Are you thinking about outsourcing your blog?
Do you think it might thrive under different management?
According to Our Social Times, more than 60 percent of businesses hire someone else to manage their content marketing. That’s a significant number, and hardly surprising.
Maintaining a blog is a lot of work, more than most businesses realize when they dive into inbound marketing, and some of them decide outsourcing is the way to go. If your company is thinking about making this move, it’s a good idea to weigh the pros and cons of what you are getting into.
How many times a week are your blogging efforts derailed by competing priorities? If this happens on even a semi-regular basis, you could be in danger of losing focus on your content.
Companies that recognize the importance of keeping their website fresh and interesting – but can't find time for writing – often benefit from hiring a freelancer or agency to manage it for them. A good content marketing agency not only keeps the blog output strong, they also make sure your publishing efforts stay aligned with a strategy that produces sales.
The obvious benefit of outsourcing is that it frees your time to focus on other tasks, and spending more time on sales and service can actually help your team produce fresh ideas for the blog. For example, the more face time sales people get with customers, the better your team will understand buyer questions and concerns. All of this feedback needs to get to your writers. A blog that stays laser-focused on real customer questions is a blog that can make money.
Some companies have excellent writers on staff. Others just think they do, and sometimes they have good writers who are bad bloggers.
Blogging requires more than just sharp grammar, accurate spelling and stylish voice. There is more to it than that. You need a keen sense of how people consume information online, and adjust your writing style to fit the format. You also need an intimate understanding of the audience, making sure all jargon and syntax feels comfortable to them. Effective business-to-person communication relies upon building trust, and you cannot do that if your writing doesn't connect with people on a personal level.
I’ve talked about how companies need to stop worrying about SEO as a business goal, but that doesn’t mean they should ignore it completely. Organic search traffic is the number one source for website conversions (in my experience), and that’s why it’s critical to optimize your blog content.
Most experienced bloggers have at least some experience with SEO, although many of them are not as knowledgeable as they claim to be. Knowing where to put keywords in the meta data and on-page copy is easy. The hard part is knowing which keywords to use, and how to use them without making the post sound derivative and dull. This is a problem with a lot of blog content published on a daily basis.
If you want quality writing on your website and can’t get it in-house, you’ll have to pay for it. How much does a good blogger cost?
You can hire a content writer for as little as a few cents a word or as much as $4-5 a word. That’s a wide spectrum of cost, and once you start investigating your options, you’ll find many of the people and agencies vying for your business sound pretty similar.
My recommendation is to start by looking at who they’ve worked with in the past. Do they have experience working with organizations similar in size to yours? Are they familiar with your industry? What is their track record at producing sales? If they can't give you verifiiable evidence of generating leads for other businesses, I would probably pass them by.
This deficiency will sneak up on you when you get the first post from the writer. You sit down, start reading and realize immediately that anyone who’s familiar with your industry will know this writer has no real experience in the subject.
These cringe worthy moments are not fun for the writer or reader, but if you catch the mistakes before they go up online it’s not the end of the world. If the writing seems solid, despite the author’s lack of intimacy with the subject, you will have to make a few corrections in the short term, but a quality writer will quickly gain a better understanding of your industry by listening to you and doing research.
The best way to minimize mistakes and accelerate the writer’s understanding of your industry is by letting him or her interview you. Sure, it will take up some of your time every week, but the results will be so much better.
Your company might outsource the blog in hopes of taking it off the to-do list, but I’ve got bad news: You still have to make time for planning, reviewing and approving content.
If you don't have at least one stakeholder engaged with your content writers, you will have no idea if they are staying on strategy or wasting your money. Blogging is not a good one-way street. Writers need feedback on a regular basis from someone within company who is charged with managing the process. Otherwise, you should not hold them accountable for doing a good job.
Getting outside help with your blog can be vastly rewarding or a total nightmare, and the difference really comes down to two things: your expectations and the skills of your content creators. If you take the time to vet your candidates and find a good fit that knows how to manage a strategy and deliver sales leads – even if they are not experts in your industry yet – you may find this is the best decision you’ve made in a while.