According to HubSpot's State of Inbound 2014 report, marketers who focus on blogging are 13 times more likely to achieve a positive return on their investment. We all know that content marketing works, now it's just a matter of figuring out how to make it work for you. Whether you're trying to get in the game but you don't have the time or the skills to write all that content, or you're trying to up your game by beefing up your blogs and online libraries, outsourcing content creation is a smart move.
There are many reasons for why you should outsource content marketing. Not only will you get content written by professional writers who dedicate themselves to mastering the craft of writing a variety of materials in many voices, but you also free yourself from the daily grind of content creation so you can see the big picture more clearly. If you're ready to outsource all or part of your content creation, here's how to do it right.
Own the Plan for Outsourcing Content Creation
According to the Content Marketing Institute's 2015 Benchmark Report, only 38% of marketers find their content strategy effective. Also, only 35% of them have a documented strategy. Do you think it's a coincidence that these numbers are about the same? When it comes to content creation, a solid plan is the only path to success.
If you're thinking about outsourcing content creation, it's even more important to have a detailed plan complete with an outline of the goals you're trying to meet. Do you want to attract more leads? Retain current customers and promote brand loyalty? Are you trying to create brand advocates? Are you trying to engage people socially?
Then, think about how you want to use content to achieve those goals. How often are you going to update your blog? What high-value pieces (i.e. whitepapers, case studies, ebooks) do you have or need created? How are you working the social media angle? You'll want to write down a very specific plan that includes dates, topics, keywords, and other content details.
Know Your Audience
The goal of content marketing is to anticipate the needs and problems of your target customer and create content that solves these problems and meets these needs. This means having a clear idea of who you are trying to reach. Think about demographic information like age, gender, and geographic location along with other specifics like job title or company type for B2B relationships, or role in the household, income, or family type if you're targeting customers directly.
If you're going to start outsourcing content creation, you need to refine the description of your target to just a few sentences so you can effectively communicate to your writers who it is you're trying to reach. For example, instead of attaching a four-page buyer persona study, try to refine it to something like "homeowners in Illinois with school-aged children who are looking for ways to update their kitchens on a budget without looking cheap."
Provide Clear Instructions
You've taken the time to come up with a clear plan of action and a super-refined description of who your audience is. Now give your writers the benefit of your hard work by giving them clear and detailed instructions on what you want to say and how you want to present it.
Are you creating daily blog posts that are meant to be light and informative with one or two takeaway points or are you providing detailed articles to supplement a lead-in from another page? Do you want the content to be witty or get right to the point? Try to find a few examples of the style you're looking for to help.
Also, be sure to specify how you want your content organized. Should bulleted lists be used or avoided? Any requirements for subheadings? Should sources be linked or cited and listed at the end? It might take a few tries to refine your instructions, but once you do you can use them for every piece of that type.
You Won't Lose Your Voice
Some people may worry that outsourcing content creation to a content writing agency will cause them to lose their unique voice and get a bland, more general voice instead. The truth is that skilled writers can create posts that fit right in to your brand's tone and style. Plus, by outsourcing the bulk of your content creation, your marketing staff (or you, as the case may be) will have more time for optimizing each piece, measuring the success of your efforts, and planning the next steps.
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