image of tausif akram By: Amby
24 Nov 2013

How to Stop Getting Fluffy Content From Your Writers

Without opening the debate of how much you should spend on a writer, it’s important to start this topic with the obvious “you get what you pay for”. If you only hire cheap writers, you’re only going to get cheap content. That includes fluff, among many other problems that aren’t relevant to this topic.

Fluffy Content Might Be Your Fault.

When asking for an article, do you impose a word count quota? (Bad idea!)

There was a time when writers would be paid by word count, and that time should have ended when blogs became the new magazines. Word count matters for formatting in print, but on the web it’s a different story.

Sure, you can even go for a word count range to get a sense of how deep an article goes into a topic but you can also say “short” “medium” and “long” for the same impact. If you’re stuck on getting 500 words, you’ll probably get 200 words that don’t need to be there. That’s fluff.

So why stick with the word count quota? Go ahead and do your research, there are no credible sources that have ever confirmed a 500 word article has a better chance of ranking in search engines than a 350 word article.

Speaking of SEO… there are credible sources verifying that fluffy content will not rank as well in search engines as pages with substance.

The solution: forget word count. Pay a fair rate for great articles, and let the writer determine the best length for the topic.


Writers are not editors. A spell checker and self-proofing 3x before submitting to a client still doesn’t offer the same advantage of an editor who can improve an article by cutting out that little bit of fluff left over. If you don’t want to pay for an editor, do it yourself. Read carefully… when you start losing interest, start making changes.

Wait, what is fluff?

In case you’ve heard this phrase and knew it was bad but you aren’t too sure what it means to have fluffy content, here are some examples:

  • Using a word or phrase that requires extra effort. In most cases, “use” is fine. You don’t have to say “utilize”. It’s kinda pompous.
  • Fillers. The use of unnecessary words and phrases simply to beef up the word count. This is also called “padding”.
  • Buzz words. Cliché phrases. “Results Oriented”, for example.
  • Taking forever to get to the point, lingering on a (very weak) point, and then a call to action.
  • Lacking depth or precision. (Literal definition of “fluffy”. It fits.)

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