Content marketing is a vital part of building any business.
You know this. But as a business owner, you have so many other things to do than endlessly putting out quality content.
So, how do you keep your publishing consistent while still leaving time to do the critical work to grow?
How to scale content creation for your business blog
Outsourcing is an option. Using an experienced freelance writer, writers who create content on assignment rather than as a full-time role (i.e. self-employed writers), for business content ranging from ad copy to white papers, has many upsides. But there are some risks.
There are plenty of pros to hiring a freelance content writer, particularly your ability to rely on one person to keep consistent work with high levels of attention to detail while still providing your brand with a unique identity.
Attention to detail
Copywriters and freelance content creators are writers. That’s the whole job. They’ll ensure your work goes out without repetitive sentences and spelling and grammar mistakes. They also might be more focused on the quality of the writing than selling to your customers. This might sound like a disadvantage, but a lot of audiences don’t appreciate sales-y writing. They want to be entertained and provided with engaging, helpful information.
Writers are experts at taking old ideas and putting them together in new ways. They’ll be able to create new content and turn old content into new ideas that can hold your readers' interests.
A consistent voice for your blog
The right content creator can match the tone and style that attracts the clients and customers you’re looking for.
Copywriters aren’t just for your blog or social media. A strong writer is great for all kinds of content – from ad copy, to pitch decks, to scripts for your video tutorials. They can even help craft a persuasive call-to-action (CTA) or elevator pitch, or help you find the perfect tagline.
Save time and money
It’s surprisingly cost-effective and straightforward to hire a content creator from one of the many ghost blogging and freelance job banks online. Not only does it mean you spend less time creating content, but you can pay much less than you would by having a copywriter on staff.
There are a few pitfalls you need to watch out for when using freelancers. In a world where content is king, bad content can be worse than no content at all. Worst-case scenario, it can be the executioner that kills your brand.
Here are some of the potential risks of outsourcing your content creation.
Many freelance copywriters are just starting out in their careers, looking for portfolio pieces and first clients. Some are talented up-and-comers, but many content sites don’t have extensive screening processes, and you could end up with low or inconsistent quality work.
Creating a consistent tone
If you’re using content sites, you’re not always going to get the same writers. That makes it harder to match your tone and style.
Timing can be tough
Sometimes you might schedule a delivery, but a writer cancels or you need a few rewrites. This throws off the publication date and your overall publishing calendar.
It takes time to find the best writers for your needs, and even more time setting up a smooth content creation process.
Keep in mind that most of the above mentioned pros and cons all depend on the quality of your writers and how you manage them. You need to invest time and energy upfront to avoid these risks and get all the benefits of delegating your writing later.
Finding and hiring the right writers
The trick to avoiding the pitfalls of outsourcing articles is to find the right writers. There are a few tricks to spot your magical wordsmith.
Check out profiles
Most freelance writers have portfolio pieces on their profiles. Failing that, check the rating of the writer you’re using. Many freelance sites have some kind of ranking system. They often come with reviews, so you can find the best writers the site has to offer.
Generally, freelance sites offer you a rate per word count. Outsourcing is a great way to save money; offer a fair rate for the word count you actually want. This way, you will get writers who already banked some experience who appreciate working with you.
Know what you’re looking for, but be flexible
Different content writers have different styles and workflows. Be clear about exactly what you need. If you’re looking for something that requires a specific format and list of specifications to follow, provide examples of what you’re looking for.
If you need a creative spin, such as for a blog post or video script, keep an open line of communication. Give your writers room to get creative when they need to and supply helpful feedback.
Your CMS can determine a surprising amount of your content-related decisions.
Though there are plenty of content managing systems to choose from, providing a range of functionality, you want to think about the type of content you want to highlight.
If you’re looking to focus on blogging, you need very different features than if you want to create a lot of video tutorials. Some content management systems do better with video and image-heavy sites, where the last thing you want is to experience a lag.
When you’re shopping around for a CMS look for these essential controls:
Flexibility. The goal of your CMS is to keep it simple. To add functionality as you go with simple ways to input codes for widgets and new pages and sites.
Permission control and security measures. You need a CMS to make it easier for everyone on your team to do their job, but if you’re going to be outsourcing some of the work, you don’t want anyone going somewhere they’re not supposed to. Your CMS should come with security measures so that everyone can stay focused on the job they were hired for.
Scalability. The content needs to keep coming! Your business and your website are going to grow with time, and you want a CMS system that can accommodate the growth.
In addition to a CMS, finding the right content marketing software tools to help you streamline more aspects of your content marketing workflow might be the next step to take for your company.
Notes on article briefs
We’ve talked about the importance of keeping an open line of communication when it comes to hiring freelancers.
One of the best ways to do this is to provide clear briefs and style guides. Having a robust template can not only speed up your search for the right writers, but it also takes a lot of pressure off the writers, and you get content that you’re happier with in a faster turnaround time!
To help your writers, remember to add these to your style guides or article briefs as you’re on the hunt for the best freelancers:
What is your brand? If you have a persona in mind, describe it. If not, providing a link to your blog to get a feel for tone and style works.
Does your content need specific keyword placement? Keywords, word count, and intended audience; the best material is natural-sounding, but if you have specific SEO requirements in mind, make sure to mention them.
What platforms will you be using? A blog will take a very different tone to an Instagram post. Ad copy is significantly different from product descriptions.
Why are you writing this content on? A post about "German Shepherd dogs” covers a lot of ground. A post about “training new German Shepherd pups” is more likely to give you what you want. You can talk about what kind of conversion you’re looking for or mention a specific call to action, but try not to get too bogged down in SEO details. Writers write. It’s a writer’s job to create natural-sounding, engaging content that could have been written by an expert. It’s your job to make sure it gets read.
Training and managing writers
So, you’ve found the writer(s) of your dreams. You’ve got a clear idea of what you need from them, you’ve protected your website so they can do the work without risking the security of your site. How do you keep them on deadline and keep that high-quality content flowing?
It’s simpler than you think to spot and keep talented writers. The main point is one of communication.
Clear article briefs and an easily-repeatable workflow are essential. Let your writers know which deadlines are hard and which are soft. Provide detailed instructions and outlines that tell your writers everything they need to know about the project.
Understand that no two writers have identical styles, no matter how specific your orders are. Learn to spot which voices work best where, and you’ll soon have a team of talented writers for everything from ad copy, to pitching, to social media experts!
The constant need for new and relevant content for your clients and customers is a tall order. You want a consistent “voice” your customers can recognize. You need to maintain an edge of expertise, without just treading over the same content. One of the best things you can do for your business and your content marketing is to hire a writer.
Outsourcing to freelance content creators can save you time and money. The trick is to have a plan in place to manage your content writers and a clear idea of what you are trying to do with each piece of content you put out.
Combine this with your communication skills and you can build a great team of cut-price talent to draw from. That means you get more time to grow your business while still giving your content an edge.
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