Content marketing is a valuable and efficient strategy for building brand visibility and attracting traffic to your website, but if you want to see significant results, the amount of work necessary can be overwhelming. Unless you have a dedicated person responsible for managing your content marketing program or a team of people willing to work together to ensure nothing is missed, it’s virtually impossible to produce content at the speed or quality necessary to build your campaign into something substantial. Even so, hiring an in-house professional can be prohibitive, leaving you in a catch-22 between adopting tons of work or tons of new expenses.
A comfortable middle ground is enlisting the help of a content marketing agency or freelance writer. It’s cheaper than hiring a full-time staff member, yet can significantly alleviate your personal workload. However, outsourcing your content has perils of its own, and if you aren’t careful, you could do more harm to your strategy than good.
If you’ve decided to outsource your content marketing, be sure to follow these five important strategies:
There are a ton of content options available to you—you can work with an expensive, lucrative agency, a cheap content mill focused on turnaround times and volume, or a one-off freelancer ranging in both skill and price. Your needs will be different than the needs of any other company. You’ll have a different budget, different goals, and a different demand for expertise. Because of the diversity of options available to you, there’s no reason to jump into any partnership right away.
Take your time when researching your options. Evaluate each possibility in terms of its price, service offerings, reliability, history, and level of expertise. Generally, the more you pay, the higher quality of the content you’ll receive, but this isn’t always the case. Do your research well in advance and only make a final selection once you’re absolutely sure your partner is the best possible option for your brand.
Most businesses will choose to outsource their content to a verified expert in the field of content marketing. As a result, many businesses take a hands-off approach, allowing their partner expert to call the shots, set the direction, and produce the content without restriction. In these scenarios, as long as you have properly vetted your candidates, you can rest assured that you’ll end up with a quality content strategy—but it won’t be as good or as focused as it could be.
Early on, inject yourself into the strategic planning process. Your content expert partners know content better than anyone else, but you know your brand far better than they do. You’ll be able to set direction, set the tone, and outline the main goals you hope to accomplish. You’ll be able to answer their questions and clear up common misconceptions. Only together will you be able to work up the best possible strategy.
Your content partner will likely take charge in coming up with new topic ideas for your ongoing publications. However, they will not be as plugged into the industry as you are. You know all the major publications, the state of the industry, and the approach of your competitors far better than they do, and you can use your knowledge and familiarity to enhance their productivity and focus.
Don’t be afraid to send new topic ideas to your content partner. Send them links to news articles that would make for good topics, and express your opinions on recent happenings. Your input is vital for keeping the authority of your outsourced work high. Otherwise, your content writers will be writing blindly in an industry they probably know very little about.
Feedback and revision is as important in a content partnership as it is a solo content marketing campaign. When you come across an article that you don’t like or don’t understand, make an inquiry. Explain why it’s off—it could be a topic misaligned with your industry, poor adherence to tone, or just poor structuring. Your feedback will prevent any outliers from slipping through and compromising your brand’s reputation, and will help your content partner produce better work in the future. Also feel free to send along new ideas for strategic direction, and work with your partner to make long-term adjustments to your mutual approach.
Finally, trust that your content partner is doing everything they can to produce high-quality work. You vetted your candidates carefully, so you should feel comfortable with your partner’s intentions and abilities. Let them do their job to the best of their ability, and follow up with verifications to ensure this is the case. Proofread the articles before they go out. Double check the editorial calendar to make sure you’re getting what you pay for. Mistakes happen, and the more eyes you have looking out for them, the better.
Outsourcing your content can be the best or worst move you make for your content marketing strategy. As long as you pay careful attention to who you choose as a partner, get yourself involved in the process early and often, and commit yourself to continually improving the mutual development process, you should have no problem making your team-based content generation strategy a sure win for your company.
Want more information on content marketing? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.