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Inbound Marketing Blog

No Time to Blog? A Beginners' Guide to Outsourcing Content

4:55 PM on February 7, 2013 by Julien Renaud

no time to blogWant to start blogging for your business, but just can’t seem to find the time to write, let alone create a meaningful content strategy? Help is on hand if you know where to look – it’s never been easier to outsource your content production. Andrew Gough, Versio2 editor, explains the ins and outs.

Whether you go with freelancers or agencies, outsourcing the creation of your written content – including blog articles, ebooks / white papers and press releases – is a great way to save time, there’s no doubt about that. But for every pro there’s a con to consider, and here at Versio2, we’ve pretty much considered them all. With much experience we’ve fine tuned our own strategic content creation and are happy to share some secrets.

(Image by Kriss Szkurlatowski; 12frames.eu)

On to the good stuff...

FREELANCERS

Freelance copywriters are the mavericks of the marketing world. Going it alone, not affiliated to anyone in particular and kings of their own world. Finding the right one yourself means you cut out any middlemen, BUT the search can often be arduous and frustrating. Why? Because you probably also need help crafting your content strategy – not always something a copywriter can do – and if you outsourced your content it’s unlikely you have time to edit the work they send through.

Pros

  • Communicate directly with the writer
  • Spend time building a relationship with one writer (requires time and trust)

Cons

  • No copyeditor, so you’ll have to edit yourself
  • Specialist writers are expensive
  • No guarantees of meeting deadlines
  • Copywriters aren’t usually content strategists too
  • You’ll still have to write your own briefs
  • Rates vary wildly and for different types of content

How to spot a good one 

A good freelancer is one who meets deadlines, conducts research and doesn’t need much editing. An amazing freelancer is either specialised (difficult to find or expensive) or versatile enough to write as if they’re a specialist (a sign of excellent research skills).

How to find one 

Elance and Zerys for the brave. Both have a ratings system for giving you some idea of the calibre of writer you’ve found. Always ask for examples of work from their portfolio, ideally client work published online but doc files or PDFs should do. 

In our opinion

We work with freelancers regularly and have a great relationship with all of them, but we also have the relative luxury of a dedicated person in charge of overseeing and managing their work (yours truly). We also specialise in content strategy, so we have a perfect idea of what we need and clear briefs. This may not be the case if you’re a small business owner or someone in charge of a modest marketing department.

COPYWRITING AGENCIES

Agencies specialising in content creation are often cheaper than niche writers. For example, if you’re a company conducting scientific research, and you wanted to blog about your work, you’d want to find a freelancer with an academic background. An ex-academic copywriter? There are plenty, but they’re expensive.

An agency on the other hand usually employs or works with a team of writers covering a broad range of subjects. Good agencies will tell you if they can’t match your requirements, and bad ones won't trick you for long.

Pros

  • Able to handle a broad range of subjects
  • Almost all write for SEO if you provide keyword guidance
  • Usually have an editor
  • Many can help with content strategy
  • Provide other content-related services e.g. translation

Cons

  • You’ll rarely meet directly with your writer(s)
  • Generally stricter when it comes to revisions and procedures

How to spot a good one 

Easy, look for a great website and client list. Expect the highest professional standards, so discount the ones that don’t get back to you within a few days, or reply to your email with one full of typos.

How to find one

Google! Also, there are plenty on Elance where you’ll find portfolio work and client lists.

In our opinion

Content marketing is a Versio2 speciality, so we work with both agencies and freelancers to provide content for our clients. Both have their pros and cons – it’s really about knowing which to use when, and that comes with experience.

We could write volumes on this subject, so if you really want to know more about how to outsource your content, pick up the phone and drop us a line. We know when to use freelancers, and when to use agencies, so our clients only ever see the pros. Every business is different – book your free marketing consultation today.

Topics: Top Tips, Content Marketing

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