How to (Successfully) Outsource Your Content Writing
Creating a content marketing machine that enables you to grow your traffic, conversions, and revenue is a high-priority task for any inbound marketing team.
But, it takes commitment.
If you only put in half of the effort, you'll get half the results (or even less, due to convexity).
A robust content marketing operation can lead to near exponential traffic growth and be a fantastic lever for bottom-line growth.
Why Outsource Your Content Writing?
If you're wondering why you should outsource your content writing, the answer is simple.
Creating great content is hard, and it takes time.
Founders, CEOs, and Marketing Managers simply don't have the bandwidth to handle it.
If you run a startup or successful bootstrapped company, it's tempting to keep things lean and ask your head of marketing to write your content.
This sounds like it should be in their job description, but in reality, it shouldn't be.
Ask any marketer who had to re-focus their energy into content marketing.
Content writing is hugely time-consuming (if you want good content, that is).
It's also a learned skill, and many marketers don't know how to create content that engages your audience and helps your business meet its lofty goals (even if they have years of experience in technical SEO or paid ads).
Outsourcing your content writing is an easy way to get access to expertise to help you succeed with your content.
If you're strapped for time and not yet ready to hire a full-time employee, outsourcing the work is a great way to manage things.
How to Prepare to Outsource Your Writing
Build a Set of Guidelines
Create a set of brand guidelines for whoever you work with.
This is key to ensure the freelance content writers or agencies you work with can create content that matches your unique brand voice and style.
It can also include details on what kind of sites they should link to, image formatting rules, and anything else that will make your life easier.
Here's are some examples of guidelines you can include:
- Keep paragraphs to three lines or less
- Use a conversational tone in all blog content
- Add a border to images and screenshots
- Back up points with real examples, including data-points and screenshots
Your brand guidlines don't have to be complicated when you first get started, but they will evolve.
As you work with your outsourced team of writers you'll notice aspects you like, or don't like, and be able to update your guidelines accordingly.
Create SOPs for The Work
SOPs are going to be vital if you want to outsource your content successfully.
These can be on processes like, but I'll give you some of Contentbulb's SOPs as an example:
How to do the first phase of keyword research for clients
How to prepare a content brief
How to structure a Google Drive folder of deliverables
Your processes will likely be different to these and unique to your workflow (but feel free to steal them as inspiration).
It can take time to create them, but it's worth it.
We also recommend preparing short videos, using a tool like Loom. These are more interactive than documents, and a great way to get your thoughts across in a quick and clear way.
Your SOPs will speed up your entire content marketing process and ensure your final blog posts and articles meet your high-quality standard.
Once these are in place, you'll be able to outsource content in a more confident and predictable way.
Write Your Own Articles Before Outsourcing
Wait, doesn't this go against the whole point of this article?
Well, sort of. But it's important.
Before outsourcing your work, write a few blog posts yourself. Firstly, you'll start to understand some of the challenges around creating high-quality content consistently.
You'll see what parts of the process are time-consuming or tricky.
Doing the work yourself is the best way to learn what you can put into your SOPs or guidelines, and get a feel for what you want to the final results to look like.
You'll be able to send your freelance writers examples of posts you've worked on, with extra pointers. Even if your content isn't brilliant, it'll help you understand the process.
It's a relatively small time investment that will save you a ton of time and money in the long run when your outsourcing goes smoothly.
How to Outsource Your Content Writing (and Get Results)
Build a Hub and Spoke Model to Manage Freelance Writers
Hiring subject matter experts is a great way to create quality content.
Use sites like Upwork, or reach out directly to writers in your niche (protip: to hire good writers, consider looking on other popular blogs and look at who the author is - chances are, they're a freelance content writer.
When you have a shortlist of writers, start with a test article to see if their style is going to work with your brand.
Some people recommend asking writers for free test articles, but we'd recommend against it.
Even if a freelancer does agree to write a test article for free, they're not going to be putting as much effort into it as possible, and you won't see the true quality of their work.
As you would expect, the best freelance writers usually have enough paid projects not to have to take on free work.
The best relationships with writers are based on mutual trust in:
Your ability to create clear guidelines
Their ability to deliver a finished article that matches your expectations
Ask for a portfolio of published articles, and pay them for a test article, or create short content writing tasks that you can use.
Work with a Traditional Marketing Agency
Many traditional marketing agencies offer content marketing services as part of an SEO package.
This might sound tempting, but in our experience, it doesn't always work too well.
Unless they're a dedicated content marketing agency, they'll likely charge $5-10,000 per month and will simply outsource the content creation to low-cost writers.
Agencies have their own networks of freelancers, so they'll be outsourcing your blog posts using their own hub-and-spoke model, so the markup on their services is huge.
In our opinion, you should stick with a dedicated content marketing agency.
If you're able to spend $10k/mo for two blog posts, then you'd be better off hiring a full-time content marketing manager and giving them the resources to work with freelance writers.
Work with a service like Contentbulb
If you don't have the time to manage multiple freelance writers, proof-read blog posts, and make edits, or don't want to spend $10k/month for two or three blog posts with an agency, consider working with Contentbulb.
It's the easy way to grow your company using content marketing as a lever for growth.
We have experience working with SaaS, service, and ecommerce brands, a network of expert writers, the latest content marketing tools (so you don't need to spend hundreds per month on buying them yourself), and the processes in place to help you scale your content marketing operation.
If Contentbulb sounds like something that would help you, schedule a free content consultation call with us today.
We'll walk you through our process and answer any questions you have.
Outsourcing your content marketing is a big step.
There are a lot of moving parts, particularly if you're new to content marketing and don't have experience managing the process yet.
There are a few main ways to outsource your content marketing:
- Work with a network of freelancers
- Use a marketing agency
- Work with a content marketing service
If you don't have the time to manage freelancers or a spare $10k per month for an agency, consider using Contentbulb.
Our processes make it easy for any business to get SEO-friendly content delivered on time every month for a simple fixed cost.
We handle everything for you and you just need to hit Publish.