As a small to medium-sized business (SMB), you’re likely stretching your marketing dollars as far as you can to keep up with your larger competitors. If your current marketing strategy doesn’t include content marketing, you could be missing out on a crucial tool for building awareness. About a third of marketers use content strategies involving blogs and short articles to help build brand awareness.
If you don’t have time to write these yourself, outsourcing content creation could be the right solution for your business. Here is a look at what content creation outsourcing is, why you should consider it, and how you can do it effectively.
What Is Content Creation Outsourcing?
Many small to medium-sized businesses will have members of their team curate content, including blog posts. While this may seem like the most cost-effective option, it takes away from valuable time that team members could be spending on other, more productive tasks.
Instead, many businesses outsource content creation.
In content creation outsourcing, a company will hire a freelancer or agency to create custom content for them. While it may seem like an investment, content creation experts have the know-how to craft expert content that gives proven results. This results in better search engine optimization (SEO) results, brand loyalty, and an ultimately bigger bottom line.
Should You Outsource Content Creation?
You might not be sold on outsourcing content writing because you think it’ll be too expensive, or you’ll lose creative control. But there are plenty of reasons you might want to consider using outsourced content writers, including:
- It’s cost-effective.
- You can publish more content.
- You get access to specialists.
- You can meet your marketing goals more effectively.
You and your existing employees might not have the bandwidth to stay on top of content, but for it to be most effective, you need to publish consistently. Your current marketing team might be more focused on other digital channels, or they might not be able to produce high-quality content.
Whatever your reasons for being inconsistent with your blogs and short article posts, you should consider outsourcing. Here are the advantages and disadvantages of outsourcing so you can weigh your options and decide if outsourcing content is right for you.
The Advantages of Outsourcing Content
1. Outsourcing Is Cost-Effective
Hiring a full-time professional writer frees up the rest of your internal team to focus on core advertising and marketing strategies, but it could also break your budget. While a full-time writer’s salary varies based on their location and experience, the average salary is $60,000 a year. You also have to pay a full-time writer for overhead and benefits.
Conversely, freelance content writers typically charge by the article or by the hour. Depending on your needs, you could pay about $49.95 for a 500-word post. If you need 15 articles at 500 words per month, you would expect to spend $750, which is $9,000 a year. In this case, a freelance writer would save you $51,000 a year plus whatever you would spend on benefits, and you would have access to a high-quality writer who understands search engine optimization (SEO) and other content goals.
2. You Can Publish More Content
One of the main pros of outsourcing content is the ability to publish more. This is significant if you're an SMB and don't have the means to hire an in-house team of writers and editors. All of your marketing efforts may be handled by yourself or a few internal employees. Writing, editing, and publishing content could easily slip off your radar when you're tackling every task in your marketing plan.
But for your best SEO results, you should be posting at least 16 posts per month, or four a week. Content creation outsourcing takes this task off your plate without sacrificing SEO. You don’t have to think about writing blog posts every week, but your business still benefits from the website hits that come with a steady blog.
3. You Get Access to Specialists
Whatever your industry, there are a lot of different topics you can use to create engaging blog posts that capture your audience’s attention. But you might not know everything about every potential topic.
For example, if you run a landscaping business, you might have high-level knowledge about how to fix damage caused by heavy tree limbs. However, you could outsource this article to a construction specialist with detailed knowledge about the process to fix your house and how much it will cost.
Freelance content writers often have specialized knowledge, and if they don’t, they know how to research the topic and find people to interview. Many outsourced writers are also familiar with SEO practices and write articles that speak to your target audience while helping you meet your marketing goals.
4. You Can Meet Your Business Goals More Effectively
Knowing your target audience and coming up with blog ideas that appeal to them is one of the most difficult parts of the content creation process. Outsourcing content writing helps make this task less tedious. You benefit from a fresh perspective and professional content writers who are good at analyzing audiences and brainstorming interesting ideas.
Once you have settled on a list of content ideas, you can rely on your content writers to write in an engaging tone that captures your readers’ interest and keeps them on your website.
The Disadvantages of Outsourcing Content
For all its advantages, outsourcing content does have some drawbacks. Collaboration takes time, and your writer likely has other clients.
1. You Have to Budget Extra Time
When you hire a full-time writer, they have the advantage of knowing the ins and outs of your business. A full-time content writer would be part of your marketing team. They would know your clients and have a good idea about topics that appeal to them.
Outsourcing a content writer means you have to take the time to get to know them and help them become acquainted with your business. If you haven’t worked with them before, you need to be explicit in your instructions to ensure the final content meets your goals and needs.
Working with a content marketplace that highlights quality means you will likely have access to talented writers with a lower learning curve for writing about your business, saving valuable time. Look for marketplaces that work with the best talent to find people who will understand your needs and create the content you need without a lot of hand-holding.
2. Freelance Writers Often Work With Multiple Clients
Another drawback to using freelancers over an in-house writer is that freelance writers often have multiple clients. It’s hard to guarantee exclusivity, especially if you aren’t paying for a full-time employee.
A good outsourced content writer will offer the same level of service and professionalism to every client, so there may be times when you can’t reach them. You might have to wait for a new blog post while they work with other imminent deadlines.
However, if you are willing to pay more, your freelance writer might prioritize your work over other clients. Make sure you’re realistic with your deadlines, however. It takes time to write engaging articles, so don’t expect a content writer to turn something around immediately.
Meanwhile, a content agency ensures consistent content production, meeting deadlines, and your content marketing goals.
3. Outsourcing Content Writers Might Not Be Familiar With Your Industry
You might be tempted to sign up with a content mill to save some money. But as with many other things, with content, “you get what you pay for.” Content mills and low-quality content marketplaces often pay lower rates, and the content creators who write for them usually have limited knowledge of the subject.
Writers at a higher rate have intimate knowledge of a given topic. If you’re looking for someone with excellent writing skills and industry expertise, be prepared to pay more.
How to Outsource Content Creation
If you’ve weighed the pros and cons of content outsourcing writing and are ready to take the plunge, follow these steps for the best results.
1. Set Your Goals
Before you start looking through resumes or researching content marketplaces, you need to set your goals.
Some things to consider include:
- What do you want to achieve with your content writer?
- Are you looking for regular writers who can help you post 15-30 blog posts a month?
- Are you looking for a specialist to help out with more in-depth articles?
Setting your goals also gives you a more realistic picture of your budget. If you know you want to aim for 30 posts a month but prefer long-form content of 1,000+ words, you will have to budget more than you would for fewer articles with a shorter word count. Look through your website analytics to see which posts drive the most engagement. Figure out which topics drive the most interest and use them to brainstorm your list of future topics.
2. Choose Some Test Blog Posts
When you have a list of potential topics, pick some of the less popular ones and assign them to new freelance writers as a test run. You might not click with your first few freelance writers, so think of some test topics and offer them to multiple freelancers to see who works best for you. You might need to test out a few writers before finding someone who matches your tone and work style.
Perhaps your first writer is talented but isn’t good at meeting deadlines. Or you might find a writer who always turns in their work on time but isn’t as familiar with your industry. You can work with multiple writers until you find one you’re comfortable working with long-term.
3. Write Clear Instructions
To get the best results from freelancers, you need to be clear about your goals and objectives. Don’t send a vague content brief and expect the piece to come back in the perfect brand voice and tone. Instead, lay these expectations out in detail.
Tell your writer what you expect in terms of:
There are many different formatting guides on the market, and your freelancers will likely be familiar with more than one. If you prefer certain writing styles, such as using sentence case in your headings, spell it out in your content brief.
Choose some of your best and brightest blog posts and include them as samples, so your outsourced content writer can see your preferred style. If you don't have any posts yet, find competitor samples that can exemplify what you're looking for. Make yourself available for a start-up call or via email to clarify questions your content writer might have.
4. Prioritize Consistency
The whole reason you’re outsourcing content creation is to up your consistency, so don’t panic if every article isn’t perfect. As long as you have consistent content that is engaging and high quality, it will likely improve your SEO, boost your search rankings and brand visibility.
You don’t have to accept articles with misinformation or outdated references. But going back and forth with small revisions can lead to bottlenecks that impact your production schedule. When outsourcing content, make sure the final articles are consistent with your branding and style guidelines and that the tone and voice match other pieces in your blog.
Articles should be informative, engaging, and add value to your readers. As long as the final product is consistent with other work on your blog, resist the urge to nitpick phrases just because you wouldn’t use them yourself.
Following step three and providing clear instructions usually helps you avoid multiple errors in each piece. Ensure you provide detailed feedback once the article is written, especially if it’s your first time working with a writer. Once they get to know you, the editing process should go more smoothly.
5. Be Positive
Although you’ll probably have some corrections and potential revisions for your writers, it’s still important to treat them like they’re valued members of your team. Freelance writers are used to constructive criticism, and they don’t usually take it personally as long as it’s related to the work. Refrain from making comments about the writer instead of their work, and balance your negative feedback with some positive comments.
You don’t have to gush over every piece of content, but take time to congratulate your writers on their work occasionally. Make your content team feel appreciated.
Let Compose.ly Help You
If you know you need to stay on top of your content marketing goals, let us help you. At Compose.ly, we work with a talented pool of freelancers familiar with content marketing best practices. Our team will work with you to learn about your company and determine what you need to meet your goals.
We pride ourselves on our ability to provide you with the advantages of outsourcing your content. We stick to a standard of excellence and partner you with experienced freelance writers who will deliver high-quality content for your blog. Stop trying to tackle content writing on top of your other marketing duties. Contact us and find out how we can help you.