A Guide to Outsourcing Your Content (And Why It Might Be A Great Idea)

24 April, 2020

Even with the rise of AI, there’s something that simply can’t be replicated, and that’s the heart and emotion of human-crafted words and stories. 

SEO success rides on great content, whether that’s blog posts, link-building, or landing page optimisation. No matter how solid your marketing strategy is, you need the talent and time to effectively execute your content.

From small local businesses to large chains, anyone can reap the limitless benefits of content marketing. As one of the most significant elements in an overall marketing strategy, it’s important to consider how you can effectively manage this. 

The majority of businesses who choose to outsource the content marketing component, do so because their in-house team doesn't have the time or experience to deliver quality content, at the volume or scale required for successful campaigns.

To help with the new outsourcing of your content marketing, we’ve put together this guide about the benefits, tips for success and content collaboration examples.

4 Benefits of Outsourcing Content

Content marketing is key to incorporate into your overall strategy, so it needs to be left in capable hands. No matter the nature of your business, you’ll reap the rewards if you implement it effectively. 

With this in mind, there are plenty of advantages to outsourcing your content to expert external writers and marketers:

Fresh and diverse ideas 

It can be hugely beneficial to introduce external writers, who may create content in ways you haven’t previously considered. They will have worked with a huge range of other clients, and can use learnings from each of those experiences for new campaigns. 

They’re also, more often than not, up to date with emerging marketing trends and vital industry updates. 

Reaching a wider audience

When you gain an external content team, you also gain their industry contacts. Agencies especially will have relationships within the media and PR world - an undeniable benefit for your outreach.

Even when you hire someone to ghostwrite, they’ll work to get your content in front of more people, whether that’s for brand awareness or to secure backlinks for SEO. 

They’ll come up with ways to publicise your pieces and get placements on external sites. Not only that, but they’re likely to have online tools to speed up the outreach process and find the most relevant contacts to approach.

Publish more for less money

According to Zazzle Media, 60% of businesses find it a challenge to produce content consistently. It does take time to create high quality content that’s going to be appealing to external sites for backlinks and attract attention to your brand. Often marketers can throw together a quick piece for their blog, but it’s unlikely to make an impact on their organic traffic.  

Where you may not have the time and resources, outsourcing is key here. You can hire an agency for however many hours a month you require. Not only that, but outsourcing is a highly cost-effective way to produce your content. You don’t need to pay thousands a year to hire a full-time employee - simply outsource the content with the budget you do have.

Varied, different types of content

While blog posts have their place in a content strategy, there are plenty of other innovative assets you can create. But to succeed at these, you often need a wealth of knowledge and expertise. So even if you’re nailing the blog posts, it’s worth hiring an agency with designers, developers, data statisticians, and videographers in order to experiment with new ideas.

Here are just a few examples of the things an external provider could do to help you beat the competition:

  • Videos
  • Infographics
  • Quizzes
  • Press releases
  • Interviews
  • Surveys
  • Case studies
  • Expert guides 


How do I know it’s time to outsource content?

You’re typically ready to outsource your content when you don’t have the time to dedicate to it, or you don’t have the in-house talent to successfully deliver a content strategy.  

Similarly, when there isn’t enough content work to hire a whole new person on a permanent salary, outsourcing the hours you need per month or for ad-hoc projects is often the preferred financial decision. 

Acknowledging when you need this help and doing so the right time requires assessment: 

  • Can you produce content to the quality, volume or scale you need? 
  • Are you meeting your goals? 
  • What’s your budget for content? 
  • Are you able to meet your current deadlines and timescales? 

This introspection will also help you to identify what you will then need from your external agency or freelancer.

What do I need to outline for my content tender process?

An agency or freelancer that’s the perfect fit for your company is key to a successful content marketing campaign. Before you hire someone external, give thought to your needs and expectations to help you find the right match. 

Identifying this right from the start means you’ll lay a strong foundation; sharing mutual long-term goals and building trust from the outset.

Consider the following:

Content types; the topics, platforms, link-building pieces, videos, industry posts, website copy etc. 

Content volume and iterations; Do you want monthly work completed and an annual contract? Or will you pay for ad hoc content projects as and when you need them? Do you have a calendar of predetermined deadlines?

Aims and measures of success; lay out shared goals - what do you want your content to achieve? What are the KPIs? What will mean success?

How does content fit with your other marketing plans? If your content brings in new traffic, how will you convert it? Is there a cohesive message that needs to remain through all channels? 

Budget; Do you have an adequate budget to retain their services and meet your KPIs? Will you pay per project or an hourly rate?

Agency vs Freelancers

Freelancers are self-employed individuals, specialising in a specific field. An agency however, brings a larger team to your disposal, typically with a wide variety of clients and skills. 

Price

On the whole, freelancers charge less per hour so are often a more affordable option. 

An agency will often cost more to hire but they often offer more security and a more complete overall package. Essentially, you get what you pay for. There will typically be a full team covering a breadth of areas; content writing, outreach, editor, designer, data specialist, website developer and many more skills. 

You might be able to save more budget with freelancers - and their work can still be excellent - but expect to put in more work yourself. 

Quality 

Standards of work can vary considerably across freelancers. Inevitably, some will have more experience than others and suit your needs better. Generally, with an agency and several team members, there’s less risk.

Ultimately, the best way to find the right fit and get exactly what you want is to review previous work and testimonials.

How to equip your freelancer or agency for success

Treating your agency or freelancer as an extension of your team provides a great basis for success. Equip them with everything they need so they can understand your business and exactly what you want from your content:

Your KPIs

Set them targets. What’s the most important measure of success for you? Links, number of leads, sales, page visits, conversions etc. Then give them access to your Google Analytics or internal performance reports so they can analyse data and optimise based on exactly what you want to achieve.

Resources 

Equip your external team with an abundance of resources to use.

  • Contact information for quotes, interviews or expert knowledge
  • Internal documents such as brand guidelines, important industry/company calendar dates etc.
  • Access to the CMS to upload content

Ultimately, what will make your content creators’ jobs easier -  and ensure they produce what they need? 

Content examples

Here’s some examples of client content we’ve produced:

Parks guide

Overview: For a local client, we created an informative and engaging guide around Sheffield’s 13 ‘city’ parks.

Aim: To create a useful, shareable resource for students, locals and tourists around Sheffield’s amazing parks; that would encourage people to stay mentally and physically healthy. 

Workings: The guide included original photography, useful info and contributions from prominent local organisations; including Sheffield Mind, SIV Sheffield and Sheffield Wednesday.

Coverage: The guide was shared on several collaborator websites, as well as prominent local sites including unLTD, Sheffield Chamber and South Yorkshire Travel.

Drink drive survey

Overview: Survey into drink driving around the festive season.

Aim: To raise awareness of drink driving around the festive season, via a carefully-selected demographic source - YouGov.

Workings: We used YouGov to source credible stats and secured quotes from relevant organisations to add authority. We then conducted targeted outreach work to the press.

Coverage: The content was picked up by The Independent, The Express, MSN, Tyre Press and over 50+ local sites. It also gained coverage on BBC Radio Wales and contributor websites.

Boozy Christmas food

Overview: Experiment into the effects of Christmas food containing alcohol. 

Aim: A follow-up to the drink driving survey, further raising awareness of drink driving via an experiment to see the effects of supermarket food containing alcohol.

Workings: We conducted a study into whether alcoholic food can push you over the drink-drive limit. We ate a 3-course Christmas menu consisting of supermarket food that contains alcohol. The experiment found you can be tipped over the drink-drive limit by boozy food - if you’ve had one standard glass of wine. We also secured quotes from relevant organisations to add authority.

Coverage: The content secured 99 follow links.

For help with anything content related, get in touch with the Evoluted team.

Written by Jo

Jo arrived at Evoluted towards the end of 2017, bringing several years’ digital experience with her. She cites the continuous innovation of new tools and how they can be utilised for targeting as being a key inspiration behind her interest in the industry.

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