Even if your company struggles to develop meaningful content in-house, the thought of outsourcing content creation -- investing money and time in a person or company outside of your organization -- might make you uncomfortable.
We’ve certainly heard reasons for not going this route – from “no one knows our industry like we do” to “we can’t risk our customers knowing we didn’t produce the material.” But if you consider some of the data below about outsourcing content creation, you might not be so set on building an in-house content creation team.
- 51% of B2B marketers highlight lack of bandwidth/time to produce content as one of the key content marketing challenges.
- 50% of B2B marketers list creating content variety and volume as top content marketing challenges.
- 30% of B2B marketers have outsourced their content or hired external agencies for content creation.
- The two most outsourced content marketing initiatives are writing (44%) and graphic designing (41%).
- Marketers are outsourcing almost 18% of their content, with the remaining being curated, created in-house, or syndicated.
- Only 25% of marketers are not outsourcing content creation.
Why DIY Content Creation Can Be a Costly Affair
Still not convinced outsourcing content creation makes sense? Many marketers and small business owners believe that hiring in-house writers for content creation is cost-effective and simple. But here are three reasons why DIY content creation can be costlier than you think:
Lost job hours. Allocating time from your primary focus areas can lead to unproductivity and prevent you or others on your team from completing tasks on time. For instance, if you’re great at business development, then dedicating even 30% of your time to content creation would mean less time spent on revenue-producing activities.
Limited leads and sales opportunities. You may be an excellent writer and know your industry inside and out, but do you understand how to properly use content to reach your target audience? Content creation companies bring you writers with expertise in branding, search engine optimization (SEO), storytelling, user-experience, driving traffic, targeting leads, and more. Similarly, social media experts come with expertise in engaging an audience on social media, enhancing content reach, and so on. If your in-house content creation team lacks expertise in these areas, you’re ultimately costing your company the opportunity to generate leads and sales.
Lack of audience retention and low readership. Research shows that the success of your content marketing efforts and content strategy are strongly correlated. You need to understand your audience inside-out and identify what they want to read. Only then can you build a long-term content plan for keeping them engaged. Outsourcing content creation is a cost-effective way to improve the success of your content marketing campaigns. Moreover, you get skilled resources to create engaging content across a variety of channels which will generate better leads and increased sales.
How to Outsource Content Creation
Now are you ready to outsource your content creation? Here’s a four-step plan to get you started.
1. Understand Your Budget and Organizational Requirements
Like any other marketing method, the more you spend on content creation, the better the results will be. First, though, you need to build a full-proof content strategy. Assess existing skills in your team and then decide what you want to outsource. 42% of companies do not have the necessary skills to implement content marketing effectively. If you don’t have a clear picture of what you need, you can end up wasting all your budget.
Another aspect of understanding your organizational requirements is identifying whether you want to work with a content creation agency or freelancer. Both can be good options; however, each has its pros and cons. A freelancer probably charges less than a content creation agency. On the other hand, a content creation agency will be better equipped, with specialists on their team such as writers and editors, social media experts, designers, and more.
2. Determine What You Want to Outsource
Once you know your content requirements and build a strategy, you can decide what makes sense to outsource. Any skills that your team lacks or any content-related projects you can’t do in-house can potentially be outsourced -- such as social media management, ideation, content creation, and illustration.
3. Run Test Projects
Instead of asking the content creation company or freelancer to share samples, it would be a good idea to run a test project. This is how you can test delivery timelines, content quality, and editing. And, most importantly, don’t narrow down your choice to one vendor — test a few companies or writers before you make a final choice.
4. Provide the Vendor with All the Information They Need
Just as you’d properly equip an in-house team member, provide the agency or freelancer with everything they need to be successful with the project. This includes creative briefs, campaign outlines, target audience related information, your company’s style guide, and more. Make sure you over-communicate in the beginning to avoid last-minute issues after the content is created.
This plan will help you identify a service provider that’s a good match for your company. After a few projects, you should discover that your new content creation team requires far less of your time than at the start. And that’s when you’ll begin to see why outsourcing content creation makes so much sense!