Exciting New Changes at QualityGal

Hello QualityGal Writers!

I quickly wanted to say hello, introduce myself, and pass along some exciting news regarding the future of QualityGal.

Well Hello There…

First, my name is Matt, and I have been managing QualityGal for the past few months.  I’ve been meaning to get around to an introductory post, but it’s pretty busy around here!  Anyway, it has been a pleasure working with such a talented crew of writers and editors, and in order to make sure our relationship continues to be a good and fair one, some changes are being made to how QualityGal determines… well… quality.

Rubrics… They’re Not Just for Teachers Anymore

Starting today, we are instituting the use of 4 rubrics for evaluating your work.  We want to make sure that every piece you write for us is adjudicated on as objective a scale as possible.  Of course, we will never entirely remove the human element of editing (who would want to?) but this will better ensure that your grade is reached through an objective measurement of performance… or as close as we’re bound to get.

Grading using a rubric also allows us to grade more efficiently, meaning we get more graded every week, and therefore allow you to invoice for more before the Thursday deadline.  There is still the option for us to leave feedback, and we will, but rather than, for instance, telling you the piece you wrote included good, relevant links and good link descriptions, we can simply press a button for that.


Isn’t freelancing great? Image via flickr by TheCreativePenn

Communicating with QualityGal

My first full-time writing job was here at QualityGal, and one of the things I appreciated most was the level of communication Katie, Mindy, and Heather (my current editors) provided on a daily basis.  As a former freelance writer, I know how rare it is to find a writing service willing to not only edit, but, whether by request or of their own volition, help writers succeed with detailed instruction, constructive criticism, and positive reinforcement.  Their work, specifically how well they communicate with writers, is a great source of pride for me personally, and I would not change that.

That said, this is a content production company, and so we need to do our best to produce high-quality content at an efficient clip.  If we don’t, the brands with which we work get upset at the quality, and you get justifiably upset that we did not edit your piece before the Thursday deadline, and so you weren’t able to invoice.

Therefore, QualityGal remains more than available for questions about your content before you submit it.  Have a question about the acceptability of a link?  Ask.  Having trouble meeting word count?  Shoot us an email.  However, once an assignment is graded, we simply must move on to the next piece.  We manage too much content to spend time explaining grades… and explaining grades is… after all… the purpose of the rubric.  Except in special cases, which I leave to the discretion of my team, we will no longer be discussing graded pieces.

This is as much to ensure that QG’s editors are accomplishing as much as possible for our clients as for our writers.  After all, it seems hardly fair to take money from one writer who may have written an “A” piece because we were busy explaining a “C” piece to another.

So What Is An “A” According to the New Rubrics?

The idea behind the rubric system is that we’ll be able to give you a grade, and the range that the grade falls into will correspond to a letter grade.  Pretty nerdy… I know… but here are the ranges for each letter grade.

7-10 is a fail
11-14 is C
15-20 is a B
21-24 is a A

So shoot for the 24s!

Get Informed… and Make the Most of the Changes

The rubrics can be viewed here, at the bottom of the page, and you will also receive a link to the rubric we used to grade your piece after we have edited it.  We will be using 4 different rubrics, depending on the type of content you are writing.  Resource articles, optimized content, blog posts, and new web content will all be graded according to different (though largely similar) criteria.  This is obviously very new… so if you notice strange things happening, please email [email protected] and we’ll take a look.

Coming up there will likely be a quick succession of blog posts with more information about the rubrics and other changes to QualityGal as we look to better our service and better inform you as to the rubric implementation… so keep checking back here for updates!

So where do we go from here?  First, check out the rubrics.  Get to know them.  Figure out how you can get a 4 in every category.  You never know… we may be working on getting our “A” writers some more money for that kind of performance.

Just sayin…

Matthew Holden is the Director of Content Marketing for Online Writing Jobs, and a frequent contributor to the OWJ blog. After receiving a Master’s degree in English Education from Sage Graduate School in Troy, New York, he began writing freelance, and eventually full-time, for various companies and media outlets. After spending some time writing marketing copy, he became interested in the various ways a company can market itself online through the use of different types of content marketing.

Today, as the Director of Content Marketing, Matt oversees strategy creation, production, implementation, and promotion, of content written by experts and influencers from across the country in every vertical imaginable. When he is not overseeing the creation and promotion of thousands of pieces of content a year for OWJ clients, Matt can be found writing some for himself.

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Posted in Grading, QualityGal updates
7 comments on “Exciting New Changes at QualityGal
  1. Hi Matt, it is nice to meet you. I just read this blog post and it is inspiring. However, I tried to click on the link for the rubrics and it will not let me. A message pops up stating that I am not authorize to view it. What does this mean?

  2. Matt says:

    Hi Winona… thank you for the kind words. 🙂 Please try the link again while logged in to QG. I will look into this issue soon. The pictures of the rubrics are hosted in the “Writer Resources” of your account.

  3. Sharon says:

    Welcome, Matt.

    In reviewing the scoring rubric, I see — and fear — two things:

    1. This looks an awful lot like the scoring rubric from Demand Studios.
    2. This rubric leads Quality Gal down the content farm path.

    Both would be a terrible shame.

    One of the joys in working with Quality Gal is, as you have stated in your blog post, working with Katie, Mindy and Heather. Their feedback is constructive, and they understand that certain things are subjective. This rubric runs the danger of throwing subjectivity out the window in favor of the cookie-cutter, sweat shop writing/editing process embraced by DMS and other content farms. What I consider “deeply reflective,” for example, my editor might not, and I will be penalized because of this difference of mere opinion rather than quantitative grammatical fact.

    In addition, certain requirements for a “4” score borderline unfair. Why would a writer be required to provide more than the minimum amount of requested links to earn the top score? The minimum required adequately meets the project’s directions, thereby warranting the top score in that line particular item. A writer is to be penalized for not going beyond the call of duty? Perhaps you do not understand how difficult it can be to find quality links, not to mention extremely time-consuming.

    Finally, your rubric also lends room to unintentional error by a writer. For example, to earn in “4” in the optimizing table, one must provide more than the minimum required keywords. I know firsthand how this can backfire. Sometimes, the content is too short to facilitate more than the minimum amount of keywords to prevent keyword stuffing. You cannot quantify this; much less mislead a writer into a lower score. If I were only to receive a “4” by adding more than the minimum requested keywords, I would feel the need to do that — and possibly stuff the article and be penalized as a result.

    Matt, and all who read this, please do not take my post the wrong way. My comments are presented with humility; however, I have been in this business for several years, and I know what a content farm looks like. Rubrics are used to try and fit everyone into a square hole, even if the article and/or writer is a round peg — it cannot be done successfully and results in needless frustration.

    Writing and editing are subjective, this is why the relationship between the writer and editor must, in some ways, be somewhat personal. Things such as “reflection,” “interesting style” and “voice,” all mentioned in your rubric, cannot be placed in the confines of a rubric — they are personal. Please do not reduce Quality Gal to that level. It would be a tragedy for everyone involved.

    Thank you, and welcome aboard.

  4. Matt says:

    Hi Sharon… thank you for the welcome… seriously.

    No one understands more than I do the subjectivity of editing. Having a rubric will not decrease that subjectivity… but will ensure everyone is graded based on the same criteria. There are at least 3 of us editing at any one time, and making sure we are all grading on the same scale is important as we continue to grow.

    That said, I entirely understand your concerns about rubric grading. Before working for QG I was attempting to get my first job as a certified English teacher. Trust me… I’m well aware of the pros and cons of rubrics. The pros, in this case, outweigh the cons in our opinion, and we are instituting this new methodology based upon a grading rubric… with the invitation to all our writers to provide feedback.

    No matter what… grading will be subjective. If we write, for example, “Good links, but please be careful of awkward wording in your link text,” two questions arise. What do we mean by good, and what do we mean by awkward? That doesn’t change with a rubric, but does allow us to say it in a unified and clear way.

    There will be inevitable improvements as we go, and many of those improvements will be based upon the feedback and experiences with our writers, so know I am being genuine when I say the feedback you have provided is invaluable. I plan to discuss it with my team tomorrow.

    Regarding the idea that we are becoming a “content farm.” A quick thought:

    Working with these editors every day… I have absolutely no concerns about becoming some soulless word factory. Even if that was what I wanted (and I was a freelancer before this… and worked for a few of the bigger names in content farming… the guys that pay pennies based on your Google Adsense revenue) Heather, Katie, Mindy, my boss, my friends, and more writers than I care to mention would immediately let me know what they thought of that plan. It wouldn’t be pretty. 🙂

    I understand your concerns… they’re exactly the ones (regarding becoming a content farm) that we’ve brought up as a team. I am confident that, giving us some time to work out the kinks and earn your trust, you will see that what we are doing is best for all involved.

    I do urge you to email us as you write with any questions or concerns you have. We’re a pretty open-minded bunch around here. 🙂

  5. David says:

    Hello Matt,

    I have to applaud this rubric scale. It’s fair and allows the writer to pinpoint his or her weaknesses. I also want to thank the editorial team for working with me (instead of against me) when the instructions seemed a little vague. Sometimes I get frustrated with a failing grade, but this will definitely help me in the long run.



  6. Sharon says:

    Thank you for the prompt and thoughtful reply, Matt. I appreciate it! I will, of course, give this time. I just wanted to provide my feedback, and I sincerely appreciate that you took it in the context in which it was intended: constructive and, hopefully, helpful. I have built a wonderful trust and working relationship with Katie, Mindy and Heather, and I look forward to working with you, as well. I will admit that I am still a bit skeptical, but I do understand and appreciate your reply. Take care!

  7. Sharon says:

    … or shall I say WE — Katie, Mindy, Heather and I — have built a wonderful working relationship. Sorry, gals. I didn’t mean to sound so singular above! 🙂