Content creation has always been a vital element for a plethora of marketing campaigns. Whether it involves creating video content, blog content, or something in between, one thing is clear: talented professionals are needed to produce it.
However, it’s no secret that internal staff are expensive. That’s why businesses around the world opt for the freelance approach, and with approximately 204 million freelance writers in the world, there’s an abundance to choose from. Are you wondering how to outsource content creation? Read on to find the answer.
The Pros And Cons
Before we talk about how to outsource content creation and the best way to streamline the outsourcing process, you need to understand if it’s definitely a good fit. There’s no point in going through all the steps just for you to find out that producing content is best in-house.
- Lower costs
- Quicker to set up content creation
- The ability to swap between freelancers with less red tape
- A wealth of talent to pick from
- Years of experience in their respective fields
- Less control (may be tricky for technical projects)
- Possibility of deadlines being missed
- Consistency issues
- Communication problems
- Delays due to working with other clients
- Could be using AI without fact-checking
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Now, many of the disadvantages we’ve listed can be avoided. However, this involves you implementing a solid plan. Otherwise, trouble will likely be just around the corner.
With that being said, here are the steps you’ll need to take when wondering how to outsource content creation:
Step 1: Identify What You’re Looking For
So, let’s get started in finding out how to outsource content creation.
Before you start browsing the market, you’ll need to examine exactly what your content needs are. Following this, you must consider if the company’s internal structure is set up in an effective way to incorporate freelancers and the work they will produce.
What content will they be making? It’s easy to say, “they will be writing articles,” but you need to dig a little deeper than that. Pinpoint subjects, formats, and tools that the freelancers will be writing about and using day in and day out. Also, consider how the briefs you provide them will be presented, will they need to carry out their own research? If so, do they have the capabilities to do so?
Are they responsible for all project features? If we stick with the article writing scenario, an article has many elements. Not only does it include a bunch of words that aim to inform the reader, but it also typically includes pictures and backlinks.
Plus, once everything is good to go, the article must be published and shared. Whether this is done by the writer or internal staff is something that you must decide. Although some writers will offer this service, not all of them will.
Can they deal with the project volume and deadlines? How your project is structured will impact a lot of things. For instance, if you need a content creator for a project now and again, this has to be communicated, especially as freelancers work with many clients.
Therefore, you’ll need to clearly specify the time parameters of your project, along with the volume of work that will need to be completed during this time. There’s a big difference between the availability of a freelancer compared to actual staff members. Sometimes people forget that!
Can the freelancer achieve your goals? You’re not creating content for the fun of it. This means you’ll need to think about your goals before going to a freelancer.
Whether you want to increase exposure, become a thought leader in your industry, or simply acquire leads, you’ll need to put on your thinking cap. This way, you can ensure everyone is on the same page, no matter what you’re trying to achieve.
Do you have a TOV (Tone of Voice) that needs to be followed? 99.9% of brands, most likely including yours, will have a unique TOV that helps them to stand out from the crowd.
So, it’s vital to find a freelancer that can produce content that adheres to the style you want. It’s always a good idea to have an official document that shows the company’s TOV,
so there’s no confusion about when the project starts.
Must compliance regulations be followed? Although this won’t relate to all companies, some must follow legal guidelines when producing content on a particular topic. If this is the case, you’ll need to think about this and find a creator that will comply with all rules.
Will they require a dedicated supervisor or point of contact? Depending how much control you want to have over the freelancer while they work on your project will ultimately determine how they’re managed.
Top-tier freelance writers do not need much supervision as they’re used to working independently. However, if there are a lot of moving pieces in your project, it may be a good idea to have a more rigid structure with a higher amount of oversight.
Are there internal programs that the freelancer needs to learn how to use? The majority of freelancers can adapt to different software that businesses use. With that being said, you should still make a note of all the programs they will need to access. Otherwise, you will run into problems later.
Step 2: Find Amazing Candidates
Unless you have some recommendations from your close professional network, you’ll need to reach out to search for the right talent.
And even if you do get a few recommendations, it’s still a good idea to look further afield to weigh up all your options.
Work With Vetted Content Agencies
Working with an agency rather than an individual freelancer can be the right answer for many projects. You’ll typically find that you don’t have to deal with any consistency issues and fluctuating rates.
Furthermore, it’s widely known that agencies, even the small ones, have a fairly large size of vetted writers knowledgeable in different niches. Therefore, finding someone with the expertise that you require is usually trouble-free by using this approach.
At Killer Copywriting, we’re one of these agencies that offers you high-quality content at extremely competitive prices. Our writers are US & UK-based, and they have many years of writing experience in their respective fields. What’s not to like?
If that’s piqued your interest, feel free to learn more about how we can take your brand to the next level here.
The internet is swimming with job sites that connect seasoned freelancers with businesses from around the world. A quick google search can bring up loads of results.
Personally, our favorites are Upwork or LinkedIn ProFinder. You can browse through a wide range of professionals that can be contacted easily, or you can put out a job post to bring them to you.
Your selection should have reviews from previous clients they’ve worked with, adding extra confidence when deciding who you are going to take to the next stage in the hiring process.
Are there any blogs that operate in your niche that you read from time to time? It’s not unheard of for businesses to reach out to bloggers to see if they’d be interested in writing for them.
And if you think about it, it makes a lot of sense; they’ve proven that they can write good content relating to your industry.
However, this process can be time-consuming and costly. So it’s only worth trying if you’re convinced that this is the right method to find the best candidates.
Step 3: Shortlist the Top Contenders
After you’ve decided on what you need and hunted around for those that might be a good fit, it’s time for the interesting part: making your shortlist selection. To ensure you do this stage correctly, we highly recommend that you shortlist the top “x” amount of candidates/agencies and narrow it down from there.
Here’s how to effectively shortlist candidates:
Confirm that they meet all requirements you identified: To tick off the basics, go through all the requirements that you wanted in step 1. Unless they can fulfill your mandatory needs, it’s best to keep looking until you find the right ones.
Check their niche experience: Do they have a lot of relevant experience with the topics you’re going to cover? Although, If you’re looking to save on costs, then using an up-and-coming writer who’s trying to break into the field may be a good idea. But you’ll need to understand that the quality is likely to be worse than what a professional can produce – and your audience will notice.
Understand their type of content expertise: There’s a wide range of content types that writers work on, such as ad copy, landing pages, press releases, blogs, and so on. Although many freelancers will be able to transition to different forms of content effortlessly, not all of them will be able to. Therefore, it’s ideal to use someone that has more experience writing the type of content you’re looking to create.
Find out about their SEO knowledge: If your aim is to create SEO-related content, then finding writers that have implemented SEO writing best practices in previous projects is essential. Otherwise, the content might be amazing, but it won’t rank and get the visibility you need.
Ask about their current commitments: As we mentioned, freelancers work with a variety of clients. That’s why you should ask about their current/future workload to determine if they will be able to give the necessary amount of attention that your project deserves.
Review samples: It’s easy for writers to say they have many years of experience, but showing it helps reinforce that they’re telling the truth. All good writers will be able to provide samples of their work. This will give you a glimpse at their writing style and industry knowledge.
Step 4: Choose The Right Candidate
Here comes the tough part: pulling the trigger. Although shortlisting candidates will give you some indication of who seems like the best choice, there is one more method you can use to seal the deal. This involves testing the writer’s skills by making them complete a trial piece.
Now, you need to keep in mind that this step is somewhat controversial. Many writers believe that their portfolio should be all that’s needed before they make the all-important hiring decision.
However, in our opinion, nothing instills faith and helps you find the right one more than a writer showing what they can do with a topic you’ve assigned them.
Whether you decide to financially compensate them for doing the trial piece or not is up to you. However, if you want to get a true insight into their content creation abilities, paying them is likely to help – no experienced writer wants to do free labor.
With that being said, if your budget is tight and you really can’t afford to pay them, consider making the shortlisted candidates do a small trial piece (100, 200 words, etc.). You may not get the full picture, but it’s better than nothing!
Step 5: Integrate Them Into Your Project
It’s time for your new writer to become a well-oiled content-creating machine! And in order for this to happen, you’ll need to set everything up.
Hopefully, a lot of the access to software, information, and other bits and pieces will be ready after completing step 1. That means it should be a smooth transition for the freelancer, which takes them from newcomer to integral member of your marketing and PR team.
Step 6: Manage The Project
Now is the time to monitor your project as it develops. What’s working well, and what isn’t working well? If there is any friction that is causing issues during the content creation process, you should identify the problems and straighten them out. Otherwise, lingering problems are likely to keep coming back.
The best way to check this is by communicating with the freelancer to see what feedback they have about current workflows and processes. If they think there is a better way of doing things, it’s worth exploring.
Another thing is making sure you meet all of your KPIs (key performance indicators). There is so much data that you can easily gather at the touch of your fingertips, but if you’re not using it, you could be missing out on great opportunities.
Step 7: Absorb Everything You’ve Learned For Next Time
After the project is done and dusted, you should reflect on what happened. If there were areas that you could improve, make a note so you’re ready when the next project comes along.
At the end of the day, having a solid strategy is ideal when outsourcing content creation, as it helps you cover everything. However, the actual process of doing it will help shine a light on how it works for your specific company – so keep what you learned in mind for the future!
That’s A Wrap
So you should now have a good idea of how to outsource content creation with these simple steps. It may take a little bit of time to get going, but it’s still seen as less time-consuming and cheaper than hiring internal staff members.
The end result should be that your business receives premium content to share with your target audience and an increase in the KPIs you’re targeting.
FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)
How much does a freelancer cost?
Freelancers have the ability to set their own rates/decide if your compensation offering is good enough. Therefore, it’s not as simple as saying the average is between “x” and “x” – it varies drastically.
Plus, the amount of experience, technical knowledge, and type of content creation will all factor into the cost. With that being said, our guide on how much should you pay a freelancer should help point you in the right direction.
What extras should I look for when outsourcing content?
If you decide to work with someone that uses per-word rates (like many freelancers do), then you’ll need to understand their revisions policy. For instance, they may offer two rounds of free edits but not any more.
Although you may not necessarily need a huge amount of edits, it’s still advisable to have this covered in case you run into issues, especially with technical projects.
What are the most common problems that can happen when outsourcing content creation?
The biggest issue that we’ve seen, which is why many businesses have to turn to us or other agencies, is inconsistency with long projects. One week the process is going well, the following week it’s falling apart due to missed deadlines. That’s why it’s vital to make your selection carefully.
Furthermore, communication problems are known to crop up, which can have a huge impact on the content that’s being produced. Again, this is something that can be avoided through a clear outsourcing strategy, but it requires you to put in the effort.
Should I work with someone in my own country or look elsewhere?
It’s an attractive idea: working with a freelancer from another country to save money. However, whether your projects turn out to be successful is another story. Content writers in your own country are likely to have a better understanding of everyday expressions and how terminology is used.
So, our answer to the question is: it depends. If your project is highly technical and needs clear explanations throughout, then it’s ideal to work with someone in your country. Although, if the content you need to produce is fairly straightforward, and aimed at an international audience, looking for freelancers in other parts of the world may not be such a bad idea.
Does the freelancer have any rights to the produced content?
It’s normal for a contract to be signed between both parties. This will typically include an agreement that specifies that the content is owned by the business rather than the freelancer.
In some cases, the freelancer may want to share the content they’ve created with other clients when trying to get new work. You’ll need to decide if this is acceptable and advise the freelancer accordingly.
Working with a content agency is a little easier. They typically will have terms and conditions already set up. And 9 times out of 10, the rights to the content will fully transfer to you, the client.