Your Get-it-Done Guide on Outsourcing Content Creation

Whatever your strategy, budget and budget, the success of your content marketing program is based on one essential element: having the talent to execute your projects.

This puts skilled writers in a position of strength. Despite the imminent specter of AI robots capable of creating assets at the speed of light and on an impressive scale, even the most sophisticated systems are not equipped to deal with the emotional depth and resonance of a story designed carefully by humans.

Having the talent to execute your #contentmarketing plans puts experienced writers in a position of strength. @joderama Click to Tweet

Score a point for my fellow creators of "flesh-and-blood" content. Of course, the high demand for our skills prevents marketing teams and marketing agencies from enriching their internal outsourced talent teams.

I played the role of recruiter and recruiter of content talent. With this experience, I've put together some tips and advice to help you find, analyze, and integrate the outsourced writers to meet your content marketing needs.

Before you begin, marketers outsource many content creation tasks – copywriting, editing, design, production, project management, video creation, and more. The process described can be adapted to the task of hiring one of these roles. For the moment, however, let's take a closer look at outsourcing editors able to create blog posts, ebooks, social media posts, and so on. optimized and optimized for SEO.

Are you ready to outsource?

Companies generally outsource content creation as soon as they agree that they do not have the time or the talent to produce content of the quality, volume, or scale they need to achieve their goals .

Recognizing that you need help is not the only part of the process that requires introspection. You must also know the type of help you need, as well as the skills and abilities needed to do the job well.

1st stage of subcontracting? Accept your ability to produce quality content on a large scale, says @joderama . Click To Tweet

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Describe your needs and your processes

Before contacting the editors, make an honest inventory of your content needs and expectations, and the extent to which freelance writers can integrate them into your content infrastructure.

Consider:

The types of content you want them to create. Identify the topics, formats, and platforms that they will work with, the number of words expected, and the specifics of content creation in these circumstances. Will they need to conduct research? Interview experts? Create and edit video stories? Are there materials to which they can refer or from which they can prepare?
Role they will play in your creation and distribution process. Will they need to work with your company's systems and tools? Should they be ready to function as a fully integrated member of your team or do you prefer to connect their services when needed?
Volume and frequency of the planned content. How often will you need it to deliver new assets? Will there be a schedule or will you use their ad hoc services?
Objectives. What do you want their content to help your business accomplish? How will you evaluate their performance against these goals?
Governance and the content process. Do you have style and branding guidelines for the types of content they will provide? Have you determined how their role will be integrated into your team's editorial workflow? Are there regulatory, technical, procedural or legal guidelines to which they will have to comply?
Systems, tools and resources of the team. Do you have the tools and technical systems needed to produce and distribute their content assets successfully? Will they have access to all members of your team or will they work primarily with a dedicated supervisor or contact person? What access should they have to your company's experts, intranets and knowledge bases and / or other content tools and resources?
Financial considerations Do you have enough money to attract and retain their services? Will you pay fees per project or set an hourly rate? How will you handle billing and payment? (Do not forget that freelancers' rates may be higher than those you pay to your internal editors because you do not pay their taxes on jobs, their insurance or other benefits.)

Ensuring that you are properly configured to work with outsourced talent requires an immediate effort. But if you define the criteria before hiring a freelancer, you will benefit from:

Less friction between all content creation processes.
Increased harmonization with the expectations and objectives of your company.
Longer-term commitments that are more trustworthy and mutually satisfying with the editors you involve.

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Where to find great candidates

Assuming that your organization does not have a pool of preferred writing providers, you can choose from several methods to start your search for talent – each with advantages and disadvantages:

Solicit recommendations. Access your professional networks and see if anyone has any suggestions.
For: Someone vouches for the work and professionalism of the writer.
Disadvantages: Great writers are hard to find and people may hesitate to recommend their best writers if that means they will be less available.

Harness your professional networks to identify independent writer candidates, advises @joderama. Click to tweet
Post the mission on a bulletin board or online talent swap. Consider freelance services like Upwork or LinkedIn Pro-Finder; forums like Writer's Den or Problogger; or associations representing professional writers, such as the Freelancer's Union.
For: Access to a variety of skills and expertise; you can usually search by narrow criteria (subject expertise, writing style, fee rate, industry experience, etc.)
Cons: Often open and uncontrolled markets, where writers can … well … be creative in the way they characterize their skills and work experience. It can be difficult to assess the suitability of a writer for the task or to sort the ranks of viable candidates.

Work with a recruitment agency or content marketing platform. Platforms such as Contently, Skyword, and NewsCred, as well as recruiters like Robert Half, Writing Assistance, and Artisan Creative offer a range of services designed to connect marketers with independent talent.
For: Typically, these services check their talent pool and provide you with tools to help you manage the writer's work on an ongoing basis.
Disadvantages: The full-service route costs more. These resources are more appropriate for long-term or ongoing writing needs or for temporary situations.

Research and directly recruit writers. Here is a recommendation from an insider of the publication: check out some of the main media resources (publications / blogs / news sites) relevant to your sector and consult the statutes. If you identify some authors whose work has an impact, check their LinkedIn profiles to see if they are part of the staff. Otherwise, they can be open for freelance missions. Do not go out of your way to introduce yourself and find out – even if they are not interested, they can recommend other writers.

Whatever techniques you choose, do not forget that professional writers are skilled craftsmen and that making a living with paid work allows them to earn a living. Unless you are a professional or professional media, do not expect them to write "for advertising" (that is, without financial compensation).

Unless you are a specialized media organization, do not ask a writer to write without financial compensation. @joderama Click to Tweet

As a person who has received many requests of this type, here's what I think about this question: If your company's content marketing program really has the power to advance my writing career, chances are that I will approach you for an opportunity, not the other way around.

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Verification of your candidates

Professional content creators can come from many disciplines: marketing, journalism, copywriting, technical writing, research, and so on. While many writers have flexible skills that they can apply to virtually any type of content, others find it difficult to perform tasks too far away from their area of ​​expertise.

To find candidate writers who can succeed in your conditions, search for:

Relevant Content Creation Skills : Do they have any editorial experience in the style or format you are looking for? Do their backgrounds and training match your needs (for example, can copywriters adapt their voices to create compelling narrative narratives)?
Technical and tactical knowledge: Would they accept time-saving tasks such as typing or copying directly into your content management system? Do they understand how to optimize the copy for a keyword or to target an audience? Do they know the right way to check and verify their sources, or do they assign information / images that they can refer to or that can be reused from outside sources?
Adaptability: Can they assume different types of writing work or do they prefer to focus on one type of content? Can they manage multiple assignments at once? Can they easily change the subject when they write for a different audience or when they adopt a different tone?
Subject Matter Expertise: How do you know your industry – lexicon / jargon, relevant trends and issues, as well as key players? Do they have contacts they can contact when needed for an article idea? A good writer can certainly learn these details as they work, but things go better if someone understands in a natural way the opportunities and challenges faced by companies like yours and can contextualize their copy accordingly.
Public notice: Have they written for an audience like yours? Do they have an understanding of their problems, preferences and interests? Again, they can learn it on the job, but if they know your audience's point of view and perspective, it will be easier to create convincing stories (which means less editing and revision of your part).
Logistics / Accessibility: Will they be available on your new assignment? How long do they react when you reach? Do they work in the same time zone as your company? Do they live close enough to be able to go to your office, if necessary, for a brainstorming session or a team meeting?
Writing samples and professional mentions: Do they have an online website or portfolio that you can consult? Can you see testimonials from current or past clients? Are they members of writers' unions or professional associations?

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Writing Tests

An interview provides only subjective evidence of a writer's skills and abilities. As part of your audit process, be sure to review a few samples of the candidate's portfolio.

However, this does not always give a clear picture of their capabilities – nor an idea of ​​what it took for the publisher to turn the original asset into a ready-to-publish format. You can use a written test (like the one below) to assess their skills, creativity, and style to meet your needs. This is especially important if you work in an industry with strict regulatory requirements or if you expect writers to conform to a particular style or tone of voice.

As part of your selection process, use a writing test to assess your skills, creativity, and style, @joderama explains. # location Click for Tweet

This exercise will not only help you assess their creative abilities and technical know-how as a marketing writer, but you can see the raw format to see what work your internal team might need to transfer their assets in your environment. process of reviewing and approving the content of the company.

Do not ask what your subcontract writers can do for you …

I hope your selection and interview process will lead you to well qualified writers who want to work with your company. But before unleashing their creativity to your audience, equip them with all the tools they need to succeed in their partnership with your company:

Your Content Marketing Strategy . Share the key details of your content mission, your target audience and the brand's history with everyone involved in creating your content, including outsourced talent.
Your editorial plan . Include details about your brand's preferred style and tone of voice, content quality guidelines, and governance practices.
Access to the members of the team concerned . Include their names and roles in the content creation process, in addition to the list of subject matter experts and their contact information.
KPIs and performance data . If the terms of their engagement with your company require them to meet their goals (such as leads, page views, comments, or conversions), give them access to performance reports from your marketing system or Google. Analytics so that they can view the data. is.
Resources and Technical Requirements . Make sure they have access to the editorial systems and services needed – CMS, stock accounts or cloud collaboration tools. And be sure to inform them of other details of the editorial process they may need – keywords / phrases to target, metadata structures, file naming conventions, and so on.
Models and other marking materials If you have designed proprietary assets, such as company logos or PowerPoint templates, share them.

Secure the future of your content

One of my favorite creative visionaries (Joe Strummer) once encouraged his audience to make significant changes by pointing out that "the future is not written". But you do not want it to stay that way just having enough creative resources to fuel the evolution of your brand's content.

Have you found excellent partners for content writing through outsourcing? Share what you did in the comments.

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You may also be able to find great talent among the thousands of people attending the largest content marketing event in the world. Get ready today to participate in Content Marketing World in September. Use the code CMIBLOG100 to save $ 100.

Note: All the tools included in our blog posts are suggested by the authors, not by the CMI editorial team. No post can provide all the relevant tools in the space. Do not hesitate to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or those you used).

Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute

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