Today, content marketing is an essential ingredient to business success.
Content marketing will build your brand, grow your reach, and help you achieve competitive sales figures. However, it is also a highly competitive space.
Big-name brands manage in-house content marketing teams that work around the clock. Startups and small businesses, however, usually don’t have sufficient dispensable budgets for this level of marketing operation.
This is where content marketing outsourcing steps in.
Benefits of outsourcing your content marketing
Outsourcing content marketing services lets SMEs avoid the hefty overhead of managing an in-house marketing team.
With freelancers and on-demand marketing service providers, you only need to pay for what you need—no taxes, office expenses, and steady wages even during long stretches of non-production.
Outsourcing also gives you access to seasoned professionals with the experience and tools needed to get results. You don’t have to worry about training them or providing them with the equipment necessary to complete their tasks.
How to outsource your marketing effectively
Without further ado, here are six steps to follow for a successful content marketing outsourcing process.
1. Invest in project management software
Work with marketing contractors using a project management tool to streamline collaboration and automate task tracking.
As opposed to collaborating via email, using a project management platform speeds up the feedback cycle and gives you—the client—an uninterrupted view of your contractors’ progress. Some of the best project management tools also allow you to include due dates, checklists, and file attachments to better manage ongoing tasks.
Another benefit of project management platforms is their price.
In fact, popular project management tools like Trello and ClickUp offer free plans that will help you manage a small marketing team. And if you want to unlock premium features, you’re only looking at monthly charges within the $5-$20 range.
2. Identify your marketing goals
When outsourcing for digital marketing, it’s imperative to choose contractors that have the skills needed for your specific marketing objectives.
Do you need to raise brand awareness on Instagram? Look for social media managers or Instagram marketers.
Are you aiming to reach Google’s first page for a particular keyword? Find content creators for guest posts or outsource SEO articles.
Be as specific with your goals as possible to find the right talent and help them understand their assignments.
3. Vet contractors carefully
The recruitment process is the one thing you can’t afford to rush when outsourcing your marketing.
Searching for certifications and reviewing a candidate’s educational background is a start, but those accolades are meaningless if you’re looking for real-world results.
What you want are actual work samples from their previous clients.
Experienced contractors and decorated marketing agencies already know this, so they should be more than glad to show you a handful of samples.
While there’s a chance that a highly skilled writer doesn’t have samples to show (, it’s a risky move better off taken by someone else.
Upon checking their work, inspect the following:
- Originality and depth of information: Are they experts who can provide valuable information from firsthand experience, or are they writers who only rehash ideas from other websites?
- Brand voice alignment: Is their writing style appropriate and reflective of your brand’s identity?
- SEO structure: Do they know how to use keyword-optimized subheadings, headlines, and other SEO elements?
Finally, schedule a quick interview to get to know your candidate and discuss important aspects of your collaboration. Clarify what you expect from their services, from the types of content they’ll produce to the turnaround times you want to work with.
4. Establish detailed content guidelines
Ensure contractors produce consistent quality by providing clear and actionable content guidelines.
Build on industry-standard SEO content writing tips, like:
- Weave target keywords naturally into write-ups.
- Insert informative and data-driven visual content (images, charts, screenshots, etc.) after every 300 words or so.
- Add relevant internal links to relevant posts on your website.
- Incorporate clear CTAs (Calls-To-Action) in the right sections.
- Polish grammatical and spelling mistakes.
Your content guidelines may also mention other brands that you’d like your contractors to use as references. This may include your top competitors, your other websites, or popular thought leaders in your niche.
5. Create a swipe file
A swipe file is a document filled with phrases, one-liners, CTAs, and words that you want people to associate with your brand.
Swipe files are useful in helping marketers use uniform and consistent language across every piece of content they work with. They may contain useful idioms, power words, keywords, CTAs, and other bits of text that can be reused over multiple marketing projects.
Use spreadsheet tools like Google Sheets to make your swipe file easily accessible and expandable.
You can create multiple sheets for different aspects of your marketing.
For example, one sheet may contain useful phrases for inserting certain keywords. Another sheet may contain a list of useful quotes, questions, and hashtags for Instagram Reels and TikTok posts.
6. Measure results
An ocular test of your contractors’ content isn’t enough to determine their effectiveness.
At the end of the day, you didn’t hire a freelancer or agency to get marketing content. You invested in them to accomplish your marketing objectives.
Implement a content tracking system with a platform like Google Analytics to pick up on trends, like your most popular pages and the ones that make readers leave (without clicking anywhere else). With the help of Google Tag Manager, you can set custom tracking events like scroll depth, which measures how far visitors reach when reading content.
Understanding the performance of outsourced content on a deeper level is key in helping contractors improve.
Google Analytics is also useful in measuring site-wide metrics like pages per session, average session duration, and bounce rate. These values paint a picture of how the average website visitor interacts with your website—pointing you to effective optimization opportunities.
Outsourcing your content marketing efforts is a convenient and cost-effective alternative to building your own in-house marketing team.
However, hiring contractors and agencies without a plan may end up costing more.
Use the tips above to ensure your outsourced marketing workforce gets the job done. Start with a project management platform to keep yourself in the loop with open communication and collaboration features.
From there, it’s just a matter of finding proven content marketing service providers with skillsets that align with your brand’s marketing goals.