Today high-quality content creation is an essential aspect of any successful marketing plan. Ninety-two percent of marketers reported that their company views content as a business asset, according to Content Marketing Institute. However, many brands don’t have the time or technical skill sets among small teams to create a holistic content strategy and execute it on a consistent basis. That’s where outsourcing — hiring freelance content creators — can come into play. In this article, we’ll cover how to know if you should explore outsourcing content marketing for your brand and some of the benefits of this practice.
Is Outsourcing Content the Right Move for Your Brand?
Before jumping right in and hiring freelance content creators, you’ll want to evaluate whether or not outsourcing content is appropriate for your brand. Generally speaking, outsourcing content creation would be ideal for marketing teams who don’t have the time or resources to produce in-house content themselves. This could include a myriad of types of content like photography, podcasts, videos, blogs, white papers, GIFs, and graphic design.
Good Reasons to Outsource
Some reasons teams often outsource their content include:
- Lack of internal expertise and time
- Need flexibility in financial investment
- Desire to try something new but don’t want to commit to a full-time team member yet
Bad Reasons to Outsource
On the flip side, there are also bad reasons to outsource your content creation. Some include:
- You don’t want to have anything to do with the project
- You think you’ll be able to get high-quality work for cheap
How To Outsource Content: 4 Key Steps
Once you’ve thought through if your brand is in a position to benefit from outside freelancers, there are four key steps to follow to ensure a seamless creation process.
Step 1: Determine Your Needs and Create a Budget
First, you’ll need to get organized. Identify what your brand’s specific content needs are and how much you’re willing to invest to execute the project. During this step, it’s essential to figure out precisely what you need from an agency or a freelancer. Do you need content writing services? If so, do you need long-form writers or social media advertising writers? Do you need images? Will you need an editor? Do you need a video? The answers to all of these questions will impact the budget.
If your team is tighter on finances, this would also be the time to think about where your internal team may be able to help out if any budget constraints come up. For example, if you’re hiring a videographer, can someone on your team storyboard or write the script for the videographer? One way to bring costs down — while still getting the most out of an outside content creator — is to think about the parts of each project that your in-house team members have the skills and time to tackle themselves.
Step 2: Vet Your Content Creators Thoroughly and Test New Contractors/Freelancers
After you’ve fleshed out all the logistics, you’ll need to move on to finding, vetting, and testing freelancers or contractors. This is an extremely important step as you don’t just want to pick a freelancer and assign them a huge project immediately. You’ll want to consider these questions when vetting content creators:
- Do they have the experience that aligns with the needs of your project?
- Do their rates align with your budget?
- Do they have a portfolio of work they’ve done in the past?
- Do they have references you can reach out to, if necessary?
After the vetting process, we recommend trying out new freelancers with a trial period or test. Make it clear to the freelancer that you’d like them to agree to a trial project before bringing them on for something larger. Most content creators are used to this and should be on board if they are legitimate. Keep in mind, this trial should be paid. You should never expect a freelancer to do work for free.
A trial project is also a great way to determine how you work with an individual freelancer. If your working style bumps up against theirs, it will be better to know upfront than when you’re knee-deep in a big project.
An example of a trial period could look like this: If you’re hiring a freelance photographer after you’ve seen examples of their work, ask them to edit a few social media images that you already have on hand. This way, you’re still receiving a service and the freelancer is still getting paid for a job, but the stakes are a bit lower than handing them a huge project right off the bat.
Step 3: Provide Your Outsourced Teams With the Insights They Need to Succeed
After you’ve gone through a trial period with a contract content creator, it’s important to provide them with an onboarding experience. This doesn’t need to be as in-depth as a full-time employee, but you’ll want the freelancer to feel informed about your brand and also further understand your expectations. This onboarding could include giving them brand guidelines, style guide and formatting rules for freelance writers, access to the tools necessary for the job like templates, industry and target audience information, internal guidelines about revisions, and any context they’ll need to be successful in their role.
Additionally, during this onboarding process, you’ll want to make yourself (or another team member who will be coordinating their projects) available for any questions your freelancer may have. Letting a freelance content creator know you’re there for them along the way will help in building a trusting and successful working relationship.
Step 4: Start Scaling Your Content Creation With Your Proven Creators
Once you’ve successfully established a solid process for content creation, you’ll be able to replicate it and apply it to additional freelance projects and creators. This will inevitably help with a steady flow of content production, which will keep your marketing efforts moving and your brand growing.
During this scaling process, you will also be able to start to determine what works for your target audience and what doesn’t, which will allow you to pull back in some areas and expand in others. For example, you may notice that one graphic designer’s posts perform better on social media while another designer’s don’t get as much interaction. This is valuable information you can apply to future marketing campaigns.
7 Benefits of Outsourcing Content Creation
The practice of outsourcing content creation has caught on in B2B and B2C businesses alike. In fact, 55% of B2C marketers reported that they outsource their content marketing strategy needs, according to Content Marketing Institute. And B2B companies of all sizes reported outsourcing part of their content marketing efforts. Based on these facts, it is clear that there are benefits to outsourcing content creation. Let’s dig deeper into some of these.
1) Frees up Company Time
Whether you want to implement a new video strategy or create and execute a more robust blog strategy, it will take time. If you’ve tried to accomplish this by yourself in the past, you probably quickly realized that the time you put into your new content strategy took time away from other pressing tasks that are required to keep your organization running.
Even tapping into other team members to help execute new strategies may not be possible in startup or high-growth environments. Outsourcing content creators will free up time in your day to work on other tasks while you can still manage your team of contracted creators.
2) Saves Your Company Money
It may seem easier at first glance to simply do everything in-house since you already have a team of full-time employees. However, trying to keep everything internal rarely makes the most financial sense and may not be cost-effective over time. The other alternative of hiring full-time subject matter experts in-house, like content writers or graphic designers, may also cost a lot more than using freelance content creators.
Even though high-quality freelancer rates may seem steep on paper, they have expertise that you probably don’t have in-house, so in the long run, it can pay off because you won’t have to re-do content or try to learn several years’ worth of expertise in a matter of months.
3) Gives You a Flexible Headcount
A flexible headcount may be especially important for your brand if you’re a startup still in a stage of rapid growth and not cash flow secure just yet. You may not be able to commit to hiring a team of 10 graphic designers, but you may be comfortable with outsourcing to that many people, even if the goal is to hire them in-house eventually.
Outsourcing freelance content creators can also give your company flexibility to go all-in on projects when the budget is there but also gives you the option to pull back during times when finances may be tighter. This also means you can pull back when certain strategies are not working and take the proper time to re-strategize rather than pivoting too fast in order just to keep a full-time team member busy.
Lastly, there is a great benefit in having freelancers in your network to tap into solely for projects that only come around a few times per year, such as a quarterly market update.
4) Creates a Scalable Marketing Process
Once you set up a solid process for freelancers and contractors, outsourcing content allows you to have a fast and efficient process compared to doing everything yourself. You will essentially be managing from a high level, not in the weeds as you may have been if you hired everyone in-house to create your own content. A solid content marketing agency has the ability to beef up your brand’s production of posts. Discover more about different use cases for content creators your brand could tap into.
5) Leverages Others’ Knowledge and Expertise
Another huge benefit of outsourcing your content creation is the ability to leverage others’ knowledge and expertise. Your team may be great at certain things but may lack knowledge in other areas. That is absolutely OK because nobody can do it all. And especially during high-growth periods, you may not be able to invest the time or money into training or continued education to fill those gaps among your in-house team members. This is where outside content creators can have a huge impact.
Additionally, leveraging the knowledge and expertise of a contract or freelance content creator means you are expanding your available SME resources and can publish more content to support your brand on a regular basis. If you were trying to do everything in-house, it may take longer to get content out because all of your team members already have other jobs they attend to on a daily basis. There are only so many hours in a day.
6) Lets You Reach a Larger Audience
When you outsource your content to professionals, you can reach a wider audience. This is because the freelancers you work with are experts in their own area, which means you’re able to feel confident they have the skills to target exactly who your brand needs. The mindset of an outside content creator can also be extremely beneficial to your brand as they typically stay up on all the latest marketing trends. Not being involved in the day-to-day happenings of your brand can be a huge benefit as well because they will be able to see things from a different perspective. This can lead to fresh, new ideas.
Additionally, if you build a good relationship with your content creators, it may also open the door to request that they share the content they’ve created with their own audience. Some content creators are also influencers, which can fuel excitement for your brand. If this is the case, you could even collaborate on a content creation and influencer campaign. You can learn more here about the difference between content creators and influencers and how working with both can be beneficial for your brand.
7) Lets You Test Out Different Types of Content
In addition to the lack of financial commitment involved when working with a content creator who specializes in one area, working with freelancers can give you the option to try new strategies or projects before you go all in.
For example, if you are interested in launching a white paper series but aren’t sure how it will perform, you can hire a good writer for a set number of white papers, then market those papers internally and track metrics.
Another option could be to hire two professional writers, have them each write one white paper, and see which one performs better. This could give you a glimpse into whose writing style best aligns with your brand as well as help you identify how further optimization could be used in the future.
Hire and Manage Content Creators With Popular Pays
Now that you’ve learned the ins and outs of outsourcing content creation, you may be ready to start connecting with creators to help create your own great content. To find, vet, and manage creators, look no further than Popular Pays. The Pop Pays platform will help you maximize efficiency in your digital marketing efforts, reduce costs, and seamlessly manage and track the entire process of working with freelance content creators. Learn more and get started today.