A 10-Step Guide To Outsourcing Your Content Writing
Content marketing is the secret ingredient that can change your business from “surviving” to “thriving.” By adding this kind of marketing to your strategy, you can reach hundreds, if not thousands more customers and build your brand’s authority. However, if you are planning on writing all the content yourself, you’ve taken on a huge project. If you outsource your content writing to professional writers, you save time, money and stress.
If you have arrived at this point, you may be trying to figure out if content outsourcing is the right move or not. You may also be unsure of how to find professional writers for hire. Understanding the process and benefits of outsourcing your content creation will help you make the right choice for your business.
Why Should You Outsource Your Content Writing?
Before you start looking for a freelance writing or content writing service, it is important to understand whether you should be outsourcing or not. Although this is often the best course of action, it isn’t always the right choice. However, the following are several signs that you may be ready to outsource content writing to a freelancer or writing service provider.
Writing Is Taking Too Much Time
Often, the first reason that business teams consider outsourcing their writing is the time commitment. According to one study, a 1,000-word blog post will typically take 3.25 hours to write. That number is based on the work of professional writers. If your team specializes in areas other than writing, you may find that it takes even longer to produce a high-quality blog post.
Even writing a single blog post per week could be taking half a day or longer for your team. Assuming that your people have other responsibilities as well, this commitment may quickly become unfeasible.
Try tracking the amount of time spent each week on content writing. Then, think about what you or your assigned team member could be doing instead. Chances are that the opportunity cost of writing your own content exceeds the investment needed to outsource your content writing.
You Aren’t Achieving Your Content Goals
Your content marketing strategy exists to do a lot more than just fill your blog with posts. Ultimately, it is intended to enhance the bottom-line performance of your business. Ideally, you should have some goals guiding your strategy. These may include increasing website traffic, generating leads, earning social shares and growing your sales.
Whatever your goals may be, ask yourself whether you are meeting them. If the answer is no, then it may be time to outsource your content writing. Additionally, a professional writer may be able to exceed your current goals.
Running Your Blog Is Costing You Too Much
Many business owners are hesitant to hire someone for content writing because of the perceived cost. However, the cost of not outsourcing may actually be greater. For many teams, outsourcing is more cost-effective.
Who is currently writing for your team? For most businesses, the answer is the owner, a marketing team member or a product team member. The time of each of these people is valuable.
Try calculating the labor cost of your current content writing efforts. It may be more significant than you realize. Plus, as mentioned above, there can be a substantial opportunity cost. If those expenses are higher than the cost of outsourcing, it is likely time to look for a professional content writer.
The 10-Step Guide for Outsourcing Your Content Writing
After you have determined that now is the right time to outsource your content writing, you may be unsure of how to find the right person. Outsourcing can be a little different than hiring a person for your team. Plus, evaluating writers can require some special considerations. This 10-step guide will help you to conduct an effective search, hire the writers you want and work with them successfully.
1. Determine What You Want To Achieve
Before you contact any potential writers, write down a clear definition of what you want to achieve with your content writing. For nearly all businesses, the high-level goal is to support bottom-line growth. However, it is valuable to be more specific. Some possible goals include earning leads, bringing in more sales, increasing brand visibility and engaging social media followers.
You don’t necessarily need to create specific goals yet (although that can be helpful). However, you should at least be ready to discuss the strategic aims of blogging for your business. One writer may excel at electric, shareable content for mass consumers while another may be great at bringing in B2B leads. It is essential to know what type of writer you want to pursue.
2. Set a Realistic Budget for Your Content
The cost of writing content is a common reason to consider outsourcing. The right amount of money for your content strategy can vary from business to business. A study by LinkedIn found that although most brands invest less than 30% of their budget into content marketing, more than 15% spent more than 50% on it. In other words, you need to find the right balance for your business.
Set a budget that will dedicate enough resources to achieve your goals. Of course, you also shouldn’t invest more than you can afford. Having a realistic budget will help you to have more grounded conversations with possible content writers for hire.
3. Choose Between Hiring a Freelancer or Writing Service
When you outsource your content writing, you can turn to an individual freelancer or a service with multiple writers. The second choice can also be broken down between low-cost “content farms” and high-quality, content writing agencies.
Each option has its benefits and drawbacks. For example, an individual freelancer will be the only person working with your brand, so he or she will develop a deep understanding of your business. However, you will not have a backup if that writer leaves or is unavailable.
On the flip side, content farms are often very inexpensive but produce less-than-ideal results. A content agency is the middle ground and can provide many benefits. Here are a few reasons to consider hiring an agency:
- They can offer faster turnaround times.
- The quality of writing is strong, and writers seek to understand your brand deeply.
- You usually have more recourse if you don’t like a piece.
- There are account managers who can help you get what you want.
- You will see superior returns on investment compared to using low-cost, low-quality providers.
4. Find a Writer With Relevant Experience
As you begin to narrow in on some possible providers, make sure the writer(s) you are considering has the relevant experience you need. For instance, if you run an enterprise software business, you may not want to hire a writer who has only written for consumer fashion brands before.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you have to find someone who has worked in your exact space. Some writers are excellent at researching and understanding new brands and markets. However, it is worth asking any writer or service provider about prior experience. If they can’t give a convincing answer, it may be worth looking elsewhere.
5. Commission a Sample
Samples are the best tools you can use for evaluating who you want to outsource content writing. Having a professional writer write a sample for you will give you a clear picture of that person’s writing ability. Ideally, you should provide a sample prompt that is based on a real need for your business.
It is best to commission samples rather than request them for free. First, this will mean that you can use the sample on your blog in most cases. Additionally, skilled writers are often unwilling to work for free (they don’t need to). So, by trying to pursue free samples, you may unintentionally narrow your search to writers who are more desperate for work.
Typically, it is best to only commission samples from one or just a few possible writers or writing services. This will allow you to more thoroughly evaluate each sample.
6. Test the Sample and Make a Decision
Consider running the samples you received on your blog. Then, use the performance metrics to evaluate each choice. This will help you to make a more data-driven choice about who to hire.
You don’t necessarily need to hire the writer who produced the best results. After all, topics and timing can have impacts on the usefulness of blogs in addition to the writing quality. However, this will provide a lot of clarity.
Finally, it is time to make your decision. If you have followed the above advice, you will likely be very confident in your final pick.
7. Discuss Goals and Expectations
Once you have selected a writer or agency to outsource content writing to, you should do a little preparatory work to help get that person or team up to speed. Although outsourcing means that you can hand off a lot of the work, you will typically see the best results if you work collaboratively. The following are some helpful steps for preparing to outsource.
Perhaps the most important part of working with an outsourced content writer is having clear goals and expectations. As mentioned above, it is important to know what you want to achieve with your blog. As you start to actively create content, it is time to craft specific short-, medium- and long-term goals.
Consider using a framework such as SMART to help with your goal-writing process. This will make communicating your expectations much easier. Additionally, ensure that the writer or writers deeply understand your goals for your blog.
It is helpful to establish both what you want to achieve and how you intend to measure success (SMART goals are perfect for this). This will help you to ensure better results from your content.
8. Decide How Much Autonomy You Want To Give
Another important preparatory element of outsourcing your content writing is deciding how much control you want to invest in your writer. You may want to hand off the entire content writing process other than general strategic guidance. Alternatively, you may want to select keywords, topics and more while having the writer only produce the actual content.
Either of these options (or anywhere in between) can be a viable choice. However, it is helpful to everyone involved to make a firm decision about this. Otherwise, you may be expecting more or less initiative from your writer than you are getting. Again, this is about setting clear expectations for the content to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
9. Create a Plan for Keyword and Topic Selection
Selecting the right topics and keywords for your content is at the heart of your effective content marketing strategy. If your keywords and topics don’t reflect searches that your target audience is making, your content writing will be ineffective.
One option is to select keywords and topics based on your marketing data and pass them along to your writer. This is a good choice if you want to maintain a relatively high level of control over your blog. Alternatively, you can share a few possible keywords and have the writer or account manager select a subset as well as relevant topics.
Alternatively, you can share your marketing data directly with your outsourced content writing service provider. This is the most hands-off approach. It means that you will have less direct control, but also will need to invest less time into your content.
10. Set a Schedule for Content Release
Finally, set a schedule for content releases. It is usually beneficial to have a consistent schedule for posting content. Again, you can decide how much direct control you want to exert.
You can choose to tell your writer to make and post an item every week (or whatever interval works for you). Alternatively, you can have them write a catalog of topics in advance that you release whenever you choose. Another option is to plan out specific topics on a calendar and have the writer create them according to your prescribed schedule.
Outsource Your Content Writing Today
If you follow the above advice, you will know when you need to outsource your content writing, how to find a good writer and how to prepare to work with that writer. Often, the best option is to work with a team of content writers for hire. By engaging a high-quality agency with multiple writers, you can often achieve the best results with your blog.
BKA Content provides outsourced content writing to businesses like yours. Contact us today to learn how we can help you grow.