Blog posts are important for many businesses — in some cases, they can even be the bread and butter of your content marketing strategy.
According to a survey of business-to-business content marketers by the Content Marketing Institute, more than 90% of businesses use blog posts for content marketing. Keeping up with that competition can take a lot of work, though, including posting blog posts once a week or more consistently.
HubSpot has some recommendations on how often you should post given different audience sizes and marketing goals:
|Small Blog||Large Blog|
|Goal: Driving organic traffic||Post 3 to 4 times a week||Post 4 to 5 times a week|
|Goal: Increasing brand awareness||Post 1 to 2 times a week||Post 3 to 4 times a week|
Source: HubSpot Blog Frequency Benchmarks
It can take up to 6 hours to research, write, edit and publish a single blog post of around 1,000, so maintaining a competitive publishing pace can take a lot of work. Choosing to outsource blog writing is a great way to balance the time-management scales for your in-house marketing team.
Hiring a freelancer or otherwise outsourcing content marketing has many benefits, but one of the most important is cost savings. Instead of searching for a full-time employee, offering a salary and benefits, paying extra overhead costs and having to keep up with additional payroll tax obligations, you can hire a freelancer for an hourly fee or a flat rate per project, saving your business a lot of money.
If you’ve never hired a freelancer before, the process can seem a bit daunting. This guide explains how to outsource blog writing and offers tips for working with freelancers and content services.
Preparing to Outsource Content Writing
Before you create a content schedule and start hiring freelancers, there are a few things you should know about outsourcing writing work. The first is that not all writers are the same. Someone who’s extremely talented at writing technical manuals or fast-paced novels may not be as skilled at writing blog posts for the purpose of promoting a business. If you want to hire someone to write a blog post for marketing purposes, make it clear that you’re looking for someone with blog-writing and content-marketing experience.
Should You Outsource Your Blog Content?
Outsourcing can be a great option for many businesses, but obviously, it’s not a one-size-fits all solution. To understand whether it might be right for your business, consider the following questions:
- Is your blog inactive because you don’t have enough time to write new posts?
- Would you rather pay per hour, per word or per post than hire a full-time or part-time employee?
- Do you have a busy marketing team that doesn’t have the capacity for writing blog posts?
- Are you losing search engine rankings to competitors with more or better content?
- Do you want to scale up blog content marketing efforts without increasing your in-house team?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, outsourcing may be a good option for your team.
When Should You Start Outsourcing Blog Content?
There’s no wrong time to start outsourcing. Sometimes it’s definitely a good time to consider outsourcing content writing for blogs are:
- You’re preparing to launch a blog for your site or business and don’t have in-house copywriters
- You have an established blog but in-house staff don’t have enough time to write the number of new posts required to reach content marketing goals
- You want to reach a new audience or branch out into a new service or sector but don’t have someone on staff who can write compelling blog posts for that niche
- Analysis indicates your SEO is suffering and you need to bulk up your blog or conduct a campaign to refresh older posts quickly
Any of these situations, or scenarios similar to them, are great times to try outsourcing blog content creation. To better understand when outsourcing content for your blog might be a good idea, let’s dig into some specific benefits of outsourcing blog writing.
Benefits of Outsourcing Content
One of the biggest benefits businesses experience when they outsource content writing is cost savings. It can cost $64,000 on average for an in-house content writer who can write around 240,000 words per year. When you outsource, you may be able to get as much as half a million words for the same amount.
Other benefits include:
- The ability to scale up to meet more robust blog publishing demands
- A diversified writer base that lets you address more topics with greater expertise
- Increases support for quality — when content outsourcing is managed correctly, it can actually improve the overall quality of your content
Of course, preparing well with the right steps to outsource blog writing lets you manage the process well to make high-quality content more likeley.
Preparation Steps When You Want to Outsource Blog Writing
If you’ve decided that outsourcing is right for you, it’s important to hire the right people and set clear expectations. Follow these five tips on how to outsource blog writing for your business.
1. Find the Right Writers
One of the most common pitfalls of outsourcing a blog is working with the wrong people. To outsource content writing effectively, you must take time to find talented writers who understand your needs and have experience working with business owners. When you’re ready to hire someone, be sure to include the following information in the ad:
- The length of each blog post
- Keyword usage requirements (if any)
- Linking requirements
- Desired tone/style
- Amount of experience required
- Blog topic
- Payment method (direct deposit, business check, etc.)
- Hourly rate or payment per post
Desired tone refers to how you want each blog post to come across. Some companies are formal and use a lot of jargon in their marketing materials, while others prefer a more conversational style. It’s important to mention the topic of your blog so that writers who don’t feel comfortable writing about that topic can remove themselves from consideration.
The more information you provide up front, the more likely you are to get applicants who are knowledgeable about your blog’s topic, willing to accept your proposed payment amount and capable of achieving your desired tone.
Making a Decision
Once you receive a batch of applications, you may want to have a staff member screen them and eliminate the ones that don’t match the requirements outlined in your advertisement. The initial screening takes a little time, but it can help narrow down your options considerably. After the initial screening, you should have several applicants left in the mix. Make a decision by reviewing their writing samples and choosing the top two or three candidates for a telephone or video interview.
Or, you can skip the entire process of recruiting and vetting blog writing freelancers by working with a company like Crowd Content, which ensures you have immediate access to hundreds of writers.
2. Manage Writers Effectively
Even if you hire someone with a decade of writing experience, remember that they’re new to your business. They may have writing talent, but they don’t know much about your products or services, your target audience or your marketing goals. Before you assign a blog post, take some time to get the writer up to speed. Explain what your business does, what kind of customers you serve and what results you expect to get from your blog.
3. Communicate Standards Clearly
Writers aren’t mind readers, so make sure you communicate standards clearly when you outsource blog content creation. If each post must be a certain length, tell the writer when you give the assignment. Make sure the writer has a copy of your company’s brand guidelines or internal style sheet. If there are any words or phrases you don’t want the writer to use, let them know before they begin writing.
The more information you provide in the beginning, the less time you’ll have to spend asking the writer for revisions or making edits to ensure each blog post fits your vision.
4. Tackle Problems Right Away
The vast majority of freelancers want you to be impressed with the quality of their work, but everyone misses the mark on occasion. If there’s something you don’t like about a blog post, tell the writer. They won’t be able to fix it unless you let them know right away. If the writer starts missing deadlines or taking a long time to respond to your emails, have a conversation about your expectations. You can work together to find a solution that works for everyone — but only if you acknowledge there’s a problem and make a good-faith effort to communicate effectively.
5. Prepare Order Briefs
If you decide to outsource blog writing on a consistent basis, get into the habit of writing an order brief for each assignment. An order brief outlines your expectations for the order, making it easier for the writer to meet those expectations on the first try. Your order brief should include the following:
- Length: How long do you want the blog post to be? Give the writer a maximum word count or a desired range (e.g. 1,200 to 1,500 words).
- Formatting requirements: Do you require HTML headers, italics, short paragraphs, bulleted lists or other formatting elements? Describe them.
- Style and tone: Do you want the writer to use a conversational tone, or do you want them to use a “just-the-facts” style of writing? Should the writer speak directly to the reader?
- Target audience: Who will be reading the blog post? Can you provide any information about their age, income level, geographic location or other characteristics? The more information you provide, the easier it is for the writer to meet the needs of your audience.
- SEO guidelines: If you want the writer to include a certain number of links or use a keyword a minimum number of times, spell out the requirements in your order brief.
- Images: Do you need images? If so, can you provide access to a paid photo service, or should the writer look for free stock photos?
- Content: Do you have any specific points you want the writer to cover, such as the pros and cons of the topic or the costs associated with using a service?
Grow Your Business with Blogging
If you outsource blog writing, you’ll be able to publish high-quality content without taking on a full-time employee or having to write your own blog posts. Outsourcing can even help you improve your SEO results and increase your credibility, giving your business a competitive edge.If you don’t have time to vet your own freelancers, consider working with an agency. Partnering with an agency gives you access to all the benefits of outsourcing without the hassles of managing your own writers. Crowd Content can help you hire freelance writers with years of blogging experience.