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.
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!
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.”
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, 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, 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.
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.
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.
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!