Producing fresh, valuable content day-after-day can be a challenge. But, to be a successful content marketer, it is essential that you do exactly that. Learning how to outsource content creation can be the solution.
Regardless of your needs – either a full-length monthly newsletter or content for a daily or bi-weekly blog is time consuming. If you are a one-man (or woman) shop, writing can eat up a big chunk of your time, making it difficult to do everything else you must to do keep your business running smoothly.
The best option is the obvious one – hire someone to write for you. Help is available, but the idea of learning how to outsource can be overwhelming.
In order to make the task a little less daunting, I have put together some tips on how to find and work with a content creator.
Hire the Right Person
As with most things on the Internet, there are scammers who promise everything and deliver nothing. It can be difficult to find a skilled professional to do the work you need. With a little effort, you can filter through the masses and find good writers.
- Before you begin your search, clearly define the project you want the writer to handle. When clear expectations are set, both you and the contractor will be able to judge if the task is completed as required.
- Decide on what you are willing to pay (see notes below on budgeting).
- Place ads outlining the project and the skills required.
- Carefully review each application and delete anyone who does not meet your requirements.
- Review the applications of qualified candidates and select the top three or four.
- Verify their references and passed work experience, focusing on their abilities and work ethics.
- Interview them – in person if they are local, and by telephone if they are virtual.
- Ask for samples of their work. If they do not have samples posted on their site, ask them to send you samples. Ask for samples of their work that has been published on other sites, e.g. as a guest blogger.
- When you have made your selection and agreed on price and terms, send a contract which lays everything out in detail. Make sure there are no ambiguous points that may create problems later.
Side note: If you have people who have written a number of guest blog posts for you or if you have an active comment base, you may want to consider exploring the possibility of hiring one or two of those individuals to be a regular writer for you.
Work with a Budget
Prices can vary, so be sure you have established a clear budget that is fair and reasonable for the work you want done. This is a factor in choosing the right person for the job.
DO NOT choose the cheapest person – you will definitely get what you pay for! Finding contractors that produce quality content has to be your primary goal. You must review samples of their work and agree on a reasonable price. A writer that is willing to receive $10 for a 1000-word article, would not be a good choice.
You will be making a serious investment in your brand and you want to pay people accordingly. As a general rule of thumb, you should be able to get good writers for somewhere between $0.03 and $0.10 a word. (For 700 words, that would be $21 to $70.) Anything below would be suspect – and above is moving into the high end.
Start with a Small Project
If you are just venturing into the world of outsourcing, it would be smart to start with a small job. You can go through the hiring process and completion of the project without risking a lot of money. Yes, it will take some time and effort, but consider it an investment that will make future outsourcing much easier.
If you hire someone whose personality clashes with yours, whose writing style is your exact opposite, or they are lacking in the necessary skills to do the job, you don’t really lose much.
If things go reasonably well, be sure to give them feedback and get feedback from them in return. Discuss what worked, what didn’t work, and what could be changed to improve future projects. Hopefully it will be the start of a great relationship.
Set Clear Expectations
As you go through the process with the first contractor, create materials that you can use again and again.
- Outline your brand
- Describe your ideal customer
- The type of content you want
- Preferences for style and voice
- The purpose of the piece
- Suggested number of words
- Time Frame
- Do’s and Don’ts
This will help you set clear expectations for every job that you outsource and prevent misunderstandings.
In the next post, we will discuss “Managing Contract Writers.”
How do you communicate project expectations with contractors? Would love to hear your ideas.