*** Spoiler Alert: If you haven’t watched all Game of Thrones episodes, then I suggest keeping your eyes closed while reading the article below! ***
Hey there! Thanks for tuning into this week’s episode. Let me tell you where things are at …
So … I’m binge-watching GoT and losing the PLoT because this is eating into “work on my business” time.
As I watch many complex webs of intrigue unraveling on the screen, a complex and intriguing thought about the web is unraveling in my head:
“Could I outsource the writing of this article to someone else?”
Yes, this article … the one you are reading on the web right now!
Could a freelance writer create this article for me and free me up from doing the work?
(A free lancer)
In theory, yes. Digital sorcerers say anything can be outsourced.
In reality, however, content outsourcing is not as easy or as simple as many experts make out. You may end up battling to find a good writer and there’ll be many trials and combats you’ll need to overcome.
(Finding a good outsourced writer can be a trialing experience)
Look … I’m not here to argue for or against content outsourcing. Let’s not take any sides just yet …
(Are ya still with me?)
Instead, I invite you to come with me on a journey … a quest, if you will, to explore the challenges businesses face outsourcing content and to try and separate fact from fantasy and myth from reality.
Our journey begins on a stark digital land in the House of Gottarun …
(Most of us are ‘too busy’ taking care of business … but winter is coming!)
The Challenges Of Outsourcing Your Content Writing
Most businesses I know say they are either “too busy” to write content for their website, or that writing is not “their thing” …
(“I’m not cut out for this type of work!”)
Most businesses wants things “done for them” so they can focus on other things. This includes adding new content to their websites on a regular basis.
Hence, content outsourcing.
(Outsourcing can help you realize your vision)
According to most outsourcing experts, all you need to do is visit a freelance site and you will find many writers eager to bid for the opportunity to write your content.
Let’s call them sells-words …
(Outsourcing can help you get ahead!)
A sells-word will not only ghost write your content, they’ll also happily transfer all their rights to you and agree to remain forever faceless afterward.
(You’ll need to view lots of profiles to find a perfect fit)
Thousands of ghost writers await to do your bidding.
So … why not just hire a sells-word to do the work for you?
Well … why don’t you come with me and let me show you the things no one ever reveals to a client about content outsourcing …
(Are ya ready to face the truth about using faceless ghostwriters?)
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Saves You Time
So … here I am on another night’s watch and I’ve hit a huge wall. Things are going round and round in my head and I am feeling challenged because I want to outsource the writing of an article dealing with the challenges of outsourcing the writing of an article.
If I had magical powers, I’d wave a wand over my head, say “freelancis writus a qualitis postus” and the article would be written just like that. But, alas, I’m just a muggle …
(A Google muggle writing a bloggle!)
Oops … sorry! Got my channels mixed up. Fact and fantasy are starting to blur already! Now … where’s that remote?
Ok, then … before I can give someone else the work of writing my article, I’ll have to spend time writing up a brief describing what it’s about.
Next, I have to find a writer who can create the unique article I have in mind. Finding that special someone takes time. I may need to search all of Websteros until I find the right one.
(Many will pledge themselves to the task … but will they deliver the goods?)
Then there’s the learning curve. Before I can hire someone, I may have to go through several tutorials and guidelines on how to set up a client account, how to create projects and post assignments, how to select bidders, pay writers, resolve disputes, etc.
(Welcome to the ‘Quick-Start’ section on how to hire a freelance writer!)
After finding a potential candidate, I’ll then need to spend time interviewing the writer to make sure that they understand what I need and training them on how I expect the article to be written.
Before I can do all this, however, I need to have already spent time planning my content marketing strategy. For my article to be effective, I need to have a clear picture in my mind of things like what my business is about, who my target audience is, what they are looking for, how I can help them, etc.
Otherwise, how will I communicate to the writer what they need to communicate to the audience?
(Finding a good writer is hard. Finding a good writer who can also read their client’s minds may take a little longer!)
So … before I can even outsource the writing of this post to save myself time, I need to have already spent quite a lot of time getting things done, like:
- Have a clear understanding of what my business is about and a content plan that will help me achieve my business goals and objectives.
- Learn how to use outsourcing sites, write project descriptions, post assignments, evaluate bids, select, train, and work with writers, etc.
- Learn how to manage the outsourcing process to make sure that I get exactly what I need done and delivered to my specifications.
Hold … it!
Hol … it!
Ho … it!
H … it!
Hit the brakes for a moment …
If I’m “too busy” to write this article myself and I want someone else to write it for me, are you telling me that now I have to go and spend way more time learning how to outsource it to someone else than if I just wrote this dang article myself?
This doesn’t sound like outsourcing content to save time actually saves time, does it?
(Who will create eunuch content for me?)
Well, not for one article, of course!
If I get a whole bunch of unique articles written, however, then maybe I can save time later on down the track with outsourcing, but I need to invest a lot of time into the outsourcing process first before this can happen.
Which brings up another challenge …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Saves You Money
Look … I really like everything I have written so far. If a sell-word had written all of this instead of me, I would be a very happy client right now.
(“Yes, yes … I’m very happy with all I’ve got so far!”)
What I’ve written so far, however, is already more than 1,000 words … and I’m not even close to finishing this article yet.
If I paid someone else to write this for me and they only charged me $0.10 per word (which is really cheap for a good writer), this article would already have cost me well over $100 to write.
Ouch! Over $100 … and that’s just for the words!
(The cost of outsourcing content can get out of hand very quickly!)
Outsourcing content can quickly end up costing an arm and a leg.
Now … if you were to hire me to write this post for you, I wouldn’t even get out of bed for $0.10 per word.
I wouldn’t even do it for $0.25 per word …
If you forced my hand, put a knife to my throat and made me an offer I couldn’t refuse … like, say, $0.50 cents per word, then I’d probably say “good lord … ok, sure, I’ll do it!” …
(Beware of content writers offering cut-throat rates)
But my fee would not include things like:
- Step-by-step instructional screenshots …
2) Images with witty captions …
(This has been draggin’ on for way too long …)
3) Or internet-breaking viral memes …
(Internet-breaking viral meme)
We’re now about 1,300 words into this article. Even at $0.40 per word, you would already owe me over $500.
(If you wanna play ta win, you gotta pay yer debts!)
Most people I know would choke if they had to pay over $500 for an article.
(You may not get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get!)
Personally, I need to post at least one article every week on my website. Why? Because I know the power of content. I know how competitive things are online and what will happen to my business if I stop publishing content.
(Content is powaaaaaaahhhh!)
So … if each article costs over $500 to write and I need at least 4 articles every month, that’s over $2,000 per month just for plain, text-based articles. Most small business owners I know would choke, gag, splutter, crepitate, crackle and croak if they had to pay this much every month to keep their business alive.
(Stop publishing content and you’ll literarily die!)
Sourcing images, screenshots, videos, infographics, etc. for your content are all an additional cost.
(Yep … all those extras will cost ya!)
Now … if I’m going to pay hundreds of dollars for an article, then the content better be epic.
(I’m not paying for this pile of horse graddakh!)
Which brings up the next challenge …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Delivers Quality
Content is the currency of the Digital Information Age. Content is what helps your business gain more exposure online, ranks your website higher in the search engines, drives more targeted traffic to your site and delivers you more leads, subscribers, sales, customers, etc.
(Content is King)
If I am going to outsource my content writing to someone else, then, the quality of the content needs to be something I can be proud to put my name to and stake the reputation of my business on …
(Never compromise on content quality!)
In fact, if content is the only weapon I have to stand up to heavy competition online, then it behooves me, the business owner, to source outsourced content of the highest quality possible.
(Your competition doesn’t horse around!)
So … in my quest to find a content writer, I can’t just settle for any writer, I gotta find me a really good one.
(Don’t just saddle for any wridda, make sure ya getta good’un)
But … what makes a good quality writer? What is good quality content? Is it good grammar? Good spelling and punctuation?
Is price even a factor? Let’s see …
So far, our journey has taken us to a fork in the road, where we can either:
- Save money and use writers who charge cheap, or
- Pay money and use writers who charge more.
(Does either option lead to high-quality content?)
Take a look at my ‘internet-breaking viral meme’ again …
(Internet-breaking viral meme)
Look … I’m not here to diss content writers, but having experimented with both types of outsourcing options, I can tell you that publishing poor-quality content on your website will kill it good and keep it dead.
(“I sense the winter of discontent has arrived”)
Thinking about the problem, anyone who finds your website won’t hang around long.
(Hanging participles and dangling modifiers)
Certainly not for low-quality content that reeks …
(What is dead may never rank on Google)
Buying cheap content, then, will almost always guarantee poor-quality content.
(The cold hard facts of outsourcing quality content)
Now, please tell a client … regardless of the price a client pays for a client’s content, how can a client tell if the content is any good? What does “good” content even mean to a client?
(For it is by self-forgetting that one finds …)
I don’t care if I like the article. I also don’t care if I think the content is good, or well written, or grammatically correct, or even if a plethora of sentences have been voluminously imbued with big fancy words.
Sure, it’s good to have good content that’s grammatically correct and written proper, but I must remain faceless and devoid of all ego in this process. Who I am, what I like and what I think doesn’t matter.
What matters is what my target audience thinks and likes. If they think the content is good and they like it enough to act in some way that will help grow my business, then the content serves its purpose and that’s good.
(Gnaritar Dohaeris – All content must serve!)
If the content doesn’t achieve anything, then how well or poorly it is written, who I buy it from, and how much I pay for it is meaningless.
(“SEO optimized & Copyscape certified articles … only a handful o’clams!”)
Which brings up the next challenge …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Delivers Expertise
Businesses in all niches and industries have developed specialized knowledge and use unique terminology, jargon, slang, colloquialisms and, acronyms to communicate information about their products, services, technologies, tools, processes, solutions, etc. Some even seem to speak a language that’s entirely all of their own.
(“Where’s my article on quantum computing fabrication of multi-qubit processes?”)
No matter what business you are in and what products or services you sell, if your content is too generic, no one will buy into it and you will lose credibility, so don’t outsource your content writing to people who know nothing about your subject …
(You know nothing!)
Without whining too much about it, this adds to the challenge of finding a good writer who has expertise or knowledge of your business, niche, or industry …
(I know things …)
For argument’s sake, then, let’s say that we find someone who knows how to write good and who also knows their stuff when it comes to the subject being written.
This leads to the next challenge …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Engages The Audience
A content writer may charge reasonable rates, write well, and be very knowledgeable about what they’re being asked to write.
For your content to be effective, however, it also needs to engage your audience.
How do you get your content writer to write content that your audience will want to read?
(How will you captivate the hearts and minds of your audience?)
How do you ask your content writer to write something so compelling and engaging that whoever reads it will naturally want to share it with everyone they know without having to resort to subliminal marketing tactics like using scarcity or offering bribes to make your audience take action?
Just so we are still on the same page, if I want my reputation to remain unsullied, then I have to find someone who not only knows how to write well and knows stuff about my business, but is also skilled at writing content that will engage my audience.
(Use killer content to engage your audience)
Let’s face it … for articles, adverticles, or even listicles to stand out from the crowd, your content’s gotta have some balls.
(You may need to go through an army of writers to find the ‘ballsy’ ones!)
If finding writers with mad killer skills who can write content that will grab an audience by their eyeballs isn’t already painful enough, here’s where things get even more challenging …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Provides Value
If your content provides no value to your audience, then what’s the point of outsourcing it?
(Sansably put m’lady!)
To provide your audience with valuable content, the information must benefit them.
(Delivering information that your audience will find beneficial is no piece of cake!)
How, then, will your writer create content with information that will add value to your audience and improve their lives? An outsourced writer has no idea what your audience looks like, what they want, or what they are looking for. They don’t have an insightful vision about your business. They can’t see what you see in your mind’s eye. They can only write things based on the information you give them.
(What are your audience’s pain points, dreams, and aspirations?)
It’s frightening, really, when we stop to think what outsourcing effective content involves.
Looking at the bare bones of our story so far, if I’m too busy to write my own content and I want someone else to ghost write it for me instead, then I need to find a way to save time without taking up more of my time and look for a reasonably priced, good quality content writer with expertise and knowledge of my business who can write engaging content that will benefit and add value to my target audience …
(Looks like the bare bones of content outsourcing need a lot of fleshing out!)
Outsourcing content suddenly doesn’t seem to be as easy or as simple as everyone else makes it out to be, now, does it?
But we still have one more challenge to overcome …
The Challenge Of Outsourcing Content That Delivers Results
To know whether your content provides your audience with value and helps you achieve your goals, you have to be able to measure its results.
(Is your content making you dough?)
You can get an idea of the quality and expertise pf your content by measuring things like how long users stay on your site, asking for feedback, etc. You can also get an idea of its engagement and value by looking at indicators like page visits, clicks, social shares, comments, signups, purchases, etc.
To know and measure all of this, however, requires doing planning, developing strategies, and implementing systems and processes before any outsourcing takes place.
(Improve your results … make more dough!)
Most businesses do no planning and have no strategies, systems, or processes in place to create and manage their content, or to measure and improve their results.
Half of them don’t do it because they don’t know how, half of them are “too busy” to invest the time, the other half dislike documentation and procedures, and the rest don’t do it because they can’t see how it all adds up.
(To get Syrio’s results, you’ll need a plan, strategies, and systems)
Without a plan, strategies, systems, and processes to make sure that your writers create and deliver content that meets your needs, expectations, standards, and specifications, how will you measure and improve your results and achieve your goals?
Look … I don’t want to deflect the subject here, but now we’re getting to the pointy end of the business …
(Getting to the pointy end of the business without deflecting the subject)
Many businesses bend the knee to their writers because they have no content plan, no defined content goals or objectives, no content marketing strategy, and no systems to manage the outsourcing process or measure and improve their results.
These businesses are wholly at the mercy of their writers. For many, outsourcing means finding a writer who will work within their meager budget, handing them a list of keywords or topics in good faith and then hoping and praying that they’ll end up with something that makes them happy.
(Spare a thought for the poor souls who live without content)
If you want results, your writers must ‘bend the knee’ to your vision and follow your plan, your systems, and your processes, not the other way round.
(Scriptar dohaeris – All writers must serve)
Content Outsourcing – Who Wins Or Dies
Everyone is dying to get to the top. Competition for subjects, followers, prophets, and profits is fierce and leads to endless raging battles fought on many fronts and across many domains. The rewards of power, dominance, and control go to the few while the casualties of this war go to the many.
(You either win or you die!)
I’m not talking about Westeros. I’m talking about building a successful presence online in the new global digital economy, where the only true king is content, content marketing is the game that gets you to the throne, and what you publish online dictates whether you will win or die.
(These guys thought their content nailed it)
So … how do you win the game?
First you need a plan. A content plan.
Everyone’s got a plan.
(Need a plan? A master strategist can lend you a hand!)
Whatever business you’re in, expect to meet plenty of competition. You’ll come up against lots of tough players along the way.
Some competitors will seem to disappear for a while and then keep coming back …
(Keep an eye on your competition. They may just be going through a bad patch!)
Some will have a striking style and charm audiences with unadorned passion and some will build a massive presence online by publishing an eye-gouging mountain of content …
(Plain unadorned passion can outperform a mountain of content but beating volume with style can be tricky to pull off)
Some players will have deep pockets and access to more resources in their little finger than all other competitors combined …
(Gaming the system is a digital crime!)
Many players will look for ways to manipulate results and game the system. If this is your plan, then I beg of you … don’t do it! Just when you think you’re getting somewhere, you’ll get a stark reminder that there are no shortcuts to the top of the digital ladder.
(One last shortcut to top off a well-executed but poorly planned strategy)
Let’s face it … even your sells-word has a content plan. They make money with your content. Their results are guaranteed. They know how much time they’ll invest and how much money they’ll make working for you …
(“I’m a sellsword, I sells my word!”)
So … everyone’s got a plan!
What about you?
If you’re “too busy” to write your own content, how are you going to save time and money outsourcing content if you have no way to control quality, ensure expertise, create engagement, provide value, and improve results?
Without a plan, strategies, systems, and processes for creating and managing your content, how are you going to increase exposure online for your website, drive more traffic, and generate more leads for your business? What’s your plan to stay one step ahead of your competition?
(Competition? What competition? They’re all dead to me!)
Content Outsourcing – Separating Fact From Fantasy
I started this article wondering if I could have outsourced its writing to a freelance or professional content writer.
Now I’m not so sure …
Look, I get it! This is my baby and no one else is going to invest as much time or put in as much care and effort into it as me …
(The best person to take care of your content may not be apparent)
Or maybe, and this is highly unlikely, I’ll find a jolly good egg who’ll do it as a labor of love and not charge a kingly sum that will be the death of me!
(Not a snowflake’s chance in hell this is gonna happen!)
I have now come to the end of my night watch. As I turn off the TV and prepare for a new busy day ahead, all I can do is reflect on the fact that I am still left with an unresolved dilemma.
Look … I know that this has been a free spirited journey of pure and adulterated fantasy and that while I’m still “too busy” to write and publish content on a regular basis, I ain’t got a snowflake’s chance in hell of outsourcing something this fantastic to a freelance article writer. Not on my watch and not on my budget.
What kind of article, then, could I realistically expect to get if I were to outsource this article to the best content writer I can afford?
Well, here it is and it’s the best I got …
The 7 Kingdoms Of Content Outsourcing
Just when you thought that business was getting tougher, along came the Digital Age to put up another huge wall in your path. Online competition now stands between your business and your chances of surviving and staying in business.
This wall, however, is not impregnable or insurmountable. According to many digital experts, all you need to overcome the challenges of fierce online competition is to have a solid content marketing plan that can help you reach a whole new audience of consumers.
Having a strategy for publishing regular content online, it seems, is the key to gaining a competitive advantage and staying ahead in the digital game.
But what if you’re too busy to write your own content? Then you will probably want to look at outsourcing. Keep in mind, however, that outsourcing also has its fair share of challenges. To help you overcome these challenges, we’ve put together a list of the seven areas of content outsourcing you’ll need to focus on.
1 – Save Time
Before you hire a content writer, make sure to invest some time learning how to use the site. Following the site’s guidelines for posting new assignments, selecting bidders, paying for completed work, or even resolving disputes will save you a lot of time.
2 – Save Money
If your content writing budget is tight, using a freelancing website can work in your favor. Freelancing sites attract many freelance article writers looking for work who will bid against each other for the opportunity to write your articles and blog posts. This ensures that prices are kept reasonably low.
Additional ways to save money with content outsourcing include making sure that writers stick to an agreed word limit, requesting multiple articles per assignment (e.g. ask for bids on getting 10 articles written instead of one), and offering the winning bidder the opportunity of ongoing work if they agree to keep their rates low and prove themselves to be consistent and reliable with their assignments.
3 – Quality
People will judge your business by the quality of your content. High-quality content can help your website rank well on search engines, drive more targeted traffic, and generate new leads for your business, so make sure to work only with quality writers who have a proven track record.
In addition to making sure that your content meets your brief and addresses the topic, it should be grammatically correct and free of spelling errors. It may take you some time to find a good quality writer, but the long-term benefits to your business are definitely worth it.
Tip: Ask to see samples of their writing.
4 – Expertise
As well as publishing quality content, make sure that writers have expertise and knowledge of your subject and familiarity with your niche or industry. Your writers should know the specific terminology, jargon, or acronyms used in your field.
Your content should reflect the expertise of your business and help you build credibility and authority online. When selecting a potential article writer, therefore, make sure to ask about their background, experience, and familiarity with the subjects they will be asked to write about.
Tip: Giving potential candidates a test assignment will help you evaluate their knowledge, expertise, and suitability for the role.
5 – Engaging
Your content needs to engage your audience. Online users have short attention spans, so make sure to use a compelling title or headline for your articles and keep the content focused at all times on the needs and interests of your target audience.
Tip: Consider adding images, videos, and social sharing buttons to your articles to help increase user engagement.
6 – Value
As Warren Buffet says, “price is what you pay, value is what you get.”
When outsourcing your content writing, therefore, try to look beyond the price and choose writers who will add value to your content by delivering information that will benefit your readers and help to improve their lives.
Tip: Make sure that your writer understands the benefits of your products or services.
7 – Results
The purpose of publishing content online is to help you grow your business. Aim to create content that will not only drive more targeted prospects to your website but also convert traffic into results (e.g. leads, subscribers, sales, or customers).
Make sure to use compelling headlines for your articles, keep the content interesting and engaging to your audience, and always include a call to action. This could be asking readers to contact you for further inquiries, click on a link to buy your product, or sign up for your newsletter.
The Digital Age brings businesses many new challenges and opportunities. One of the challenges of consumers going online to research and buy products and services is that businesses face increased competition for their eyeballs and wallets. On the other hand, it’s become easier to outsource content to reach more consumers with websites like Freelancer, Outsourcely and many others.
Focus on the seven areas described above when outsourcing your content and you will attract a more targeted audience, keep them engaged longer on your site, and experience better results online.
A final tip: When you find a good content writer, make sure to retain their services by keeping them busy writing new content for your business.
Do you need help coming up with new content ideas for your business, website, or blog?
(Article = 937 words. Image below not included)
(The 7 Kingdoms Of Content Outsourcing)
A Note About Images Used In This Article
Images used in this article were taken from Game of Thrones or from websites created and owned by HBO, the copyright of which is held and controlled exclusively by HBO. All trademarks and registered trademarks present in GoT images have been used here for illustrative purposes only and are proprietary to HBO, the inclusion of which implies no affiliation with this website. The use of GoT images in this article is believed to fall under the fair dealing clause of copyright law. HBO may request the removal of its images at any time. If they do, however, this article will become incredibly dull and boring, but hey, Valar Morghulis, right?
Other images used in this article are the copyright of their respective owners, or have been licensed from iStockPhoto. The map illustration was modified from this image. I assume full responsibility for all bad puns used in the creation of this article.
"Wow! I never knew there's so much to learn about WordPress! I bought one of the WordPress for Dummies three years ago, such authors need to be on this course!" - Rich Law, Create A Blog Now