We Ordered the Same Article from 5 Content Creation Services: Here Are the Best Ones (…and The Ones You Should Avoid)

Want to know what people ask me about more than almost anything? Outsourcing content.

It’s a major pain point for lots of marketers, and it’s one of the most difficult hurdles to jump when start to seriously scale a site.

For most people, one of the most crucially important things to get right when building a content machine is finding a good, reliable source for content that allows you to scale.

I did, and my site took a massive jump forward (I’ll tell you which one of these I use for most of my content below).

Of course, not all content agencies are created equal, so we put them to the test. We gave 5 agencies the exact same assignment and let them duke it out. How’d it go? Let’s find out…

Why Test Agencies?

Mostly because finding a decent agency and getting good content out of them is a pain in the ass.

There are major upsides to using agencies (e.g. they’re scalable, easy, and sometimes even cost effective), but, of course, there are plenty of downsides (mostly that it’s difficult to get truly great writing out of them).

So, this test has two main goals: (1) to help you find agencies that provide the most benefits with the least drawbacks, and (2) to help you understand how agencies operate and how to get good work out of them.

In other words, we want to see which agency is closest to the perfect agency. For me, that means an agency that:

  1. Is easy and scalable;
  2. Is relatively cheap ($/article);
  3. Provides quality content; and
  4. Does well with suboptimal article briefs
Best Content Agency

Reason #2: No one’s done it. To my knowledge, there’s no good resource on this yet. We weren’t able to find any good case studies comparing the popular content agencies, and I think it’s a really important thing for you guys to know.

That’s a problem because when I was looking for ways to scale content, I had to try all of them one by one. It was a huge hassle, and I got a lot of crappy work.

Reason #3: Content agencies all look the same. From the outside, agencies all make the same claims. It’s difficult to tell how they really work. It’s even more difficult to know what kind of content you’ll get.

Even the basic stuff is hard to find without actually going in and ordering articles. Will you have a project manager? What’s the cost? How long does it take an article to be delivered? What’s the quality assurance process?

So, at it’s heart, this post is three things: a case study, a collection of reviews, and a good ol’ fashioned competition.

Our Methodology

As much as I could, I approached this scientifically. I wanted to give all agencies a fair chance, and I wanted to keep it as objective as possible.

That was difficult in some cases, however, because some of these agencies operate very differently from the rest. TextBroker and iWriter, for example, are 100% pure marketplaces, and there is very little human interaction, while at WordAgents, you have a dedicated project manager.

Still, we tried to keep the process as similar as we could across the board. To that end, we set up three essential rules for this experiment.

Rule #1: Give everyone the same assignment.

Everyone got the same assignment. It’s a short, informational article. Here are the requirements.

  • Topic: “Why Do Cats Purr?”
  • Length: 700-1000 words (as close to 800 words as possible)
  • Paragraphs no more than 3 lines long
  • Include a link to one relevant video
  • Include sources for your facts

Here’s one of the important things to note: the brief I submitted is more vague than normal. That’s on purpose. To really get a good feel for how well these agencies do their jobs, it’s not fair to give them the best possible brief. I want to see who can fill in the gaps.

That said, I think this is still a B+ brief, and in hindsight, I should have actually made the brief worse. Hopefully, I still left enough wiggle room for the good agencies (and writers) to show their stuff.

Here’s the brief I sent each agency (you can read the whole thing here).

Instructions For Outsorcing Content

Rule #2: Work within the system they provide.

As much as I can, I’m going to work within the systems set up by the agencies themselves. No more. No less.

I’ll use their submission systems. I’ll use whatever writers they give me. I’ll use their customer service system (if they have one and if needed). And I won’t go beyond that if I can help it, unless…

…Unless an agency representative specifically seeks me out to do so. For example, one agency (you’ll see below) sent me an email asking if there was anything they could help with for my first project. So I chatted with them a bit more, and they get a bit better feel for my project.

In other words, if they give me access to their personnel as part of their system and workflow, I’ll use it. Otherwise, I’ll simply go through their CMS like any other customer.

Rule #3: I won’t ask for any revisions.

I toyed with this rule for a while. On the one hand, revision systems are an important part of any agency. If you get content you’re not happy with, you need to be able to send it back and get it revised.

However, this article is really an addendum to our previous article on content automation, and I’m assuming most people want to use content agencies to scale.

And at scale, you won’t have time to revise many articles. You’ll either be paying someone to do it or simply relying on the quality of the agency to get good content you don’t have to edit much.

So I decided not to ask for revisions. Instead, I think it’s more useful for our particular problem (scaling a website) to find out which agency does the best job on the first try.

Grading Criteria

I wanted to establish a list of criteria that was faithful to the goal of the experiment: finding the agency that does the best job on the first try for the least money and the least work.

So, here are the criteria I thought made the most sense:

  • Content Quality
  • Ease of Use
  • Cost per Word
  • Speed of Delivery
  • Scalability

Each agency will get a score on a 5-point scale for each criterion. Then, I’ll make give an overall assessment. I was going to come up with some kind of composite for the criteria, but since it’s subjective anyway, and because there’s an element of just how it feels to work with an agency, in the end, I decided just reviewing the agency myself was best.

Meet the Combatants (Agencies)

Now for the fun part! Let’s meet our combatants…

Of the agencies below, I’ve used three of them for my own site. The other two were totally new to me at the beginning of the experiment; they’re “higher end” agencies. Of course, I’ve tried a lot more than three agencies in my day, but most of them were crappy enough not to make the cut.

I also want to point out that I’m using the terms “agency” and “marketplace” interchangeably. There are important differences between content agencies and content marketplaces, and I’ll discuss them when I show you each company, but in general, I’m just calling everything an agency because it’s easier.

TextBroker: Best Bang for Your Buck

Textbroker logo

TextBroker is a content marketplace, which means you submit your article request to a pool of writers, and any writer who meets your qualifications can pick it up. No project managers. No editors. They do, however, have a customer support system that can help you resolve issues you encounter with either content or a writer.

Before we get to the ratings, a quick note: I ordered 4-star content from TextBroker. I did this for two reasons. FIrst, I know from experience ordering content from TextBroker for my own sites that the quality is pretty good compared to most marketplaces, and I wanted to make the experiment fair.

Second, though, TextBroker’s 5-star content is very expensive ($0.072/word). That outpaces every other agency on this list, and it’s way outside of a reasonable budget for most of us. So I went with 4-star, which I think is fair. Still, keep in mind that there’s one step above this one.

Submission Process

TextBroker is a true marketplace, so the submission process is essentially just choosing a quality level, uploading instructions, and letting it fly. Here’s what it looks like.

First, you’ll come to a screen that allows you to start an open order or submit an order, direct order, a team order, or an expert order.

Textbroker Submission Process

For our purposes, we want to submit an open order (an order any qualified writer can tackle).

The others are a bit more advanced and really only useful if you use TextBroker a lot, although they do have their place. For example, you can slowly build a “team” of writers who have done a good job on your articles in the past and submit only to them.

Then, use their interface to create your article order. You’ll be able to create a new project, pick the content quality, and set a processing time and word count.

They have an “SEO Options,” option, but I strongly recommend you leave that blank. If selected, writers will try extra hard to stuff the keyword into the article, even if it’s unnatural and weird. In fact, you’ll see in the brief that I specifically ask writers not to write “SEO articles.”

When your article is complete, you’ll get an email and a notification. In the TextBroker backend, you’ll be able to see a quick overview for your article that includes the specifications and the cost. You’ll also be able review CopyScape results, which is an awesome feature.

Textbroker Article Overview

The article will be at the bottom in a little text box. You’ll be able to view it as a final draft or as the raw HTML.

The HTML editor here is actually really useful. Most of the time, I’ll just paste the HTML into WordPress, which significantly speeds things up.


I thought this article was very good. In fact, I think TextBroker may have had a sixth sense about our little competition here because this is even better than the stuff I usually get.

You can read the full unedited article here.

It’s not possible to see the editorial markup in a shared Google Doc, but I did want to show you an image of what my edits for this piece looked like.

Textbroker Article Order Result

And honestly, I’m being picky about style here. This was a strong article, and if I had a dozen articles to get posted, I likely wouldn’t even edit it.

Like most marketplaces, one of the major upsides of working with TextBroker is that they have a massive talent pool. It’s not uncommon to get an article back the day you submit it.

Having a massive talent pool also makes it very easy to get content produced at an absolutely massive scale. They don’t care if you submit one article or a hundred.

This is something most marketplaces do well (mostly because they don’t want to deal with you themselves): they provide an easy, efficient CMS. It takes about 5 minutes to learn, and you’re all set.

Checking for plagiarism automatically isa massive perk. Anything that saves you a step will shave a lot of hours off your workload–even if you don’t notice it. It also keeps your site clean.

I love this feature. Nowhere else does this. Writers submit articles in HTML, which makes it very, very easy to upload to WordPress and format if you want. And, at scale, uploading to wordpress can be tremendously time-intensive.

It also gives you way more flexibility in the types of articles you can request. For example, I requested listicles from TextBroker and simply had them hotlink the images in the HTML. Saved me many, many hours downloading and uploading images.

I’ve run into a few issues in the past, and the customer support has been extremely fast and very good. In fact, Jon over at Fat Stacks reports that with a large enough order, they’ll handle the entire process for you and even post the content to your site for you.

As you submit more articles, you’ll probably come across a writer or two you really like. You can save those writers as favorites and, in the future, only submit articles to those people.

On the whole, the content is really very good (just look at the article above). However, I have gotten crap here, even at 4-stars.

Once, when ordering from TextBroker, the QA team rejected my article brief like 5 times in a row. Finally, after chatting with their support, I figured out that the word count I mentioned in my article wasn’t exactly the same as the word count I ordered. I’ve also had briefs rejected for other strange reasons. Ultimately, this is probably a good thing; it saves their writers a lot of headache and keeps them happy. But it can be frustrating if your briefs aren’t precise enough.

I’ve never been able to figure out why, but sometimes, orders will just… sit there. If I submit 20 article orders, it’s always a safe bet that 1-2 will just collect dust. I have no idea why this happens. It’s likely just a symptom of marketplaces in general, since it’s the writers who decide which assignments they want to take and which they don’t.

What’s the best way to use TextBroker?

TextBroker is best for large orders of highly systemized content that you don’t mind editing after you get them.

What’s that mean? Large orders of similar articles that all have the same structure and for which you have a really, really good brief (we provide those in Authority Hacker PRO).

It’s also best for folks who don’t mind doing a bit of editing. And, honestly, it’s pretty easy to make up the editing time because the articles in TextBroker come pre-packaged in HTML, which eliminates a good chunk of the editing work already, especially if you ask them to find an image or two.

That said, if you do have this kind of order, TextBroker may give you the best value-per-article of any agency.

iWriter: The Speediest

iWriter Logo

iWriter is another very familiar marketplace, and one that’s also been around for a long time. They have a similarly easy–albeit similarly impersonal–submission and order process.

If I was going to guess (judging by order speed only), I’d also wager iWriter has the largest pool of writers. That’s a good and a bad thing. Most of the time, you can get tons of work done really quickly, but it also makes quality control a nightmare. In fact, spinning (and blaming writers for spinning or plagiarism) has been reported to be a problem in the past.

That said, in my personal experience using iWriter over the last couple years, if you write a good brief, the quality as a whole has gotten better, and spinning/plagiarism is much less of a problem.

Order Process

This submission process for iWriter is among the simplest of all the platforms we tested. That’s what TextBroker and iWriter do better than anyone else, though: they have an incredible streamlined (and self-explanatory) order process.

I don’t think you really need it, but just in case, here’s a quick walkthrough.


The results were very good (remember, though, that we ordered from the highest tier possible). In my edits, I really only changed a few minor grammar and style issues. Other than that, it was a strong article, and I really liked the personality the writer injected into the piece.

You can read the full, unedited article here.

And here’s a snapshot of my edits.

iWriter article example

Of all the services tested, iWriter was the fastest. The article was submitted for my review in a few hours. That’s not always the case, but it happens frequently. If you’re looking to get tons of content quickly (and you don’t mind editing), this could be a good option.

 Like TextBroker, iWriter’s order process is shockingly simple. It’s just one page, and it’s very straightforward.

The highest quality content on iWriter is going to be cheaper than the highest quality content at any other agency (except maybe a big bulk order from WordAgents). The top tier cotnent at iWriter is about $0.64

Also like TextBroker, iWriter allows you to save writers as favorites. The cool part about this is that having a solid pool of favorites is a lot like having a “team” of writers. It takes time to find these folks, but if you do, your can pretty drastically increase the quality-per-dollar.

With lots of the other agencies on this list, the upper quality levels are really all pretty good. With iWriter, the top level is fantastic, but the next-best level is considerably worse. It’s still worth ordering in some cases, but it will require editing.

iWriter was more or less built with SEOs in mind (or, at least, it was overrun with SEOs looking for cheap content), and it really gained steam about five years ago, when black hats were absolutely running amuck.

Because that was most of their client base (I’m speculating here), they developed a lot of bad “best practices.” For example, if you don’t specifically tell them not to in your article brief, they’ll stuff your content full of keywords, and it’ll read like toddler wrote it. They also have weird black-hat features like automatically adding spin tags to articles.

That doesn’t mean you can’t get good content from iWriter. You can. You just have to pay for top-tier writers and specifically ask them not to do the black-hat stuff.

As dumb as it sounds, it’s true. I’m not sure why you’d have this rule, but in the end, it’ll cost you time because you (or an editor) will have to put all the hyperlinks in yourself. Typically, I just ask writers to include sources as raw-text URLs at the bottom. It’s a pain, but it’s the closest you can get on this platform.

What’s the best way to use iWriter?

I actually love, love, LOVE using iWriter for guest posts. It’s just the best place to get high-quality content as fast as possible (and speed matters in outreach).

The top-tier content is a bit too expensive (and lacks too many features) to be my go-to service for my site’s content. And the lower tiers aren’t good enough quality.

But… being able to hire a top-tier writer to knock out a stellar guest post before the end of the day is highly, highly valuable. After a bit of prospecting, using iWriter for guest posts allows me to keep my cost-per-link around $45 without me having to do any of the writing, which is very strong.

Of course, iWriter is also a good place to get ultra-cheap content you plan to edit heavily to keep raw-dollar costs down. If you’re into this, check out the guide by Chris Lee below (really, Chris, I feel like I link to this guide in basically every article!).

Other Good Reviews of iWriter

WordAgents: Best Overall Content Solution

WordAgents Logo

**Full disclosure before my review of WordAgents: I use WordAgents for most of my content. I use almost all of the agencies on this list, but WordAgents handles the bulk of my stuff. So, yes, I really like them, and, yes, I know the team over there. Still, I’ll try to keep this as objective as possible.

WordAgents is one of the very few content agencies at which you can get a dedicated project manager without insane, corporate-level prices.

It’s a true consulting firm–only on a smaller scale that is accessible to independent site builders (like us!).

Orders are custom, content is custom, and your project manager will handle all of the management from start to finish.

That does not mean you don’t have to do anything. You still have to submit a good brief and communicate with your project manager.

But it also means that when you get to know each other, the process becomes almost completely hands-off, which is why I love it: it’s allowed me to automate my content to a very high degree.

Submission Process

The submission process is different than marketplaces like iWriter or TextBroker. Instead of picking a quality level and uploading instructions, you’ll be talking to a person.

So, like most consulting firms, the first step in the process is asking for a quote. You’ll use a form that looks like this:

Word Agents Review


Remember, WordAgents knows me and has worked with me before. Still, this is one of the reasons I love working with them. They got the same directions as everyone else but delivered (in my view) the best article of the bunch. And they especially did the best job with research. I’d only fix a few small grammatical errors and a bit of syntax.

You can view the full, unedited article here.

And here’s a snapshot of my edits.

WordAgents Article Example

If you can get in a good groove with WordAgents, the combination of quality, scalability and automation is unmatched. Personally, it took me a couple months to hammer out a good process with them, but now, my content is more or less completely automated.

This is one of the biggest perks. It’s something you really don’t know you needed until you have it. It’s an extra layer of luxury that allows you to focus on more strategic stuff. It’s just really nice to have someone else managing writers and editing content.

They don’t offer this to everyone–and it’s not at all cheap–but if you’re laid back and have the cash, they’ll also post everything to your blog for you. Again, they only do this for select clients, but it can take automation to the next level.

The real power of having humans handle your requests instead of automated backends (like the marketplaces use) is the ability to tackle trickier content. When I need a 5,000-word linkable asset with lots weird little requirements, I use WordAgents–simply because I can’t get the level of collaboration anywhere else. It feels like a team of colleagues.

Again, I know these guys, so I’m biased. But in my experience, the customer service here has been a dream. That’s the trick with consultancies, though: be good to them, and they’ll be good to you. Invest in the relationship, and it’ll pay dividends.

WordAgents is a small consulting firm. They are profitable. They don’t want or need every last client. So if you suck, they’ll fire you. The easy way to avoid this is not to suck: be cool, submit good briefs, demonstrate flexibility, and communicate well.

I’ve heard mixed reviews of WordAgents from a few folks; however, those people also either submitted (1) hyper-complicated briefs or (2) incredibly vague briefs. Both will get you bad content. WordAgents can be a full-service agency, but you still have to tell them what you want in a way that makes sense.

Because this is a consultancy, like all consultancies, they sometimes overbook themselves. It’s rare, but they’ve missed deadlines for me (or rushed to meet a deadline) a couple times. It’s never been regular, and it’s never been a problem, but it has happened.

Currently, as far as I know, their backend is only in-house. On your side, the backend will just be Google Sheets and email. It works for me, but it can make it tough to keep your content pipeline organized.

What’s the best way to use WordAgents?

WordAgents is best for either (1) big, regular orders you don’t want to worry about or (2) massive orders to launch sites.

I spend $1,000-$1,5000/mo with WordAgents. They know me. They know my site. They know my content. They know my briefs. They know my personality, tone, voice, and preferences. If something comes up, I have a quick chat with my project manager and then go about my day. If need something changed, I just shoot them a quick message. It’s great.

This didn’t happen overnight. We had to develop a working relationship. But now… it’s so, so good.

They’re also probably the only agency I would use to hard-launch a site (I’m talking 100 articles or more)–mostly because a project manager makes it possible for an agency to tackle a big batch of different types of articles all at once.

Constant Content: The Nichiest

constant contant

Constant Content is basically a mix between an agency and a marketplace. You’ll be able to submit article requests to pools of writers, but you’ll also get an account representative (who will usually email you after you submit your first order).

It’s slightly more expensive than other places without a significant increase in quality. However, there are a few little perks here that may be just right for certain types of businesses.

Submission Process

Constant Content falls right in the middle of agency and marketplace… and their order process falls almost exactly in the middle of the two as well. Check it out.


The results were a little below average. The main problem with this article was fluff (extra crap that doesn’t move the article forward). You can see in the snapshot of my edits below that I deleted the first sentence of almost every paragraph.They just weren’t necessary.

You can view the full, unedited article here.

And here’s a quick snapshot of my edits:

Constant Content Editted Article

Sounds strange, but for the right business, it’s probably really useful. In addition to being able to order custom content, you can also search their article database for quality, unique articles that have already been written. Then you just purchase and download. Just be aware that the content is priced on quality, and it can get expensive.

Maybe I’m weird, but I love Word docs. You can copy and paste them directly to WordPress (and you even copy and paste them into Thrive’s content editor). Maybe it’s just familiar, but it really does seem to make things easier.

What an ingenious upsell. It’s expensive–a $8 a pop, it’s very expensive in fact–but, if you’re running a business like Jon from FatStacks, where you’re investing heavily in paying people to find images for you, it might actually be worth not having to pay a VA to go find them.

For a fee, you can have the good folks at Constant Content edit your article automatically. Very nice if you want to make sure you’re getting quality stuff, but it may also not be necessary with a good enough brief.

Pretty much everything about this agency is average. The content is average. The service is average. The prices are average. In other words, it’s not a great option, but it’s not a bad option.

My article request didn’t get picked up until I emailed my account rep. And then they missed the deadline by a day. Not a huge deal, but it’s also not encouraging if you’re someone (like most of us here) who’s going to be ordering batches of articles at a time.

It’s a tiny bit more expensive that most other places, and the quality is a tiny bit worse than most other places. That makes it less-than-optimal.

You’ll see the absurdity of a really complicated agency below. This isn’t that. But it’s still a tad too complicated, and complexity is the arch nemesis of automation.

It’s not a bad option, but why wouldn’t you pick one of the many other great options?

What’s the best way to use Constant Content?

Although it’s not my favorite agency, there are two great uses for Constant Content. The first is buying a handful of pre-written articles for a new site. Downloading several good articles without having to go through the order, editing, and revision process can help flesh out a fledgling web property, which is particularly useful if you want to build links before investing in a bunch of content.

It’s also good if you’re running an image-heavy blog, and you’re currently paying a VA to go find images. Depending on how much you’re paying that person, Constant Content might actually save you some money with their pre-selected images, although it’s probably a still a stretch.

Zerys: A Form of Torture

zerys logo

Holy sh*t.

What a disaster. I’m not even going to link to them because I don’t want you guys to waste your time, money, or sanity.

Believe me guys. This isn’t a smear piece. I have nothing to gain from writing a bad review here. I didn’t even really know about Zerys until I heard about them from Gael.

But holy sh*t.

I don’t think I could design a worse content agency if I tried. It’s a truly special level of bad. It’s way past incompetent. It feels like it’s difficult on purpose. It’s the Battletoads of content agencies.

It’s one of those things that, by the end, has you questioning whether or not you’re just a huge idiot.

Submission Process

I don’t even know how to describe it.

The submission process is like the 90’s TV show Legends of the Hidden Temple. Just when you think you’re done, some other bullsh*t pops out at you.

Just… look.


There are none because I didn’t get none. I submitted my order twice, and no one ever wrote it.

Other Agencies You Can Try

There’s no shortage of content agencies in the world. Honestly, there are probably hundreds. I just picked the ones I’d either had the most experience with or heard the most about. Here are a few more you can try (Jon from FatStacks actually reviewed a bunch of these in a recent blog post, so you can read about a few of those agencies here).

Wrapping it up….

Which agencies do you guys use? What do you think are the pros and cons? Have you found any undiscovered gems? Let me know in the comments!

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  1. Perrin, would love to have you look at BKA Content for the next round. Been around for 10 years and have a self-service option like the ones above.

  2. You guys should really re-evaluate the WordAgents recommendation. I’ve had absolutely horrible experiences with them, and peers unanimously report the same. Never heard anyone say anything good about them (except this article).

  3. I love this. You guys always grind out no BS and actionable content.

    However ….

    You guys called out textbrokers 5 star service too expensive at 0.07.

    But yet I contacted wordagents and their services START at 0.08.

  4. Hi Perrin,
    Still after all this time, what a wonderful article. Any chance you can restore the links to the scope? Any interest on updating this in the future?

    1. We’re planning on doing a refresh on these articles in the future, although it might be a little while until we get round to it I’m afraid :(

  5. The link “Here’s the brief I sent each agency (you can read the whole thing here).” within the post, along with the videos are no longer working.

    This is a great article and it would be great to have it complete.

    1. We’re gonna update this article in the near future but for now it seems like we’ve lost the original copies and videos, sorry! :(

  6. Perrin, thanks for another PRICELESS article with exactly the details we need for different situations! By the way, did you mean iWriter’s top tier is $.064/word (not $0.64/word)?

  7. Great post Thank you.

    At least if you search content in English you have various options. I need content in other languages and I only can rely on textbroker or upwork.

    I just can’t stop laughing about how you finish the comparison.

  8. I stopped hiring people from freelancer.com and warriorforum after reading this post. I had a bad experience with another VA site easyoutsource and I thought it would not be good anymore to hire a content writer directly from a freelance site.

    As suggested above, I ordered 2 articles from textbroker and got a good result. I myself is not a native English speaker and got a top-tier editor who handles all of my content before posting. Thanks a lot for this post. This is a new discovery for me.

  9. I tried Fiverr which was a complete disaster. iWriter was my go to source for content for a few years but I had a very hard time getting any consistency. I built up a nice list of “favorite” writers who I’d assign my projects to. But for some reason, it seemed like other writers from their pool picked up my requests instead of my favorite writers. The content quality was very poor and I had to keep rejecting them. As of a year ago, I’ve been using Sable content-http://sablecontent.com/ exclusively. Great prices and fairly quick order completion times. I’ve ordered way over 1000 articles from them already and each one is as well written as the last. I only had to send a few back for changes and they did it without any issues. Overall, I’m extremely happy with their service

  10. Hello,

    I would like to say, I agree with your overall assessment of the different content writing service issues. However, if you want good content then you shouldn’t mind paying for it. Some good writers undercharge for their services especially if they are new to the field. This may work for your bottom line but eventually (usually sooner than later) they burn out and this undoubtedly affects the quality of their writing. I am a writer with a few years under my belt but I do not undersell myself because I put my all into my writing. In my (humble) opinion, if you find a good writer at a competitive price then pay them graciously. Thank you for allowing me to comment. Great Post!

  11. Hi, I have also been using upwork & similar freelancer platforms, you can find native writers at decent prices if you research well enough. May I ask how much you pay per 1000 words at wordagents? I reached out a while ago and they told me “Our prices generally average somewhere between $.045 and $.15 per word. ” So not really fair to compare textbroker’s 4 stars content at $ .024

    1. They did increase their prices recently, they used to be in the same range as TB. We’ll update this post sometime soon.

  12. Hi Guys,

    What is the average prices for an 2000-5000 article @Problogger and @Upworks? How much do you pay at those platforms?

    Kind regards


  13. Much of it has to do with what someone is willing to spend. I write for Zerys and earn a very good living. My lowest rate, though is 7 c/w. I have several clients who pay me up to 10 c/w As a writer, it’s my favorite platform. No bidding, no scrolling through tons of jobs. Clients send me assignments, I write them, they approve them, and pay me. I filter out anyone who doesn’t post a rate of 5 c/w. I will audition at that rate, but make it clear future work is at my minimum. Works for me.

  14. I used to write for Zerys way back in the day and let me tell you, the backend and support are pretty awful for writers too. I don’t touch them with a ten foot pole these days, but I heard about their recent changes on a forum. It’s even more of a disaster where writers have to submit audition pieces that they may or may not get paid for. Anyone that complained or even had a slightly negative opinion ended up with their forum posts deleted and an inability to post to those boards. On top of that, they also removed the ability to private message other users. Any writer worth their salt has pretty much jumped ship unless they already have an existing stable of direct clients.

  15. Great reverse pyschology trick telling us you don’t want to waste our time and money on Zerys, that made me want to watch it the most out of all the videos just to see how bad it was. It was pretty bad! I wanted to tell you I love listening to the podcasts btw; I have them on my phone and listen to them when I have long 2 hr drives to my work meeting and at home for hours at a time when I’m working. I have learned so much from them; everything from the importance of briefs, to what life is like in Budapest to your walks in the park to your agency days selling guest posts and the cost of running an office. Your podcasts actually inspired me to put myself on a freelancing site in order to sell editorial links to sites I had access to and I already made $250 in a few days. I have no idea why I didn’t do it earlier but your podcasts really motivated me. I was looking to make extra money for so long and it never dawned on me that I should go on those sites and sell my services for some reason.

  16. Hi Perrin
    Just discovered your blog from Chris Lee’s blog & this is my first time commenting on authority hacker’s blog. I took almost 30 minutes to read your post but I must say that it not the waste of time. This is a really comprehensive comparison with some great results. Some agencies I’ve not heard of before such as Word Agents and Constant Content.

    I’ve read also a post from Jon of FAT Stacks Entrepreneur i.e. 14 Article Writing Services and Content Sources I’ve Used (Pros and Cons) which Jon also included non-writing agency content sources. But to be completely honest with you, I’ve not yet used all of the services before & this is my first time to outsource my content. I’m searching for pillar post with 2000 words article & I’ve come out with below price comparison:

    http://fatjoe.co: $90
    http://www.99centarticles.com: Not available (maybe I need to request for it)
    https://www.iwriter.com: $40
    https://www.textbroker.com: $48 (4-star quality)
    https://www.humanproofdesigns.com: Not available (maybe I need to request for it)
    http://www.writeraccess.com: $120.70 (4-star quality)
    http://wordagents.com: $90 (it’s $.045/word as mention in the comment above)
    https://ineedarticles.com: $46 (4 or 5-star quality)

    Also, 99 cent articles and human proof designs, but I can’t see it’s offer for 2000 words at their website, maybe I need to request for it. For non-writing agency content sources, I’m only interested in Upwork and Pro Blogger Job Board but from what I’ve read it might get a very good writer for appropriate money or there can be a total loss of time and money.

    Either way, I think most of it are great, will try some of their services soon.

    Thanks for an extremely informative post.


  17. iWriter sounds useful, but not having links in the articles might be a dealbreaker for me. That sounds like quite a bit of extra work for the purchaser.

  18. Haha. That twist from Zenys (especially after seeing the lead magnet implying that this post has reached the end) makes this a hilarious read. I really enjoy the case-study format of this post, as it informs us a lot about the details we need to be looking for during the ordering process.


  19. This is an amazingly well written piece. I’m totally looking into a couple of these. I tried Zerys months ago and I too found it gratuitously hard to use. The work was not very good either. I like your method by which you rated them all. I originally found this article because I was looking to compare iWriter and INeedArticles to other services.

    Question: You said that the top tier for iWriter is $.64/word but I found that for their Elite level came out to be about 65¢ per word. Was yours a typo or am I missing something.

    Also, there seems to be a theme to this article that, regardless of the service you choose, one must submit a really good brief if you want good results. Do you have any recommendation on resources to read up on to help you write better briefs?

  20. Very timely article, love the detail that you guys go to, it saves us all a lot of time… I’ve spent many hours dealing with writers, giving up then trying to finish off the content myself… It really can be such a pain in the … So now I have a new shortlist to work with, thanks again…

  21. Hello guys,

    Thank you for this article!

    I would though like to share my experience with WordAgents as I was rather disappointed and would like people to know what they are getting into.

    First of all, Vincent from WordAgents was not very pleasant to talk to by email.

    I started out by downloading the content brief provided by AuthorityHacker, wich Vincent encouraged in some of the first comments.

    I made some minor changes to the brief.

    Vincent quoted me a price of $0.06 instead of the $0.045 he quoted in his comment, I can understand that I made some changes but that a very high raise.

    I decided to pay the full amount since I was expecting some extraordinary content.

    A few days went and Vincent sent me the “finished” article and it was okay, but it deviated from a content brief and did not meet the requirements described there.

    So I asked Vicent to do the changes but apparently they are not doing any revisions at all. Even though the article was not fully written and did not meet the agreed upon requirements.

    So if you are going to use Vincent and WordAgents, please be aware of these facts.

    1. I just tried replying, and I think I canceled the reply by accident…so please excuse a double response here.

      I guess the beauty of an open forum like this is that both sides can respond…. eh, Klaus?

      Let’s make this simple:

      Klaus was charged $.06 instead of $.045 because he wanted an article on a professional topic… digital marketing. We normally don’t take these topics on, as they require first hand experience in the industry. But, since I’ve been a digital marketer for years, I figured I’d take the order and use my personal experience to help the writer deliver a great product.

      As we all know, a good digital marketing article can yield hundreds of thousands of visitors and tens of thousands of dollars over the years. So, looking at it in that light, $150 for a 2500 word piece is MORE than reasonable. In fact, I truly feel that we under charged for this article, now that I’ve reread it a few times.

      It looks like you, Klaus, thought so too:

      “I think the article is of good quality.” – Klaus

      The problem here, is that Klaus did not provide us reasonable directions and is now upset that we will not do an hours extra work for free, because he forgot to specify the TYPES of links he wanted to see in his article.

      To be fair, this is what was asked of us:

      “3 . include 3 to ­5 in text ­hyperlinks of good, relevant sources as you write (back up your claims with sources) for every 1000 words.”

      We delivered a great article on that topic that included 10 outbound links. If my math is correct… 10 links satisfies Klaus’ directions!

      Klaus is upset because he wanted MORE links than that. And, we are happy to deliver.

      We explained that revisions weren’t free, because…like most people on this earth, we like to work in exchange for payment.

      Now, please don’t take this as us trying to skip out on a job. We delivered a very in-depth, knowledgeable article on the topic.

      It took us 8 hours to create, research, and edit!

      We met every single expectation according to Klaus’ directions.

      Our guarantee for every order is to meet the directions as they’re provided to us, and to ensure articles are free from spelling and grammar errors. We met our guarantee.

      Because Klaus just couldn’t be fair and understand that we were doing everything we could to make him happy, without harming our own business…he went ahead and filed a PayPal dispute this morning – demanding a FULL REFUND for the article.

      Well, in record time, PayPal concluded that the dispute was frivolous and sided in our favor.

      Regardless, this is definitely a teachable moment for us. We NEVER want a client to walk away from us unhappy. We would not be in business for 5+ years if that is how we treat our clients.

      So, I’m going to make a grand effort to do a much better job at articulating our expectations to clients regarding what information we need from them ahead of time. We will also do a better job at clarifying what is and is not included in our pricing.

      Thank you, Klaus, for uncovering these issues with our service. You’re going to help us become a better company.

      1. “Klaus was charged $.06 instead of $.045 because he wanted an article on a professional topic… digital marketing. We normally don’t take these topics on, as they require first hand experience in the industry. But, since I’ve been a digital marketer for years, I figured I’d take the order and use my personal experience to help the writer deliver a great product.”

        I’m disappointed that you didn’t explain this to me when in inquired about the article, the only message you wrote was: “The price for your needs will be $.06 per word.” and no reason behind the extra charge.

        “We delivered a great article on that topic that included 10 outbound links. If my math is correct… 10 links satisfies Klaus’ directions!”

        Correct, you got a number of links right but that was not was I was complaining about. None of the links was used to backup claims only to describe the meaning of words, more than once you linked to businessdictionary.com an online dictionary.

        “Klaus is upset because he wanted MORE links than that. And, we are happy to deliver.”

        I never complained about a number of links.

        “We explained that revisions weren’t free, because…like most people on this earth, we like to work in exchange for payment.”

        The article you send me did not meet every aspect of the content brief as I also described by email and will not go into details here, but not even a revision of spelling errors would be done without me having to pay extra.

        I was pretty upset that I paid a premium for an article and you would not complete it after the exact content brief, just asking for more money for small editions. The way I experienced you was very poorly service and I don’t think this article make the same picture as I got off your company. Not even your email correspondence was nearly as through as your reply’s here.

        I want other to have the opportunity to see the bad experiences also and that’s why I wrote this.

        “Thank you, Klaus, for uncovering these issues with our service. You’re going to help us become a better company.”

        I really hope you mean this because that’s not anyway close to the feeling I got from the emails you send.

  22. Hi Guys!

    Thanks a ton for all the great info. Follow up question on the strategy for using an agency vs hiring writers. I’ve read ‘almost’ all your blog posts in the last 72 hours, so correct me if I’m not understanding the approach.

    It sounds like finding a full-time industry/niche specific blogger is the best route for a balance of reach and quality. Your site is more of an authority because you are leveraging the pre-exisitng authority of your writer, they share it on their blog, etc.

    But because they have their own blog/audience to worry about I assume it’s hard to scale content from them? I assume it’s also a little more costly?

    Whereas, finding a reliable agency provides you with a scalable way to implement a process of content creation. These writers are not being asked to share the content they create for you with their social circles because they are writers, and not necessarily influencers correct?

    I guess a summary question would be, for what content do you hire bloggers proficient in their field? and for what content do you hire agencies? or is it strictly based on money? So if you can afford and find enough to meet your scale needs, all-bloggers would be better?


  23. We’ve had some good success using HireWriters. They are not quite as fast as iWriter, but the prices are about the same, the quality is 10 x better, and the interface is not so misleading as iWriter. IW really need to change the submission page so that writers and buyers are on the same page.

  24. When would someone know that he needs to outsource or just write the articles himself (if time is not an issue) . If my site is new and not yet earning , should I consider paying someone to write for me or should I write it myself. Thanks

  25. Great article as usual. Somehow you guys always seem to focus on something right when I’m struggling with it :)

    I’ve had mixed results from TextBroker at the 4-star level, but now that I see the content brief you refer to as ‘vague’ I’m thinking it has more to do with my own content brief template than their overall quality …

    Do you have an example or template of a detailed content brief that you’ve had good luck with (and would be willing to share)? I think something like that would be super helpful for those of us that are still trying to figure out the best way to outsource content.


    1. Hey Ryan,

      Thanks for dropping by.

      Yep, we do have content briefs available inside Authority Hacker PRO. That’s one of the perks members get.

  26. Hi Perrin ,
    Great article! I did post last night somehow it’s not listed in here.

    I wanted to ask what do you think of Human Proof Designs as mentioned in Jon’s link mentioned above.

    Any inputs on that?

    1. I haven’t reviewed the content they sell, I find the sites they create average at best though, I think you can get better results from Texbroker and Wordagents.

  27. Hi Perrin,
    Excellent and detailed share as always.

    Needed an input from you.

    Jon Dykstra’s article from Fat Stacks Blog has a service called ‘Human Proof Designs. And that is ranked top on the list.

    Do you have any inputs on their services. They have a different pricing model, will it be worth it?

    Do you have anyone who has tried out their services?


  28. I had a bad experience with iWriter and never went back. I got an article that was word for word from an ezine. I called them on it and asked how it was possible for this to happen if, like they claim, all articles are run through copyscape. They refunded my money and told me that “of course they are run through Copyscape”. That was it. It was an integrity issue at that moment.

    Great write up. Good questions answered for people who ask where to get content.


    1. Yeah I’ve had some shitty content off iWriter too and we mention it in the article. However in terms of $ spent / content generated, it’s pretty affordable (and very quick)

  29. Come on guys. With all love for long form content – why no comparison table? Not everyone has the time to go through thousands of words of content. I came here to see which content creation service is best. What I got was thousands of words explaining how to submit content to services I probably dont want to use. Geez :-(.

    1. To be honest going for the absolute cheapest is not always the best idea. You want a balance of cost and time saved.

      1. I tried Fiverr and Upwork and they’are hit or miss too. But I did found I great writer though on Fiverr but the price is around $0.045.

        1. I have tried using fiverr for blog contents. Here is my experience –

          If you order short length contents like with 500-700 words, the quality is not that good. But I’ve found some good writers for 2000 words article.
          Well researched and formatted.

  30. Perrin and Gael,

    I can’t tell you how relieved I am that outsourcing has finally been addressed – and that you guys did it because you did a stellar job of it as always: analysis AND synthesis at their best. And you pulled no punches… kudos!

    First let me say how sorry I am that this subject did not occur to me for the feline website on my To Do list. :(

    It struck me how differently I reacted to each and emphasized how important it is to consider every aspect of your site from a potential visitor’s perspective.

    I found TextBroker’s intro creative and love that they linked to different sources in the article, instantly adding credibility. As you said, they should have addressed the subject fully before broadening the scope to introduce other felines – but love that they thought of doing that.

    iWriters’ article was very bland and uninspiring, even when they introduced the ‘bone mending’ argument which could have been treated much more creatively.

    WordAgents adopted a well balanced approach: plenty of scientific evidence, but not weighted down by it. An article with good flow that propels you along to its conclusion – starting with a great title followed by intriguing sub-titles that progressively encourage you to learn more. I also like that they added a related video, and those references at the end convey a tone of professionalism – good luck to ‘wanna be’ competitors!!! What’s not to love?

    Constant Content, as you said, produced fluff – the kind of article that encourages visitors to leave. Never understood the point of spending money for mere stuffing.

    As for the last one, my advice to you would have been ‘Don’t hold back’. Glad you didn’t! ;)

    So for me, two clear winners emerge: WordAgents and TextBrokers


    “Probably the only agency I would use to hard-launch a site (100 articles or more)”:
    . would you publish all 100 articles at launch time or space them out over a period of time?
    . why so many articles at once? Because it allows you to order them strategically for release?

    What would be the best way to get started with WordAgents: order one article, get that right – and then order a group? How many would you suggest in order to avoid overwhelm? I have a good feeling about them and don’t want to start on the wrong foot.

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am for this research. My experience with content outsourcing has been mostly dismal, and I was not looking forward to taking the plunge again – although I desperately need help moving forward.

    Any chance you might review tech help in the near future? Both my destop and laptop have developed a will of their own, making my life miserable. Unfortunately, the tech gene by-passed me entirely…

    1. Hey Viviane,

      Thanks for dropping by and glad you enjoyed the post! I will let Perrin or Vin answer the Wordagent questions as I don’t personally use them (yet!) As for reviewing tech help, why not. I’m pretty good at breaking sites so it should be no problem :).


    2. Hey Viviane,

      Thanks for the great response!

      The reason for posting a large amount of articles at launch is simply to gain trust / authority from Google as fast as possible. I usually see a bump in my rankings after my sites reach 50-60 posts. I’m guessing there’s some kind of threshold there with one of Google’s ranking factors.

      A secondary reason would be that you want to keep your visitors around your site as long as possible. When your site first launches, your traffic will be minimal. So, you’ll want to have plentttty for those new visitors to read once they land on your site.

      As far as starting out with us… I do suggest we do an initial single article order. Then we can review together and talk about what we did and didn’t like…and how to pivot going forward.

      For bulk orders, we can handle any size. If you want to do 100x 1000-word articles, it would take us about a month… but we’d deliver the articles to you as we finish them. Definitely wouldn’t be overwhelmed!

      Feel free to drop me a line privately to work out the details.


      – Vin

      1. Vin,

        Thank you for the response. Starting with a substantial website straight out of the gate is not what I am used to, but it does make a lot of sense for the reasons you mention. I am currently working on keywords and will get back to you shortly for that first article.

    3. Whether you’re trying to find one good writer or getting to know an agency, it’s probably always best to start with small batches–both so they can get feedback and YOU can get feedback.

      As for launching a site, I’d just post everything asap. No real reason not to. That’s what I’m actually doing with a couple new sites I’m launching: ordering articles and posting them as soon as they come in.

      1. Hi Perrin,

        As Vin suggested, I will start with one article and go from there. But first, I have to finish working on those pesky keywords and then figure out the workings of Gael’s Topic Page….. :(

      2. Plus, you can publish all at once and trickle them out to your audience via social media and other syndication avenues to bring awareness and fill the gaps when your audience misses them.

  31. I’m surprised Scripted doesn’t get a nod here – I thought they were more popular but I’m starting to wonder otherwise. I had a decent experience with them, similar hit or miss with TextBroker and now try to work directly with writers whenever I can.

    1. We tried Scripted back in the day, I found it extremely expensive for what you are getting. But if it works for you that’s great!

  32. Good stuff. A quick note though, I think your formatting on your pricing is off in a few different places. For example with TextBroker you mention $0.72 per word, when it is actually $0.072 (7.2 cents) per word.

  33. Great test Perrin.

    I’ve always had a hard time trying to find freelance writers for my affiliate sites considering the amount of time I need to put in revising and maintaining the flow. I’ve followed and tested several platforms you’ve mentioned and more but never came across WA.

    I’m surely going to give it a shot and see if that is what I was missing.

    Great post again. I could not stop sharing it among my friends and colleagues. :)


  34. Great write-up and comparison Perrin, thanks.

    I’ve been using text broker for a couple of months now. They’re ok… tried even 5 stars for a couple of articles but didn’t see much difference from 4. But it might be that my content briefs are not detailed enough. Don’t know.

    Looking forward to trying iWriter and WordAgents now and would love to get access to your content briefs / blueprints – are you opening a Pro community soon?

    P.S. why is mine TextBroker interface looking different to yours?

  35. Good stuff – the reviews are incredibly helpful.

    I’ve used 2 out of 5 here and your reviews are spot on :) The one thing that I think makes a big difference for writing is providing a good brief for the project.

    Take it from a former content writer, writers don’t know how you envision the finished product or the specific way you like your articles to start off. Giving a guideline for the articles will give you much better quality and, come closer to what you need.

    I’m trying out a couple other services right now, so we’ll see if they are worth adding to the content toolbox.

    Thanks again!


  36. I can personally vouch for WordAgents.com. They make an amazing job every-single-time. And Gaël, as usual, you have some of the most amazing content in this website. So Thanks for rising the bar for all of us!

  37. Great list, Gael!

    I wouldn’t mention iNeedArticles in this piece. I’ve used them extensively until it was obvious that 90% of their writers were either foreigners or didn’t learn English in school. One of the major problems with them is that if you don’t like what someone wrote for you, your only way of resolving it is to submit a support ticket for a refund. Refund process takes weeks and no one really cares about customer service there. When I started I was getting 8 good articles out of 10, but last summer this ratio went down to 2 out of 10. And no matter which quality I chose when placing the order, I was still getting junk.

    The only positive is that it was very cheap. However, if you count that from 10 articles you get only 2 decent ones, the price is on par with textbroker. So after I came to that conclusion I stopped using them. I still have about $20 on account there :), my gift to Jon Ledger.

    1. Hey Sergey,

      Thanks for the heads up on iNeedArticles, I’ll talk it over with Perrin and see if we edit it out.


  38. Textbroker is extremely hit and miss quality wise in The Netherlands. So many four star writers that hand in utter garbage.

  39. Excellent article!! There is probably a typo: “TextBroker’s 5-star content is very expensive ($0.72/word)”. This adds to 720USD for a 1.000 word article. Pretty expensive I might say :)

  40. Gaël,

    Excellent article and study (… as always). Any good recommendation on the capibilities of these services to write in other languages than english (eg french ?)

    – Lilian

  41. WA is around $0.045/word. Constant Content has a much bigger range: between $0.04/word all the way up to extremely premium content. You set your own price, though.

  42. Firstly, an excellent article (as always) but can you advise how much did the articles from WordAgents and ConstantContact cost?

    1. Hey Tao,

      Our pricing varies by the amount of research and revisions that are needed.

      But, we’re aiming to offer AH readers a flat rate of $.045 per word if you’re using the AH blueprints.

      Shoot me an email and we’ll work something out for your budget.

      – Vin

      1. Hum yeah I guess they increased their rates which changes the dynamic. I guess we’d have to test the gold service with TB vs Wordagents since prices are comparable now.

        1. I guess this is what happens when you’re the first top tier site to review content sites and give them the thumbs up….

          They have no choice but to bump up the rates to keep up with demand :D

          Thanks for the in-depth guide anyway. It’s still ultra-useful and I have it as my reference sheet for content outsourcing.

  43. Great write up Perrin!

    I got lucky and found a great writer on Upwork. She just raised her price on me but I dont mind because she “filled the gaps” as you put it easily the first try.

    I did give WA a try but the article flow was terrible yet the information was ok. I used the AH brief too.

    Usually if a article isn’t good the first try I move on.

    I’m going to give textbroker a try for guest posting though, didn’t think of that.

    Thanks Perrin!


    1. Hey Toki,

      It’s unfortunate that you thought it necessary to call our flow “terrible” on such a public forum….especially since that is an intangible aspect to content creation.

      We weren’t even aware that you were unhappy with it. The only thing you mentioned was “It was good but had a bit of readability and flow issues.”

      Each client has their own expectations in regards to flow…which can vary wildly.

      Since we did a single, solitary article for you – it’s unrealistic to expect that we understand your requirements…especially when your briefing didn’t even mention the word “flow.”

      I had invited you to articulate your expectations regarding this and never heard back. Regardless, the offer is still open! We’d be happy to edit any work to better meet your needs.

      Thanks again for the business. Have a great day.

      – Vin

  44. Though I didn’t write about it publicly, last month I did a similar test of the same article with every level of Writer Access against Textbroker. The article was a product review with 750-900 word requirement and a sample showing what I wanted the 6 subheadings to focus on. As a whole, WA quality was MUCH higher than TB quality.

    I also found that Level 5 on WA wasn’t so much better than Level 4 to justify the extra cost. But honestly, level 2 was perfectly acceptable for a non-technical product review.

  45. Great article Perrin! I write a lot of my own content, but I was thinking about trying to find a place to help me out. I’ll def be checking out some of the places you mention.

  46. Hi Perrin,

    Great comparison you have done there.

    Thanks for the information. I am also looking to outsource my writing.

    Just a note, I think your link to unedited article for iWriter is not valid. Believe that it includes authority hacker URL inside together with the Google Doc URL.

  47. Thank you so so so much, guys. We really appreciate the business you send our way and all of the kind words.

    P.S. The back end is in the works. Just gotta get around to testing it and getting it rolling with the clients!

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