Outsourcing Parts of Content Marketing and Content Writing

Why and how to outsource content creation?
why and how to outsource content creation
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Today, everyone is pushing content. Some feel that it is important to produce content everyday to be on the top of the SERP. While others feel they need something new everyday for social media or email campaign. To some extent, it is true that if you are not producing enough content, your competitors will. Hence, it is important that we have to produce content at a very fast pace. 

But, at the same time, it is important that your content stands apart. Else you would soon become a part of the content deluge. If your content is not liked, it certainly won't spread. Lesser page views means low ranking for the targeted keywords or phrases. This brings us to the second conclusion: the content should be high quality. 

The need for outsourcing content creation:

We can safely arrive at two conclusions:
  1. We need to produce content at a very high pace
  2. The content needs to be of very high quality. It should be informative and engaging.
Now the question is how to produce so much quality content at such a high pace. There can be three scenarios:
  1. Produce it in-house
  2. Outsource it
  3. Use a hybrid model - produce some content in-house and outsource some

Factors to be considered before outsourcing content creation

Whether you should produce the content in-house or outsource it depends on several factors. Some of the most prominent factors that are considered for this are:
  1. Cost
  2. Time
  3. Infrastructure
  4. Quality

Cost

We need to figure out if cost of keeping an in-house team is more cost-effective vis-à-vis outsourcing. 

Time

Signing up an agency is a long process. Freelance writers can start the work relatively quickly. But can the freelance writers be predictable? Can they deliver on time? How many freelance writers to deployed? 

Infrastructure 

We might think content creation to be as simple as just writing some words on a piece of paper/web page. In reality, the process of content creation requires a complete ecosystem of people, processes and technology. The people ecosystem should consist of individual stakeholders such as a content strategist, a project manager, a number of subject matter experts, an editor to name a few. Additionally, you need resources to do intense secondary research (and primary research if time and budget permits). If  you have advanced content curation software then it is always an added advantage. Lastly, you need a network to promote or distribute your content. Do you have access to such a network? Have you invested in tools for content dissemination? If not, you might think of outsourcing this part to an agency. 

Quality

Quality of content can't be emphasized more. if you don't have quality content, you're just producing large amount of junk everyday. This might sound harsh but this is what it is. No one has time to really move to the second paragraph of your 2000 words article if it is not making sense. If it is the repetition of something already published then not just the readers be disinterested to read it, search engines too would hate it equally. 

Creating a Style Guide for content consistency

It becomes even more important to take quality into account when you are outsourcing your content creation to multiple freelancers or agencies or a mix of both. Each agency and freelancer would have their own understanding, viewpoints and writing style. It is possible that your content may lose its identity. While presenting your content to your target audience, you must ensure that all your content pieces have the same tone, style and identity that represents your organization. That is why it is important to have a company content style guide and all the content partners should follow the same style guide. Neil Patel talks in-dpeth about style guide in his blog How to Outsource Your Content Marketing While Still Maintaining Quality Here is the screenshot.

The importance of clear instructions to the outsourced content partner

In addition to the style guide, you must be able to send out very clear instructions for writing guidelines to all the members of your content ecosystem. Please look at a sample instruction for outsourcing a blog post in Neil Patel's blog entitled How to Outsource Your Content Marketing While Still Maintaining Quality.

The importance of effective feedback and iterations

Hubspot says it is equally important to consider the first piece of content a first draft. It is too much to expect that the first content piece is going to be the best piece of content. You should always be willing to help the writer tweak the content with your feedback. There is a nice sample of a good feedback by Hubspot in the blog entitled 7 Secrets to Outsourcing a Killer Content Creation Team

Proof reading by editor as well as subject matter experts within the company

Once the content is ready, the in-house editor should make sure that each article has the same tonality, authority and depth. On top of it, the content should not have grammatical errors. Sometimes, we expect the content creators to do the role of an editor. It is too much too expect.  Always remember that your content is going to be read by several decision-makers, influencers and advocates. Many of them would be the subject matter experts. If not, your content should be lucid enough to educate them in the simplest way. So, it is important that your internal subject matter experts and CXOs are the first set of people to do the proof-reading of the final copy of your content.

Take care of the legal stuffs:

For writing research report and case studies, your contractors might need access to sensitive data. It would, therefore, be important to decide beforehand the amount of information you would share. There should be strict internal policy in place regarding the type and amount of data to be shared with external teams, contractors and agencies. Internal employees should have an absolute clarity on this. Additionally, you must have a non-disclosure agreement in place. This will always give you the required legal protection. 

Take decisions based on Analytics:

You should be able to classify content from agencies and freelancers on parameters such as engagement, actions, conversions, etc. Additionally, you should be able to benchmark your content with the content of your close competitors or the industry leaders. Sometimes, content from some sources may outperform content from the rest. Sometimes, your overall content may not be performing as great as content from other industry players. In such cases, you might take a deeper look at the audience you're targeting or the distribution channel you are using.


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