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write podcast E36

The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy

Today, my husband joins me for the first time ever on the Write Podcast.

Today we’re covering a topic that’s huge in the content marketing industry: outsourcing your content!

In this episode, I’m talking to you, content creators and writers! Be inspired as I share why and how you should stick to your guns about the quality you provide and the rates you set as an expert.

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I’m also talking to you, agencies and marketers. Learn how to work with content writers for better success.

But first, we’re eavesdropping on a sales call with a marketer who is a bit clueless about both… and I was able to convince my husband to play the marketer’s role.

Josh McCoy joins in as Marketer “Cowboy Joe,” and I’m playing myself.

You’ve got to listen in on this one. ?

write podcast E36

The Write Podcast, E36: An Outsourcing Story Narrated by Julia & Josh McCoy Show Notes

  • 0:01 – An Outsourcing Story. Listen in to hear a sales call to Express Writers from Joe, a marketer who wants masses of SEO content at bargain bin rates.
  • 2:53 – Why the Outsourcing Story Is Nothing New. Even though content marketing and content creation have come a long, long way since Express Writers first launched, we STILL get clients who want cut-throat rates for their content – and then get burned when they settle for bargain quality.
  • 4:37 – Setting Rock-Bottom Rates Sets an Unsustainable Standard in the Content Creation Industry. Many of EW’s competitors set extremely low rates for content writing. But, to create truly great, quality content that gets results, you need to aim higher.
  • 5:23 – Content Writers: Never Compromise on Quality and Rates! To set better standards in the industry, ones we can all benefit from, we need to stop accepting low rates and compromising our content writing just to make a quick dime.
  • 6:21 – How We’ve Changed at Express Writers to Refocus on Quality. We used to give in and give discounts to clients just to get the sale. I explain why that’s not our policy anymore and how it ties into refusing to compromise. This includes not compromising on the time and creativity it takes to create high-quality, amazing content.
  • 9:10 – Clients: 3 Pitfalls to Avoid When Outsourcing Your Writing and Content Creation. There are three mistakes it’s really easy to make when you need to outsource your content writing. The first one: Going in without a strategy, i.e. not knowing what types of content you need, not defining your brand voice, and not knowing your audience.
  • 10:53 – Content Creation Is One of the Top Outsourced Activities in the Industry, According to CMI. The stigma around outsourcing your content writing is continually shrinking. I talk about why that’s happening and why it’s so great for content writers.

Quotes to Tweet

Because we have competitors that charge very low, this sets an expectation. Marketers see that price, and they think, 'oh, that's the going rate' when that reflects very low quality. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet The day we all as writers agree to never compromise, is the day this question will stop coming our way: 'Hey, can you go low for high-volume orders?' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet Whenever we turn a client away, it comes from a place of ‘This is our expertise, this is our knowledge, this is what we know, this is what we're good at.’ We stand there, and don't bat an eye. @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet 'If you have the skills and expertise... you can stand on your knowledge and not give in to that client. You won't feel like a salesperson who is just after their money, whenever you ask for that big number.' @JuliaEMcCoy Click To Tweet 'In this industry of content creation, the best deal really doesn't mean the best content.' @JuliaEMccoy Click To Tweet

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how to outsource your content writing

How to Outsource Your Content Writing (Successfully)

Imagine this: you’ve spent a long day running your business, and the day is wrapping up. You’ve been at your desk for nine hours, and you’re ready to go home.

The problem?

You’ve still got those tasks for content creation (i.e., write a blog, write and schedule social media content, create a lead magnet) on your list.

If this is you, you’re not alone. And it’s the #1 reason why content creation is delegated today by many marketers and agencies.

It’s the smart thing to do.

Content Marketing Institute’s benchmark study of content marketers shows that content creation is the #1 area in content marketing where there has been the most reported increase in spending over the last 12 months (56%).

Now, knowing how to outsource your content creation can be tricky.

How do you guide your content creator or agency team on creating content that works for you? How do you work together with them as a partner?

After eight years, 16,500 projects under our belt, and countless agencies and marketers served in our clientele, we decided to compile this guide on how to outsource your content writing. Let’s dive in!

Content creation is the #1 area of content marketing where marketers have increased their spending the most, via @cmicontent's benchmark study. Learn how to delegate your #content effectively in our guide 🔥 Click To Tweet

how to outsource your content

How to Outsource Your Content Writing Successfully: A Guide

For this guide on how to outsource your content creation, I teamed up with our amazing staff, from our lead Strategist to our editors and team manager. Their quotes are below!

First, let’s start with a few signs to help you know when it’s time to outsource your content.

3 Tell-Tale Signs it’s Time to Outsource Your Content

Just how do you tell that it’s time to outsource your content writing?

1. Your content is dropping off, you’re missing publishing times, and people have stopped engaging with your content

If you’ve noticed a significant drop in your engagement lately, it could be because the quality of your content is slipping off. This happens when business owners start getting so busy that they neglect the quality of their content creation, and it could be happening to you right now. Fortunately, there’s help to be had before you disappear into that wormhole of obscurity. Outsource your content for the love and attention your social channels and blogs need to thrive once more.

2. You’re just never able to find the time to write

Being a business owner or entrepreneur comes with the requirement of an insane schedule. If you’re one of those people who eats in the car, spends half the day on the phone, and has started keeping survival supplies in the bottom left drawer of your desk, it’s likely that content creation isn’t your main priority right now, and – hey, rightfully so. Even though you want your business to succeed, content creation is time-consuming, and it’s hard to balance that, which can seem a bit obscure, with all of the real, tangible, everyday demands of your physical business.

Some business owners who find themselves in this position just stop creating content altogether. Never do that. You could lose all your new inbound lead opportunities if you do. Remember: businesses that publish 16 or more blogs monthly get 3.5 times more traffic than businesses that publish 0-4 posts per month (Hubspot).

3. You simply dislike writing

Writing is not for everyone, and that’s okay. It’s one thing that can be tough to master – especially the skill of online writing. If you hate it, don’t stress yourself out over it. Instead, call in a trained team of writers who can take the icky task off your back while you focus on things you do like.

4 Express Writers’ Content Creation Staff Members Share Tips on How to Successfully Outsource Your Content & Get Amazing Results

It’s not every day, unfortunately, that business owners outsource their content and get incredible results from it.

We’ve seen new client after new client come to us with this kind of story:

“I just hired a writer. It was a year-long contract for a blog per week. He claimed he knows the industry. Now not only is my client rewriting everything from scratch, it was so bad, he’s actually about to leave me because the writer stopped showing up and I have no content to give my client.”

Ouch.

Is this your story? It doesn’t have to be. Fortunately, there are content creators that really care about content creation.

As a content agency, we’ve created thousands of projects for hundreds of clients since 2011 (check out one of our creation reports). Here are a few key tips from some of our content creation staff and leadership team members.

If you’re looking to outsource your content, follow these carefully to successfully manage both quality and expectations for yourself and your writer.

1. John’s tip: Communications is the key to a great outsourcing experience.

john content strategist express writers

John, our on-staff Content Strategist who has been a full-time Authority Copywriter, trained Content Strategist, and copywriter with us since mid-2016, knows what it takes to succeed. He says it’s all in a good brief.

Depending on the type of copy you’re ordering, a successful brief could include a number of different features.

However, I would consider the following to be mandatory.

In fact, unless I already have a lot of experience with the client, if I don’t see at least one of these, I’ll usually ask for them immediately.

1. An Outline

Outlines don’t need to be overly detailed, but it’s nice to have a sense for what the client is expecting to receive from their piece.

This includes any client-specific requirements. For example, if the client wants an article about ecommerce tips, but they need them to be related to social media, that’s something that should be specified in the brief.

2. A Reference Piece

In lieu of an outline, a reference piece is also very helpful. Clients often send both, which is great, but at the very least, it’s nice to have a point of reference (or multiple) with any additional notes from the client (e.g. “add in X”, “skip the part about Y”, etc.).

The other reason a reference piece is so important is because of word count. If a client has looked at other articles on the same topic, they probably have a good idea what they can cover with a certain number of words.

Otherwise, they risk trying to cover too much (e.g. “Top 20 Blogging Tips” for a 500-word blog post), which results in a weak copy.

2. Danielle’s tip: Remember your focus keyword and other vital content musts

danielle quote on outsourcing

Danielle, our Content Specialist and on-staff editor at Express Writers, answered this question with some fabulous reminders. Simple points, but critical to content success!

What makes for a great blog, both in the client side (input given) and when you see a writer simply nail it?

It’s best to know what exactly is in a client’s mind before turning his/her dream blog post into reality.

Some of the most important details a client can provide should answer the following:

  • What’s your business or website all about?
  • What’s the topic of the blog post you want to be published?
  • What is your business’s/website’s target audience?
  • What should be the tone/voice used in your blog post?
  • What is your blog’s focus keyword?

Clients often miss answering the last question—providing a focus keyword. And it’s one of the most important especially if one wants to have an SEO-optimized blog.

Sometimes, others send too many keywords (more than 10 can be too much) that’s impossible for writers to use in one piece. That’s why, for me, it’s way better if clients have the right keyword research and topic planning in place to make sure their dream blog posts give them the best results.

And when it comes to the actual blog writing, a writer simply nails a great blog post if all the details provided by the client are in it.

Besides that, I want the post to have a readable format, contains the right sources, meta data and CTA, and speaks straight to the point. It should satisfy future readers with the right information without wasting their time.

3. Korilynn’s key tip: Be specific, but not too constricting.

korilynn on outsourcing

Our Business Development Manager, Korilynn, says that every freelance writer needs to know exactly what you are looking for in terms of tone, direction, keywords, and core message, but, encourage your writer to use their freedom and tap into their inner creativity. If the guidance is too constricting, then the copy tends to come off robotic even from the most talented writers, because they are pigeonholed into a very specific outline.

4. My key tip: Evaluate how you provide instructions.

julia mccoy

Even the best writer is only as good as the instructions that he or she receives.

With this in mind, be sure you’re setting your would-be writers up for success by evaluating the way you provide instructions.

Here are two examples of instructions:

Poor: “Write 300-words of web copy for our ‘about us’ page.”

Helpful: “Write 300 words of web copy for our ‘about us’ page. The URL of our site is www.company.com. The key points we want to communicate are as follows: Company is a Texas-based provider of custom dog coats. All our coats are environmentally friendly and made from recycled pop cans. We never undertake animal testing, and we give 10% of our proceeds to grassroots non-profits. Our contact number is 867-5309, and we specialize in producing coats for small and medium breeds.”

Is the second example a little wacky? Sure. But is it specific, and useful to the writer? Yes.

When it comes to giving your writer instructions, be as specific and granular as you can.

Provide examples of content you like, reference websites for research and statistics, very specific directions and outlines, etc. The more information your writer has to work with, the more efficient he or she will be with your content creation.

so you think you can write book by julia mccoy

3 Additional Key Tips to Outsource Your Writing Successfully

5. Understand that editing is part of writing

If you’ve never worked with a writer before, you might not know just how integral the editing process is to content creation. When your writer submits a draft to you, consider it just that – a draft.

Not quitting on the first draft is essential. To forge a good relationship with your writer, you’ll need to work together to determine a process for content creation. Remember: no matter how good your writer is, it takes some time to “teach” him or her what you expect from your content.

What’s more, writers want to do a good job, and they can’t fix mistakes in formatting or voice unless you let them know they exist. That said, work through the editing process in close collaboration with your writer to create a more functional partnership.

6. Reward your writer for a job well done

For copywriters, it can often seem like assignments come and go and are never heard from again. This can be a discouraging way to work, and it’s something that bothers many writers. Instead of letting this happen in your newfound writing team, be sure to reward your writers – either financially or verbally – for a job well done.

Something as small as calling out what you liked about a certain piece or adding a bonus to a writer’s assignment every now and again can go a long way toward boosting the morale of your team. It also has the added benefit of helping your writers see your assignments as their top priority, and encouraging them to turn in quality work at all times.

7. Remember to hire based on skillsets, if you have an industry need

If you own a high level niche company, look for writers with niche experience in your industry. Writers with niche medical, financial, and technical skills are all over the web, and they can help enhance your content and create the high-level material you need to help your business thrive.

Know How to Outsource Your Content to Great Writers, & Your Business Will Grow

If you hate writing, aren’t any good at it, and can’t bear to do it one more day, it’s critical to know how to outsource your content to a team of skilled writers.

Finding a great group of copywriters is a rewarding process, and it can help your business grow now and in the future.

Looking for the right team to help you craft your content? Talk to us to learn more about how we can help you grow with content writing!

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