Bill Gates wrote back in 1996 that “content is king.” A company’s content reflects on their credibility. If their content is lacking, whether it is a poorly written blog post, inattention to popular social media outlets or a website that is a bit behind the times, it leaves a poor impression with potential consumers.
Due to the importance of having excellent, on-brand content, many companies try to retain control of their content for as long as possible. This arrangement is not always viable long term, though. Marketing teams can become overwhelmed, or team members may not have the expertise needed to create in-depth, expert content. Small, growing companies may not be able to afford a dedicated, full-time content marketer.
A practical solution for many companies is to outsource content creation. This allows companies to focus on other critical aspects of their businesses while still having an active online presence. For companies to decide whether outsourcing is right for them, there are some triggers that point to when it is time to outsource content marketing as well as what aspects of content creation might be best to keep in-house. As a company moves forward with outsourcing, there are strategies that are important to incorporate to maximize the value they get while minimizing the time they spend on it.
How to know it is time to outsource content creation
When it comes to content marketing, there is a lot to juggle. For example, more than 40 percent of marketers found a customer on LinkedIn, while more than 50 percent of marketers have found a customer using Facebook.
A company needs to be present in a lot of spaces with multiple types of content that are relevant to each audience. Although it is tempting to hold on to each aspect of a company’s message, there are some signs that point to when it is time to outsource content creation. Some common triggers are:
- An overwhelmed marketing staff. The responsibilities of a marketing team are nearly endless, including developing digital marketing strategies, handling public relations, planning events to promote the company or brand, going to trade shows and more. Crafting expert content that speaks to its intended audience is a time-consuming task that requires attention and research.
- A time–sensitive need to drive revenue. If the company is launching a new product or has seasonal product offerings, there may be a higher need for content over a shorter, six- to eight-month time frame to help generate leads.
- Content creation is taking up too much time. If there are staff members that are spending all their time on content creation at the expense of other responsibilities, it might be time to outsource.
- Their content is ineffective. The current content the company is using is not bringing in consistent, measurable results.
- There are more than 1,000 experts available in their industry. If there are a lot of people with expertise in an industry, it makes it more likely that the company will be able to find an expert who can craft relevant content quickly.
- No one has expertise in writing or content creation. Content marketing is more than just the words on the page. There needs to be a strategy behind the content, which requires expertise.
- Running out of ideas and inspiration for content. If coming up with something unique and interesting to write about is becoming a chore, it might be time to get some assistance.
- Missed deadlines. If the current content marketing team is unable to keep up with the need for fresh content or the time between each content asset delivery is getting longer and longer, it is a sign that some help is needed.
- No engagement. If the content that is being published is not getting any clicks or comments, it might be time for a fresh strategy from an outside source.
Deciding what to outsource
Outsourcing content creation is not an all or nothing proposition. Companies can, and should, pick and choose what aspects of content marketing should be kept in-house and which can benefit from a fresh pair of eyes.
For example, the more complex the content asset is, the more likely it is to be better served by keeping it in-house. Long-form blog posts with images, videos and quotes may be better served by an in-house marketing team. If the content is highly specialized and required in-depth industry knowledge, it may also be better served by an in-house team.
A company should also consider its strengths when contemplating outsourcing. For example, if they have a strong graphic designer, for example, it would make sense to keep that aspect of content creation in-house while outsourcing other aspects of the content creation process.
Website content is also most effectively created by an in-house team. A company’s website is often the first contact someone has with their company, so the content needs to be carefully crafted and on brand. An in-house team will know the company best and know what needs to be conveyed to their audience.
Not all long-form content needs to be kept in-house. White papers and thought leadership pieces lend themselves to being outsourced as they lend themselves to creativity. As long as the content marketing partner understands the goals and message required of the piece, an outside resource can craft an effective and memorable piece that reflects well on the company’s brand.
Some aspects of the content creation process that lend themselves to outsourcing include:
- Ideation, which can be done in coordination with an in-house team that is familiar with customer questions and pain points.
- Research, which can be time-consuming.
- Deciding on content format, which includes differentiating between website content and other types of content.
- Structuring content, including outlining pieces.
- Content creation, which includes writing content with marketing strategies in mind.
- Revision by stakeholders, which can be minimized by setting up a comprehensive profile with the outsourcing partner and reduces endless back-and-forth emails. An outsourcing partner can ensure revisions are completed quickly and to specifications.
- Refinement of the content creation process, which includes utilizing an outsourcing partner’s technological tools to streamline your content creation process.
Maximizing outsourcing while minimizing time
Outsourcing content creation might seem time-consuming at first. Time invested in building a relationship with a content marketing partner will pay off over the long run. Some strategies for making the most of outsourcing include:
- Having a comprehensive content strategy. If there is not a content strategy already in place, an outsourcing partner can work with the company to develop one.
- Take the time to find a great outsourcing solution, and then stick with it. Since outsourcing is time intensive at the beginning, switching from company to company can take up precious time. Look for a good company that offers writers with industry expertise and that will build a solid, consistent team of writers to work on the content. Even if the company content is very niche, a great outsourcing partner will find a writer that can undertake the research needed to create expert content.
- Set clear expectations. Communicate the voice and tone needed for content, the audience whom the content is intended to reach and the goals for the content. The clearer the expectations and instructions are for the writer, the more likely it is that the content will meet expectations.
- Provide background information. This is particularly important for niche industries. Provide the outsourcing company with relevant examples and resources for research, interviews that have been completed and what key points should be included in the content.
- Communicate. Dedicate a point person to work with the outsourcing partner and stay in touch throughout the process.
- Expect revisions. Editing is an essential part of the writing process. If the first draft is not perfect, provide detailed notes on what needs to be improved.
- Coordinate with stakeholders. Know exactly who the stakeholders are for each piece and ensure they have the opportunity to review and sign off on relevant content pieces.
- Measure and communicate performance. Decide on what key performance indicators are important and measure those regularly. Communicate the results to the outsourcing company so they can improve content moving forward.
Outsourcing content creation can relieve stress, save time and ensure that your message gets across to consumers. Tempesta Media is a full-service, cost-effective partner who can help your business grow. Their unique process ensures that you get the content you need when you need it. Contact us today to find out how we can maximize your time and content marketing efforts.