Outsourcing your content creation: Who, what and how?

Posted on May 16, 2016

 

Embarking on a content marketing strategy can be a significant undertaking, especially when it comes to generating the content itself. Outsourcing can relieve much of the burden, but don’t expect this to be a magic bullet. Keeping your content on time and up to quality can turn into a full-time job in itself.

Who will be your writers?

A content marketing strategy is doomed to failure without capable writers, but finding reliable freelancers is notoriously difficult. Many freelancers will not be up to scratch, while others may suddenly disappear when a better job comes along. Fortunately, there are some simple rules you can use to pick suitable freelancers.

Firstly, any serious freelancer will take the time to build a useful website. This should showcase his or her writing ability by providing sample content, a list of any published work, and testimonials from satisfied customers. There are no guarantees of course, but if you feel a writer has what it takes, it’s probably worth taking the chance. It also helps to focus on writers with experience in your field. This is especially true if you’re in a technical industry, because an unspecialised writer may have trouble getting to grips with the subject matter.

Much of this work can be offloaded by going through a content agency rather than dealing with freelancers directly. These agencies usually have a large body of writers available, so they can easily match new projects to suitable writers.

What will you outsource?

Once you have a team of good writers, what are you planning to do with them? Content can take many forms, so you need to decide what will get you the most value from your limited resources. For example, you could maintain a website news feed to inform and entertain your target audience. You could also build up a library of useful content on your website, such as how-to articles.

If your existing website is rather lacklustre, you might want to consider refreshing its content, such as by replacing bland product descriptions with more engaging copy.

How will you manage the process?

Once you’ve assembled your team, the real work begins. You’ll now need to coordinate the efforts of your various writers, making sure that everyone is on the same page and delivering on time. If you’re not adequately prepared and organised, this can soon descend into chaos.

First, assign someone to manage the team. If you have an editor or marketer on staff, you might want to delegate it to him or her, but if you’re a startup without such resources, you will probably want to manage it yourself.

Next, you want to ensure your content generation goes smoothly, so you will need a workflow strategy that will address questions like:

• How will you brief your writers?
• How will you ensure quality?
• How will they deliver content?
• How will you ensure deadlines are respected?

Again, a content agency can relieve you of much of this load, as it will have an established system for briefing writers, checking quality and enforcing deadlines.

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