Content marketing is a long game—it requires consistent effort in creating and promoting high-quality content to generate the intended results. If you find the task of producing a large amount of content daunting, you’re not alone. Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone either. Outsourcing your content production is a great way to up your content marketing game without the overhead of hiring additional staff. According to the post, Why Outsourcing Content Creation Is Good for Corporate Communications Teams ,“[O]utsourcing content creation from your corporate communications team to experienced and accomplished writers can sharpen your company’s voice and alleviate some of the burdens on overworked staff.”
First and foremost, understand what projects and roles you can outsource. Content marketing includes social media marketing, email marketing, content creation, content strategy, graphic creation, video script writing—and so much more. If you’re not sure where you need help, make a list of all your content marketing efforts and cross-reference it with this list of tasks that are commonly outsourced:
Editing can be useful if your current talent can create content related to your industry but lacks formal editing experience. An editor will polish content for production, as well as ensure it’s SEO-friendly and keyword-optimized. If you’re creating content regularly, this is critical. Spelling and grammatical errors will affect the legitimacy of your content.
Designing includes the creation of branded graphics and visuals and can even include setting up a brand guide for your team to use. This falls more in the category of graphic design outsourcing than content marketing, but some marketers may be proficient in design, in addition to writing or strategy—being able to use just one person makes your life easier.
Social media management includes anything from creating actual posts, to planning your social media calendar and running paid social ads.
Link building is a niche skill that not many content strategists have. To be effective, you have to do it right and avoid spam tactics, so outsourcing this is crucial if it’s part of your SEO strategy (hint: it should be).
Content writing is one of the most commonly outsourced tasks. You can hire writers to create content for your company’s website, blog, social media, or external guest posts based on your own internal strategy and content calendar. Pro tip: pay more to work with high-quality writers. Low-quality writers will just require more effort on your part—you have to pay a fair rate if you want to work with great writers.
Within the context of content creation, many businesses are left asking one simple question: How can we outsource without compromising on quality? The answer to this question depends on numerous variables, but it’s not something to lose sleep over. With a proactive, well-developed plan, you can enjoy the best of both worlds – outsourced content that’s crisp, original, and on-brand. Here’s how you make it happen:
1. Identify Your Needs
As is the case with any major marketing decision, begin with a list of your specific needs. In this case, you need to develop a list of the types of content you need, how much you’ll need, and when you’ll need it. Your specific content needs will, to a degree, dictate how you proceed. There’s a significant difference between needing one 500-word blog post per week for your website and 25,000 words of original content published to specific platforms each month. A failure to account for these differences could lead to wasted resources and inaccurate expectations.
2. Develop a Budget
With your specific content needs in mind, begin developing a budget. This will help you in determining how much content can be outsourced and which partners you can afford to work with. You’ll have to account for a number of company-specific elements, but it’s helpful to know what others are spending. According to the Content Marketing Institute, B2B companies are allocating an average of 26 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing. B2C marketers allocate roughly 22 percent of their total marketing budget to content marketing.
3. Create a Style Guide
Every company should have a content style guide – but especially those who choose to outsource their content creation efforts. A content style guide is simply an organized document with a set of copywriting rules that are specific to your company. These rules address things like grammar, sentence structure, banned words, preferred words, company description, audience profiles, competitive research, boilerplate information, formatting expectations, voice, and tone.
4. Review a Writer’s Portfolio
Whenever possible, ask for a writer’s portfolio so that you can review content that they’ve previously written and published. This will give you an idea of how they write and what sort of flexibility they have. When reviewing a writer’s portfolio, don’t get so caught up in any one individual piece of copy that you miss the bigger picture. The mark of a skilled content writer is the ability to change the way they write for different clients without compromising quality. So instead of making a judgment based on a single piece of copy, look at the bigger picture and find a writer who is versatile and experienced across a variety of niches.
5. Require Content to be Pitched
Many of the issues with content quality can be avoided by developing a rigorous quality assurance routine that takes place prior to the first draft ever being developed. The best thing you can do is have your writers get in the habit of developing a pitch that’s sent over for approval. This allows you to review the pitch and critique any issues you find prior to writing.
It is critical for your professional success that you share the most effective marketing content possible and there are many times when outsourcing that is a smart, intelligent thing to do. You should proceed carefully and follow the steps in a logical order. If you make the decision in a calculated manner, you will see that it was the right decision for you and for your business. You can then concentrate on other priorities that only you can make successful. It is very important that your marketing content (in fact, all of your content) is fresh, unique, and compelling. Outsourcing your marketing content will give you a much better chance of that becoming a reality. Tap into new perspectives and new, exciting ideas and your target audience members will thank you for it and will want to keep on reading and interacting with you.