Estimated reading time: 6 mins
In the world of content marketing, there is nothing – absolutely nothing – that is more important than the consistent availability, quality, and presentation of written content. Words are the backbone of every brand’s messaging. Well-used words are important for good SEO.
Here’s the problem, though: most marketers neglect their written content worse than anything else. They overlook it by not producing content consistently in the first place or by attempting to create content on the cheap. Zac the intern’s hands are probably not the best place to leave your blog, given the state of his CV, even if he does work free or cheap.
There is just one viable solution to this problem: outsourcing. Farming out written content is the best possible way to ensure that the content stays abundant and the quality high. It might sound expensive, but the cost is likely to be more than offset by the boost to organic traffic and subsequent new leads and customers you’ll gain.
Still need some convincing? Go ahead and take this little test:
“Do We Really Need to Outsource?”
Three simple questions should be able to settle the debate of whether or not your brand should be outsourcing written content. If you answer yes to two out of three, you should keep reading.
Is your content delivery schedule inconsistent?
Think about it: has there been a drop in content creation? Have publishing deadlines become more like vague guidelines than rules? Are you recycling content without first auditing it for SEO?
Is it difficult to find the time to write?
Many marketers and business owners are already burning the candle at both ends and those bleary-eyed attempts to write a blog post at 3:00 AM are not likely to be all that great. Is one little 500-word blog post taking days to write and publish only to get little to no engagement?
Do you just flat out hate writing?
It’s all right to admit it. No, seriously, it’s okay. It’s not everybody’s favorite activity. In fact, for most people, the task of writing starts losing its appeal around first grade and keeps getting worse over time. Even if your blog content is fun and engaging, it can still seem like a drudgery to write. Believe us: that sort of attitude comes through in the writing whether it’s intended or not.
Yes, these are real problems, but outsourcing is most definitely the solution. Here are a few ways that the statement is true:
FACT: Outsourcing reduces overhead – not needing to keep writers, and other content creators on staff keep the cost of content production low. Working with individual freelancers and copywriting services for a fixed or per-word rate saves money and time for any organization.
FACT: Outsourcing helps keep things on schedule – Zac the intern is going to take his time on this stuff, and it’s going to need a lot of work before it’s coherent enough to post. A professional agency or writer recognizes the importance of deadlines and will usually guarantee delivery by a specific date or time.
FACT: Outsourcing has become the norm – Almost no one produces written content in-house anymore, mostly for the other two reasons above. The rise in popularity of outsourcing written content has also resulted in a more competitive environment where the bar on quality has been raised considerably.
The real fact of the matter is that if you want to see continuous growth and recognition of your brand online, outsourcing your copywriting is practically mandatory. There are plenty of other things that responsible marketers should consider when hiring a freelancer or contracting with a full content development team. Let’s have a look at a few of the most important ones.
The Writer or Agent
One of the toughest decisions in this process involves who is going to write the copy. Hiring writers sight unseen is never a great idea, even if the agency offers a guarantee of satisfaction. It is essential to thoroughly vet the writer or agent before entering into a contract.
Know who is writing your content and insist on seeing relevant samples before agreeing to work with them. Also, be sure to look in the right places for writers. Simple blog content can often be outsourced to freelancers on sites like Textbroker or Upwork, but for more technical or academic subjects, a professional academic writing service could also be a good bet.
EssayPro and sites like it that deal in more academic subjects are not just sources for an overwhelmed college freshman to buy an essay that’s already past due. Those sites offer access to better writers than average who are willing to write everything from white papers to blogs. You can expect to pay a little more for the privilege, but the success of the article should more than cover the cost.
The Rest of Your Team
Outsourcing could also open the door to working with other freelancers to create custom branded content. But what if your copywriter is in Boston, your graphic designer is in the Philippines, and your multimedia editor is in London? Project management software like Basecamp and Asana are among some of the best ways to bring an entire globally-based team in-house.
Your writers, in particular, will need to be well in the loop. The work the others do will be built upon what they’re doing. Brand messaging can degrade quickly when there are flaws in the copy.
Your Content Publishing Schedule
It is also essential that the entire team is trained on all the software they will be using, both for project management and content delivery. Use an application like Hootsuite to automate content delivery and follow up regularly with your team to ensure that content is being delivered at the right times. Always check your metrics and adjust delivery scheduling, keyword usage, and content formatting based on all relevant engagement statistics.
Bringing It All Together
Now that your team is assembled and you have a writer that you trust, it’s time to do your part to ensure that the machine runs smoothly. Here are a few ways to keep your marketing calendar on schedule:
Communicate everything – designate leaders in every area of content delivery and be very specific about what you need. Your writers, in particular, should have your style guide and ideal avatar available at least a few days prior to starting work. If your brand hasn’t developed either, it’s a necessary step prior to outsourcing.
Start Early – Things happen that slow the process down; it’s just a fact of life. It is always a good idea to set content creation deadlines far enough in advance to account for things like revisions, rewrites, and late submissions. 3-5 days ahead of schedule is necessary, a week or more is smart.
Make changes as needed – This applies to your marketing strategy as well as the people who create your content. If there are problem areas that are the result of individual team members not keeping pace, replace them. This is your business, and your reputation so makes sure those things are well protected.
All of the above advice provides the promised foundation for a successful outsourcing plan. Now it’s down to you. Stick with the plan, communicate, and keep an eye on the numbers. The market will tell you when changes are needed, and you will need to communicate those changes well to the entire team clearly and consistently.
Finally, have a look at your bottom line now and again after you begin outsourcing. We think you’ll notice specific changes in overhead costs, engagements, and conversions if it’s done right.
Piers Golden is a writer who has been professionally engaged in the sphere since 2013. He covers the following topics: writing, education, marketing and more.