Episode #25 – What Should I Write About? The Answer Is Surprisingly Simple (and Painfully Obvious Once You Hear It!)

James MartellDo you struggle with generating ideas to write about on your website? Concerned your content will not attract the search engines or the visitors? Business leaders are forever asking the question: “What should I write about?” when they are thinking about their online marketing. Content is very important and Google is forever attempting to adjust the way it ranks pages so quality content comes to the forefront. [Read more...]

Coffee Talk #060 – Elance VP Jonathan Diller Teaches You to Save Money and Time by Outsourcing

Coffee Talk with Jonathan Diller VP Of Provider Network for Elance.com

James Martell, president of Net Guides Publishing Inc., knows that outsourcing can literally propel your business (whether brick and mortar or online) to new heights because he’s done just that. Since using Elance for outsourcing his content creation, website building, and coding projects he’s been able to save himself 50-75% over hiring local providers to do the work and cut deadlines down to days instead of weeks.

In this edition of Coffee Talk, James sits down with the VP of Elance’s provider network, Jonathan Diller. Jonathan is the man responsible for recruitment and training of new Elance providers and he’s also the manager of customer service for the entire site! [Read more...]

Lesson 37 – Elance Pt07: Article Variations (project wrap-up)

Today I want to show you the four master PAD article variations that I have had created by the writer at Elance named Lynn. I had a quick peek in there this morning and can see the four articles are there and ready for me to take a look at them.

We can take a moment to look through these now and I’ll show you how to organize these on your hard drive so you can prepare to distribute them to the various locations on the internet.

First let’s take a peek at what Lynn had to say in the Elance system. There was quite a bit of conversation between Lynn and me because she wanted to make sure that she got everything to me on the deadline. This is a great thing because you want a writer that is diligent.

Evaluating the Articles

Here are the four articles she has created here in the right-hand column. She has also created a second version of article number 4 because she seems to be a diligent little writer so that’s great.

I would like to show you what to do with these articles as you begin to prepare them for distribution out on the internet. Before we actually look at them let’s take a minute to save each of them on my hard drive by doing a right mouse click on the link and choosing the save link option.

I set up a folder on my hard drive called PAD example so I can keep all my articles together and find them easily. I hope you take the time to set up a folder on your own computer so you will always know where the articles are when you need them. There is nothing more frustrating than saving them to the hard drive and not being able to find them again.

For my articles I created a folder called PAD example under my documents. Then inside the PAD example folder I have a folder for the master PAD article and one for the article variations. Since the articles from Lynn are the variations I’m going to put them in this little folder.

Once each of the articles are saved on my hard drive the next step will be to have a look at each of them and see how they look. To do this I’m going to open them up in Microsoft Word. What we want to do is look these over to make sure that the grammar is good and they read well.

When I look over the articles I like to read them out loud. I find that’s a good way to really check for grammatical errors. To start with I want to scroll down to the bottom of the page to see if the writer left the keywords on the article like I instructed her to.

She should have also written these keywords into the actual article itself and at first glance I can see “replica car forum” right there.  This keyword phrase will be linked back to the kit car chat forum. The kit car connection homepage is going to link this keyword phrase, “replicas car” and then tesla roadster is at the top of the page and will link back to my article on the tesla roadster on KitCarConnection.com.

You want to take some time to go through each one of them carefully. I’m going to take the next 10 to 15 minutes reading all of these right now and if I need any changes to the grammar, factually incorrect information, or something that just isn’t working in the article I can send of a note to Lynn and ask for changes.

If it’s just a little thing I’ll tune it up myself. If I need a rewrite of a paragraph or two then I’ll send it back to the writer and have her do that so I can continue working on other things.

These are the beginning of my article variations sitting on my hard drive right now. I’m waiting on my other writers to get their four back to me as well. I have two other writers working on their set of four right now. Be sure that you are working on the same number.

What we will probably do after is have the same writers give us another four editions or award it to a couple of new writers to get those back to us until we have a total of 20 variations.

For now get your articles on your hard drive and get prepared to move forward. In the next few videos we are going to talk about approaching other webmasters and start publishing these on other websites.

Lesson 36 – Elance Pt06: Article Variations (evaluate bids)

The bids are in for the article variations for the project posted over at Elance a few days ago. I’ve had a look through these bids and it would seem that I have at least a couple suitable bidders on the project. I plan to award this project to at least two of the writers today so we can keep the momentum going.

I am in my Elance account once again. Let’s take a few minutes to quickly evaluate and award the project. You’ll probably notice that I am on the manage tab and that I have the work room open for this particular project titled, Rewrite an Existing Article.

Over to the right you can see a proposal summary of what bids have come in so far. I have a total of 10 bidders; 5 from North America, 3 from India/Southern Asia, 1 from Western Europe, and 1 from Eastern Europe. The average bid amount has been $114.

The project is still running so people can come in and bid on this project but we’re going to go through and see what people have bid so far. One thing important to note when you are about to award a project and you want to award it multiple times every bid on the page gives us the ability to award the project. We could award it to more than one service provider on the list.

The important thing to know is that once you award it to the very first service provider the project is no longer available for other people to come in and bid on the project. If you plan on awarding this project multiple times you want to make sure you don’t award anything until you have enough service providers that have already bid on the project so you can award it two or three different times.

Evaluating the Bids

Let’s have a look at the bids that have come in so far. Right off the bat we have one here from Romania and typically I stay away from countries that are not native English speaking. It doesn’t mean this guy isn’t but I’m not sure either way. I can take a quick look at his bid right off the bat and it’s a little more money than I plan to spend to have these articles rewritten. I’m thinking around $50 to $80 maximum and $100 is just too much.

The next one is from Sean and he bid $300. That is way out of the budget range for this particular project. This next one is from Lyn in New York. She has had four reviews at 100% positive feedback. She appears to be relatively new to the Elance system but she’s in here working hard and has a bid of $80. That’s a little more than I typically like to spend but let’s make a note here anyway so we can come back and have a quick look at it.

On a side note I don’t actually ever hit this decline button they have here because it actually notifies the provider that their bid has been declined. Then they usually come in and submit another bid, which is not what we are looking for. For example if I was to hit the decline button on this provider and state that his bid was too high he will probably come back with a bid of $200, which is still too high.

Moving on down the list this next one has 100% positive reviews from 8 feedback with an earnings of $1469. They have 1 repeat customer out of 9. I can take a quick peek here but because it’s India and I’m not 100% sure they are versed in our language I think we are better to stick with native English speaking people, preferably as close to home as possible. If you are representing merchants in the UK and want someone from the UK I would hold out a little bit until you had one.

Here is a bid from Santa Cruiz. They have 1 review at 100% positive and earnings of $800. They have zero repeat customers and are too expensive so I’m going to skip right over them.

This next one is from Italy, which is a nice place. They state, “Serious and professional. Hope to work for you soon. I think to deliver in 2 days.” I would say there is a grammatical error right there. That is probably a good example of how somebody who is not a native English speaker will miss the minor nuances of the language. Although we can easily edit this and correct it or send it back it’s just not necessary. If we can find somebody locally who lives here and is suited to writing with our grammar and slang at times you’ll be much better served.

This next bidder hasn’t submitted a price yet because he has sent me a message so let me take a little peek and see what they say. They ask, “would you want the articles to remain at the 800 word count?” I think this is a dumb question because I outlined that in the bid. I’m not even going to answer it and just skip on by it.

Here is another one from India at $50. They state they will submit copyscape passed and SEO content. Be very cautious or avoid people who claim they are going to give you SEO articles because a lot of times they are a disaster. You want naturally written content as if it were going to be published in a newspaper or magazine.

Keywords will be in there and it will be naturally rich because of all the research we did before giving it to the writer to create the master PAD article. There is no need for us to get into SEO writing here, which typically means in the eyes of most writers the repeated occurrence of the exact keyword over and over and over again.

That is their idea of SEO and 4 or 5 years ago it worked great but it won’t work for you today. In fact you probably won’t even see that article in the results because Google is that smart.

This next one is from Port Wing USA. He is a brand new service provider with no repeat customers and they bid $50. I would not just dismiss this because they are probably trying hard to do a real good job to help get their foot in the door. On a project like this we’re not on a real crunch deadline so I would probably award this project to this person. I of course would read through the proposal. I will have a look at their profile information and just dig through it.

For this new provider I am going to give it a four and will probably send them a message to open up a bit of a dialogue to see where they are coming from, how new they are and how quickly they can get the articles back and so on. You can do the same. If you have somebody that is obviously new to the Elance system, send them a quick little message to see how fast they respond. You can ask them how quickly they can get the content back, if they will offer up any changes if need be and so on. By opening up this dialogue you can sometimes get a really good price or even get a dynamite writer who is brand new and looking to break into the Elance system.

Let’s scroll back up to the $80 bid we tagged first. I’m going to go ahead and award this project so we can keep this video series going but in your case I don’t recommend awarding at this point if your bids look like this because you want to award this to at least three writers so you can have 12 articles to begin.

In my case I’m going to select Lyn because I like what I see in her bid and profile. After I hit select we go through the same process we did in the earlier video where we create a new milestone. By doing this we can split up the payments easily. I’ll set up the first milestone to pay out $40, which is half the bid, upon acceptance of the project. Then the final deliverable I’ll pay another $40. I want to set up the time to complete this to 3 days and hit save. Then we simply click on award and the bidder will be notified that she has been awarded the project. Now Lyn has to come back and accept the project and then I can give her the detailed instructions and copy of the master article explaining how I want it rewritten.

Now that Lyn has accepted the project but has revised the terms a little bit so I want to take a quick peek at that by clicking on review and accept. You can see Lynn says, “I’ve changed the terms, no need to leave a deposit. I’ll be waiting for further instructions.”

As I’ve said in earlier videos I do like to leave a deposit because it activates the feedback system but I think we can take a chance on this one and go ahead and accept the terms. Now I can fund the escrow account to show you the step by step process once again. I like to fund using PayPal. Elance always asks you to enter your password again.

By pulling $80 from PayPal and putting it in Escrow it will show Lyn that I am serious about the project. It will sit there until I receive all four of the completed articles back and I’m happy with them.

Gathering Your Anchor Text

If you recall, and you may need a little refresher on this by going back to the video titled Anchor Text, that it’s important that we distribute each of the article variations to the various websites including, Squidoo, Ezine Articles and most importantly to other webmasters using the PAD technique. Also when we distribute these articles we want to be sure that we have three links within each article linking back to the three important pages on your website.

We do this because Google is going to determine where to rank your pages in the search results primarily by analyzing the other pages on the internet that are linking to your pages. If you are going to link to three pages on your site from within each article you are going to be distributing you need to decide two things, which of the three pages on your site you’ll be linking to and number two the exact keyword phrases you’ll be using to make up those links coming back to your site.

If you recall from the video titled Anchor Text I walk you through the process of completing a list of keyword phrases using the Google AdWords keyword tool to help you create a list of keywords for the three pages you selected to link to from the articles and you may want to dig that document up right now.

I would like to give you an example using the kit car site. As you can see in my Microsoft Word document I have selected three pages from the kit car site and developed a list of keyword phrases for each of the pages.

This process can seem confusing when trying to explain it but I think you will find this easy to do as I walk you through the example of my list for the kit car site. You either want to go back and gather up the document where you created your list or you may want to create the list again.

Essentially I have selected three pages from the kit car site to begin linking to. These three pages are only the beginning and will not be the only pages we link to back on our site. These are just the first three to get this launched.

I have selected my homepage. I decided that I want to promote my kit car forum and have it rank highly in the search results and I have a recently written article on the Tesla Electric Roadster that I would like to see rank well. I gathered up the page address for each of these pages that link directly to the desired page.

When I did my Google AdWords keyword research for my homepage I came up with this little list of keywords I would like to see my home PageRank highly for. I didn’t make up these words. I pulled them directly from the search results in the Google AdWords keyword tool. I know people are typing in these exact phrases when they are looking for a kit car.

In your case all you need to do is pick a page of content on your site and develop your list of keywords for that particular page and you’ll pretty much have it done. You can see on my document that the same thing applies to the chat forum. This was a lot of common sense.

I did a search using the Google AdWords keyword tool that we went over in the Anchor Text video and you can see that it makes sense to have my chat forum rank for this list of phrases. The third page in this case is the Tesla Roadster and you can see a nice, neat and tightly organized list of keywords for this page as well. These phrases are going to be the phrases that the writers are going to include in the articles. We will then use them to link back to the pages on our site.

Organizing the Work Order

Let me give you an example of how we can organize the keywords for the writer:

Article #1:

-  replicas car

-  replica car forum

-  the tesla roadster

Article #2:

-  replicars

-  kit cars group

-  tesla roadster test

Article #3:

-  replica kits

-  kit cars chat forum

-  tesla roadster review

Article #4:

-  replica kitcars

-  kit cars bulletin board

-  tesla roadster electric

The reason I want the writer to include these keywords is because it will be much easier for her to include them during the process of writing the article versus taking the completed article and trying to edit the keywords in.

In each of these articles I want her to link to all three pages on the website. First off I like to work from the bottom of the list up because it’s the least competitive. All I do is copy the keywords from the bottom up and then place a star beside it so I know that I’ve used it once. Then I work my way up for each article variation this writer is completing for me. I do this for every list of keywords I have for each of my pages.

By doing this each article has a slightly different variation of pretty much the same phrase and each of these slightly different versions of the keyword phrase will link back to the selected pages on my site. You can imagine that if we can get each of these articles distributed to a variety of websites on the internet containing all the variations of the keyword phrases how quickly Google will learn that this page is about kit cars.

When I send this over to the writer I don’t need to send her the link to each of the pages because I can add that later after they are finished. All I need to send to her is an explanation to include each of these phrases in the article once whether it is directly in the body of the article or maybe in the author bio.

Every one of these articles are linking back to the same pages on your site but they are using different variations of the same keyword phrase to do so. If you need to go back and review the Anchor Text video to get this list done for your own pages by all means do so.

The last part of the work order is to write some instructions for the writer as follows:

Hi Jane,

I have included everything you need to get started. You will find a copy of the article attached. In total you are working on rewriting four variations of the article.

I do have one request and that is to be sure to include three keyword phrases in each of the articles. I would like you to work in the tesla keyword phrase into the body of the article and the other two into my author bio at the bottom. I have included the three keyword phrases for you to use for each article below.

If you have any questions please let me know.


As I award this project to each of the writers I continue to work my way up the keyword list until I have used them all. Then typically what I do is select another page of content and develop another list of keyword phrases like these here. The reason for this is because most of the time we’re dealing in topics that aren’t hugely competitive and once we reach the top of our list the pages will begin to rank.

In a future video I will show what to do once the pages start to creep into Google and what you need to do to get them onto page one. That is simply done by tweaking and fine tuning later on down the road.

At this point let’s simply get these keyword phrases linked back in to these particular pages. You can see that we have seven more phrases under the tesla roadster, which will be given to the next two writers that I award this too. That will exhaust that list and in fact I will be missing one and may need to double up one of the keywords.

The keyword phrases for the chat forum are going to be used up really fast so I will probably find another page to add to the promotion and the same for the phrases linking back to my homepage.

We only need these keywords on the internet linking back to your page once. It’s not necessary to do them over and over again. Google will quickly learn what those pages are about simply by seeing each keyword phrase on the internet and looking at the page itself.

If I’m getting these PAD articles properly placed on quality websites to get quality backlinks then we will be good to go. Your goal is to make your list and get one backlink using each of those keyword phrases one time on a quality site. This is pretty simple stuff.

Again we want to think pages not sites. Google does not index websites they index pages. Google looks at everything on a page by page basis and so should you. Once you’ve gone through these and got all your PAD articles on the internet linking back to the pages you selected then identify another two or three pages and start working on those.

Giving the Work Order to the Writer

Now let’s head over and give the writer what she needs to get started on the articles. When she gets the articles back to me she will have included these keyword phrases. Then when I am putting the PAD articles together I will simply link up that keyword phrase to the appropriate pages on my site. Then when somebody clicks on that link it will land on the page on my site that it’s linking to.

To give this document to the writer I simply go back into the Elance system and find the message from the writer and attach the master article to the PMB. Then I will paste the work order directly into the PMB, preview it and then post the message. Now this project is underway.

The next time I hear from this writer she will either have a question for me or the articles will be complete and ready for me to peruse and make sure I am happy with them. When I am happy with them we can finish off the project by leaving her some feedback and releasing the milestones. Then I will have the first four articles that I can decide where I want to post them.

Work your way through this. I know this is a little bit longer video than normal. There is a little bit more detail here. As they say the real learning comes from doing. Jump in and get your head around this. I know it can seem a little confusing at times but you will learn by applying what you just watched.

Lesson 35 – Elance Pt05: Master PAD Article (project wrap-up)

We’re moving right along in the video series here. I always enjoy this part and think you will too because this is where we get to see what the completed master PAD article looks like. This project is the second one in the list and by clicking on it we can go see what Bradley has created for us when it comes to this article.

Reviewing the Article

You can see Bradley’s message to me right in the Elance system. Incidentally I like to keep all my communications in the Elance system and not my email account. This keeps everything nice and tidy in case you ever need to go back and look at anything like we said earlier.

This is a very simple project though and we have the article completed and attached here. Let’s open that up in Microsoft Word and have a quick look. This is the first time I’ve seen this article as well and it looks to be a good couple of pages. He included a little bio for me down at the bottom.

Remember we wanted an article that was approximately 800-1000 words so we can click on the tools up here and select word count. This article is right on the money at 800 words. That’s kind of funny. Either that is a coincidence or he is a very diligent guy.

Next we can go through and have a quick read to see how well written the article is. I won’t read it out loud here but you can give it a quick cursory glance. I think it looks pretty good. When you are reviewing your own you want to sit down and carefully read the article, especially the master because we want this to be a very good article. The master is the article we will use for the other writers to create the variations so the better this article is the better your variations will be.

We paid a good bit of money for this article at $50 and the variations will run around $12 an article to have this master rewritten. When you get your article have a good look at it. Take a peek and read through every word. If you’re happy with it you can go in and complete the job, if not you can request some changes.

To me this one looks like it’s nicely done. It’s the right length. For the purpose of this demonstration I am going to assume that it’s finished and that I’m completely happy with the way it reads. In your case you want to definitely make sure that you got back what you wanted from the writer before you move on to the next step.

Completing the Project

To finish up this project we want to head over to the terms and milestones where we set up the two milestones in the beginning of the project. We set it up to pay $25 on acceptance and then the other $25 on delivery. We want to take a moment to make the payment on this and leave some feedback for Bradley.

I need to fund it again. I will select pay from PayPal and enter my Elance password here. Next I click on fund escrow and head over to PayPal to enter that password there. Then I hit select and will be redirected right back into the Elance system where I can release the payment for this project.

You can see this was a pretty simple thing to get done. It was a nice little article that I can now have written into a variety of different variations, which we are going to talk about a little bit more in upcoming videos.

Now we can release this escrow and once that is released it will move me directly into the area where I can leave some feedback. One thing you really want to begin to work on in the Elance system is to start developing your own feedback that the service providers will leave for you.

Leaving and Building Feedback

This first one here basically asks if I would use the provider again or recommend him to a colleague. I answer yes and that I am very satisfied all the way down. It was a very smooth and simple project so I want to give him a 5 across the board here. Then down here at the bottom I can type a message as well that reads,

Very happy with the completed project. Good communication. Easy to deal with. Recommended.

Just take a minute to leave some feedback for your service provider as well. Then when you’re all done you can hit preview to look over what you’ve selected before finalizing it. One thing to remember is that once you hit this last button you can’t go back and change it so you want to make sure it says what you want.

When it comes to building your own feedback I’d like to give you a little peek to what you want to be working towards. If you look at my profile page and scroll down to the bottom you can see the feedback I have left for other providers and this is the feedback I have received while working in Elance.

When you’re looking to hire providers in the Elance system you review the feedback they’ve received in past projects. In just the same way when we want to hire them they are looking at our feedback to see if they want to work for us. Make sure that you are asking for feedback and that you are leaving it as well.

In my case you can see,

  • I’ve worked with James on several occasions and he is an absolute pleasure to deal with. Great communication, makes all milestones clear, and pays promptly.
  • Great buyer to work with, no problems at all. This is my second project with him and I will be pleased to do more and more with him. Highly recommended to all Elancers. A++++++++
  • Extremely great working with this buyer. Very prompt responses and impeccable directions. Would highly recommend working with the buyer again any time.
  • Was an absolute pleasure to deal with. The client knew exactly what he needed and was happy to provide me with all I needed to get the project completed. I would love to work with him again!

If we scroll down the page you can see this just goes on and on. There are lots of them here. There are literally pages and pages of good feedback coming in and they all pretty much say the same thing; easy to deal with, knows what he wants, communicates well, pays promptly and that’s about it.

You’ll want to do this as well with your own account and start building your feedback right from the very first project. You will probably be using Elance for a long period of time over and over again.

What I will do now is go in and leave a message for Bradley and tell him the article is great. I’ll let him know I just left some feedback of all 5.0’s and that I am very happy with what he is done and to please be sure and leave me feedback as well. Then he can come in here and leave his feedback for me.

The next time I am posting a project other service providers can come in and see what other people have said about me. As you build up your feedback you’ll get more people bidding on your projects and get better prices because they want to work for you.

There you go. We now have the master PAD article. You want to be sure to follow through and get yours back. Once you have it on your hard drive save it and we’ll show you how to work on it next as we move into the article variations and as we award that project in the next few videos.

In the meantime you can always keep working on your blog comments and chat forum posts. Be sure that you are still bookmarking in Delicious and that you are not letting the other tasks you’ve been working on fall by the way side. There are lots for you to do as you are waiting for the bids to come in and the work to be done.

Next we are really going to start to really get into the PAD technique because in a few days we should have the article variations back. Then it is time to start distributing them. Enjoy the rest of your day and we’ll catch you on the next video.

Lesson 34 – Elance Pt04: Article Variations (post project)

In an earlier video we awarded the project to have the master PAD article written. While that project is underway we can move forward and post the project for the article variations.

The important thing to remember about Google is they filter out duplicate content because they don’t need the exact copy of articles in their search results. This is why we don’t post the same article all over the internet. It simply gets filtered out of the search results.

The great thing about having variations of the master article rewritten into brand new words is that the article is no longer duplicate. In fact it is now a new original article that will not be filtered out. These variations will be completely unique all on their own.

Because all the research and the basic structure of the article is already provided to the writer all they need to do is rewrite the article into brand new words. Instead of paying $50 for the articles you can have the rewrites done for around $10 to $12 each.

Posting Elance Project for Article Variations

I am logged into my own Elance account and want to post a project for the article variations. I have already prewritten the project description so let’s go ahead and post the job.

We start by clicking on the link at the top right hand corner of the page that says post your project. What comes up is the form where we can post our actual project. Now I can pull up my text document where I have typed up the project description and just drop it into the appropriate places.

I’ll drop the headline Rewrite and Article right here and then select the writing category again. Then we select the subcategory of article writing. Next I’ll pull up the text of the job description and paste it into the form and here is what it says,

Hi, James Martell here.

Thank you for your bid.

I have an existing article about “preparing your car for a summer of crusing” that I would like to have rewritten by you 4 times.

I would like each of these articles to be put into NEW words with a new headline and new text throughout. In addition, the article also has a short 100 word bio that I would also like rewritten.

Each article is approximately 800 words in length and needs to be free of spelling and grammatical errors.

I would also like the articles to be completed within 3-4 days (sooner the better).

If you have any questions, please send me a PMB.


You’ll notice I put the topic in here because often times the writer likes to know what the article is about before bidding. Additionally when it comes to the author bio you don’t always have to have that rewritten but since you already have the writer in here you might as well have them do that so there will be no duplicate content on the page at all.

Then down here at the bottom I like to select creative writing because I like them to be creative in these articles. Then I always choose fixed price and if we have them do three rewrites at the Elance minimum that would run around $15 and some change per article. That’s too much for these so let’s scroll up and make some changes to the number of articles from 3 to 4. We should be able to get 4 articles rewritten for $50.

The other thing to make note of here is that we will award this project multiple times. That’s one nice thing about the Elance system; we can post the project and let it run for a little while to get as many bidders as we can. Then we can award this to a minimum of 3 to 4 writers. If we award this to three writers at 4 variations each that will give us a total of 12 articles to start with plus a pool of writers sitting there if we need more as we progress along.

I set the budget between $50 and $500 and no preference for job location. Then we click continue and select standard posting option, this option is free. After clicking continue again we can see and review the project to make sure everything is in order before we post.

We’ll let this project run for 3 or 4 days and then come to check back on what we have. Then we’ll do an update on how to award the project but I think you probably have a pretty good understanding of how simple it is to work in the Elance system.

In the next video we will likely have a look at the previous project we posted, which was on the master PAD article. I can see he has finished the job so in the next video we will talk about what to do next with the master PAD article that is completed.

To summarize this video we’ve posted a project to have the master article rewritten. We are going to award it to multiple writers to get a nice pool of articles and content that we can now begin to distribute. We’ll catch you on the next video.

Lesson 33 – Elance Pt03: Master PAD Article (evaluate bids)

It’s good to see you again. I’m logged into my Elance account because it is time to evaluate the bids that have come in for my master PAD article. I would like to take you step-by-step through the process of evaluating bidders so you can find the best writers at the best price.

It’s been about 24 hours since I posted the project. It’s listed right here at the top of the screen with a total of 10 proposals. Typically I will let this run a little longer but because we need to keep moving through these videos and we already have 10 bidders I may be able to find a very good one and award the project.

For this video we are going to talk about what we have to look at in order to evaluate the bids that have come in. At the top we have a bit of a summary of what has happened in the last 24 hours. You can see the average bid is $50, which is not surprising. This is a very good price for this article.

We’ve had 7 proposals from North America. We’ve had 2 from India/South Asia and 1 from Eastern Asia. I’m probably not going to look too hard at the two from Southern and Eastern Asia unless I can determine English is their first language.

I have found trying to hire writers out of these two countries is too problematic. They don’t have the grammar down right and it’s too much back and forth. I am much more comfortable and usually get a better job back from somebody in North America. Since we have 7 bidders I’m sure one of them will be more than suitable.

Evaluating Bidders

Let’s scroll down and see what we have. Over to the left of the bid you’ll see their Elance username that is linked back to the full profile. You can see where they are located; this one is in Kasson United States. This bidder has 100% positive feedback, 5 reviews and has earned $2569. They have had 4 repeat customers out of 16. This is something I like to see because it means that not only were they happy with the first job but they were happy enough to come back and hire them again. This person bid in at $50 for this article.

If you look in the box below you can the written proposal back to me:

Hi James, this is Doreen Coleman. Thank you for the opportunity to bid on your proposal.

I did a series of rewrites for you last year for your kit connections website. I hope you liked the work.

I can complete the project within 3 days for $50 and make sure you get your money’s worth.

I had forgotten that she did some of the rewrites for me last year. Rewrites is something we are going to cover in a later video. Once we have these master PAD articles we will have them rewritten at a far cheaper price of roughly $10 to $12 a piece.

I like the look of this bid. I will give it a little rating of 4 out of 5 right here. As far as I understand it we are the only one that sees that rating.

The next bid is from AdamG. He has no feedback or repeat customers. He looks like a brand new writer. It’s not something that I completely disregard so I like to take a quick look at it.

I also like to find writers that are not only talking about themselves. You want to find writers that are addressing your needs. It’s a big mistake that I see a lot of writers make when writing proposals. In my opinion they should be saying something like, “You need a great car article. I’ll be able to do this, this and this for you.” When I find this type of bid I really like to hone in on them.

This next bidder is named Bradly from Distance Development out of the US in Minneapolis. He has a 98% positive feedback out of 57 reviews, just of 10 grand in earnings and 13 out of 60 repeat customers. He also has 3 verified credentials, which means he has gone through some testing within the system and passed them. His bid is also $50 and looks pretty good so I’m going to give this a 5. He says,

Hi, I’m a US writer familiar with the automotive industry. I deliver an original, well researched car cruising guide for your campaign with 10 leading tips, delivered within 24 hours.

I like that proposal a lot. It’s a good one. This next one is from Singapore and I don’t know if we are going to have a language problem so I’m just going to skip that one.

This next one is one I looked at earlier with 3 positive reviews and earnings of $360. I think I’ll give this one a rating of 3 because it is only a few reviews. So far I like the other one. This next one has no recent feedback so we’ll skip over that one.

Next we have a bid here with 94% positive review. They have 12 tested skills and are out of Canada. Their proposal reads,

Hi, I am interested in writing your article about preparing your car. I feel that I am the best person for the job because I will provide you with original well-written content. I own my own car and have written many books and articles about cars so I know what should be included in your article.

I have many published works in various online publications and magazines. I always work diligently and efficiently and never deliver a product that is not perfect. I can be reached any time day or night as I am always connected to my Blackberry.

I hope you accept my low bid of $50.

This is another good one. I actually like the look of that. The last statement there could be a good sign in that they typically charge more than that.

This next one says they have a writer who will be perfect for this project. I typically stay away from companies like this who have their own writers. Essentially what is happening here is the creation of another middleman. I like to deal directly with the writers so I am going to skip over that one.

Now if we go back up here the winning bid is between Monise from D&M writers and Bradley.  Let’s go in and have a look at their feedback to really look at each one. You can click on any one of these links here. By clicking on the 98% positive feedback we can go over and have a look at what people are saying about the work that has been done. Likewise they can look at our feedback so you want to be sure to build yours as well.

You can see one feedback says very accommodating and helpful with all 4’s. The next one says excellent work I look forward to future project. This one notes very good provider, great value for the price, great job. The next one says, if you need poker related content this provider is very well versed in the game. You can see this guy has lots of good feedback here.

I’ve seen enough and am sold on Bradley here. He will do just fine for this job. Keep in mind this is one single article and we are going to put the money into escrow so we don’t have to pay until we are happy with the completed work. You can see there is very little risk, if any.

Awarding the Project

I’m going to go ahead and award this project taking you step-by-step so you can see exactly what we need to do next. If I had any questions before awarding the project I could simply send him a message right here. In fact sometimes you can find their number on their profile page so don’t hesitate to give them a call if they have their number published.

I’m completely sold here so I’m going to just award it by clicking on select. This brings us to the page where we can review the terms. You can see my information as the buyer and his information as the provider. It lists the start date and end date right here. We will adjust the end date because I’m not going to give him 8 days to write this article. Then down in here we can set up some milestones.

Setting up a milestone

Let’s go ahead and create a new milestone here. I recommend you do this as well. This first milestone will say, upon acceptance of project I will pay him $25. I know some people don’t like to pay anything up front but keep in mind it’s in escrow. Additionally when you pay up front it opens up the feedback system. If you have not released any money to them you cannot leave feedback.

Let’s say that Bradley just disappears and I hadn’t paid him anything yet. I’m left waiting 2 or 3 days wondering where my writer is with no recourse. However if you pay them $25 up front the feedback is open to me and I could say I don’t know what happened to him but he disappeared sorry I can’t recommend him. That puts just enough pressure on them to perform better as well.

The next thing to do is change the date and amount on the final deliverable. He stated 3 days within awarding the project so let’s go with that timeline starting tomorrow. We will adjust the amount down to $25 making the total project $50, which was his bid. As you scroll down the rest of this here you can skip by most of it and just hit award the project.

Now that we have awarded it I can fund the project. I use PayPal to pay for my projects here so let me do that. Then I select fund and it transfers me to my PayPal account where I can pay a deposit of $25. As soon as Bradley accepts the project then I simply release the first escrow payment of $25.

After clicking continue in my PayPal account it brings me right back to Elance and gives me the confirmation that the project has been awarded to Distance Development, which was Bradley. Now we are basically waiting on Bradley however I am going to assume that he is going to accept it since he bid on it so I’m going to type him a quick message that says,

Hi Bradley,

Thanks so much for your bid. I just awarded you the project. I have included the details for you below. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Before hitting the submit button I’m going to head over to Google Documents where I have prepared the actual work order. You can see right here is my master PAD article outline that I am going to give to Bradley to work from. You can see the details here. They are all basically bullet points for 10 tips to prepare your ride for a summer of care free cruising. This is very much a working title only. I’m expecting him to come up with his own headline. Then it says,

I’ve included some basic ideas for the article for you below.

  • I would like the article to talk about summer cruising.
  • These will be for higher end cars, cool cars, street rods, muscle cars, replicas and types of cars you wouldn’t dream of driving in the winter.
  • Enjoyed a great year last year of car cruises and shows
  • As the year came to an end the weather started to change, fall is in the air and winter is fast approaching

You can just kind of read through that. It’s just basically my thoughts on paper with no real thought to grammar or spelling. I just want to give him the details of what I am thinking. I included in there that I would like it to include a minimum of 7 tips and a maximum of 10 tips. Down below I give him the tips I would like him to expand on as well as the information he’ll need to write a bio for me as well.

The next step is to save this for him to review. If you’ve never used Google Documents you may want to consider doing so. This is a highly competitive program and it’s free. You can find it by doing a search for Google Documents. You can log in with your existing Google username and password. I use this service a lot.

It’s very efficient because I don’t have to upload attachments or anything. I simply click on share and then publish as a web page. I would like to publish this document as a web page. I want to select the option to automatically republish when changes are made and then click ok. Now I have a website address where this document is actually published.

All I need is to copy this address and paste it into my message to Bradley. Now he has access to all the information he needs.

You can see there is a little bit of work getting to know your way around the Elance system but once you get it you’ll see it’s really simple. This isn’t rocket science here so let’s get going and get your project posted. We’ll see you in the next video.

Lesson 29 – Elance Pt02: Master PAD Article

I hope you are getting excited about Elance. What I love most about it is its ability to completely reduce or in most cases eliminate your learning curve. It reminds me of my days as a contractor.

I’m a carpenter by trade and if I needed to get some electrical work done I wouldn’t have dreamed of learning how to do it myself. I would have simply outsourced the job to a qualified electrician.

Elance gives us that exact ability to outsource projects that we are not really familiar with or would just prefer to have someone else handle for us. It keeps the business fun by allowing us to focus on what we do best and simply outsource the rest. It allows you to eliminate your learning curve in many areas.

I say eliminate because you can hire a professional to handle many tasks for you. As you are about to see it’s not nearly as expensive as most people think. In this video I am going to show you in a step-by-step manner how to post your job at Elance so that you get the best deal.

I decided to have a master article written for my kit car site as an example. Then when it is complete I will show you how to have it rewritten into 10 different variations so you will have a fresh and interesting article that you can post to FaceBook, Squidoo, GoArticles, EzineArticles and all the other sites we will be approaching as we dig into the PAD technique.

Like you, I had to think through and come up with a topic for the master article. I wanted it to be interesting and have broad appeal so that it could easily be distributed to other sites.

I decided that a good topic would be 10 Tips to Prepare Your (blank) for a Summer of Carefree Cruising! I’m thinking it’s winter, cold, and rainy. I know in my topic a lot of guys have their cars tucked away in their garages under a car cover. It’s cold and snowy in many places and I’m thinking it would be nice a little article about 800 words in length to offer 10 tips to prepare your ride for a summer of carefree cruising.

It’s kind of a working title at this point but I think it gives you the general idea. It’s also broad enough that if I wanted to add the word Hot Rod I could feasibly do that. Of course I run a kit car site so I could just as easily at the words kit car in there instead. You can see how easily this title can be modified.

Again this is a working title and what I need to do now is sit down and think through what the ten tips are. I will have to do a little research over at EzineArticles. I’ll go through some of my personal experiences with my own car. The Cobra is sitting in the garage right now under a car cover.

It needs a good cleaning so that will probably be number 1 on the list. I also have a broken door handle over on the passenger side so that will need to be fixed. You can see how I could easily come up with 10 tips or keys to preparing your ride for a summer of cruising.

Once I have this article and I have taken the time to do a very good job on it I can have variations written. I’m sure that I will be able to find 10 or 20 websites that I could distribute this to very easily. The goal with the PAD technique is to get 20 articles published on other websites. This is the reason we have them written into different variations since we don’t want to give the same article more than once.

In this case we need to come up with the master article. Let me take you through the steps to post your job at Elance successfully. I don’t have the outline ready yet but I don’t need it until I award the job and we will talk about that in the next Elance video. In this video I want to show you exactly how to post a project, or as they call it post a job.

Posting Your Project

We are logged into my Elance account. I have the post a job button right up here in the top right hand corner. When we click on that it opens up the form where we can simply describe what we need.

In my case I’m going to put here that I need one article about preparing car for summer. I want to put the topic in here because I am hoping to find me a car guy to do this job for me. I want to use the term “car” instead of a specific car because I don’t want to pigeon hole myself on bidders. Then in the description I can give more information on the type of cars.

Next we need to select a category under writing and translation and then select article writing. You can see there are all kinds of writing available to you but in this case this is an article.

As for the job description I have prepared this in advance so I can just copy and paste it in here. I want to show you how I prepared this so you can copy along something similar for yourself.

In my case I always like to introduce myself in the project description because they don’t know who I am. Instead of being some anonymous person you can introduce yourself to them right off the bat. Here is what my description looks like:

Hi, it’s James Martell here.

Thanks for bidding on my project.

I am looking to have an article ghost written about “10 tips to prepare your ride for a summer of care free cruising” (working title only). I am looking for a first class job and I am willing to pay $50 to have the article written.

I would like the article to be between 800 – 1000 words in length and include a great headline using the words 10 tips or 10 keys (or similar)

I will provide the basic research for each of the tips, which I expect to total between 7 and 10. I will also provide the basic storyline, which will be along the lines of your baby has been sitting under a car cover all winter long, you can’t wait to hit the road…

I would like the article to be completed and back to me within 3 days of awarding the project.

If you have a question, please send me a PMB.

I look forward to seeing your bid.


It’s pretty straightforward. At this point I’m not going to give them the work order, which will include the outline for the article. We will give that document to the actual writer that we award the project to.

You have the option to pick other desired skills if you have any. I usually pick creative writing because I want them to be a little creative because I want this to be a very interesting article.

Then you want to select a fixed price between $50 and $500. I’ve already told them I am willing to spend $50 on this article, which sends a nice clear message to your writers that you are willing to pay for a top quality article. You’ll get some great writers come in when you do that.

Next we’ll click continue and select the standard free post option. I rarely pay the $15. Then we click on continue again where we can actually review the post. You want to go through it and make sure everything reads correctly. If you want to make any changes you simply click on the back button they offer. If you are satisfied with it you simply click confirm and post.

Now you can click on Manage My Jobs and you’ll see your new post at the top of the list. It will show you how many proposals you have in total, how many new proposals and any public questions.

In an upcoming video we’ll come back into my account and see who has bid on this project and go through how to evaluate the bids. In the meantime go ahead and post your project whether or not you have your outline done. You don’t need to have it done to get the project posted.

Come up with an idea for your article. Come up with a little project summary like we did in this video then post your job. Then we’ll see you in the next video.

Lesson 28 – Elance Pt01: Introduction

In this video I would love to cover off one of my favorite services, Elance . It’s a resource that I learned about back in 2004 and quite frankly is amazing.

It could literally change the way you do business because it puts over 100,000 service providers at your fingertips. All of them would love to bid on your projects just like the master article that you now need to have written. The best part about Elance is you can join for free and you can post your jobs for free and you only pay the provider once you are happy with the completed work.

I use Elance for almost everything from graphics, technical work, technical problems, legal issues, audio and video production, lots of articles, and all kinds of other things. Pretty much anything that I need to have done I can go to Elance and post a project. You can use Elance for everything as well if you’d like.

For example if a technical issues arises you can follow my 15 minute rule, which simply says if you can’t solve a technical issue within 15 minutes or less I take the next 15 minutes and post a project at Elance to have a professional solve the issue for me.

Elance is very easy to use and I am going to give you a personal guided tour of my Elance account so you can get a good idea as to the types of projects that you may want to post yourself over at Elance.

First I want to take you through a 3-page presentation that Elance has put together to explain how the system works. It says here at the top of the page, “Elance is the best way to get your work done” and I agree with that. It reads;

“You can find high quality experts. Manage your work online. Pay only for results. Every day thousands of business chose Elance as an easy, cost-effective way to get their work done. Find out why Elance is the leading marketplace for online talent.”

Let me take you through a little tour here. We of course need to have service provided. You are looking for a place where you can get that master article written. You can hire experts and it’s a very simple process.

You simply post your job. You can then review the proposals as they come in from the people that are bidding on your project. You can hire the best candidate by looking at their feedback, evaluating what work they have done in the past and seeing what other people think of them in a variety of different ways. It’s a great way to make sure you get the right person for the job.

If you have a larger project you can set up milestones. You can communicate and collaborate with your service provider along the way. You can review status reports so you know where you are at in the project at all times and then you pay only for results.

You can pre-pay money into the escrow account if you like, which I personally prefer to do. Then you can release the payment when you are happy with the work you got back. When you are done with the project you can leave feedback for that service provider and how well of a job they did for you. It’s a beautiful little service. It’s very easy to use.

Now let me take you inside to show you my account. I’ve been working in Elance since 2004. I absolutely love the service. It completely changed the way we do business. Since the start of our account we have posted 305 projects. I’ve awarded 76% of them, which is a good thing to know. Just because you post a project doesn’t mean you have to follow through.

If you don’t find a service provider that you like or you just want to give this a try to see what type of people are going to come in and bid on your project you should go ahead and post your job. You can see I have received 199 different feedback and I’ve purchased over $61,266 worth of services through the Elance system in just over 5 years.

This area here is my inbox within the Elance system where I can communicate with different people I am working with. Here you can see all of the jobs I have posted recently. As you can see it is a wide variety of different types of jobs that I have needed done. It is all probably very similar to the work you need to have done now or as you progress through your business.

Any time you need to have something done whether it’s writing, or a landing page with video, a WordPress installation, trouble shooting on a navigation menu, emails for an autoresponder, or just all kinds of things as you can see down the list of my projects here.

I’ve posted projects to have a flash video inserted into a Word Press blog, a full rewrite of my 4th Edition ebook, as well as an editor. I’m looking to have a Camtasia splash page video created. I needed some Word Press plugins and set up work completed. I also needed a long-term project for some descriptive articles to be written.

I posted a project for a free report, 10 header graphics, and high quality content for a website, 3 interesting articles for a newsletter and professional voice talent. I can post a project in Elance for pretty much anything and everything that I need to have done.

I would imagine in your case you are probably looking to have that master article written and it is very simple to do. Before I show you how to post a job in here I want to take you into the archive area and take a peek at all the projects I’ve done in the past. I want to find that project that I had actually done for the kit car site so you can see exactly how I went about ordering my master article.

As we continue to work in the PAD area you will probably be in the Elance system quite often because you will more than likely need a number of these PAD articles written beginning with the master.

I’m in the archive section of my Elance account looking back over the projects we’ve had done over the years and I’m looking for the project where I had two articles written, one about Carroll Shelby and the other about the Shelby Cobra.

To put this into prospective for yourself when you post a project you need to carefully detail what you want written. In previous videos we’ve talked about putting together an outline for your master PAD article. We said to keep it simple but go out and pull together the research information for this article.

Once you have all that information together you simply go up here and post your job by filling out a simple little form. I’m going to give you a quick tour to show you how simple that form is and then we will come back in here to show you the summary of the project I posted to have my master PAD articles written.

Of course you first give the project a title. Next you select a category for it. In this case it will be writing. Then you select the type of writing it’s going to be, which is article writing. Then you describe your job, which I will show you in a second. You can pick your desired skills if you’d like.

You can determine how to pay. I recommend using the fixed price with a budget between $50 and $500. Then you click continue and post the project. That’s about it for filling out the form. In the description area you just write a very simple email off to that service provider so they can bid on the project.

Let me take you back into my account to show you what the actual project looks like once it’s been typed in and posted. In this case you can see the actual work area for my two articles about Carroll Shelby and the Shelby Cobra.

This was for two master articles. The average bid was $140 for high quality articles. I had 4 bidders come in from North America, 1 from India and 1 from Western Europe. I ended up awarding the project to a gentleman named Walker Writing Service.

I don’t usually award a project to someone with no recent feedback but I actually know Greg from another service so I went ahead and hired him. In his bid he says, “I am very interested in the writing position you have listed here on Elance.” He’s referring to my little project description I have listed in here:

“Hi, it’s James Martell here. I am looking to have a quality article ghost written for me.

One article is about the history of Carroll Shelby, creator of the legendary Shelby Cobra, Daytona Coupe, Shelby GT350 and GT500 Mustangs. The next article is about the history of the Shelby Cobra.

I would guess that both articles will be between 700-800 words in length, however they could be longer if you felt it necessary.

The information for the Shelby Cobra and Carroll Shelby articles can be found at WikiPedia.org and within the resources linked at the bottom of the Wikipedia pages here.

I’m looking for both articles to be high in quality and do not mind paying a little extra to accomplish this.

I would like each article to have a great headline, bullet points (if applicable), and a few sub-headlines to help break up the article for easier reading.

I will add a few photos to the finished article once I receive it back.

I would also like to have you include an About the Author Bio about myself in the articles using the following information; James Martell, Publisher of KitCarConnection.com, daughter named Shelby, owner of Shelby Cobra replica, has visited the Shelby Cobra American Factory in Las Vegas many times, fan of Carroll Shelby and the Shelby Cobra, lives with wife Arlene and four kids, Adam, Justin, Shelby and Victoria in a beautiful seaside suburb on Vancouver on Canada’s West Coast, spends his leisure time driving his car shows and cruises, and developing his kit car website.”

In my case I didn’t even put together an article outline. All I did with this project was send the writer over to the two pages; one about Carroll Shelby and one about the Shelby Cobra and said I want you to use this as the basis for the article.

You’re going to want your writers to create a nice author bio for your articles as well. It is being ghost written for you and you will more than likely be the author. In my case I just put a bunch of points down. Get into some details here. You want a nice, plump bio down here not some cheesy one. Give them some meat they can use to develop a very nice author bio for you.

Take the time to very carefully detail out the project that you want written. It’s really no different than writing a very detailed email to somebody to explain to them what you want to have done.

I’d encourage you to get on this right away. Get your project posted on Elance today. Don’t let a day go by where you haven’t done this. Let’s stay right on track. Get your project posted and writers will start to come in and bid on your project

Then in a couple videos from now we will go through how to evaluate the bidders and award the project. I’ll show you how to set up the milestones to make sure you get what you want and just help you get a good grounding in the Elance system.

Keep in mind as well that Elance offers some great tutorials on how the system works so if you need any more detail on it have a look around the site here. You’re going to find some great tutorials on how to get this done. Generally speaking it is an easy system to use. I hope you dig in and take advantage of it and we’ll see you in the next video.

Coffee Talk #054 – “Sound” Advice and 7 Tips Given by Kathryn Herzog, Veteran News Announcer, Reporter and Producer on Why Your Website Should be “Heard” as Well as Seen

Coffee Talk with Kathryn Herzog from CanTheyHearYou.com

Affiliate marketing, Internet marketing, selling your products and services online are all niches for internet success. Is your website presence bringing you the success you expected?

James Martell, President of Net Guides Publishing Inc. frequently teaches others about the importance of grabbing a website visitor’s attention and keeping them on your website. James has years of experience teaching website owners how to create those attention getters. Within the realm of attracting visitors and keeping those visitors coming back are website audios. [Read more...]