Do’s and Don’ts of Content Outsourcing

successful outsourcing

If you’re under the impression that outsourcing is a dirty word, you may be shocked to know it’s actually pretty commonplace. 35% of firms in the US outsource some component of their work, and 44% of B2B companies are currently working with outside contractors on content marketing.

In other words, if you’ve consumed branded content in the last week, there’s a pretty good chance it was the result of content outsourcing.

Subject matter expert Jodi Harris is a strong proponent of thoughtful content outsourcing as a way for companies to leverage the most expertise possible. Your in-house marketing staff may have the ability to create amazing graphics and engaging Facebook posts, but do they have the SEO knowledge to create landing pages or the writing chops to pen an eBook? 

The key to getting the results you want with the help of third-party contractors is careful training, ongoing attention to metrics, and having a solid understanding of the types of content you should – and shouldn’t outsource. To help you understand the difference, we’ve put together a quick guide to getting the most from freelance writers and content marketing agencies:

Still not convinced outsourcing content is the right solution for you? For deeper insight, check out:

What You SHOULD Seek Help On

1. Blog Management

Does the idea of content marketing make you feel like you’re drowning? If you’re unable to even grasp how you can begin to start blogging regularly, let alone ever, it may be time to seek a resource for blog management. This doesn’t mean you should simply hand the password to your WordPress account to the cheapest resource you can find online.

Effective blog management entails keyword research, content calendar creation, blog publication, and promotion. If you’re going to take the plunge into full-on content outsourcing, do it right by ensuring you have help with every step of the process.

2. Article Writing

Nearly 40% of organizations in the US use blogs for marketing purposes. While the rules of SEO have changed and quality content is king, it’s perfectly possible to use content outsourcing for article creation and see remarkable results. Provide your writers with guidelines on style, acceptable resources, SEO optimization, and brand standards, and your chances of success are even higher.

3. Content Offer Creation

Are you hoping to increase your company’s online lead generation with eBooks and white papers? The more content offers you produce, the better your chances of winning customers’ attention and experiencing positive SEO results. HubSpot research has found the more landing pages a business has, the higher their online lead generation results. However, creating an original eBook or white paper can be an intensely time-consuming process, which is why leveraging an expert ghostwriter can be an effective content outsourcing decision.

4. Social Media

Social media is incredibly valuable, but it’s even more time-intensive. In fact, experts believe it takes over 32 hours a month to manage a single platform correctly. If your brand can squeeze in the time to type a few Tweets, but not respond to queries, it’s probably wise to look towards outside help for content promotion and post creation on social media networks.

5. Visual Content

Did you know that 93% of communication is non-verbal, and almost half of consumers use visual web content to judge a company’s credibility? Visual content is key to an effective online strategy, and if you don’t have the skills in-house to produce a video or infographic, you’re likely a strong candidate for some content outsourcing.

6. On-Page Content

If you’re not seeing the SEO results that you crave, there’s a good chance that your website could use more pages. Creating pages dedicated to each of your content offers and service offerings provides your company with a better chance of ranking well in search for terms that matter. Work with an SEO expert to create compelling copy around your brand’s mission, products, and goals.

When You Shouldn’t Seek Content Outsourcing

7. Your Company Mission Statement

Stop right there. If you’re not really sure what your company is out to accomplish exactly, you probably shouldn’t be considering content outsourcing. Can you send your existing mission statement to an editor for polishing and grammar help before you train your next hire? Absolutely. Can a really talented 3rd-party writer tell you what your organization should value? Not so much.

8. Your Style Guide

Before you begin working extensively with any contractors or agencies for content outsourcing, you should have a comprehensive idea of your brand’s online voice. Are you casual and conversational, or more formal and data-driven? Without a style guide, it can be challenging to convey the message you want to with tone and voice.

9. Your Buyer Persona Profiles

Do you really know your customers? If you don’t, there’s a good chance your colleagues don’t, either. With rare exceptions, you probably can’t get the help you need developing buyer persona profiles – unless you go with a marketing expert who’s able to interview your existing customer base and perform effective research.

10. Your Content Strategy

What are you trying to accomplish by creating custom content? Is it positive SEO results, better brand awareness, or more blog subscribers? How will you convey your brand’s unique story, key values, and value proposition through custom blogs, eBooks and Tweets? An effective content strategy delves much deeper than guidelines to “publish 3 blogs a week, and 2 Facebook posts a day.”

It translates your company’s mission and revenue goals into campaigns, concepts, and voice. Not only is a content strategy an unwise thing to fully hand over to a third party, it’s something you should have in place before you consider content outsourcing. Is it wise to seek outside help developing a strategy if you’re new to inbound marketing? Absolutely, but be sure you’re able to give thorough input to develop a plan that fits your company.

Are you currently using content outsourcing? What types of custom content do you write in-house, and what do you outsource to a quality content creation company?