The Founder’s Guide to Outsourcing Content Creation (While Maximizing ROI)

If you’re the founder of a new company, you need to make every dollar count during your first few years. Yet you know you need a solid website to attract all the right customers.

You can’t afford to hire a single copywriter, let alone an entire content team. So, maybe you’ve wondered about outsourcing content creation to an agency like ours.

Some of the questions we hear from our startup clients: How do you outsource content creation? How do you find talented people to create that content? And more importantly, how do you maximize your ROI even though you’re taking on an extra budget line item?

Glad you asked. In fact, there are a ton of startup owners out there who have. To answer all the questions you’ve asked about outsourcing content marketing, we’ve created “The Founder’s Guide to Outsourcing Content Creation.”

Quick Takeaways:

  • Consider the pros and cons of outsourced content.
  • Look at all the types of content you’ll need.
  • Research agencies and freelancers to find content that fits both your goals and your budget.
  • Use a content calendar and style manual to organize and guide your content providers.

Know for Sure Whether You Need Outsourced Content

You might not think you have the money to pay for outsourced content. However, if you’re thinking about creating the content yourself, think again.

More than 70 percent of all brands today outsource their content creation. It’s usually a smart investment.

Unless you’re a professional writer, video producer, or graphic designer, you’re probably going to spend more of your valuable time creating content than it would be worth. Ask yourself how much your time is worth.

What would be a better use of your time, creating and perfecting your products and services – or spending your time getting up to speed on the content creation process? Done right, content creation is a full-time job. If you don’t have time to do your own work and create content, it’s usually a better use of your time and budget to outsource.

As for the return on your investment, the rewards couldn’t be greater. Blogging alone is 13 times more likely to produce positive ROI, a HubSpot study notes.

Furthermore, content marketing produces three times the leads for every dollar you spend as opposed to paid search ads. When you combine blogging with videos and other content, the potential is nearly unlimited.

List Down the Types of Content You’ll Need

I believe that content is not just important in marketing, but is also the key to getting more customers – and that should be important for the entire business. If you are looking for more on my thoughts about content, check out the video below from one of my recent international keynotes:

No matter how carefully you’ve planned your content marketing strategy and budget, your strategy’s success depends on one thing – the talent you can secure to create that content. Yet the talent you need to outsource depends on the type of content you need.

You might think “content,” and your thoughts go immediately to written blog posts. Although these might be the bulk of your content, you might need a few videos, photos, or other design elements, such as:

  • Demos of new products
  • Explainer videos that show how to operate your products or explain new concepts
  • Educational videos
  • Diagrams that show the parts or inner workings of your products
  • Graphic design elements, such as infographics, logos, or custom fonts
  • Voiceover artists or actors to narrate or portray characters on your videos

Do a careful analysis of your target customer groups. How do they prefer to digest content? Reading? Watching videos? Podcasts? Diagrams and graphs? Where do they prefer to receive content: On your website? On social media? In print? On video platforms, such as YouTube? Are there any platforms where you syndicate content and do they have any specific requirements?

Always start with your customers – their preferences, their demographics, their goals, and their challenges. The goal of all content marketing, after all, is to solve their problems – not showcase your products and services. As you build your authority in your field through timely, accurate advice, then you can work in a mention of your products or services, provided they help your customers solve the challenge you mention in the content.

Plan the What, When, and How with a Content Calendar

After you look at your target customers’ needs and preferences, pencil in what content you need and when you need it. Leave plenty of time to choose and hire the right content provider before each project is due. That way, you won’t need to scramble at the last minute, often ending up with less than top-quality content.

On your calendar, list the topics, content format (blog post, video, infographic, etc.), and platforms (company blog, social media, third party sites, etc.) you want to post each piece of content on. That way, you can outsource the right talent for each project.

In addition, content creators often specialize in specific topics. A writer whose specialties are political science and technology might not be the best choice for a blog post on the best accessories for your customers’ new summer outfits. A serious documentary video producer might be a better choice for a rags-to-success video than for a comedic skit.

Create a Style Guide

If you have a unique brand voice (and you should), you need to jot down a brief description of it in a document called a style guide. Also, include any other guidelines, such as grammatical, legal, or other considerations so that the outsourced talent can use them as they write, film, or draw your content.

In your style guide, outline your target customers’ preferences, goals, and demographics. These facts will help guide the content producers to create content that speaks to your customers’ needs. Remember, outsourced talent won’t know about your company’s customers and culture unless you write it down.

Research Content Providers

First, look at your marketing budget. Do some online research on the types of outsourced content you need versus what you can afford. Some platforms offer a wide range of freelance content providers, but the quality of those providers often varies.

Other companies specialize in written, video, voiceover, or hand-drawn content. Usually, these specialized agencies have higher quality because they carefully vet their talent. Other providers not only offer a wide variety of quality content but also can help you with strategy, search engine optimization (so the right customers can find you), and distribution.

Find the highest quality providers that your budget can afford. It’s always better to have fewer pieces of better-quality content than a slew of poorly produced content. Poor quality content, unfortunately, will reflect badly upon the quality of your products and services.

Wherever the Content Comes from, the Story is Yours!

Top-quality content can boost your online traffic by as much as 2,000 percent. After all, content marketing is all about positioning you as an authority that can help your customers. The better your brand stories, the better your brand.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content that’s consistently published, check out our Content Builder Service. Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

Michael Brenner  is a Top CMO, Content Marketing and Digital Marketing Influencer, an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula" and he is the CEO and Founder of Marketing Insider Group, a leading Content Marketing Agency . He has worked in leadership positions in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as for thriving startups. Today, Michael helps build successful content marketing programs for leading brands and startups alike. Subscribe here for regular updates.