Is Outsourcing Content Creation Right for Your Business?

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We all know that content marketing is important, but all too often, the thought of investing the time and energy needed to successfully run these campaigns leaves internet business owners feeling overwhelmed.  After all, you’ve already got to maintain your existing website, build relationships with your customers on social media websites and handle your business’s financial requirements – how on Earth are you going to find extra time to create the content pieces needed to power these campaigns??

In many cases, the solution to these excessive demands on your time is the process of outsourcing.  There are so many freelancers working online these days that finding someone who can write articles, design infographics and even record videos for your content marketing campaigns seems like a simple and painless process.

But don’t get too far ahead of yourself!  When something sounds too good to be true, it usually is – and that’s definitely the case with the misconception that content outsourcing is a “hands off” approach to content creation.  In fact, there are a number of different pros and cons you’ll want to consider before implementing this strategy within your own business:

Pros to Outsourcing Content Creation

As you’re likely already aware, outsourcing your company’s content creation offers a number of different advantages for your business:

Outsourcing content creation can save you time

At the end of the day, hiring somebody to create your content marketing campaign pieces for you will almost always take less time than doing it yourself.  Yes, you will need to spend some time finding the right freelancer and conveying your expectations clearly.  But once these initial hurdles have been cleared, a freelancer who’s solely dedicated to content creation for your business will be able to complete tasks faster than you, considering all the other priorities on your plate.

This time savings may be especially important if you’re concerned that the challenge of finding time in your busy schedule to start content marketing may prevent you from ever launching a campaign to begin with.  Don’t ever let the time crunch most business owners face prevent you from taking advantage of this powerful technique!

Outsourcing content creation gives you access to a wider skill set

Of course, it’s also important to keep in mind that outsourcing might not be a choice – it might be a necessity if you don’t have the skills needed to create content pieces in house.  Sure, just about anybody can write an article, but if your content marketing plans include infographic distribution and video publication, you may not have the equipment or expertise needed to create these content pieces on your own.

As a result, outsourcing your business’s content creation may be a necessary part of creating the materials required to build consumer interest in your brand through the use of content marketing.  While there’s definitely something to be said for learning these new skills on your own, bear in mind that the trade-off needed to turn a complete beginner into a competent writer, graphic designer or videographer may require more time and energy than your business has to spare.

Outsourcing content creation gives you more control over the finished product

When you outsource your website’s content creation, you increase the odds that your finished product will more closely resemble the vision inside your head than if you use your limited skills to bring forth these content pieces on your own.

Even if you have some experience with different types of content creation, true professionals bring a certain level of finesse to your marketing materials that takes them to the next level.  And, as an added bonus, many freelancers offer multiple concepts and several rounds of revisions, increasing the likelihood that you’ll wind up with something that either meets – or exceeds – your expectations.

Cons to Outsourcing Content Creation

Of course, it’s not all fun and games when it comes to outsourcing!  Before signing on with a freelance provider, consider the following disadvantages to the process:

Outsourcing content creation costs money up-front

Obviously, it’s not exactly a secret that outsourcing the content creation process requires some up-front investment of capital.  A freelancer isn’t going to wait around to see if your campaign is successful – they get paid before your content pieces ever see the light of day (and well before you’ll be able to determine the overall ROI of your content marketing campaigns).

For some companies, this isn’t an issue.  However, if you run a small business and don’t have a separate marketing budget for projects like these, you’ll be far better off learning to handle some content creation tasks on your own than worrying about spending money you don’t have on the process.

Outsourcing content creation may backfire if you choose the wrong freelancer

It’s also important to keep in mind that successfully outsourcing content creation isn’t as simple as choosing a freelancer, sending over project details and waiting for the delivery of some brilliant content.

Hiring the right freelancer for your specific needs is a challenging process.  Post any content creation project to a site like Guru or Elance, and you’ll be inundated with bids, ranging from inexpensive overseas providers to high-dollar, US-based professionals.  And if the amount of competition on these sites isn’t enough to overwhelm you, keep in mind that unscrupulous freelancers can put together phony portfolios that don’t adequately represent their skills – making the process of choosing the right freelancer for your needs even more difficult!

Certainly, there are things that you can do to minimize the odds that you’ll wind up contracting with a freelancer who isn’t truly qualified to handle your projects.  For example, checking references and starting with small trial projects are two options to consider before signing on with any single provider.  However, be aware that these processes take time, which may ultimately negate the benefit you derive from working with freelancers – depending on the size and scope of your expected projects.

Outsourcing content creation requires an editorial process

One last “con” to keep in mind is that, even if you do go ahead and outsourcing your company’s content creation process, you’ll still need to commit your time to ensuring that all new content pieces meet your company’s editorial standards.

Too many business owners approach outsourcing as if it’s a “set it and forget it” process.  And certainly, there are some cases where long-standing relationships between clients and freelancers have developed to the point that these outsourcers are able to produce content pieces that don’t require further overview or corrections.  Truly, though, it can take a long time to build this level of trust with your company’s content creators, so it’s best to assume that you’ll need to set aside time to thoroughly check and correct your freelancer’s work for at least the first few months of your relationship.

Clearly, there’s no easy solution to the question of whether or not your company should outsource the creation of your content marketing materials to freelancers or to external media agencies.  Only by carefully weighing the considerations above and their likely impact on your business will you be able to make the outsourcing decision that’s right for your business.

Image: edmenendez

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