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Should I outsource content writing?

I'm wondering if the quality of outsourced writing will be worth the fact that the person writing isn't totally invested in the success and culture of the company? In other words, I'm afraid their lack of insider knowledge about the company (besides what I share with them) will hinder their ability to write great content. On the other hand, writing is time consuming and hard to just switch to if you don't do it regularly. Does anyone have experience with outsourced content writing? If so, what was your experience or do you have a better strategy.

39 Replies

Mike Whitfield
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Mike Whitfield Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google
The benefit I had working with a proof reader for my book is that they took paragraph #3 and put it up top as sentence #1. It made the writing immensely more powerful.

It's very healthy to build communicating your brand into the communications process (i.e. hire someone to draft the content). If you can't communicate to someone working for you, how are you going to communicate to your market?

I'm in a similar boat (need a person to write PR/tech intern to assist with documentation/HR person to write job ads).
Linda Marshall-Smith
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Linda Marshall-Smith Entrepreneur
Marketing Consultant, Ambassador, Silicon Beach at CoFoundersLab
It always helps to have another pair of eyes read and/or create your content. Sometimes, when you are so invested, you can get caught up in the minutia and ignore the overall big picture. It also helps in the proofreading process, as Mike said above.

I am a writer (of many mediums, from ad copy to biz plans to screen plays, and journalistic endeavors). I've written for myself and for others. Reach out via FD if you like.

Stefan Lubinski
1
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Stefan Lubinski Advisor
Sales Communication Specialist | Digital Marketing Enthusiast | Social Media Evangelist | Training & Consulting
My POV is it depends on what is being written and the length of time with which you will be engaging this writer. If it is a short, one-time project I would agree with your concerns. If you are establishing a longer term relationship with the writer and you are committed to spending the right amount of time with them so that they can properly wrap their arms around both the mission of the writing, and the "voice" of the company, you can indeed outsource the writing. Think about it. Virtually ALL brands outsource their most important writing to advertising and PR agencies everyday. *Stefan * *Content+Conversations=Conversions* *Follow me* @stefanlubinski http://www.thegrowthfactor.com http://linkedin.com/in/stefanlubinski *Bat Phone: *[removed to protect privacy] *"The Dude Abides"*
Mike Whitfield
0
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Mike Whitfield Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google
Can we get some notation of market rates in this thread?

I discovered a proof reader is extra-cheap but requires you to write everything up front. An editor will work more closely with you on the content and take a vested interest in the subject area but could cost 5x more.

A PR person might similarly work for >$100/h but would be busy enough to not give your account much thought or time.

Since I think it's of interest for writers to answer, "yes, absolutely!" to this thread, will you please give us folks some insight into how we might build a longer-term relationship with you in a risk-reduced way?
Mike Demopoulos
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Mike Demopoulos Entrepreneur
Internationally recognized virtual marketing specialist with 9 years of proven experience.
I have had really good luck for SEO using Web Writing Ninja. Its 1 cent a word and they have nice add-on services. Would I trust them for a hard copy brochure? No but for a blog for SEO and google marketing this service has worked wonders. This is a article I wrote with this service.
Evan Weber
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Evan Weber Entrepreneur
Affiliate Summit West's Most Popular Speaker Last 2 Years - 954-662-8010
Sure, it depends on the purpose of the content. There are articles for the blog, SEO-related articles, and helpful content. I think it makes sense to outsource it to the right writers. But again depends on the type of content.
Mike Whitfield
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Mike Whitfield Entrepreneur
Sr. Software Engineer, EPAM, Google
Please allow my input that I view SEO as distribution/marketing and quality content authorship as two different items! Typically, the square one is to get good content written and then to slice it up for mass distribution.

A focus on non-SEO services would be great for me, I just spoke with a housewife who was one of the eventual subcontractors for these kinds of businesses and she felt sketched out at times writing on subjects she had no authority to be writing on (medical topics, for instance).
Patrina Mack
1
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Patrina Mack Advisor
Experts in global commercialization
I think it's invaluable to have someone outside your company write your content. I'm a management consultant and we frequently determine positioning and write content for our clients. When it comes to my own website content I always outsource. It's great to have a neutral third party play back your messaging and identify holes in your thought process/logic/story. Even though I have written my own copy and blog I always have someone else review the copy. Someone asked about rates - you can pay from $75 t $200 an hour based on the caliber of the person - not all writers are equal. It's helpful to find someone who seems genuinely enthused about your business and will put the emotion and energy into your copy.
Madhu Chamarty
0
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Madhu Chamarty Advisor
Founder, Startup Exec., Customer Success Builder
Short answer: it depends, much like how a number of others stated above. I think of content as 'the currency of engagement'; depending on your industry/company, it can essentially make (or break) your brand/your offering. So, asking the questions you are asking is def. important :) However, an external writer can certainly enhance your narrative, if they are the right fit AND you are able to articulate the type of content and messaging you would like created. A content writer in a way is akin to a PR person or (in some industries) a hypeman (or hypewoman). They can only be as good as a) what you have to offer and b) how you are able to communicate what you have to offer. Of course, a third aspect to consider is that they need to be competent at crafting message in your desired field (i.e. there are tech content writers, public policy content writers, music content writers, etc.; you would presumably start by looking at the relevant ones!). These three aspects can help you think about how best to establish a relationship with a content writer. Content Marketing in fact is a whole sub-industry inself. Organizations like Content Marketing Institute (www.contentmarketinginstitute.com) are growing in prominence as reference bodies for the space. More specific types of guidance, for e.g. for B2B content marketing, are also available through orgs like the IAB (http://www.iab.net/media/file/B2BResearch2014.pdf). Many companies also offer content-writing-as-a-service and develop vertical-specific solutions to help drive insight into how well they can help and/or how they approach a content writing exercise. Some examples: www.scripted.com, www.servio.com, and www.contently.com. Perusing their offerings can help deciding if these services are the right choices for you. A number of companies also have content writers as full-time staff so considering this in the longer term is def. a good idea. This way, you can nurture a person/team to grow with the company's voice and represent it effectively in the digital realm.
Jim Monroe
0
0
Jim Monroe Advisor
Founder at OTT Age Industries
Writing is a component of your business, and as with any component, you can outsource its production. But you cannot outsource the vision that guides the writing. If you can articulate a clear vision, you will get back a quality product at a reasonable cost. If the vision is muddled and requires multiple revisions, it will be a costly and not very satisfying process. Once you find a writer who "gets" the vision, stick with that person. Their familiarity with your company will be a time-saver as you continue to work together. You may even find that they help keep the vision on track as you take your company through the inevitable course-corrections that face any startup.
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