The official languages of the Philippines are Filipino and English. Separated by regions and cultures, less than 30% can speak the national language. Hence, English became the dominant second language used in governments and institutions. In essence, this has resulted in a huge pool of good Filipino writers.
Among the largest English speaking countries in the world, the Philippines ranks fourth. On top of the list is the United States, 80% of which are native speakers. In contrast, 92% of Filipinos use English as a secondary language. Filipinos are famous for many things, and one of them is creativity. Because writing is a form of art, it is only but natural for Filipino writers to excel in this field.
Technology has given incredible opportunities to enterprising entities and Filipino writers.
For clients, they now have access to good Filipino writers. Not only are many of them capable, but they also have lower pay rates. In some countries, it is almost impossible to hire an English writer without paying a fortune. In other words, hiring Filipinos is cost-effective. At the same time, it also allowed many entrepreneurs to get started in the online business.
In the past, Overseas Filipino Workers (OFW) drove the economy of the Philippines. But over the last decade, the Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) industry has made tremendous strides. In fact, the country is now called the Call Center Capital of the World. As such, the nation is the second largest growing economy in Asia, next to China.
The Need for Better Strategies
One of the easiest online business is putting up a website and earning from sales or commissions. Because the majority of clients lack enough funds, there is a need to put up content by paying the lowest rates. Unfortunately, these do not last long and here are a few reasons.
1. As alluded to, these clients do not have enough capital. Building a website takes over a year before one can expect it to make some money. Even so, there is never a guarantee that it will be successful.
2. Lacking in funds, these clients will offer the lowest rates to fill up their site with content. Unfortunately, such strategy leads to a non-authoritative site. Compounding the problem is the practice of manipulating SEO by some people. For instance, paying for link-building will backfire once Google detects this deceptive practice.
3. Some sites are already wrong, to begin with, such as viral news sites. While a few had been successful, most also did not last long. Such sites attract traffic with excessively sensational titles but not providing real content. As such, more people now are learning to ignore these types of sites.
4. I noticed many people starting websites that review Amazon products. Unfortunately, most end up giving up. One big reason is that the reviews are not accurate and based on actual use and rigorous testing methods. As a consequence, they fail to earn the trust of their target audience.
Regardless of any type of site, one thing is clear. It is the lack of quality content that is the hindrance to becoming successful. Having said that, it is not the fault of Filipino writers as they are only complying with what the clients need.
Clients need to have an ownership mentality where success or failure is on them.
Before getting into an online business, clients have to understand their strategies. It is one thing if a website is in support of a traditional business, and it is another thing if it is an online business.
The Challenges of Finding Good Filipino Writers
In my role as a content manager for a client, I can say that finding good Filipino content writers is difficult. While it is true that most can understand English, it is also a second language. Because of exposure to freelancers, I also came to know that many of them will be good if they could have the chance. Unfortunately, clients are reluctant to hire people based on potential. Instead, what they need are results.
At times, it is imperative for me to strike a balance between potential and current skill level. For clients I work with, quality and depth of content is the top priority. As such, there are two parts to an orientation and coaching sessions. One is to train writers to adapt to the tone and technique of the site. Another is to coach and help them grow.
In an ideal world, the client and the Filipino content writers will have a long-term relationship.
Finding the right person is hard, but keeping the good Filipino writers is more difficult. This time, it is no longer a question of skills but the attitude of both the client and the writers.
Money is a factor, but it is not the only one that determines whether the online writer leaves or stay.
“The deepest urge in human nature,” John Dewey stated, “is the desire to be important.”
Filipinos are among the most passionate and warmest people on earth. As such, a relationship is as important as getting compensated. Behind each article is a human who needs an assurance. By failing to cultivate a relationship, clients unlock a door with a large exit sign.
“The grass,” some believe, “is always greener on the other side of the fence.”
Clients may do everything they can to nurture a relationship. Still, it may not be enough. Because like it or not, there will always be people who keep looking at the other side of the pasture. In other words, these are the people who will leave without warning as new opportunities come.
Each individual is different. Hence, what is important for one is not the same as for others. Some writers may feel they deserve more compensation while others want to grow. Clients will know the motivations of their writers if they build a relationship.
More Filipinos are discovering the convenience of working online. Indeed, earning from home has a lot of benefits. For instance, there is no need to spend money going to and coming back from a workplace. For those living in Metro Manila, they no longer have to deal with the horrendous traffic.
Unfortunately, some Filipino writers may not have ideal working spaces. Often, there are chores to do. Even worse, there may be people in the household who become hindrances. As such, distractions can wreak havoc on creative thinking and fluidity. Such disruptions can affect the quality of work.
In the Philippines, the standard of living is low compared to western countries. So, one would think that Filipinos would treasure the better paying opportunities.
Still, the turnover rate is very high. After seeing many resumes, I noticed that it is rare for a Filipino writer to work with one client for over a year. Besides relationship and assurance, there are many other reasons why writers stop. For instance, burning out is one of the common reasons. Other causes include clients not being happy or going out of business.
Compensation Is Always a Concern
A decade ago, there is a lack of jobs for educated Filipinos. As such, menial salaries suffice. But the country is undergoing a massive growth in its economy. In other words, not only are there more jobs, but also better paying too. Hence, the good Filipino writers have the choice of pursuing their passion or career in the corporate world.
Relationships are important, but it can only go so far. At the end of the day, people with exceptional skills will receive better offers.
In online jobs and cross-border hirings, local labor code is often ignored. For writers to accept low pay rates, it could be one of the following reasons:
1. Being new, they would like to get started. For many, it is a stepping stone towards better-paying jobs.
2. Some do not have the requisite skills nor the ability to command a higher pay rate.
3. I would like to believe that many other writers use it as an opportunity to learn something new. In essence, that is what I did when back when I started.
Compensation is an ongoing and never-ending concern for most relationships. We see this happening at all levels and in all industries anywhere in the world. In essence, most clients try to avoid paying more while good Filipino writers seek more benefits.
I encourage content writers to put themselves in a position to deserve more. It is my advocacy and one of the reasons for creating this website. At the same time, clients need to take care of the exceptional people they hired.
Because freelancers work on a per project basis, they cannot ask for anything more other than the negotiated terms. But for those who are doing part-time and full-time jobs, that is another story.
Keeping the Good Filipino Writers
Once I talked to a writer who was having an enviable trouble. Because of excellent attitude and results, her client sent her a brand new MacBook Pro as a gift. Her problem is that she could not pay the absurd tax imposed by customs. So, the client paid for that as well.
Pirating her is impossible.
A common Filipino trait is utang na loob or debt of gratitude. Even if a better offer comes along, it is unlikely for the writer to leave her current client. In fact, she will work for a long time until she feels that she has paid back her gratitude.
Are all Filipino writers the same?
In fact, there are many of them out there who do not have integrity. As such, these people are not who we refer to as the keepers. For clients, the right person is not only skilled and shows continuous growth. They are also the kind of individuals who have the right attitude.
To keep the good Filipino writers, give them what they deserve.
There is no magic formula or a step-by-step guide to treating people the right way. In fact, we already know how.