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Content writing is a gigantic market, and it can be daunting to think of how much work there is to do in order to meet your specific business goals. Thankfully, nowadays, you don’t have to. In 2021, there are so many outsourcing options available that can help you scale up your content production on a large scale.
To outsource content writing in 2021, you should assess and determine your budget and needs, know your audience and brand, and set and adhere to content management goals. You also need to create SEO keywords and topics, try out potential writers/agencies, and establish a content schedule.
Today, we’ll help you figure out where to outsource your content, how much it’ll cost, and general tips and tricks for ensuring your content outsourcing venture is a great success.
8 Benefits of Outsourcing Content Writing
Content marketing can be an awesome business opportunity, but it isn’t without its challenges. It can be daunting to manage the business end along with managing deadlines, designing, writing, and—you get the point. There are way too many skills and requirements needed to successfully run a content business for one person to do it all, so don’t!
Nowadays we have so many outsourcing options at our fingertips. With a little investment, preparation, and communication, you can outsource a large chunk of content creation to content creation services as well as online freelance marketplaces.
With such services at your disposal, you can ramp up your content creation multiple times while retaining the valuable time you need to manage all the other aspects of your business.
Outsourcing can have its own problems that require unique solutions, but it is an invaluable tool for any business if done correctly.
1) You Can Get More Time
This is probably the biggest reason that outsourcing even exists in the first place. There are only so many hours to work in a day, and you have to focus your time, energy, and creativity on what matters most for your digital marketing business. However, if there’s too much there for just one person, outsourcing helps you get control of your business back when you may feel like you’re floundering.
There are many vital activities to think about besides just content creation: social media promotion, search engine optimization, website design, and business strategy. Outsourcing the content to a service or freelancer allows you to have as much control over the end result as you want while getting back the time you need to put into other areas of your business.
Some self-employed and freelance digital marketers (like us) may prefer to do the writing themselves, seeing it as a cost-cutting measure or way to maintain both control and quality… but that isn’t always a wise move. The sheer amount of time it takes to research, write, and edit content will eat up the vast majority of your time and leave little time for the other crucial aspects to keep your business running and successful.
2) It Is Cheaper Than an In-House Writer
Outsourcing is simply paying for content. Well, the alternative is often to hire a writer to work in-house for you, which is significantly more expensive.
Think about it; there are training costs to absorb, equipment, IT costs, and potentially medical benefits you may have to provide. If the writer’s laptop gets a virus or breaks, you’d have to replace it, and if the writer gets sick, you’d be obliged to find a writer in the meantime anyway.
In a purely economic view, outsourcing is the smart thing to do versus hiring a dedicated writer. Freelancers and agencies can be hired at very attractive rates compared to an in-house writer’s annual salary because they’ve tailored their business model for what works for them and potential clients like you.
3) It Is Versatile
One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing content writing is that it is flexible, low commitment, and tailored to your needs as a business.
If your content is seasonal, it may not make sense to hire an in-house writer when you’re not going to have work for them year-round, or volume may fluctuate due to various factors. You may want a ton of content in the winter and not that much in the summer, or vice versa. Outsourcing makes it easy to control the volume of content you get when you need it.
Suppose you don’t like the writing style of a particular writer. Agencies and freelancers make it easy to shop around for the writers who fit the level of quality and tone your content demands. If a favorite writer suddenly starts producing sub-par content, you can find another writer with no commitment involved.
4) You Can Give Your Content a Fresh Perspective
You probably know exactly the kind of story and image you want to project with your business and content, but what you may not have considered is that a fresh set of eyes can sometimes be exactly what you need in order to revitalize a potentially stagnant content stream.
If you are very picky about the kind of tone and style the content requires, you can communicate with the writer regarding your needs. If they fail to meet your requirements, you have zero obligation to continue working with them again.
However, on the other hand, a writer may have years of experience working or writing in a relevant business space that shines a different light on your content and business. This is when outsourcing seems to really click—when you get a writer who just gets you.
5) You Will Find Experts
One of the most attractive aspects of outsourcing is that you can essentially shop around for someone with the level of familiarity and expertise in the field your content requires to accomplish your goals.
It may be that you work in a very narrow field and consider yourself an expert—do you then have to do the writing yourself? Not necessarily! There are plenty of ways that fields collide in the realm of content writing.
In this example, you are a seafood restaurant company. Let’s say you want to write a blog post on the history of certain dishes or the region dishes hail from. You may be a culinary genius, but you don’t have to be a historian, too.
You can specifically search for writers with historical expertise or the research skills necessary to write the piece you need. Such a piece accents your business and casts a different light on the subject for your audience, hopefully generating further interest and traffic.
6) You Can Meet Your Goals Faster
Outsourcing content frees up tons of time that you can use to focus on large-scale strategies for your business. You can finetune your content marketing strategy to better mesh with your business strategy, maximizing the return of investment (ROI).
Rather than devoting a large chunk of time coming up with ideas for blog posts or articles and then researching and writing them, you just need an idea. Give that idea and some specifications to the writer or agency, and get a fully fleshed-out piece of content back in no time.
7) Your Content Will Rank High on Search Engine Results
Freelancers and content agencies heavily emphasize the use of search engine optimization (SEO) techniques in their writing, which means that their content will be more likely to rank high on search engine results.
Naturally, when someone searches for something in your field you’ve produced content about, you want them to see and click on your page first. SEO optimization helps ensure that you’ll receive more traffic and, therefore, more business than the competition.
Agencies and freelancers can capture your content’s spirit and intricacies while optimizing it for high placement in search results. We know you want to write and market to your ideal market, but SEO helps them find your content in the first place. SEO is one of the best ways you can generate huge ROI, and outsourcing makes that happen.
8) You Can Be Understood
One of the skills that freelancers and agencies develop early in their career is how to understand easily what the client wants.
Even if you are a good writer, you may not know exactly how to put your vision into words that accurately represent it to your market. Outsourcing content connects you with professionals who know how to tailor your needs into great content that matches the style, tone, and flow that you want to represent your business.
How common is it that someone has a mind-blowing business idea but no way to go about marketing it to their ideal prospects? Sadly, all too common these days. Outsourcing means you’re taking full advantage of the best possible resources available to you in order to boost your business.
Now that you’re sold on the benefits of outsourcing your content writing, you may be wondering exactly how you go about it. There are steps you need to take in order to prepare your content workflow for the writer to ensure the writing will fit what you need as a business. This groundwork will help keep everyone on track and on the same page as you progress.
Assess and Determine Your Needs Versus Budget
What’s your budget, and how specialized are your needs? These two questions will drive the kind of content writers you look for and can gain access to. The more general your needs, the cheaper your outsourcing options will be because it’s easier for the writer to research the topic and thoroughly cover it.
On the other end of the spectrum, high-end writers in highly specialized niches will command high prices because they are one of very few writers capable of writing that type of content for a client. For example, writers within the law niche will charge significantly more than a generalist writer ghostwriting an article about gift ideas.
Another important consideration is whether you’re looking at individual freelancers or a content agency. Content agencies are known to take on a wide variety of niche work because they have dozens, hundreds, or even thousands of writers working for them. Because of this, they may be cheaper if the content you need isn’t very specialized and requires light to minimal research.
Generalist freelancers exist but typically charge less than freelancers who have established themselves as experts in their field. If few people can do what they do, natural laws of supply and demand dictate that they charge high prices for their expert knowledge and skills.
If you need very niche content created, it is likely worth it to shop around for experienced freelancers in that niche. The price will be higher than a generalist freelancer or an agency, but the content is more likely to be high-quality.
Know Your Audience and Your Brand
It’s important to know who your audience is, not just in a core demographic sense but in how you market to them through your content. To do this, you have to identify what you have to offer your audience and why they want to read your content.
As an example, you’re a hardware company. Let’s say that there’s a unique new tool you’ve created that will completely eliminate a common and annoying problem for builders and DIY enthusiasts. You first want to describe that problem to your audience, who will be able to relate. Then, you swing in with your life-changing new tool and describe how it’ll make their lives so much easier.
Content marketing is all about identifying the “pain points” of your audience and relating to them that you can alleviate that pain for them. You have to have something to offer to them that nobody else has in order to maintain your audience and generate more traffic for your business.
Your audience doesn’t even need to be the same demographic. As long as you target a specific problem or challenge that many people face and convince them that you can best help them, you’ll have a winning content marketing strategy.
Set and Adhere to Content Management Goals
You can’t very well proceed with outsourcing content if you don’t know what that content is going to accomplish for your business’s short-term and long-term goals. You need to establish what kind of ROI you need from the writing to make continued outsourcing profitable for you.
For example, if you need to increase organic traffic to your site(s), you should focus on informative articles and blog posts. If necessary, make it clear if any specific viewpoints or products need to be promoted within the content. Making these things clear will help keep everyone focused on the intent of the content as far as how it will help you meet your goals.
It’s just as important to continue emphasizing the specific needs of individual pieces. If you initially tell the writer or agency that you want to focus on informative articles and then later need to shift gears to promote products for affiliate marketing purposes, you have to make it known. A client will often set one set of requirements and then later be surprised when a piece that needed to be differently focused isn’t.
You need to know who both your existing and potential audiences are and how to best cater to the content they want to read. In addition, it’s important to highlight why your brand is unique and what it offers differently from your competition. It’s crucial to make content tailored to your business and not just generic informative articles that only vaguely relate to your business.
Create SEO Keywords and Topics
Before you start approaching agencies or writers, you have to generate a list of keywords that writers can insert into content for SEO purposes to drive traffic toward your site.
Not only keywords but topics, too! The writer has to know what they’re going to be writing about, after all. At least a dozen topics should be created before even approaching any writers, and you’ll have to keep coming up with more after you begin outsourcing.
You can help come up with potential topic ideas by asking any blog or social media followers what specific topics they’d be most interested in learning about in the future. This helps to tell your audience you care about what they want and are taking steps to provide them the content they enjoy. This builds trust, and trust is invaluable to your audience.
SEO keywords are often divided into categories like relevancy to pillar (core) topics and ‘difficulty,’ which is how much competition you face with that keyword.
The ‘intent’ is possibly the most important factor, meaning the intent of a user when they search for a specific topic. You have to essentially guess what users will search for relevant to your business and extrapolate that to use in your SEO keywords and topics.
Some tips to help expand your keywords and topics is to search for most searched questions on Google, Quora, and even reviews of your company and competing companies. This will give you an idea of what kinds of specific phrasing your audience may use, hence giving you a leg up in the SEO game.
Try Out Potential Writers
Portfolios and past published work can be useful to gauge a writer’s ability at first glance, but don’t stop there before hiring them. You need to take some other steps before pulling the trigger on a large volume of content.
These steps are:
- Create a test topic that makes the writer or agency illustrate their knowledge, researching skills, and ability to tailor content based on provided requirements.
- Determine reasonable deadlines and pay rates depending on the type of content, your needs, and the writer’s requirements.
- Critically examine the test topic draft, specifically paying attention to the content’s tone and style and whether it fits with your brand. Many people can write with perfect grammar, but not everyone is a good stylistic fit for your business.
- Provide feedback to the writer or agency.
- Throughout any necessary revisions and drafts, determine their ability and willingness to revise based on detailed feedback.
- Hire them, or keep looking.
There is no ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to outsourcing content writing. You have to know what you want in the material that will contribute to your business and be willing and able to test the potential writer or agency on their ability to deliver. After all, if the content doesn’t add value to your business, why pay for it?
Establish a Content Schedule
You have to determine how much content you need weekly or monthly and what quality and quantity you require.
Generally, you want a high quantity of low-quality, short content that provides little value and fewer, long, and high-quality content. This is generally called funneling within the community and helps establish what kind of schedule you’ll have on an ongoing basis with the writer/agency.
You’ll need to clearly communicate deadlines, volume, specific needs about individual pieces of work, and other details in order to keep everything in order and avoid confusion and potential crossed boundaries down the line.
How Much Is Outsourcing?
This is where we get into the nitty-gritty: how much does it cost? Generally, with writing, you get what you pay for. The pay scale with freelancers and agencies varies anywhere from $.01 a word all the way up to $.50 a word.
The more niche the topic, the higher the price the writer will command for their services. Content agencies may be more economical in this regard, possessing a wide variety of writers able to research and write most topics that aren’t highly specialized.
A rule of thumb is that most decent freelancers charge at least $.10 a word, but it may be possible to negotiate downwards if you’re able to guarantee you’ll need a high volume of steady content for a long period of time. Agencies are generally able to offset high volumes of work for low cost in this regard, too.
There’s no hard and fast rule to pricing, and you may be able to find that unicorn who will write 5000 words about underwater welding for $.01 a word, but don’t count on it. It’s best to shop around and see what freelancers and agencies charge, and marketplaces are a good place to look as well.
Freelance marketplaces where you can place projects for freelancers to ‘bid’ on are very popular, check out a few of our recommended resources. Clients can post their project, specific needs, and desired pay rate and wait for freelancers to bid on the project.
You can weed out undesirable writers through an interview process at your leisure. Many writers on these marketplaces have established niches that make them valuable, but that value, as we’ve learned, comes with a high price.
Something else to be mindful of is per-word rates versus per-hour rates. Many companies like to use per-hour rates because it seems more economical.
However, freelancers generally dislike per-hour work because it has great potential to devolve into a morass of hurt feelings, crossed boundaries, and disruptive misunderstandings. Per-word rates are easier to establish and stick to without any confusion about invoicing work hours, revisions, etc.
It merits repeating that you’re not going to find any set rates anywhere, even with the above numbers as a general idea to go off of. The best methods you can employ are to try placing your project(s) on marketplaces, contact agencies directly about what they can do for you as far as pricing, and research writers specialized in your business niche.
If they’re a writer worth their salt, they have a site, and that site will have contact information. It’s all about shopping around to see where you can get the highest quality content for the lowest rate possible.
You can keep in mind numerous things to take advantage of outsourcing your content writing and maximize this great opportunity to grow your marketing volume.
Some of these tips are:
- Make it clear who your audience is and what you’re trying to communicate to your audience. It’s easy for a writer to simply take a topic, some keywords, and spin out a blog post or article without guidance on its intended direction, so be sure to give that guidance.
- Ask if the agency or writer has input. You may be surprised with a fresh perspective on what’s become a rote, stagnant topic for you due to possible myopia.
- Build a relationship, especially with freelancers. It can pay off to treat writers well, as they may have skills you aren’t aware of or some useful industry knowledge about marketing that can prove invaluable.
- Don’t try to force perfection. Consistency in your content is more important than trying to revise one-piece endlessly.
It’s easy to get daunted about outsourcing, but you really just need a little researching skill and a lot of patience and communication skills. With many advantages versus an in-house writer, outsourcing could be the best move to help grow your business.