When you are using the right channels to boost your business’s growth, this is only half the battle. High-quality engaging content is the lifeblood of any successful business’s marketing strategies, but it can be tough to have the right resources in-house to do this properly. Outsourcing is an invaluable solution, and while many companies use content agencies to ensure they create enough content this is where the quality versus quantity debate rides high.
When it comes to outsourcing your content creation, you’ve got to have a number of crucial considerations in mind, including the following:
The SEO Integration
Search engine optimization (SEO) is the bread and butter of modern content creation, but it’s something that changes so quickly a business can find themselves scrambling to change their content strategy because what was once an effective practice is now redundant. It’s not just about knowing the difference between White Hat and Black Hat SEO, but about understanding that SEO is a discipline all in itself.
Outsourcing to content creators who have an understanding of how to put across your tone of voice and create appropriate articles is one thing, but there is so much more research to ensure that the content resonates with the target audience. It’s all about those rankings!
However, SEO is gradually changing from purely box-ticking exercises like reducing 404 errors and having a great layout to fundamentals like EEAT: experience, expertise, authoritativeness, and trustworthiness. We can certainly get hung up on things like structure and make it all pretty for the sake of SEO, but if it doesn’t deliver by following these four letters, no amount of keyword research can offset this.
The Concerns with AI
Right now in content creation land, there is a major concern with artificial intelligence being used to create articles. There’s definitely two opposing sides; one side is all for using AI but has an inherent understanding of its shortcomings, while the other side is completely against AI because they’ve paid good money for someone to write a human article. Many people can become drawn into the AI debate for all the wrong reasons, especially content writers.
Lots of content writers find themselves out of work because their clients have come back to them saying something has ranked for AI. At this point, it’s important to note that with so many AI content detectors out there, it seems that AI content detectors either don’t appear to work or, at best, chop and change their results based on one piece of text, which creates an abundance of false positives. Even GPTZero thinks the US Constitution was written by AI!
It may very well be the case that all this AI concern will blow over soon enough, but what we have to remember is that from the perspective of a writer, if they’re good enough to know that AI doesn’t churn out quality content, they won’t use it, or, at the very least, use it for inspiration. So many clients of content creation companies are putting a blanket ban on using AI, but it may very well be “better the devil you know.”
While we’re on the topic of AI, it’s also important to remember that many writers use AI tools like Grammarly, but even Grammarly isn’t a perfect tool. What we have to remember when it comes to creating engaging content is that it needs to look, read, and feel like the tone of voice of the web page and associated information, and this may very well mean being very liberal with the use of the AI umbrella.
Defining a Content Strategy
Small businesses are particularly guilty of not having a content strategy in place and outsourcing this completely to an agency. It should be done from the inside first and foremost, and this will ensure that there is greater communication between the business and the outsourced writer. A writer can only act on what they’ve been given. Therefore, making detailed briefs and actually coming up with the content strategy based on keyword research but also providing information to the target audience in line with the business niche will guide your decisions based on who you outsource and guarantee the content aligns with your objectives. When it comes to creating a content strategy, define your goal, conduct your persona research, determine the type of content you want to create, and then brainstorm content ideas. The best type of content is one that is pre-planned, and you can see months, if not years ahead.
The Budgetary Consideration
Outsourcing content creation can be very cost-effective, but there is again that debate of quality versus quantity. Investing in quality content is investing in your brand’s reputation and determining how much you can allocate for outsourcing while ensuring there is quality in place can be a hard balance to get right. This is why we’ve got to look at if freelance writers are actually a valuable investment.
One of the most important practices is to build up a solid relationship. This is something you don’t get if you hire a writer ad hoc. It might very well be a great way to look after your budget, but if you are only hiring a writer as and when it is necessary, are you going to get that quality content? This is why lots of businesses think that getting rid of their content writers and replacing them with AI is a great solution, but as cheap as it may be to outsource your content to something like AI, are you going to get the results you need?
This comes back to something like SEO. You can certainly tick all the SEO boxes, but if you’re not providing usable content that actually delivers something of value, is this an effective use of your budget? Budgets are squeezed at every turn, but it should never be at the expense of quality content.
Ensuring You Communicate
Many businesses make the mistake of thinking that as soon as they get a content agency or a writer to do the work for them, this is where the business can let go. A business needs to ensure that the content is effective, and this is why communication is critical throughout the journey. We have to maintain a consistent brand voice, and this is why communicating brand guidelines, tone, style, and appropriate images can ensure all the articles align with the identity of the business.
If you are going beyond the written word and are setting up something like a podcast or a video blog, this is even more important. An inconsistent tone is very detrimental because this is ultimately going to turn people away because of mixed messaging. There is nothing worse than confused customers because they won’t view your business or brand as a trustworthy entity.
Working with a content creator who can understand your needs is critical, but you also need to consider factors like their expertise in your specific niche and their pricing structure. Collaboration is critical, and when you find content creators that understand your vision, this will make quick work but also look at quality control, and this is your responsibility to develop clear guidelines and expectations and implement something like a review process to ensure that the content meets your standards for style, tone, and accuracy.
The Importance of Measuring Results
Establishing a consistent calendar will help build your audience and gradually improve your Search Engine Optimization rankings, but what is far more important is to stop and take stock. Monitoring the KPIs such as conversion rates, engagement, and traffic will ensure whether the content is resonating with your audience.
A content calendar is essential to ensure the work is completed, but we also need to see if the work is taking effect. It can take between 3 and 6 months for SEO practices to show results, and this is why we’ve got to be patient, especially at the outset. We need to remember that creating engaging content is just one key part of a marketing strategy, but as many organizations demand instant results the real solution is to put the brakes on and not crave those instant numbers.
You can certainly look at things from an objective perspective but there is the benefit of being subjective at the very beginning too. You need to give it time to embed. While it may be frustrating to invest a lot of money in content creation that doesn’t instantly drive those results, we have to view content creation as a relationship that slowly comes into focus.
If you outsource your content creation, it can be a very strategic move to create high-quality content to allow you to focus on other aspects of the business, but it’s about making sure you have the right strategies in place so your business can thrive. It’s dog-eat-dog out there, and rather than thinking about the immediate results, if you want to get customers to come to you, it’s always about playing the long game, even in content creation.