Most people agree that content writing is one of the most difficult aspects of a digital marketing strategy. There are several steps to the process, each of which takes time, effort, and skill. Unfortunately, content is also essential — without it, you can’t have an SEO strategy. Worse still, you need a large amount of content to keep your audience engaged, serve different purposes, and target a wide range of keywords. For these reasons, it makes sense to outsource content writing.
What Are the Advantages of Outsourcing Content Writing?
If you’re unsure about whether you should outsource content, start by considering all the benefits.
Compete with Big Names
As a small (or even a midsize) business, you naturally struggle to compete with your largest competitors. Whereas many customers may prefer local and family businesses or startups, they still need to know you exist — and you need to market yourself as the top choice. If your content is not optimized, has errors, or is simply poor quality, users either won’t find you or will form a bad impression of your company.
On the flip side, useful, interesting, and well-written content that your audience enjoys will position you as an expert. When you throw into the mix things that big brands rarely offer (perhaps personalization or a clear commitment to your core values), it becomes possible for you to compete even with long-established businesses.
Gain Back Your Time
When you stop spending your time on content creation, you’re able to dedicate more of your day to crucial business tasks.
A professional writer will likely be much more efficient at creating your content. Plus, reliable writers only agree to deadlines they can keep, which means you’ll always receive fresh content on schedule. In contrast, when you’re trying to fit writing around other responsibilities, it’s easy to keep putting it off until later and falling behind.
Easy to Scale
Content writing is scalable when you use freelancers or an agency. You can simply request more work or add more people to your team at times when you have higher needs.
It’s inexpensive to contract a content writer, since you pay either a base rate per piece or an hourly rate for time spent writing. This is less expensive than using your valuable time and also cheaper than hiring an employee, as there’s no need to pay a salary, benefits, and taxes.
Make Your Content More Interesting
It’s even possible to have a whole content creation team. This will mean you receive more ideas and perspectives, which is useful for attracting a greater proportion of your audience. Plus, it lowers the risk that you’ll hit a wall and end up repeating a topic you’ve already covered. There’s no need for contracting a team to be expensive — each person can work for no more than a couple hours a week.
Risks of Outsourcing Content Writing and How to Overcome Them
As there are with outsourcing just about anything, there are risks with handing off content creation to someone else. It’s crucial to be aware of these risks before you begin. Then, you can take steps to mitigate them.
There’s always a risk that the person you contract could just disappear one day and leave you in the lurch. You’ll need to find a replacement fast to prevent a pause in your content creation. The good news is you can overcome this risk by finding a writer or agency with a good reputation — always read reviews or ask for referrals before you contract someone.
Less Dedication to Your Brand
Contractors may not be as committed to your brand as in-house employees, especially if you are just one of their many clients. Nonetheless, the quality is still likely to be much higher than if you wrote the content yourself, provided you choose an experienced writer. Always check writers’ portfolios to ensure you’ll receive the quality you want.
If you use multiple writers, there’s a risk that you’ll have a different voice with each piece of content, which can make creating a consistent brand image more difficult. The solution is to provide all your writers with a style guide. This should specify the tone you want to strike, any language you want to avoid, and other requirements you have.
Breach of Confidentiality
Content writing may require access to sensitive information or intellectual property. At a minimum, all your content creators should sign an NDA, but you may need to manage certain types of content creation in house.
Types of Content Creation Services
There are many aspects to the content creation process, not to mention various types of content you may need written. Each is covered by a different content creation service.
The first step in content creation is deciding what to write and defining the specifications for the content. This can be just as challenging as writing the content itself, which is why it makes sense to outsource at least part of the process.
Just having some fresh ideas can help, but it’s common to go a step further and contract someone with keyword research expertise. The contractor can brainstorm ideas and then determine which are viable according to search volumes and competitiveness for keywords. After this, the contractor creates the content briefs, which should specify what terms to use and the ideal length of the piece.
If you do decide to outsource your editorial calendar, you’ll need to be highly involved at the start. Whereas keyword researchers can learn plenty about the market as a whole, only you know your customers as individuals, including their pain points, interests, and needs. Once the contractor becomes more familiar with your business, though, it may be possible for you to stop overseeing the process.
By outsourcing blog content, you’ll have a steady stream of new posts. This is important for SEO reasons, but it also turns your website into a source of regular information for your audience and positions you as an expert. Plus, you can repurpose blog posts by sharing them to social media, which will help you reach more users.
Blog posts are a key element of any content strategy, but you’ll be missing out if you don’t also create some downloadable premium content. This could include whitepapers, ebooks, templates, and guides. In addition, you may need a content writer for your webpages, bios for social media, scripts for videos, podcasts, and webinars, press releases, and email newsletters.
Editing and Proofreading
If you prefer to write content yourself, an alternative could be just to outsource the editing or proofreading. A contractor can improve the flow, correct mistakes, and ensure content meets requirements for good SEO, which may include using the correct headers, adding plenty of whitespace, and keeping to an appropriate distribution of keywords.
A contractor with knowledge of WordPress and SEO can make sure your content is ready for publication. This could involve using a plugin like Yoast SEO, which also checks the readability of your content, or a tool like Surfer SEO for a more in-depth evaluation of your content. The writer, editor, or keyword researcher you’re outsourcing should be able to manage this aspect of your content creation.
How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Content Creation?
By now, you should be convinced that outsourcing some of the content marketing process is the way to go. But how much should you expect to pay? You can find freelancers and content services charging a wide range of rates — anything from $5 an hour to more than $150 an hour. Bear in mind that what you pay will have a big impact on the quality of content you receive. You may need to contract some freelancers on a test basis to search for someone who meets your needs but doesn’t exceed your budget.
How to Outsource Content Creation
Although a huge number of businesses outsource content creation, it’s not uncommon to hear horror stories about freelancers overcharging for poor-quality content and then disappearing or refusing to give a refund. Yet other businesses fail to see the results they wanted from their content strategy. Like everything else in business, you need to have a game plan before you start outsourcing.
Step 1: Decide What to Outsource
We’ve already looked at different types of content creation services you could outsource, but which ones should you choose? The best way to decide is to consider the skills you have in house and the time restraints of your team. In addition, if you have no idea how to approach a piece of content, outsourcing the task may be best.
Step 2: Set Strategy Targets
You’ll need to be able to confirm that your content strategy is working. The only way to judge its success is to set targets before you begin. Targets could relate to the organic traffic you generate, conversions from premium content, subscriptions to your newsletter, or the number of users that take advantage of a coupon you include in your blog posts. Be as specific as possible with your targets — otherwise, it will be impossible to know if you’re meeting them!
Step 3: Define a Budget
Decide how much you can afford to spend on outsourcing content according to the ROI you expect to receive. Since outsourcing is highly scalable, one option is to start small and then build up when you see what works well with your audience.
Step 4: Create Your Job Listing
Once you’ve figured out the above, craft a job post to attract content writers. Give as much detail as possible about the kind of writer you’re looking for — you need to prevent unqualified writers from applying to avoid wasting time on interviews with unsuitable candidates. Ask writers to describe their relevant experience, specify why they’re interested in the job, and send you related samples. You can also check candidates’ attention to detail by requesting specific information, which could be as simple as asking them to include a particular word as the subject line or at the beginning of their response.
Having said that, don’t be too demanding with your job listing. As much as you want to weed out unqualified candidates, you also want to encourage high-quality writers to apply. Asking a huge number of questions, requesting too much information, and not including important details (like your budget) is off putting for experienced writers.
Step 5: Provide the Writer with Resources
As soon as you’ve invited writers to your team, start providing them with all the information and resources they’ll need to create your content. As well as the style guide you created earlier, this will likely include details about your business, the contact information of the person they need to report to, and perhaps access to communication, project management, and SEO tools.
Best Places to Outsource Content Writing
Since virtually every business needs content but few are able (or willing) to manage it in house, there is a high demand for content writers. The good news is there are also a large number of creators offering their services. You can find them on numerous platforms, some top ones being:
- Upwork — The biggest freelancer platform, Upwork has a huge number of writers, SEO experts, and more. It’s easy to find someone who specializes in the type of content you need and topics you want to cover. Be aware that, as you may be overwhelmed with choice if you publicly post a job, you may prefer to just invite freelancers whom you think could be a good fit to apply.
- Freelancer — An alternative to Upwork is Freelancer. It works slightly differently, in that you post a job as a contest and freelancers bid. You then choose which freelancer you want and only release funds when you are satisfied with the work.
- Fiverr — Another big platform is Fiverr. Its main focus is budget services, with rates starting at just $5 an hour. Whereas you have many options around this low rate, there are also freelancers charging more for those businesses that are looking for higher quality.
- Zerys — A platform just for content marketing is Zerys. This is a good option if you want support with creating a job listing, finding a writer, and even creating AI-generated titles for your content.
- Writer Access — You can find writers, editors, copywriters, translators, and designers on Writer Access. All freelancers are screened before they’re able to join the platform and an algorithm matches contractors to clients directly by considering reviews and performance.
Outsourcing content is just the start. Think of all the other activities you have on your plate that you dread just as much but are vital to the success of your business! You can outsource them all when you have a virtual assistant. MYVA360 gives you a dedicated VA at an affordable price. Learn more and receive a 10-percent discount by scheduling a consultation.