As you take your first tentative step towards becoming a content writer you’ll see that most clients have similar demands: quick turnaround, (pathetically) low rates, native-like proficiency in English and content that’s passed from CopyScape. Now the first 3 are pretty self-explanatory but most of you would not have heard of CopyScape. Let me enlighten you …
What do I do when someone asks me to write 10 articles on getting rid of freckles? I rush off to Ezine or ArticleBase of course. There are other places such as HubPages and About.com etc but the first 2 are my fav. Both are databases of info about any and every thing. Anyone can join and start uploading articles as long as these are original. People use them mainly for SEO purpose. (What is SEO??? That’s for another post dahlins!)
The problem with these kind of databases is that they lead to a lot of duplicity – you’ll come across the same info over and over again. So what was I saying about an article having to be original in order to be uploaded to Ezines, ArticleBase?? Well by original I just meant it has to pass CopyScape. You take an article off any of these sites relevant to what the client has asked you for, you rewrite the hell outta it, copy/paste it into CopyScape which runs it through ALL the text on the Internet checking for plagiarism and once your search comes out clean you are ready to send it to your client.
So for example, a client asks me to write 10 articles on getting stains out of a carpet I’ll search for the topic on the mentioned sites, take a couple of decent articles and start rewriting/rephrasing like this;
There is perhaps nothing quite so frustrating as spilling something on a pristine carpet, yet no matter how hard one tries to keep carpets in perfect shape, sooner or later, a glass of red wine, a plate of baked beans or something equally messy winds up on the floor. If this has happened to you, here are five tips on removing the stains and returning your carpet to its former glory. (This is an excerpt from an article on Ezines: http://ezinearticles.com/?Five-Tips-For-Getting-Stains-Out-of-Carpets&id=3976181)
1. Annoyed because a guest spilled red wine all over your new carpet? I know how frustrating that can be. Here are a few tips that will help ease your stress a bit.
2. No matter how hard you try it’s impossible to keep your carpets from getting stains. Tea/coffee, soda, gum are common culprits. Relax! Below are a few tips and tricks to get your carpet back to looking brand new.
3. Oh no, you just bought a new carpet and you accidentally dropped wine on it? Don’t fret – you can get the stain out in a few easy steps and no one will ever know. Here is how.
4. Dudettes, you don’t expect me to give you all 10 examples, do you? SERIOUSLY! *eye-roll*
It is boring and mind-numbing and you don’t have to get a masters in English Literature to do this but it’s good practice for bigger things that will come your way, trust me!
Anyway, so after writing all 10 articles this way, you just run them by CopyScape and you are done. The problem is that when you are reproducing a single article in 10 different ways you do sometimes tend to repeat a phrase that was in the original article and THAT my friend is a problem. Your client will always run everything you write by CopyScape and if a single result comes back pointing to the original you are dead meat. No client is going to hire you especially if you are working via oDesk/Elance etc because you will get a real bad feedback which will ruin your overall rating.
So, yeah, CopyScape is scary but at the same time it is a content writer’s best friend too because you know once it approves something you need not worry about any plagiarism accusations.
My advise? While you are waiting for your first client, try rewriting a couple of articles off Ezines and running them by CopyScape. It’s good practice and you realize how sensitive the tool is to anything that’s copied word for word form somewhere else even if it’s just a phrase.
Ciao for now.