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What You Should Know About Outsourcing Your Content

What You Should Know About Outsourcing Your Content Blog Feature

September 8th, 2014 min read

shutterstock_209591356_miniWho fixes your car?

Who did your taxes?

More importantly, who gave you that fabulous new haircut?

When it comes to seemingly ordinary tasks like this, we don't hesitate to pay someone else to step in if we feel we aren't capable of producing the desired result.

So why should we feel any differently when it comes to creating content for our businesses?

You see, businesses often find themselves strapped for time, forcing content creation further and further down the list of priorities.

They think that in order to achieve resonance with their audience, they need to keep their content creation efforts close to vest. However, with time constraints and limited bandwidth, an outsourcing company is usually a viable option for those who simply can't maintain consistent production.

We'd argue that if you're struggling to keep your content marketing efforts in-house just to avoid the stigma that surrounds outsourced content, you're making a counterproductive decision. 

In order to get the most out of what you put into an outsourcing company, here's what you need to know.

You'll pay for great content

If there's one thing for businesses to understand from the start, it's that you get what you pay for. 

Think of it this way, you would never walk into McDonalds with $5 in hand and expect to walk out with a gourmet Kobe beef burger packaged neatly inside a Happy Meal box, would you? 

In order to earn the respect of your audience, it's important that you're not reducing quality in order to cut costs. Unless of course you're only looking for $20 results, then feel free to move forward with the outsourcing agency serving up $20 articles. 

In order to determine if an agency or freelancer is worth the investment, consider prompting them with a small project to start. This will provide you with a way of determining their writing ability, willingness to accept feedback, and adherence to deadlines. 

If you're satisfied with the outcome, you can move forward with new projects.

You need clear style guides

To avoid wasting time with back and forth revisions, questions, and clarifications, it's critical that you approach an outsourcing relationship with a clear style guide for reference. 

This style guide should contain explicit instructions as to how to approach the assignment in order to communicate the right message, to the right audience.

Is your business conversational? Data-driven? Lighthearted?

A guide like this would detail the tone of the company, the personas in which they are trying to reach, as well as several existing articles for reference. 

Ultimately the more information you can provide the content creator with, the better the content will be that they are able to produce. This type of guidance will help to ensure a positive collaboration experience with a high quality outcome. 

Be prepared to edit

While you may feel as though you trust the source in which you're receiving content from, it doesn't hurt to read it through before you copy and paste it. 

You see, I once read an article from an outsourcing company that reaffirmed the importance of having an editorial process for incoming content. 

The article's goal was to provide readers with a peek into the city of New Haven, Connecticut. It was meant to reveal what the city was known for, and what they had to offer.

Having lived in New Haven for a few while attending school, there was something unauthentic about the depiction. While it discussed in great detail the history behind Yale's campus and the wealth of prestigious hospitals, I couldn't help but wonder, "What about the pizza?"

How could you write an article about New Haven and not make mention of the slightly burnt smell you catch every time you pass by Modern Pizza, or the way the leaves look in autumn from the top of East Rock Park.

My point being, you'll rarely receive a piece of content that's ready for air on the first submission. Whether you're double checking for spelling and grammar, or in that case authenticity, your audience will thank you for it. 

Always forecast ahead

If you need content for your campaign starting in Q1, it's important that you don't wait until the last minute to start looking for an outsourcer, or submit your work orders. 

Depending on the source, you'll want to have established a relationship and begun submitting requests a few months before you will anticipate actually needing it.

Also, as mentioned before, the content will benefit from an in-house editorial process once it has been out-sourced, so factor in the time it will take to complete that proceeding as well. 

While you are waiting for requested content to come in, use your time wisely. If your outsourcer is currently working on a series of blog posts your your new campaign, consider using this time to begin creating some social media posts to accompany the articles. 

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