Mistakes when outsourcing content creation can damage or hinder the performance of your digital marketing plan. It is becoming increasingly common for companies to delegate this work to third parties. This has many advantages, particularly as the implementation of a content strategy requires frequent high-quality publications. This is necessary to create a strong SEO presence that will attract your audience and convert them into leads.
We will detail the most common pitfalls for you here and advise as to how you can overcome them. First and foremost, you must ensure that your brand message is consistent, no matter who creates the content. Although it may seem impossible, applying three simple recommendations will help you increase the effectiveness of your digital strategy without carrying all the weight on your shoulders.
Common mistakes when outsourcing content creation
Outsourcing any task involves ceding some degree of control to a third party. At times, this can be somewhat unsettling, as it is essential to perfect and safeguard the message you want to get across to your audience. The key to staying the course is effective management. You should approach the task of delegating just as you would with any other business operation.
It is not advisable to leave the results to chance or shrug off responsibility. You need to identify potential bottlenecks and be familiar with the weak points of the process. Experience has taught us that the following are the most common mistakes when outsourcing content writing.
1. Minimal guidance for the content writer
Simply giving a content writer a topic and tasking them to write a text that meets your expectations is not sufficient direction. It is important that the writer understands the context as well as your expectations. Beyond the number of words, you need to provide clear guidelines for the work.
This should include both technical indications and reference information. Make sure you communicate who the content is intended for, what you hope to achieve with it and what the resources are. The writer must have the resources to understand what the brand is about and how it speaks. You must also provide parameters regarding the length, keywords to incorporate and the formatting.
This may seem like a Herculean task, but it will save you significant time and corrections. It is highly recommended that you share your style guide, especially if you are outsourcing content for the first time. In some companies, this is very specific and includes definitions of terms, suggested language and structure.
You should also prepare a presentation and be accessible to answer frequently asked questions about your brand. The depth of these materials will depend on the complexity of the industry and the type of content you outsource.
2. Overloading the order with details
The other side of the coin here is that providing too much detail may be counterproductive. On one hand, preparing the work order will use your valuable time. In fact, it may take you longer to do this than to write the text yourself. It’s certainly a poor use of your time and resources. Moreover, it can become a vise that limits the writer and detracts from the spontaneity and relevancy of the content.
Focus on limiting the guidelines to basic instructions and relevant information. The use of reference material can be much more helpful than a detailed description of your expectations. Leave the writer to their work and offer space for the writer to apply creativity. This can also help you discover new perspectives and themes to develop.
3. Inadequate selection of the writer
Writing skills should not be the sole requirement for writers creating powerful content. Each project requires certain qualities and knowledge. There is no doubt that a writer should have the skills to produce quality content. However, they must also be able to adapt their writing to a content format, specific topic or tone of communication.
You should make sure that your selected writer speaks the same language as your audience. This is even more important than familiarity with the industry. Ultimately, the technical aspects can be researched and learned.
4. Delegating content creation to a single person
Content creation is a process that requires a variety of skills. At first, content writing may seem like nothing more than constructing a coherent text by putting together a few hundred words. But behind every piece of content marketing there is research, editing and design work. Even if you provide the keywords, employing only one writer can be a limited solution.
Even writers who have won Nobel Prizes were able to succeed with the collaboration of an editor. The texts go through a series of revisions and corrections from third parties to avoid overlooking any errors. Your content is your brand image, your letter of introduction. You shouldn’t take any risks. A small syntax error or misspelling can affect the perception of the quality and professionalism of your company.
On the other hand, how your content is presented can attract or dissuade your audience. Things as basic as the choice of typography, the use of special characters or highlighted text have an impact on readability. The first step to attracting and maintaining visitors is to be visible to search engines. SEO optimization of content is essential for the effectiveness of a text. Otherwise, it may go unnoticed, even if it is well written and interesting.
The mathematics of more for less
At this point, you may be concerned about how to outsource so many people. Not to mention, coordinating a team requires additional work. This is where content writing companies come in. These companies can handle the entire process for less than you would spend on hiring an individual to write the content.
Another factor to consider here is dependency on one talent. When you only have one writer, you are literally placing everything in their hands. Any inconvenience will result in a delay. Not to mention, a writer can experience exhaustion or a creative “drought.” By employing a team, the workload can be distributed, preventing your project from being affected by the actions or non-actions of one person.
5. Absence of feedback
The dynamics of continuous work may cause you to forget the importance of feedback. When you outsource content creation, you need to make sure your collaborators know what the outcome of their work is. This will enable them to improve their performance and identify good practices.
Both positive comments and constructive criticism help to optimize processes and strengthen the relationship. Think of your supplier as a strategic ally. IN the long run, a lack of feedback could undermine the quality.
6. Lack of planning
Surprisingly, this is something we see often. Before commissioning a text, you should have a roadmap. Reviewing your previous posts and defining how the messages should be delivered will enable the creation of coherent and well-structured content. However, this is not intended to prevent new topics from being added throughout the project. In fact, it’s a good idea to invite content creators to contribute their ideas. The smooth pace of work and a long-term vision will help you focus your efforts.
3 practical tips to avoid mistakes when outsourcing content creation
Content marketing is a relatively new discipline about which there is still much to learn. Fortunately, you don’t have to walk this path alone. Our accumulated experience has enabled us to identify the best practices and convert them into easy-to-implement tips. Here are three simple tips to avoid common mistakes when outsourcing content creation.
1. Align expectations
A good start to a collaboration bodes well for the end result of the process. However, do not underestimate the time and dedication required for the content creator to understand the purpose of the piece. Make sure the project brief specifies:
The writer must understand what the function of the content is, what it is expected to achieve and what precedes it. This allows you to build on what your audience already knows about your brand while avoiding redundancies or omissions.
Not only do content writers need to know what the brand is about, they also need to be familiar with its style and personality. This helps everyone fine-tune the messages and create engaging content that conveys the essence of your brand. Guidelines for tone and voice not only affect the language used but also the perspective of the speech.
Knowing who the content is aimed at is fundamental. It influences both the depth of the treatment of the subject and how the message is presented. Provide a detailed description of your target audience.
Content marketing uses different channels, and each of them has its own unique characteristics. It is recommended that the writer also knows where the content will “live.” If possible, provide examples of previous publications as a guide.
This point refers to the benefit that the reader will attain after consuming your content. What conclusions are they expected to reach? What will they learn? What are they expected to do after receiving that message?
Unlike the previous point, the objectives are not linked to an immediate action. They concern the role of the content piece in your overall digital marketing plan. Will it drive traffic through the sales funnel? Are you looking to generate awareness? Or do you wish to gain loyalty?
Supplement the instructions with examples from the competition that meet your requirements. This is a powerful tool to explain what kind of content you aim to publish.
2. Ensure uniformity of content
Even if the creation of your branded content is in the hands of several writers, it is possible to maintain uniformity of style. To do so, it is essential that you develop a guide illuminating the basic points. The brand must have a consistent voice across the different media where it is released.
Is your brand serious or informal? Do you use technical jargon or colloquial language? Do you use humour? Is it traditional or modern? The following are some of the guidelines you can include in the manual. These not only refer to the vocabulary but also to the manner of approaching the contents. A change of mood can confuse and scare away your audience.
You will need to provide sufficient details, particularly if you delegate the job to a new writer. Suggest relevant subheadings and approaches to the topic. It may even be necessary to make a list of “do’s and don’ts.” In a given context, an expression can take on a different meaning, depending on who is reading it. Ensure your message maintains a consistent and universal tone across all pieces. Otherwise, the audience may not understand what the brand’s personality is and who the brand is targeting.
3. Encourage long-term relationships
Establishing a working partnership with a content creator takes time. Once you’ve found the right talent for your project, you must do your best to retain them. This will also relieve you of going through induction periods and learning curves again. The time you spend training them will be an investment for your company.
The writer should be an ally to your business. Ideally, they should share your goals and be committed to achieving them. Their contribution can be much more substantial than simply writing a text. Engagement and identification will translate into higher quality content. At the same time, the collaborator will feel encouraged to share ideas and nurture the messages with their creative input.
That being said, there is no magic formula to achieve this. A good starting point is to approach the content creator as a strategic partner. Whether you outsource to a freelance writer or a content writing company, aim to build a strong foundation for collaboration. Invite them to participate in brainstorming, and acknowledge their contributions. In any business relationship, the human factor can make all the difference.