When it comes to outsourcing content writing, it seems like everyone has a horror story to tell.
On the client side:
“They took my money and didn’t complete the work.”
“The content read horribly.”
“They spelled my client’s business name wrong and linked to a competitor. I lost my client.”
On the flip side, content writers often have horror stories, too.
“He wants 600 articles and has a budget of $600.”
“A big, national brand just ripped me off on the last payment owed.”
These stories can chill you to the bone. They’re that bad.
All in all, on both sides of it (client and writer), there are negative experiences that have sent a giant black cloud hovering over the word “outsource.”
A stigma, of sorts.
Here’s the truth.
The reality of what happens when you outsource content writing to a perfect-fit creator is pure magic.
You save time. You get high-quality, beautifully written copy that reflects your business.
The creator gets paid for doing what he or she loves.
This is a magical thing!
I’m excited to say that today, content creation is now the top activity outsourced by B2B marketers this year. The impact of content marketing means that marketers must publish high-quality and long-form content consistently.
So, why the stigma?
There are still a few “buts” that stop many business owners from experiencing success with outsourcing content writing.
“But I can do it all myself.”
I was there once, too. At the beginning. You really can’t, if you want to scale.
“But content writing is cheaper at [insert platform name].”
Instead of focusing on numbers, ask yourself why services like Upwork, Fiverr and the rest are so much cheaper.
Anyone can call themselves an expert content writer, but that doesn’t make it true.
When outsourcing to an agency, the vetting process is taken care of. At Express Writers, it takes an average of 100 candidates for us to find one great writer. We’ve designed a hiring process that can take up to two weeks in order to properly evaluate, test, review and talk one-on-one with applicants.
“How can I successfully outsource content writing?”
Outsourcing doesn’t have to be a scary process. A clear strategy on what to look for and what to avoid will lead you to your perfect fit.
Today’s guide is here to bust through the stigma, and add clarity to the fuzzy areas of “outsourcing writing”.
First up: my husband and I narrate a short Outsourcing Tale on the Write Podcast. (This one’s fun!) Secondly: a guide on the pitfalls to avoid, and the steps to take when you choose to outsource content writing for the first time.
I’d love to hear your #outsourcingstory on Twitter – use the hashtag and share! Then, let me know in the comments what you thought of today’s blog/podcast story format!
Treating the Symptoms: Knowing When It’s Time (or Past Time) to Outsource Content Writing
Tell us your symptoms.
- Fear of miscommunication
- Clenching tightly to your wallet
- General distrust
- Obsessive compulsive control over all of your content
You’re hitting all of the marks. But hey, it’s totally fine. We get patients like you all the time.
According to my findings, it seems you may be suffering from PTOD. It’s a condition we refer to as Post Traumatic Outsourcing Disorder.
It’s more common than you think.
Outsourcing content writing can keep your business on track with a profitable content strategy.
However, without a proper plan, you’re at risk for PTOD.
Back to you.
Have you had any traumatic experiences outsourcing before?
You discussed your content strategy and sent payment… but never received any content back?
Okay, you also ran your content through Copyscape and it was 100% plagiarized? We’ve never seen that before. Even the name?
Right. You published a piece on your site that had an excess of, how many? Nine-hundred spelling and grammatical errors? You say this piece was only a 500-word blog post?
The good news is, you’re going to be okay. You will survive and heal. Post traumatic outsourcing disorder effects countless companies and business owners worldwide but it can be beat.
Let’s take a look at your treatment plan.
Preventative Care for Outsourcing Content Writing
The best approach to overcoming your fears about outsourcing content is to prevent any nightmare situations.
To ensure the best outsourcing experience, I advise that you steer clear of websites offering fast, cheap and high quality content.
Cheap and high quality are two terms that should never be in the same sentence.
Have you ever heard anyone boast about how cheap their Chanel purse is?
I don’t think so.
When it comes to content services, high quality should be at the top of your checklist.
Now, some freelance writers may try to trick you by offering inexpensive services and making claims like that they work with clients “across every major vertical services.”
Sure they can cover vertical services but what about the horizontal? These are the questions you should be asking yourself.
Also, count the grammar and spelling mistakes in their post. Professional content writers should also know how to edit.
When looking at their pricing model, consider why they omitted the first “a” in the word “standard.”
Is this a ruse to convince you of their inventiveness? Are they that good? Is standard even spelled with two a’s?
Try not to succumb to the tactics of such content writing freelancers.
Refer to the Oxford English Dictionary to double-check how words are spelled. Run potential applicants’ resumes and posts through spell check and even ask for help from that one friend that’s constantly correcting you to look for grammatical errors.
Think of posts and applicant responses as a preview of the content you’ll be provided with.
Have some standards.
3 Common Pitfalls to Avoid When Outsourcing Content Writing
If you wear shorts in a blizzard, you’re going to catch a cold. The same goes for outsourcing content writing. Being aware of these common outsourcing pitfalls will result in a more effective and enjoyable hiring process.
1. Going into the Process Without a Strategy
The content you receive will mirror the quality of your application process.
All of this can be prevented if you wade out into the content writer pool with a clear content strategy in mind. Try answering these questions:
- What type of content do you need?
- What is the voice of your brand?
- Who is your targeted audience?
- What are your goals with content marketing?
- How do you like to communicate?
2. Hiring an Outsourced Content Writer Too Quickly
Your hiring process should reflect your goals. Outsourcing the right content writer is a process that should not be rushed.
Think of the ideal content writer for your business and then look for those qualities in potential candidates.
Try to be a little more specific than this:
The potential candidate responding to this ad will be about as smart as you imagine them to be.
3. Negotiating the Cheapest Option
When it comes to outsourcing a content writer, the best deal doesn’t always mean the best content.
There is a reason that prices vary for freelancers and writing agencies. When adding to your team, keep your budget in mind but don’t let it be your deciding factor. Quality comes first.
Here’s a former PTOD patient who put more effort into their hiring post. They outlined what they wanted with specifics, and spelled almost every word correctly.
The downfall came in requesting the content writer’s “wholesale price.”
This isn’t Costco.
Bargain shopping for written content will get you bargain-quality.
[clickToTweet tweet=”Bargain shopping for written #content will get you bargain-quality, says @JuliaEMcCoy” quote=”Bargain shopping for written #content will get you bargain-quality, says @JuliaEMcCoy”]
Top 2 Treatment Options to Successfully Outsource Content Writing
Overcoming a traumatic outsourcing experience will take time. Each case is different. Depending on your unique situation, you can decide what treatment options are best for you.
1. Seek out a (Great) Content Writer
If you’re thinking…
You’ve gone down this road before. You’re having flashbacks of unedited blogs and unanswered emails.
Hiring a freelance writer is risky mostly and only if you don’t specify what you need from them upfront. This is a working relationship, and for successful outsourcing, communication is key.
When outsourcing a content writer on your own you must communicate a clear content strategy, define your budget, set deadlines and vet the writers before hiring them.
Don’t make the mistake of our friend looking for a “smart person.”
Great content writers = experienced content writers.
Evaluate your writers based on prior writing samples and test their skills.
There are no specific qualifications for someone to work as a freelance writer other than their word. They can and should prove their skills with examples.
We advise you not to bend your standards for the inexperienced.
2. Hire a Content Writing Agency
Agencies can provide a level of professionalism, experience and flexibility that freelancers cannot always adhere to.
At Express Writers, the vetting process is already taken care of for you. Our testing process rules out 99% of applicants whose writing cannot match the quality content we provide.
We also have three writing service options: General, Expert and Authority to help you determine your content needs. The transparent pricing breaks down why our services cost more than Fiverr. There are no wholesale prices here.
Our content is focused on quality. Every piece of content is evaluated and edited by our Quality Assistants before being sent back to you.
Of course, we’re NOT perfect (we’re humans), so we guarantee if there are errors that we’ll fix them for free, if you tell us.
The goal is to provide you with impactful, authoritative content that completely erases any past traumatic outsourcing experiences.
A Life Without Fear of Outsourcing Content
You too can live a life free from the shackles of post traumatic outsourcing disorder.
There are marketers that carry on every day, and enjoy their work lives with outsourced employees.
Whether you hire a freelance writer or use an agency, these outsourcing treatment options can provide consistent, relevant and engaging content when used properly.
Side Effects May Include:
- An increase in free time
- Money in the bank
- Content exceeding your expectations
- An encouraging pat on the back from your boss
- A boost in organic traffic to your website
- Consistent high quality and engaging content
- Comments from readers that aren’t immediately filed as spam
- Higher ranking in search engines
- A non-sarcastic head nod of approval from your rival co-worker, Dan
- Rapid growth of your business
Outsourcing written content should be closely monitored by a marketing specialist. Be sure to consult your marketing team before starting treatment.
Ending the Stigma: #OutsourcingStory
For those of you writers among the audience, take heart.
Now is the perfect time to become a content creator and find the gems among the weeds to work with. Content marketing is about to be worth $313 billion as an industry. And creators are getting a big piece of that pie.
The difficult clients, the stigma, still exists… but if we band together, serve awesome clients well, and never let our ethics drop once (for a low-paying gig or for low quality output), we can END that stigma.
Have an outsourcing story to share that defies the stigma? I’d love to retweet it! Share on Twitter using the hashtag #outsourcingstory.