So you’ve outsourced (or are thinking of) your content marketing. Outsourcing can be an effective way to reach your content marketing potential without hiring a full in-house team.
In fact, half of B2B marketers outsource at least a portion of their content marketing and 84% of them outsource content creation.
But outsourcing content creation to a team of freelancers or an agency can be difficult to let go of. How can you put the reins in control and guide your content partner during the creation of your content without compromising quality and effectiveness?
Whether you’re interested in a speech, industry knowledge, or strategy, there are ways to ensure that your content meets your quality expectations by partnering with your third-party content creator.
We all have a unique voice in ours. The phrases we use, the words we choose, and the personality that unites everything help us to communicate who we are.
If a marketing content provider asks you to decide on which topics to write blog posts and then comes back the following week with ten completed posts, you are heading in the opposite direction. That way, you will get low-quality content that in no way resembles you or your company.
How can members of an outsourced team understand the unique voice of experts on the subject of your business?
The short answer? They probably won’t do this 100% of the time, but your relationship with your content partner is just that – a relationship – and some collaboration is needed to get what you want and need.
The best content marketing partners want to work with you because that is the only way to really define your unique voice. And they want your opinion when creating the content to make sure your voice and experience shine.
Here are some ways to get the most out of this partnership:
- Give examples. Have you written articles, posted videos, or offered podcasts in the past that you think are a perfect match for your voice and how you want to position yourself in front of your audience? Share with your third-party content team! They provide a foundation on which your content partner can base new content so that each job finds its voice.
- Share your word choice preferences. If there are terms you would like to use or certain words or phrases that make your skin crawl (“paradigm shift”, anyone?), Let your content team know.
- And not just in the early stages of your relationship. As you continue to create content with your team of freelancers or partner agencies, continue to update your editorial preferences as you see opportunities in your third-party content. This ensures that the content adapts to your vision and is continually improved.
- Let your team hear your voice. You may be tempted to use email, Google Docs, and content management platforms with your content partner, but don’t hesitate to participate in a telephone or video discussions, interviews, or brainstorming sessions. Listening to your speech can be extremely valuable to members of your content team – they can literally hear your passion and the words you use to convey it.
- Be specific in your feedback. Whether you provide written or oral feedback, make sure it is constructive and specific so that your content team can conduct your response clearly and confidently.
For example, saying “This article is boring” will only discourage the team and be unsure of what needs to be resolved. But when you say “clearer data and more powerful verbs will really help this piece stand out”, it gives members of your content team a clear direction, while allowing them to use their knowledge to decide exactly what will enhance the content.
Content marketing is about sharing your experience with the world, so your content must be accurate. It is no wonder that many marketers who outsource content creation (and subject matter experts who write subscription content) fear that their content partner may not fully understand their industry.
When working with your third-party content partner, it is important to understand what each party has to offer.
- While members of your content team must know enough about your industry to be able to ask the right questions, they don’t have to be experts.
- Although your partner provides experience in creating, strategy, and delivering content, you and other experts in your business are the authorities in your industry.
Here’s how to share your knowledge and experience:
- Provides unique insights. You and others in your company are ideal for providing new innovative perspectives for promoting your industry. So if you’re content partner asks your prospect, make sure that what you’ve provided isn’t something you can find with a quick Google search.
Valuable content is based on unique insights.
- Keep your content partner informed. If there is any development in your industry, you must notify your content partner.
If you receive a particularly interesting newsletter, find a fascinating article, or discover valuable information from new research, send the information to your external content team members so they can keep these new insights in mind when developing content topics and look for publishing opportunities.
Give a few short sentences that summarize your response to new developments so that your team has an idea of your position in these changes in the industry.
Content marketing is just as effective as the underlying strategy, which determines the direction of your efforts. If you don’t have a destination in mind, it’s still very difficult to take the right steps to get there.
Your content partner is the content strategy specialist. Here’s how you can let your third-party content team take responsibility for your content strategy:
- Start with why. Before your content partner can develop an effective content strategy, you need to understand why you create content and communicate it to your partner.
- What do you hope to achieve with content marketing? What specific metrics do you use to determine whether your efforts are successful? Your content team members need this information so they can create content that works strategically to discover your “why”.
- Communicate changes in strategy. The reason for creating your content is unlikely to remain the same forever. So, tell your content partner if your goals change. Otherwise, each of you will work on separate goals, resulting in a disconnected approach to content marketing.
- Share your editorial agenda. There may be content initiatives that you manage internally, such as posting on social media or press releases. By sharing your editorial calendar and keeping it up to date, your content partner can stay on top of what you’re working on internally.
This helps to ensure that the content your partner creates works with your internal content to achieve your goals and that you can duplicate each other’s efforts.
It can be stressful to outsource content creation and give up some control over it. However, if you apply the above strategies, you can maintain a collaborative relationship with your content partner to implement a content strategy that will help you achieve your content marketing goals.