years. I’ve hired freelancers, college students and used many different writing agencies.
Over the years my needs have changed and so have my content providers.
These days, 99% of my content for all my niche sites is provided by Content Development Pros (CDP). The only site they don’t provide content for is this site.
Table of Contents
What type of content agency is Content Development Pros?
There are 2 main types of content agencies. There are broker-style agencies and then managed-style agencies.
CDP is a managed-style agency.
I’ll explain the difference.
Broker-style content agency: This is an online portal that brings writers and website publishers together. You submit your topic. A writer picks up, writes and delivers it. There is no oversight or editor involved in the delivery. The big benefit of this type of agency is you can get a lot content delivered quickly. An example is Text Broker.
Managed-style content agency: With this type you submit your article topics and your rep or editor delegates it to writers. The writers then submit it back to the rep or editor who then delivers it to the client. If you place larger orders, you may have a dedicated writer or two on your account. What I like about this is the oversight (most of the time). The downside is it can take longer for content delivery, especially big orders.
User Review( vote)
I’ve been using CDP for 5 months now. I’ve submitted 5 large monthly orders totaling around 500,000 words.
I started using them because they told me that in addition to writing content that they will format it on my sites, get images and prep everything per my instructions so that it’s ready for getting published. They also told me their quality is excellent at good prices.
As usual, I started with a single article order. Here is the first article they delivered. I was impressed with it so I placed a larger order.
While training the team took time, especially image and post formatting, the entire workflow couldn’t be smoother now. While I’ve received some bad content, these days 90% of what they deliver is outstanding.
Note that I primarily order 5 star level which is their top level. This means I can be demanding with respect to extensive research and writing quality.
What I like most
There are 2 reasons I stick with CDP and use them for almost all my content across all my sites.
1. Quality: Yes, I’ve received some bad articles. However, they offer unlimited revisions, which I ask for when something is bad. The good stuff is exceptional.
2. Full-service: They write, format, get photos and put it all on my various websites. Moreover, we’ve established a workflow set up by me with Google Sheets. While they have a backend platform, they’ve been very accommodating working from my Google Sheet.
Because they do everything, I’ve been able to work on and grow 9 websites instead of 3. By having them format everything and spend time finding images, I save many hours each week.
What I don’t like
Delayed delivery: Because it’s a managed-style content agency where they place dedicated writers on your account, they can only get so much work done each week. Sometimes I like a lot of content quickly. When this is the case, I will use Text Broker. However, for the most part, I prefer content delivered to me in small batches daily, which CDP does.
Dedicated writers: The big benefit of managed-style agencies is you get dedicated writers on your projects who become familiar with what you require. This definitely helps with getting better quality and less training over time. With a broker-style agency, you end up with new writers often unless you set up favorites and place direct orders.
Some bad content: This happens with any content agency. I know because I’ve used many. CDP is no exception. I’ve received some terrible work. Fortunately, they have a no-questions-asked revision policy which they’ve always honored.
How I trained them for all kinds of content
I loathe training people. However, training is a critically important part of outsourcing. If you don’t take the time to do it properly, you’ll be disappointed with the results.
Over the years, I’ve established a very good way to reduce training time and still get decent results. Here’s the process.
Step 1: I publish a prototype article
I almost always publish the type of article I’m hiring for. I put a lot of effort into it because it serves as an example.
Step 2: Create a training video
Once my prototype article is done, I create a screen share video explaining every aspect of the article explaining exactly what I’m looking for. I also include training videos on how and where to do research as well as formatting, image optimization, etc. I leave no stone unturned. With video, I can communicate much more much faster than writing out a laundry list of instructions.
Step 3: Limited written instructions
I avoid instructing writers with a long list of instructions. I prefer video for instructing because I can convey so much more much quicker. The visual example helps as well.
CDP is very accommodating by working with my system instead of forcing me to work with their system.
I manage everything with one Google Sheet. In the Sheet I create a worksheet for each website. I also create a master instructions worksheet where I set out order volumes for each month, links to all training videos, access to any accounts they need, etc.
The individual website worksheets are as simple as possible. I have 4 columns which are:
- Article topic/title
- Proposed word count
- Status. When they’re done with an article, they put DONE in the status field. This way I know I can publish it. Once I publish it, I change DONE to PUBLISHED.
- Notes: Some articles have specific instructions. I put those in the NOTES column.
I continually add article topics/titles to all worksheets each month so there are always many articles for CDP to write. Usually I don’t care which order they chip away at a list. They jump around which works for me. I just need content daily to publish.
Does Content Development Pros content rank in Google search? Here are some ranking results
UPDATE JULY 26, 2019: Since it’s been a bit over 6 months since I started with CDP, I decided it was time to analyze how my CDP articles were doing in Google search.
What I did was take the main keyword for each article published during the first 5 months and plugged them into Ahrefs keyword tracker.
118 out of 187 articles I analyzed ranked its targeted keyword in spots 1 to 10 in Google which is pretty good. The content is all fairly young (6 months or newer) so it should improve more over time.
I have done no link building and typically target low competition keywords.
Here are some results.
Is CDP right for you?
Not everyone wants to pay extra for formatting. I didn’t always need this premium service. If you don’t need it, the service isn’t quite as attractive to you as it is me.
However, the article quality is usually good. If it doesn’t meet your standard, especially if you order 5-star quality, tell them you’re not happy. Do NOT accept sub-par content. I don’t. I’m demanding and exacting. You should be too.
They are not the cheapest option around. Text Broker, for example, has lower per word options, but generally, the quality isn’t quite as good.
If you’re going to give them a shot, start with a small order. I started with one article. If the small order is good, crank it up and get the bulk rate if you can. Getting the bulk rate saves you a lot of money in the long run.
CDP has an order page here where you can order long-form content.
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 that’s “the best blogging email newsletter around.”
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.