There’s a restaurant in Tampa, Florida, called Bern’s Steakhouse.  However, this is no ordinary steakhouse.

At Bern’s, your steak isn’t cut or trimmed until you order it — meaning there’s a butcher in the back waiting for your decision.  Those Grand Marnier-infused carrots were grown at Bern’s organic farm a few miles away.  Bern’s wine cellar is home to nearly 7,000 unique labels.  And, when it’s time for dessert, you’ll be escorted upstairs to your own personal dessert room, where your private sound system enables you to listen to a live feed of Bern’s pianist, or virtually any other type of music you want.  They even hand-sort the coffee beans here!

No one in their right mind would expect the same caliber of food from a drive-thru window.  You’ll also never see Bern’s advertise a $6.99 Sirloin Special.  Sure, that fast food value meal will fill you up just as much as one of Bern’s steaks will — and for a fraction of the price — but the enjoyment you get out of it will be completely different.

Hiring someone to handle your content writing duties works the same way.

After all, “content marketing” has become the web’s buzz term as of late.  Even Google’s Matt Cutts has stressed the importance of publishing high-quality content.  Without a content marketing strategy that focuses establishing your expertise and becoming a legitimate authority in your niche, you’ll never succeed out on the web.

And that’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re working with a content WRITER, instead of a content MILL.

Yes, separating the two can be confusing in the beginning.  After all, there are so many people offering to write content for you that it can be tempting to go with the cheapest rates, the fastest turnaround, or the biggest “deal”.  Plus, no one working in a content mill is going to TELL you that they’re part of a mill.  They’re going to tell you that they’re an experienced content writer.

However, they’re not going to tell you what that experience actually IS.

At Bern’s, each of the waiters goes through a year-long training process before they’re allowed to greet the customers solo.  During the year, they have to shadow someone at every wait station in the restaurant, participate in workshops, and even spend time working out at the farm.  By the time all is said and done, they’re experts on everything their customers could possibly need.

A good content writer will have the same type of background.

These people didn’t start writing because they needed quick money and thought they could wing it.  They didn’t decide out of the blue to become a content writer.  Instead, they went to school, got a college degree, and gained lots of professional experience.  The great ones have even devoted time to learning about SEO and other internet marketing techniques.  As a result, they’re experts on everything their customers could possibly need.

That’s why you’ll be able to spot the difference between a mill and a writer as soon as you look at the finished product.  Yes, a content mill and a professional content writer will both give you an article, a blog post, or a sales page when all is said and done, but the difference between what each one offers will be as wide as the one between the steak at Bern’s and the fast food value meal.

Work with a content mill, and you’ll find overly-obvious statements surrounded by grammatical errors.  The number of hard-core facts included will be small, at best.  Most of what you’ll read will be fluff that’s meant to meet a specific word count.  Odds are you’ll be hesitant to put your name on the top.

On the other hand, a great content writer will give you something that’s memorable.  They’ll take the time to do quality research and to create a piece that’s both informational AND interesting.  They won’t do anything to pad the word count.

Just like Bern’s isn’t an ordinary steakhouse, there’s nothing ordinary about a great content writer.