By John Doe December 11 2017

How To Outsource Your Content Writing (Properly)

While it may sound pretty simple, properly outsourcing your content writing can be tricky to master. Those unfamiliar with the process may find themselves agreeing to terms that will eventually disadvantage them, or may get stuck with a writer whose work doesn’t necessarily fit their requirements. Nowadays, there are hundreds of thousands of writers available across hundreds of different platforms, so narrowing down your search and finally finding the perfect writer may take longer than you expected.

That’s why we’re here to outline how content writing services typically go through the process of outsourcing content for you, and what you need to keep in mind to ensure you get the best service possible.

What Typically Happens

When searching for content writing services, you’ll often find websites that follow a very similar format: they will allow almost anybody to register as a writer and will leave it up to the clients to contact the people they want to work with. While this method is perfect for some people, others may find it pretty tricky to get their heads around, so here are some tips for finding the perfect writer through these platforms.

  1. First of all, after signing up for one of these websites, you’ll need to create some sort of brief for the content you want to outsource. Most websites will simply give you a large text box, without any prompt questions, and a place to outline your budget and deadlines. Talk about what information you want to be included in the content, the style and tone you want, and if it should be formatted in any way.
  1. Once you have your brief, you’ll be able to post it to the website’s job page. This will make the brief show up in writers’ feeds, allowing them to contact you with an offer or any questions they may have. Keep in mind, this does not actually guarantee that a writer will contact you – it simply puts your brief out onto the platform.
  1. You can simply sit back and let the writers come to you, which may take a while depending on the website you choose to use, or you could do some browsing on the websites to find and contact writers you think will do a good job. Most of these platforms let you invite writers to look at your brief or to even directly message them with a proposal.
  1. We recommend looking through the profile of each potential writer, taking into account the amount of experience they have in the industry, if they have any references from previous clients or employers you can read, and what they have in their portfolios. If you like what you see, feel free to contact them with a proposal; if there isn’t enough information for you to make a decision, try asking for some more information. Some sites offer a review system, where previous clients rate the writer on a range of factors including writing quality, how well they stick to deadlines, and how easy it is to contact them. Read through a couple of these reviews to see how trustworthy and dependable a writer is.
  1. Pick at least 2 or 3 writers that seem to fit your expectations and contact them. Let them know that you’re considering them as a potential writer for the project and that you would first like to see a short sample of their work. Choose a topic that’s fairly similar to the one outlined in the brief, and ask the writers to send you up to 500 words of content about said topic.
  1. Whether you decide to pay for this sample or not is usually completely up to you, though asking for more than 250 words without any compensation is usually frowned upon. Also, if you’re looking to outsource relatively short content (i.e. less than 1,000 words), it may not even be worth it to ask for a custom sample. Instead, ask them to send examples of work that may not necessarily be in their portfolio.
  1. Once you get those samples back, have a read through them and pick which one best fits your expectations. If you’re having trouble picking between two really great samples, ask the writers some further questions about how they work, how long they’ll need for the project, and their payment expectations, then choose whoever aligns best with you.
  1. Remember: higher prices don’t always mean better quality! Some sites will publish the average hourly rates for similar types of content, so make sure to look through that information if it’s available to you. This will prevent writers overcharging you for their services, but will also ensure that you don’t accidentally pay much less than the writer deserves.
  1. While you should have previously looked through each writer’s profile before contacting them, make sure to perform one last check. See if you can contact any previous clients of theirs, and visit their website or online portfolio if they have one. This will help you determine how trustworthy they are, and if they can truly live up to your expectations.
  1. Once you decide on who to hire, you’ll enter into a contract with your writer. Some websites create the contract on your behalf, acting as the so-called ‘middle-man’ and keeping track of any deadlines and payments. Other sites aren’t as formal, and you’ll simply need to agree all of the terms with your writer, via messaging or email, before they create any content and receive any money.
  1. Once your writer is done, they’ll send you the content to check over. Some websites don’t require you to pay until you have the finished product, which leaves some room for requesting amendments – simply message your writer and point out anything that you want to be changed. However, other websites simply take your money as soon as the content is sent to you, giving you no chance to check the work or request amendments.
  1. We advise you to read through the reviews of any content writing service you choose to work with, to ensure you won’t be forced to pay extra for edits or for work that doesn’t meet your requirements. Some of these sites offer client protection and may allow you to dispute a payment if you deem the content unacceptable.

How The Content Panel Does It

As you may have guessed, The Content Panel does things a little differently. Instead of just leaving it up to fate and the client’s own guesswork to find suitable writers, we make an effort to guide clients through the outsourcing process.

Here’s a step by step guide for how this process works on The Content Panel.

  1. As with any other content writing website, you’ll first need to create a brief for the content you want to outsource. Our brief creator tool will ask you a series of questions about the aim, tone, style, and formatting of the content to help keep the brief on the right track.
  1. Once you submit your brief, our sophisticated AI matching system will find writers with the suitable skills and experience to create your content – no need to sift through countless freelancer profiles, using trial and error to finally find the perfect writer!
  1. Once a writer accepts your brief, they’ll be given a strict deadline that they absolutely need to adhere to. This guarantees that your content is delivered to you in a timely fashion.
  1. When a writer delivers a finished piece to you, you’ll have three options: accept the content, reject the content, or request amendments. Rejecting content and requesting amendments are both included in the price you pay, and do not involve any unnecessary back and forth with the writer. Also, you can request amendments an unlimited number of times.
  1. Once you are satisfied with the work submitted to you, you can accept it. You’ll get full ownership of the content, with the ability to post and publish it absolutely anywhere you want to.

Getting The Most Out Of Content Outsourcing

Regardless of which outsourcing process you prefer, you’ll definitely want to get the best service possible for a fair price. It’s unfortunately relatively common for writers to submit sub-par content, either because of their own fault (i.e. lacking the proper skills or experience) or because a client didn’t know how to properly get their message across to the writer.

There are a several things you can do to make the outsourcing process much easier for yourself and your potential writers:

Be as clear and detailed in your content brief as you can.

The more information you provide, the easier it will be for a writer to produce a piece of content that meets your expectations. This is particularly important for research-heavy or academic content, as these will often need to have strict style, tone, and formatting requirements. Lots of people choose to create an incredibly in-depth brief with specific templates and formatting instructions in a separate document, then send that document to their writer to ensure all of their requirements are met.

Make sure you’re looking for the correct type of service.

While this may seem incredibly obvious, it’s easy to think that a professional writer will be able to produce any type of content out there. This usually isn’t the case, so make sure to find someone who specializes in your type of content if you want high-quality pieces. If you’re using a job board-esque platform, look through each writer’s previous projects and their portfolio to determine whether they’ll be suitable for the job. If you’re using The Content Panel, simply list the content type while creating your brief, and our AI matching system will do the rest for you!

Don’t set your expectations too high.

While it’s important to express exactly what you want from a writer and to have high standards, you need to make sure you’re not expecting too much from them. Set reasonable deadlines, respect budgets and pay expectations, and make sure the expected world count is realistic. If you try to outsource content that is simply impossible to create or has too many unreasonable requests, you’ll be left disappointed and empty-handed.

If you’re planning on outsourcing lots of content, consider hiring multiple writers.

While The Content Panel will do this for you, based on the matches generated by the AI matching system, other sites will require you to contact each writer individually. Some sites will let you create a group messaging room, where the writers you hire can work together on projects and communicate with you as a group. Other sites make this a bit more tricky, forcing you to enter into a separate contract each time you hire a new writer.

Make sure you actually need to outsource content.

While, again, this seems very obvious, there’s a surprisingly high number of people out there who aren’t even sure if they’ll need outsourced content. For some business models, weekly blog posts and articles are a great marketing strategy that helps the businesses grow, while for others the content marketing strategies won’t make much of a difference. In short, know your target audience, and whether they’ll even care about written content that’s related to your business.

Common Issues When Outsourcing Writers

As mentioned throughout this post, outsourcing content writers is no easy task. We’ve compiled some of the most common issues you may come across when outsourcing content for your business, and how they can be fixed quickly and efficiently.

Choosing the wrong writer for the job.

This is probably the biggest fear most clients have when looking for a content writer, and it’s one of the most common problems that people have to face. Choosing the wrong writer can be disastrous, especially if they’re unable to follow your instructions or they’re inexperienced in the type of content you need.

How does The Content Panel fix this? We use a sophisticated AI matching system, that’s been specially trained to recognize writers’ skills and experiences, then match them to content briefs that they can excel in. We take away all the guesswork involved with finding a suitable candidate to be our next content writer.

Overpaying or underpaying writers.

Some websites simply tell you to set a project budget, with no indication of how much you should be paying for a specific type of content. This makes exploitation on both the client and the writer side incredibly easy: clients may request a high volume of work but only have a very small budget, or writers may set their hourly or per project prices very high, regardless of the level of skill and expertise required to complete a job.

How does The Content Panel fix this? Once again, we take away the guesswork by determining a set price for each piece of content you request through our site. The prices will range depending on the number of words, the amount of research required, and the submission deadline, and will always be fair to both the client and the writer.

Dealing with missed deadlines.

Another huge problem when it comes to outsourcing writers is enforcing content submission deadlines. If an agreement is made over messaging or email, it can be practically impossible to impose and monitor a submission deadline. This means that clients run the risk of receiving work later than expected, which could prove to be a problem if a piece of content is needed urgently.

How does The Content Panel fix this? We impose very strict deadlines on our writers and expect that they adhere to them at all times. Whenever a writer accepts a job, they’re given the exact time and date by which their submission will have to be sent to you for moderation. Failure to submit any content by the deadline results in an immediate rejection of the job by the system, meaning that the writer is no longer able to access the brief and they cannot continue working on the job. Also, our internal system registers each failure to meet a deadline, decreasing the internal rating of repeat offenders.

Dealing with incomplete work.

This is another common problem faced by people using the messaging-based freelancer hiring platforms. While a client and a writer may verbally or virtually agree on a set number of words or pages for their content, there is practically nothing stopping the writer from submitting low-quality, unfinished work that’s only half the intended length.

How does The Content Panel fix this? Our content submission system physically blocks all writers from submitting any work that is below the requested word count. This ensures that your writer is honest and completes all of the work required by you, and that you will never receive incomplete work.

Being forced to pay for unacceptable work.

Many content writing sites don’t offer too much in terms of client protection. Sure, they may have an alright refund policy for when you make a complaint, but they usually won’t even let you read the content before charging you for the service. This is, unfortunately, a quite common tactic used by websites with low-quality writers – they force you to pay for content that may be complete rubbish and make a huge profit off of this borderline scam. Thankfully, it’s pretty easy to find reviews online and assess for yourself whether a website is reputable or not.

How does The Content Panel fix this? We ensure that no money leaves your account until you are 100% satisfied with the content that you’ve received. You’ll have the chance to read through the whole document and to request any edits or amendments the writer should make to improve the content, or to simply reject the whole piece if it doesn’t meet your requirements at all. Amendment requests are unlimited and are included in the price you pay.

Not finding a writer at all.

A lot of the websites that let you post your content brief as if it were a job vacancy don’t guarantee success. By this, we mean that you may never actually find a writer that suits your needs, either because the website only offers low-quality, inexperienced writers, or because of the sheer amount of other clients posting their briefs throughout the day. This is a huge problem, particularly for clients working on a deadline, who need a certain piece of content delivered to them as soon as possible.

How does The Content Panel fix this? We guarantee to deliver your content to you as soon as you need it. Our AI matching system finds writers who will be capable of completing your assignment and have the correct availability to do so. As mentioned before, we impose strict deadlines so that you don’t miss any of your own ones.

Not having full ownership of the content.

Now, this heavily depends on the type of service you use, but you may find that you’re suddenly not allowed to use the content you outsourced in the ways that you wanted. It may be because the website itself has specific terms and conditions that prohibit you from, for example, publishing an article both online and in print. Also, some writers may want to be credited or named as the authors of whatever content they supply. While this isn’t inherently bad (anyone would want at least some credit for their hard work!), this can cause problems regarding distribution laws – who gets to decide how the content is distributed if the client and the writer have to share ownership?

How does The Content Panel fix this? As soon as you pay for a piece of content, you gain full ownership of it. This means you can distribute it in any way you like, whether that’s online or in print. You’ll also be authorized to publish the content in your name – our writers are completely aware of this and have to declare that they understand that no official credit will be given to them when they create an account with us. Also, we have a very strict policy about portfolios – any content created for our clients is exclusive to our website, meaning that writers are not allowed to use any blog posts or articles submitted through The Content Panel in their portfolios.