This is going to be a bit of rant, so hang on.

Headline: Don’t engage with content marketing agencies that use an auction or bidding system to give assignments to writers.

If your response is, it’s a free market; no one is forcing you to work this way, you would be correct. I worked for two agencies with similar auction models, and have stepped away from working with them. Regardless of the compensation, I felt the system prevented me doing my best work for the client.

While a bidding site may deliver content at the lowest cost, it doesn’t deliver the best value to the client. Clients may not understand how it makes a difference. Let me explain from the writer’s viewpoint.

Incentive: Having to guess at the lowest acceptable bid is not the best motivation to produce quality content. Because the bid is very likely to be under the writer’s standard rate, the writer will complete the work as quickly as possible to generate a decent hourly rate. That means the client doesn’t get my best effort. The result is cursory research, shallow thinking and the opposite of thought leadership.

Quality: The clients’ strategy and KPIs for their content marketing strategy drive their agency and writer expectations. If your content marketing strategy relies on keyword stuffed generic blog posts that weigh more toward the marketing rather than the content side of the equation, then this model may fit your expectations. But if you’re looking for deep content that readers will share, and that open the flow into your sales funnel, then content produced by the bid will be a disappointment.

Relationships: On one content agency that uses the bidding model, each post is a separate job. So the writer does not have the opportunity to develop an understanding of the client’s strategies. Usually, there’s no feedback, either.

My best work comes with clients I’ve worked with for several years, writing dozens of posts and other content. We have invested time in each other. I have learned their priorities and quirks, and they understand how to provide information and insights to me. They get my best work.

There’s the old joke about astronauts strapped in for launch on a Saturn V rocket, and one says to the other, “There’s over a million parts in this rocket, and each one was made by the lowest bidder.”

Do you want to trust execution of your carefully crafted content strategy to the lowest bidder?

Work with an experienced content marketing writer, either directly or through an agency or platform that uses fixed fee-based compensation. Your content marketing KPIs will reflect the difference.