Creating great copy is hard. We covered this in a previous post, where we also gave the main reasons why most of Idunn’s copywriting clients chose to forego in-house content writing and opted for our services instead. Before we dig into how to outsource content writing, let’s take a look at these reasons again:
- You don’t have enough time to produce all the content your business needs.
- Your content writing is getting sloppy, disorganized and you get less engagement and less leads.
- You simply don’t like writing.
- You want to keep your costs under control and outsourcing your content writing can help with that.
Outsourcing content writing isn’t a new practice. Not by any means. According to a 2014 Content Marketing Institute study, 44% of B2B marketers outsource their content writing. When it comes to tech companies, the numbers increase even more – 74% of tech companies outsource writing, 34% outsource content distribution and 7% even outsource their content planning and strategy.
You may say it’s absolutely normal for tech companies to bring in outside help for writing. But even content marketing experts like Neil Patel do it. And they’ve had such success from content outsourcing that they’re not afraid to brag about it.
Anyone can outsource content writing, but not everyone can do it successfully. In order to get actual ROI from the content you outsource you need to find the right agency and communicate with them efficiently.
How to Outsource Content Writing and Get the Most of it
How Do You Find the Right Agency or Writers for the Job?
In order to find them, you need to know exactly what you are looking for. So, the first question to ask, even before “how to outsource content writing?” is “what exactly are my business’s needs?”
Here’s why this is important: if you want one or two blog posts per month, you can easily go to websites like freelancer.com or upwork.com and find an individual writer. Be careful, though, and don’t select them based on price alone. You will end up with barely readable content written in a haste by someone who needs to churn out 10-50 articles per day to make a decent living.
One important note here: we don’t recommend limiting yourself to one or two blog posts per month. According to HubSpot, if you blog 16+ times per month, you will get 3.5 times more traffic and 4.5 times more leads.
Thus, if your goal is ROI-centric content writing (and it should be!) maybe you should get a bit more serious about your publishing schedule.
In this case, you will need a content writing agency.
What makes it different from a freelance writer? Well, take a look at a few of the reasons:
- Accountability: a freelance writer may find a better-paying job and leave you hanging, fall ill or have personal issues to solve. A content writing agency will fill gaps without you even knowing it.
- Timely delivery: when I first started out working as a freelancer (before opening Idunn), I was shocked at the amount of clients that were surprised of my timely delivery. After having hired a few writers myself, I realized that delayed deliveries are the norm. Once again, an agency can fill in the absence of a writer or his or her untimely deliveries seamlessly.
- Scalability: if your business is growing, a single freelance writer may not be able to take on the volume you throw their way. An agency can and will do so gladly.
- Quality: if your content writing agency is worth its name, it will thoroughly screen and test writers. At Idunn, it takes no less than a month from the initial interview until the writer starts producing content that we send to the clients. During all that time, the writer has to pass tests, learn about writing for the web and produce quite a few samples.
- Coverage for special niches: unlike a freelancer, an agency has several writers who specialize in a variety of niches. For instance, at Idunn, our main specialty is tech writing. But we also have excellent writers for industries like beauty, healthcare, real estate, home improvement and a few others.
Whether you’ve decided on an agency or a freelancer, you shouldn’t make the hire before they answer a few questions. The first rule in the how to outsource content writing successfully guidebook is making sure you and your or writer fit together. Start with these questions:
- Have you written for our niche before?
- Can you show us any samples?
- Do you currently have any clients that are direct competitor of ours? If so, how can you guarantee that you won’t be biased and that you will ensure absolute confidentiality?
- What is your turnaround time for an x-words content piece?
- Can you handle emergencies i.e. deliver in 24 hours or less?
- What are your prices? Do you have package deals for large amounts of copy?
- What types of copy can you create (blog posts, web content, sales pages, ad copy and so on)?
How Do You Choose Fair Pricing?
Good copywriting is not cheap. Prepare to pay fair prices if you truly want your outsourced content to bring you results.
Paying $1 for one article is not a bang for your buck. It’s a wasted buck. Think about it this way: how much time would you work for $1? Would you strive to create an engaging, thought-provoking or lead-converting content piece?
That being said, when you shortlist content writing agencies, pricing can be a decisive factor. But you shouldn’t go for the lowest bidder. If your trying to find out how to outsource content writing and get a bang for your buck, look for quality first and foremost. Check out their samples and see which of them stand out from the crowd. Afterwards, you can look at market prices. My advice is to choose the agency who offers you a price close to the industry median.
This means that agency strives to remain competitive and is well-aware of industry standards. By not charging too little, they can afford to pay good writers fairly. Happy writers = great content. Even more, by not charging well above industry standards, they prove they already have a satisfying work volume and they don’t try to pin all their expenses on a single client.
I’ve written more about fairly-priced copywriting here.
How Do You Give Adequate Instructions?
The answer to the question in the title (How to outsource content writing in a ROI-centric manner?) isn’t related solely to finding the right agency or writer. You also need to work on your relationship with them. Proper briefs are the cornerstone of excellent, high-converting content.
Let’s take a look at one example:
“Please write our “About Us” page. It should have no more than 200 words.”
“Please write our “About Us” page. We are a construction company in Toronto. We have been in business for more than 5 years, have excellent reviews and our main strength is never making quality on compromises. We work with the best locally-sourced materials and hire only qualified personnel.”
Which one of these briefs do you think will yield the best results?
Granted, part of a copywriter’s job is to do research. But where could they find specifics about your business and your point of difference? Offering little to no detail results in a generic copy that no one would want to read. Your copywriter can’t guess that you work with locally-sourced materials, so your potential clients will never know it.
And wouldn’t it be a shame for such a great point of difference to be lost in poor communication?
How Do You Give Proper Feedback?
Want to know how to outsource content writing like a pro? Giving great feedback is paramount, whether we’re talking about good or bad feedback.
If your writing agency or freelance writer did a great job, tell them so. Reward them with financial incentives or a simple whole-heartedly shout out. There are few things more frustrating than not knowing if you did a stellar job, a mediocre one or a downright poor one.
If you truly liked their writing, tell them what exactly made you swoon. Was it the catchy headline? Was it the perfect CTA? The more details you give, the more of that secret sauce you will get in the upcoming copy.
While no one likes to give (or receive!) back feedback, this is also a part of a writer’s growth. For you, a detailed bad feedback increases the chances of getting exactly what you wanted next time. Don’t be discouraged if the first draft is not what you expected. It takes time for a writer to learn all about your expectations.
However, instead of saying “I don’t like this; can you redo it?”, try going a bit more in-depth. What exactly didn’t you like? You can easily choose from:
- Tone of voice
- Lack of research
- Poor spelling and grammar
- Lack of CTAs
- Poor headline
Let the writers know where they need improvement. If you’re working with a versatile team, the second draft should be exactly what you were looking for. If it’s not, maybe you should consider switching writers.
Learn how to outsource content writing to excellent writers and see your revenue grow
This is how to outsource content writing like a pro. Following the steps above will not just bring you excellent copy. It will also bring you actual revenue – that’s what copywriting in 2017 is supposed to do!
Looking for the right content writing agency to create mind-blowingly good copy for your business? You’ve come to the right place: