You know the benefits of content marketing. You understand that it can increase your traffic by almost 800% and conversion rates by almost 600%. And yet, you’re not able to take advantage of it because of limited resources.
It’s a common problem, especially for small business owners and independent professionals. The effectiveness of content marketing, especially written content marketing, tends to be mitigated by the time it takes to produce that writing. Businesses consistently quote a lack of time as their biggest hurdle.
What if I told you that there was a way to maximize the effectiveness of content marketing while overcoming the challenge of insufficient resources? That’s what outsourcing your content writing can do.
Of course, you have to know how to do it right.
This guide will help you achieve that goal. Keep reading to learn more about the reasons to outsource your content, before digging into exactly what it takes to successfully (and consistently) buy content online.
5 Reasons to Buy Content Online
You might be hesitant at first. Outsourcing your blog costs money, and you give up some control over the direction that content takes. Still, especially for small business owners and affiliate marketers with limited resources, it can be successful for these 5 reasons:
- Leverage the benefits of content marketing. As mentioned above, it has the potential to transform your entire marketing strategy. Outsourcing its writing helps you catch up and get ahead of your competition in the digital space.
- Post content more frequently. How often you blog determines your ability to attract a consistent audience for your content. You might not have time to post new articles 2-3 times per week; hired writing professionals, on the other hand, do.
- Focus on strategy, not execution. Your content strategy can make or break your digital marketing. Letting others do the writing allows you to pull back and look at the larger goals and audience you’re trying to reach.
- Rely on quality. Simple grammatical mistakes can seriously damage your credibility. Hiring the right writers means being able to rely on the fact that they’ll avoid typos, bad sentence structure, and other issues.
- Avoid falling into content marketing traps. Especially when you’re just starting to write online, you might make content mistakes like not staying consistent. Again, working with a professional helps you stay on track.
10 Questions to Ask Before Outsourcing Your Blog Content
Buying content online is not always the perfect choice. There will be situations in which you’re better off taking to the keyboard yourself. For content with a regular cadence, though, outsourcing can be a great alternative.
The benefits of taking that step are clear, but they’re not automatic. You have to make sure that you’re taking the right steps. That starts with asking yourself a few preliminary questions:
- Do I have the budget to outsource? It’s usually affordable, but you do need to have at least some budget to hire reliable, high-quality content writers.
- Do I have the time to manage the process? You don’t have to write, but you will need to prepare for and quality-check each post to make sure it’s done right.
- Can I support any writers who work with me? Good writers have questions about audience and content. You need to be able to answer them quickly and reliably.
- Am I looking for short-term support or long-term relationships? The answer will influence where you look for potential writers.
- Do I have a base level of content marketing knowledge? You don’t need to be an expert, but you should be able to tell whether your writers are naturally incorporating keywords or formatting posts correctly.
- Do I need specialists or generalists? Some industries just require good writing. Others need writers who need to be experts on the subject matter. Know which you’re looking for.
- What type of content am I looking for? Email is different from blog writing, which is different from long-form content. Each might require a different budget, strategy, and type of writer.
- How frequently will you need content? The sweet spot for blogs is 2-3 times per week, but that might change once you start looking for other content.
- Can I communicate my brand? More on that below. Once others write in your voice, you have to make sure that they know what that voice is.
- How can I measure success? The more closely you’re able to track the success of the content you buy, the more you can focus on writers who help you succeed.
If you answer these questions affirmatively, congratulations! You’re likely to see significant success as you look to hire content writers to help your content marketing strategy and execution.
But of course, you’re just getting started. We’ve only set the baseline. Now, it’s time to get specific.
6 Steps to Successfully Hiring Blog Writers
It’s not necessarily easy. Hiring external professionals to write on your behalf does require some prep work, and you’ll also need to devote attention to it throughout the writing process.
You can make it easier on yourself, and the writer, by breaking that process down into a few steps. These steps also help you ensure the success of your outsourcing efforts, building better content that drives your business towards more awareness, conversions, and growth.
Step 1: Set Your Strategy
This first step is crucial. Before even thinking about reaching out to writers, you need to have a basic content strategy in place. That strategy might include several components:
- Your core business goals, and how they relate to individual marketing objectives.
- Your target audience for any efforts designed to reach your goals.
- A timeframe in which you need to achieve your marketing goals.
- The individual tactics you’ll use, from social media to blogging, to reach your marketing goals.
- The details of each tactic, including the type of content you’re looking to publish and how frequently you look to post.
This strategy will become a core piece of your efforts to hire external writers. It will help you better understand who you need to hire and how often they need to write. It will also help set some baselines that your writers will find invaluable as they begin to craft content for you.
Step 2: Determine Your Budget
Closely connected to the strategy should be your content marketing budget. Chances are you don’t have unlimited funds to work with. A content-based strategy costs less than outbound, promotional messages, but you still have to plan with some funds to pay your writers.
You can get others to write your content for as little as $5 per 1,000-word article. That work likely won’t be very good. On the other end of the spectrum, you might pay $500 or more for the same length. You probably won’t be able to afford that.
The key is finding the sweet spot, and that’s where your budget enters the equation. With your strategy and marketing needs in mind, determine how much you can realistically spend per month to get consistent, quality content.
Step 3: Explore Your Platform Options
There are plenty of ways to find writers willing to write content for you. Some are better than others. I believe in our platform, but you need to know what options you have.
You can work with a marketplace, where writers post articles that clients can browse through. It’s quick, but you’ll lose any company-specific posts.
You can find a content mill, where you post your need and someone will write about it. The pay tends to be low, but the quality is often poor and your choice in writers is reduced.
You can work directly with a freelancer. This increases quality but is also your most expensive option. You’ll be responsible for managing anything from time to invoices.
You can focus on a content matching service. It tends to be a compromise of the above options and allows you to find specific writers to build relationships with.
Step 4: Set the Standards
Content writing is better with more background. In other words, a writer who knows more about both the subject matter and the context of the piece will almost automatically improve in quality.
That’s easy for internal writers who already have an inside view. It’s much tougher for external professionals who may or may not know the industry, and have probably never heard of your business.
Your goal should be to change that. Yes, it’s extra work, but consider writing a creative brief or content guide that highlights a few key components:
- Your business background, including a brief (1-paragraph) history of its founding and reason for being. Don’t be afraid to throw in some personal nuggets.
- Your brand personality, focusing especially on your brand voice and its nuances. After all, you want the content to sound like it comes from you.
- Marketing objectives that the content is designed to solve. It always helps a writer to know what goals to write towards.
- Your target audience, as detailed as you can get. Highlight demographics, but don’t be afraid to dive into preferences, interests, and pain points.
- Your competitive landscape, including key competitors and (if available) industry trends.
- A brief distribution plan. Where will the content live once it’s complete? How will it get in front of its audience?
You might only need one creative brief for your content strategy, or at least one per channel. It helps every writer ground their work and get the relevant context, improving their output as a result.
Step 5: Prepare for Every Post
The good news is that the groundwork is already done through the creative brief. But you still have to make sure that you give your writers what they look for every time you ask them to come up with fresh content.
Think about this as a set of instructions designed specifically for an individual piece of content. These instructions might include things like the keywords you’re looking to focus on, internal links you want to incorporate in the article, or some initial research for reference and direction.
The goal here, once again, is to make sure that the writer has everything they need to make the piece of content successful. The more helpful the instructions, the higher the likelihood that the end product turns out well.
Step 6: Build in a Feedback Loop
Don’t assume that the content will be finished by the time you get it back. Even in the best case, chances are it’s only about 85% there. No first draft has ever become a great piece of writing.
On the other hand, you have to avoid spiraling into an endless loop of edit requests and feedback that wastes your time without actually getting your content anywhere. The name of the game is standardizing the process with a few simple steps:
- Set the ground rules. Make sure the writer knows what you’re looking for in terms of formatting and edits.
- Build some basic editing rules, such as looking for fluff and spotting grammar mistakes. This is as much about quality assurance as it is about qualitative editing.
- Limit yourself to a single round of edits. If it’s still not there after that, either accept or reject the post.
With a feedback loop like this, you can further ensure that the content ends up not just usable, but highly valuable in your larger digital strategy. It avoids any potential issues you might otherwise find with outsourced writing.
Ready to Outsource Your Content Writing?
Content marketing has the potential to be immensely powerful. At the same time, you can only realize that potential if you devote the necessary resources to it.
When you don’t have the time or skills necessary to write, outsourcing your content can become a valuable part of your larger digital strategy. Done right, it ensures high-level, consistent content on your website and any other owned channels.
To do it right, you need to be strategic. The above steps can get you started, but it all comes down to finding the right writers to partner with. That’s where we come in.
iWriter prides itself on a model designed for business owners like you. It takes away many of the administrative tasks needed when hiring an individual writer, driving down costs without decreasing quality.
Post content requests, but only pay if you’re happy with the submission. Dedicate your attention to specific writers who have worked with you in the past. Pay only for the content you need in a given week.
Outsourcing your content is easier than you might think. Get started today with Verblio!