If you're reading this post, it's probably because of 1 of 2 reasons:
1) Someone you like shared it, and you don't really give a crap about outsourcing or blogposts (or checklists)
2) You're looking to make the leap and outsource your content creation, and don't know where to start
Fear not! That's what I, unbiased CEO of on-demand content service ContentFly am here to help you with. This definitely isn't a giant ad to get you to try our business - no siree-bob.
Really though, you should be outsourcing your content creation - really, nowadays, you should be outsourcing 70-80% of your work. It just makes great business sense - the quality for price you get from exploiting economies of scale are just incredible.
To make it really work for you though, there's an adjustment period - you can't just hire someone and set and forget. There are a few pillars you need to take care of before you're ready for the big leagues.
Here's a handy checklist we recommend to most of our clients before they jump on the train.
- Why do you even need a blog?
While it would be easy for us to just say "yes we will gladly take your money", that's not how we jive. The fact is, most of the people that approach ContentFly to write their blog for them don't know what they actually want - or why they even want it.
You see, a blog has to be part of a bigger strategy. If you just want a way to inform your customers and onlookers of what you're up to, you don't need to outsource that. If you're using it as a lead generation channel that's obviously a different story - but you need a strategy.
Figure out what you actually want out of your blog first.
- What's your preferred tone-of-voice?
We don't believe in super in-depth requirements here, but it's important that you have a general idea of what you're looking for. There's a huge gulf and difference between Buzzfeed-style casual writing and HBR-style in-depth reviews, and both styles are fair game in the demand generation content world.
So, how do you actually qualify/quantify ToV? Well, you don't, really. Your best bet is to line up a bunch of sample articles from blogs that you like and want to emulate.
It's important to get a decent mix of them - that way, what comes out of the other end is an original amalgamation, and not a direct copycat.
- How much depth are you looking for?
There are 2 primary strategies for a blog that works: high volume, low technicality vs low volume, high technicality. Both options work, depending on the scenario.
In our case, there isn't a lot of high-value, deeply technical, massive thought pieces we could write on content. Instead, we put out as much content as we can for practically every single question our customers get us. I like to call it the "wikipedia" approach to blogging - scatter-shotting as much horizontal knowledge as possible within your space.
The alternative is also quite solid - rather than putting out a ton of content, you only release a few pieces a month, but they're extremely consumable and unique. This kind of thought piece jam packed with juicy information is much more likely to go viral than any high-volume piece - and that becomes your strategy.
You can also mix and match, but you need to have an idea of what general approach your blog will take. That's going to influence the type of writers you end up working with.
- How much control do you want over the process?
One of the benefits of outsourcing your content creation, is that you can often delegate the actual content strategy to the outsourcers. As long as you have a general idea of what you'd like to have written, you can just let the outsource company writers take care of everything for you.
If you're a strong content person, this approach probably isn't for you - you're unlikely to get what you're hoping for. In that case, you need to ensure that the briefs you offer the outsource company are very tight. You likely won't have any back and forth with the writers (because in that case, why bother outsource?) so you need to ensure they're completely in line with your expectations.
On the other hand, if you're comfortable with it, let them loose! They're usually professional writers who are writing for hundreds of other websites - they know what works and what doesn't. Trust them. Even better is if you can go do some keyword research yourself and give them a general guideline to follow - then just sit back, relax and watch your blog explode.
Alright, we were being a bit cheeky with "checklist" (it totally wasn't a ploy to reach some obscure keywords), but hopefully this was helpful. Outsourcing content is an amazing way to scale up your content creation and automate it (we're huge fans of automation here), but you need to be wary of different pitfalls and ensure your expectations are in place before you start.
I just wanted to finish up this blog post with one little caveat: don't think that outsourcing your blog post dampens it. There's this common ideal that outsourcing results in a lower quality - while that was true years ago when outsourcing typically happened to a corner of the world that wasn't known for its quality, those days are gone.
We live in the gig economy now - outsourcing is the most efficient, bang-for-your buck way to get work done. Welcome to the future.
(God that was corny.)