- Why outsourcing is the ideal solution for content creation.
- Some common outsourcing challenges to avoid.
- 5 insider tips on how to get the most out of outsourcing.
If you’re like most content marketing managers, you’re constantly looking for ways to accomplish more without having to spend more time. Over three-quarters of marketing teams say they cannot keep up with the speed of their content production schedule on their own.
Nearly the same number say they cannot keep up with the volume.
So, it’s hardly surprising that 84% of brands outsource their content creation at least in part. Yet outsourcing content creation is a bit like boosting a website’s SERP ranking or building a social media following: it’s easier said than done.
As Europe’s first freelance content creation platform, Contentoo has a track record of successfully matching brands with the freelance content creation talent they need. So, we’ve got you covered with lots of insider tips and tricks on how to get the most out of outsourcing. Read on to find out.
Why are so many brands outsourcing content creation now?
There are plenty of good reasons why over 8 out of 10 brands are outsourcing content creation. The top reasons for most brands are simply a matter of efficiency:
- Content creation is time-consuming, and you don’t have the staff in-house to produce content fast enough.
- Hiring new full-time employees is too expensive for many marketing teams.
- Your content creation needs fluctuate, so you need more help during some periods than others (that means you need a flexible workforce)
Some marketing teams try to fill in the gap by asking subject matter experts within their company to provide content.
But if you’ve ever tried this, you probably soon found out that it’s not very efficient: it’s too time-consuming for the subject matter experts, and they usually aren’t able to prioritise it. Plus, even though they’re brilliant in their fields, they may not be the best writers. And they probably don’t have much expertise in SEO, marketing or branding either.
So, in order to keep high-quality SEO content rolling out, marketing managers are turning to the freelance talent market. Content outsourcing via writers helps solve all the issues described above. They also fill in critical skill gaps in your own marketing team, such as native-language skills. And they bring fresh market perspectives and storytelling skills which help build your brand’s reputation and thought leadership.
What are the main challenges of outsourcing content creation?
At first glance, freelance content creation talent sounds like a perfect solution. It gives marketers a seemingly endless supply or subject matter experts to choose from.
Those creative professionals are experienced with creating on-brand SEO content. And it’s way more affordable and flexible to work with them than it would be to hire your own in-house team of content creators.
Yet outsourcing content creation brings some challenges of its own:
- It’s time-consuming to scout for freelance talent that’s got relevant experience in your industry and market.
- Managing a team of multiple freelance content creators creates additional work (for example, handling multiple invoices or multiple workflows)
- There’s no quality guarantee. You may be unsatisfied with the quality of an individual writer, which means you have to start all over with a different writer.
- It’s hard to ensure that you’ll have access to available talent when and where you need it. Freelance writers are not obliged to prioritise your projects over those of their other clients.
- It can be challenging to get freelance content creators to follow your brand guidelines and ensure a consistent tone of voice.
5 practical tips for outsourcing content marketing
Many of our clients have run into similar challenges in the past. We have worked with them to develop our unique content creation platform, which is designed specifically to avoid pitfalls like these and maximise your ROI when investing in freelance talent. Here are our top 5 practical outsourcing tips that we’ve learned over the years.
Tip #1: Onboard external talent
In our experience, the best way to start a professional relationship with a freelance content creator is to onboard them, almost as if they were a new employee at your company. We create hand-picked talent teams for each of our clients. Each new client relationship begins with an onboarding session where you can meet your content creators, discuss your marketing strategy and introduce them to your company culture.
Giving freelance talent an onboarding makes them feel more invested in your company and its success. It also helps them understand their role and what you expect of them. And simply having a personal connection with you (a face to match the name) is a powerful psychological motivator that encourages them to give their best.
Tip #2: Automate your workflows
Managing your in-house team is challenging enough. The time management and organisation becomes even more complicated when you’ve got 4 or 5 freelance content creators to keep in the loop. This is why it’s valuable to have an automated workflow in place. Our clients benefit from using our content creation platform, which gives them a one-stop overview for managing all their content creation projects.
If you’re not using a platform, then at least consider including your freelance content creators in your team’s regular workflows. Give them guest access to your Slack or Teams channel, for example. Also be sure to set clear rules for handling practical matters, such as invoices.
For example, instruct freelancers to only send one invoice per month, covering all the projects completed. Connect them directly with your company’s finance department, so they can submit invoices according to your usual procedure.
If you work with a platform like Contentoo, you also benefit from having all your projects collected onto a single monthly invoice, no matter how many different freelance content creators you worked with in that month.
Tip #3: Have a strong quality-screening process in place
It may sound obvious, but proper background-checking is often overlooked in the era of freelance content creation. If you put out a call for freelance talent via LinkedIn or a freelance job posting site, be specific up front about what you’re looking for.
Treat it like any other job listing. Specify the number of years of experience the ideal candidate should have. And stipulate that they provide a portfolio of at least 5 relevant—and recent—pieces of content.
Anyone can call themselves a freelance content creator. But only a true professional can readily provide a portfolio of relevant content.
When evaluating the content, focus more on whether the content creator is good at their craft: writing, storytelling, making an impact. If they’re an excellent writer, then they are probably also adaptable and quick to learn about your brand and product, even if they don’t have 100% of the subject matter expertise the minute they respond to your call.
Tip #4: Start with a trial period and think long-term
Once a freelance content creator meets your requirements, remember to onboard them as mentioned above. Start the relationship with a trial period in which you outsource relatively manageable tasks to them. Let them prove themselves and gain your trust before you start relying on them to handle larger projects.
Freelance content creators thrive on repeat business, and many are willing to even offer special rates if you can guarantee a minimum amount of work throughout the course of a month or year.
Building long-term professional relationships is beneficial to both sides: the content creator benefits from having your company as a loyal customer, and you benefit from knowing that the content will keep improving with each project, as the writer gets to know your brand, product and audiences better and better.
Tip #5: Have a content strategy and a clear purpose for outsourcing
Lastly, make sure that your content strategy is carefully worked out. It’s a good idea to condense it to a one-page PDF that you can share with your freelance content creators.
Having a crystal clear strategy means knowing your audiences, understanding your personas and having clear goals for what you want to achieve. You probably have different goals for different types of content. And different KPIs for seeing how well your content is performing.
If you want your freelance content creator to write like an insider, then it’s important to let them in on your strategy. This enables them to share your goals and work with a greater sense of purpose. That way, they can deliver the quality that you expect.
Ready to get more accomplished with outsourcing?
As you can see, there are a few challenges to keep in mind when outsourcing content creation. But one thing is clear: the benefits of successful outsourcing far outweigh the risks.
If you’re interested in learning more about building a powerful content marketing strategy, download our research report on how to recharge your content marketing engine during uncertain times.
And to learn more about maximising your content marketing ROI when outsourcing, schedule your free 30-minute content marketing consultancy with one of our experienced content advisors today.