Should You Outsource Your Content Marketing? (Hint: Yes)
There’s no getting around the fact that content marketing is one of the most cost-effective and efficient marketing strategies on the planet. Year after year more and more studies cement content marketing’s position as the king of inbound marketing.
However, as with all things in life that seem too good to be true – there’s a catch…
Content marketing is pretty darn tough to execute properly.
When many businesses get their shiny new blog set up they often have grand plans in terms of content quality and posting frequency. Like a new year’s resolution this often works out well for a month or two – but eventually, life and other commitments get in the way.
Writing your next blog post becomes that thing you’ll do the day after tomorrow for weeks on end, and before you know it – you’ve got a dead blog.
And a dead blog is MUCH worse than having no blog at all…
While I’m obviously biased as the founder of The Content Panel I’m going to try and be as impartial as possible below. Here’s why I think all small to medium-sized businesses should outsource their content marketing (and a few rebuttals to some common concerns).
“I want to benefit from content marketing, but can’t seem to get it right in-house…”
To be honest, this is the biggest reason people outsource their content marketing. In an ideal world, you’d be doing your content marketing in-house…
But as usual, life gets in the way.
A huge number of businesses either find that:
- They don’t have the time to devote to regularly creating and publishing content due to other work commitments.
- They don’t enjoy writing as much as they thought they would, or they find it harder than expected.
If you’ve encountered either of these situations, you’ll know the end result is the same – a neglected blog and a non-existent (or seriously underperforming) content marketing strategy.
However, the benefits of content marketing are so huge that despite the lack of in-house capability – brands still want to benefit from blogging.
If you had the same problem in other areas of your business what would you do?
It’s no different with content marketing than it is with accounting or legal services. If you’ve got the resources (and the requirement) for someone in-house – then you hire talent in-house…
If not, you outsource.
By outsourcing your content marketing, you gain a new member of your team who’s an expert in what they do. They will bring fresh ideas to the table, they’ll provide new angles to think about, and they’ll enrich your business just like any other member of your team.
Our blog is too personal, how could anyone else possibly write it for us?
This is perhaps the most common sticking point our sales department hears from potential clients – and it’s easy to see why, it’s a legitimate concern.
Blogs are a highly personal and intimate part of many brands. The words written in each and every post are a representation of your brand, its values, and your team.
As I mentioned above, ideally you’d be writing your blog posts yourself – after all, no one knows your brand and its values better than you and your in-house team.
Professional content marketers and copywriters assimilate themselves into a brand to become an extension of it. It’s a large part of the job – and it’s often what separates the wheat from the chaff in the industry.
It can be scary outsourcing something as personal as a blog for the first time, but when you make the leap – you’ll quickly find out it’s nowhere near as impossible as you think (providing you’re working with a good content marketer).
Outsourcing Content 101
So there you have it, the reasons for outsourcing content are the same as the reasons for outsourcing anything else in your business – you have a requirement, but you can’t fill it in-house.
The only difference between content marketing and other outsourcing is that the execution is a little trickier. Creating content is not as black and white as some other commonly outsourced services.
Here’s what we recommend businesses do when considering outsourcing content creation.
1. Budget Assessment
Think about the kind of budget you are willing to devote to your content marketing efforts. The world of content creation is a little bit like the wild west in places. You really get what you pay for in this industry, if you’re limited by budget – quality is always better than quantity (but ideally you’ll be able to afford both).
Places like Craigslist will provide you with the cheapest (and lowest quality) content, you’ll be searching for a while before you find a diamond in the rough.
Finding individual copywriters is often the most expensive option (in terms of both time, and money). It’s a long process to vet multiple writers to find out if they’re talented / right for your brand.
Services like The Content Panel are generally seen as the sweet spot.
Note: For purposes of impartiality I want to note that the above statement also applies to some of our competitors.
In our case, we pre-vet all of the 3,000+ writers we work with to ensure they meet our quality standards. Our platform’s machine learning systems are constantly improving and we are already automatically matching clients with their perfect writer with a high level of accuracy.
When you know where you want to try and find a writer from – the next thing to do is take them out for a test drive.
Before you sign any contracts and get into any long-term agreements get a preliminary piece of content written to get a feel for what they are capable of and what their writing style is like.
Remember, a portfolio piece is often one of the best pieces of work a writer has ever written – it’s a sales tool. Don’t be surprised if you hire directly with a freelancer and get a much lower quality of work than what’s in their portfolio. Test a few writers out at the same time – it’s much easier to judge quality when you’re doing real-life comparisons.
Fun Fact: The samples we provide to prospective clients were all ordered through our system like any other post would be. They’re a literal example of the quality you will receive.
3. Comfort Levels
Decide what content you’re going to be comfortable letting your outsourced writer create for you. For example, a general buyers guide, news posts, or a top of funnel piece that has low “importance” is reasonably safe to outsource.
Important reviews, press releases, and bottom of funnel conversion pieces should sometimes be done in-house (or with a writer you trust).
4. Inform, Inform, Inform
As I mentioned earlier, good content marketers do their best to assimilate themselves into your brand – they aim to become part of the team. However, they are only as good as the information they are given.
• If you want them to be informal – let them know.
• If you want them to write evergreen pieces – let them know.
• If you want them to avoid topics – let them know.
• If you want them to mow your lawn – let them know.
It sounds silly, but it’s an all too common problem we hear from customers who have previously tried outsourcing before joining us. We ALWAYS recommend over communication instead of guesswork at the start of a project.
It pays off handsomely in the long run.
Or, let us do the hard work for you…
I’ve honestly done my best to be as impartial as possible in this post and provide some solid information you can use regardless of how you outsource your content marketing.
But that being said I’m going to finish with a small little plug here.
We’ve designed The Content Panel to be a system that takes away all of the hard work involved in finding the right content creator that I’ve talked about above. We’re the shortcut to connecting your brand with the right writer, at the right price.
Click here to learn a little more about how it works.
The Last Word
So hopefully by now, I’ve made my case for why outsourcing your content marketing is a viable option, how it can benefit your business, and how you should execute your outsourcing strategy.
Perhaps the process seems a little less impossible than it did a few minutes ago?
Or perhaps not?
I’d be happy to personally answer any questions you may have – firstname.lastname@example.org