Questions agencies should ask their clients before outsourcing content creation

Michael Marchese
April 4, 2016
content marketing cost

Questions agencies should ask their clients before outsourcing content creation

Michael Marchese
April 4, 2016

So, you just landed a new client. This particular client has a ton of content writing needs, and you do not have the internal resources to deliver. If you ever find yourself in this type of situation, seeking resources outside of your company is the only logical solution.
Unfortunately, this does not come without its fair share of headaches, since you not only have to find a solutions provider that delivers quality work, but you also need to be able to successfully relay what your client wants and needs, otherwise you will quickly find yourself in a position where there’s a disconnect between what your client wants and what your solutions provider is writing.
If you are planning on outsourcing content development for your clients, it is important that you ask each of them some fundamental questions first so that they are satisfied with the final deliverables.

What are the objectives and goals for your content?

Some businesses pursue content development and content marketing because they heard it works, but they hardly know how and why. In fact, a report by Starfleet Media, a B2B content marketing provider, shows 93 percent of respondents see “raise branding visibility” as their primary objective with content marketing. However, just 12 percent report to having been “very successful” in reaching that goal, suggesting a disparity between goal setting, and using the right methods to get there. Naturally, you want to keep your clients out of this territory.
It is important to ask clients what their content needs are so you can relay this to your content providers, who in turn, can write copy that matches your clients’ end goals. If the client’s goal is to have high quality and engaging content on the company blog, and your content provider’s main focus is search engine optimization, then you have a disconnect in terms of priorities. Sure, SEO is a goal, but it is not the goal your client is aiming for. As with any other business initiative, your client’s content needs to meet carefully outlined objectives in order to maximize return on investment.

What type(s) of content do you need?

Not only are more companies seeing the value of content marketing — especially when it comes to lead generation — they are also using different types of content to interact with their audience. For example, some organizations (like service providers) are finding success with eBooks, while online companies like Hootsuite have used white papers as a way to market their products and services. In the same Starfleet Media study, the top 3 content assets produced by respondents for 2014 were case studies and success stories, white papers, and webinars, with a share of 69 percent, 63 percent, and 59 percent respectively.
It is important to understand the types of content your client needs so that you can articulate this to your content writing provider. Chances are, the company you hired for content fulfillment purposes will have a variety of content writers on staff, many whom are well-versed in producing a specific type of content, be it white papers, press releases, SEO content, social media posts or something more specific. Think of it as having a team of football players, each with a specific position but all coming together to function as a team.

How do you want your voice represented?

Quality will always be a concern when outsourcing something as important as content creation to a third party, so it is important that you and your client agree on the tone they want their content to have. There are many ways outsourcing your client’s content could go wrong that are not necessarily related to quality and originality.
For example, you can still get high-quality content, but it will not be effective if it does not match your client’s tone. If your writer’s style is formal and rigid and your client’s readers have been consuming fun and engaging narratives, outsourcing could lead to a revolt by their audience.
The key to successfully outsourcing content to a third party is to get them familiar with your client’s business from top to bottom. Since your content developers might be hard-pressed to visit your client’s offices and get acquainted with their staff, more effort has to be exerted when trying to understand a company’s business and industry, products and services, as well as target audience and competitors.

Who is your target audience?

For content to be effective, your client must be able to identify who the target audience is. Is it the guy around the block, or the person sitting in an office in some other part of the world? If your client can’t answer questions about target market, there is no point in engaging in content development, much less content marketing.
There is no point in trying to send a message if you are not sure your clients are going to “get it.” It is tempting to think you will just create content that appeals to a large swath of people who are actively on the internet. But it is actually more advantageous to target a specific audience, one your client’s content will resonate with more. Writing for a specific target is often easier and more efficient than writing for many. It allows you to keep content ideas focused and on track.
The most basic thing any agency can do to understand their client’s target audience is to develop reader personas. These profiles will help you understand the personalities and interests of your client’s readers. You can then pass along these personas to your content writing provider. Remember, content creation is not just about targeting people who will convert into leads and customers; it is also about reaching out to people who will read and share the content.

An all-in-one solution

As you have probably realized by now, outsourcing content is not a task you should take lightly. Your role in helping clients with their content development needs is to find partners who can keep the business moving forward safely and effectively with content, and that means making sure all parties are aware of their responsibilities.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook:  100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs.  Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies.  100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.
Tempesta Media provides an all-in-one answer to the questions mentioned above with our content marketing solution. The Tempesta Media Voice ProfileSM, a unique software solution that ensures a writer’s tone and style fits the voice of your clients, allows providers to create any kind of focused, relevant and engaging content. For more information, contact us.

Michael Marchese

Michael Marchese

Michael is the founder and CEO of Tempesta Media. He is responsible for corporate strategy, executive team leadership, and overall business operations across all the company’s segments. With over 25 years of experience, he has held various strategic and operating positions. ​​As a recognized expert, he has served on numerous committees for the following industry associations: SEMPO (Search Engine Marketing Professionals Organization), IAB (Internet Advertising Bureau), CGA (Casual Gaming Association), and the MMA (Mobile Marketing Association).

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Tempesta Media is the performance-based content marketing solution specifically developed to drive revenue for your business.

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