It's common for small- and medium-sized businesses to outsource business functions like accounting, human resources, payroll, and more to keep an organization lean and flexible. But outsource blog writing? This can seem more challenging—after all, your blog is the voice of your company, and a critical part of your content marketing strategy.
But, it is definitely possible to outsource blog
Question 1: I'm considering outsourcing blog writing, but can an outsourced blog writer really capture my tone/style/business personality?
Writing is personal, and every business feels like they have a unique tone or style they're looking to capture in their blog. So the very concept of outsourcing might feel like it will, by definition, cause you to lose some of your business's personality.
We think there are two solutions to this problem.
1. Take time to educate your writers. Outsourcing content writing is definitely one of those cases where "you get out what you put in", and in this case, what you put in at the beginning. So, prepare yourself to spend some quality time explaining your business, and your content goals, to your outsourced writers. This can feel painful, and feel like you aren't actually saving time with outsourcing, but we've seen it pay dividends again and again with our clients here at BlogMutt—clients who put in effort at the beginning create good relationships with writers who, over time, just "get them" and require less and less coaching over time. We believe this process is so important that we've spent huge amounts of time building a client onboarding process designed to help our writers get to know our clients in an effective manner. And we keep evolving this as we learn more—it's that crucial. We also wrote this blog post with some more detailed tips for working with freelance writers.
2. Don't expect to give full control to your outsourced writers, particularly on more personal content. We often tell clients to expect content they receive from our writers to be 85%-95% done. But that final 5%-15% , the final polishing, tweaking, should be done by the client. The client is serving as the editor, and part of that process is inserting tone, style, and other unique insights about the business.
Question 2: What about quality? I associate outsourcing with lower quality.
Outsourcing, like anything, exists on a quality spectrum. For writing, the absolute top-end of that spectrum might be to outsource some of your writing to a freelance journalist who has written for the New York Times (yeah, you can really do that). And on the other end of the spectrum, quality is going to be bad (think translated English, sentence fragments, etc). Your job is to figure out where on that cost/quality spectrum you'd like to fall, and how find a provider who can get you there. We've written more about your options for outsourcing here.
We've also produced a downloadable e-book about how to find and work with freelance writers to produce quality content for content marketing—you can find it for free, here.
Question 3: Should I consider outsourcing my blog writing overseas?
In a word: no, unless you're outsourcing to another native-English-speaking country. Outsourcing overseas can make a lot of sense for a lot of disciplines (we outsource some of our development work overseas, as an example), but writing isn't one of them. While it's possible to find non-native English speakers who can write English at an extremely high level, it's very uncommon. You'll be searching for a needle in a haystack, and eat up savings (yes, we know outsourcing overseas can offer extremely enticing pricing) and wasting precious time combing through writers to find ones who can cut it.
Question 4: How do I get writers for my blog?
There are a bunch of different ways to get writers writers for your business blog. And a number of considerations to go along with these. So, we wrote a whole post about it—our guide to finding freelance blog writers.
Pressed for time? Here's a rundown of your options:
- Write posts yourself, or delegate to someone on your team
- Hire a single freelance writer
- Hire an outsourced writing service that gives you access to a whole host of freelance writers (hint: this is what we do)
Question 5: What's the best way to create blog content when using outsourced writers?
1. Strategy: Start by asking why. "Why do I want a content marketing strategy?" and build from there. Marketers become enamored with starting the next thing without first asking the critical "why are we doing this?"
You don't need to create a grand content marketing strategy here to get started. Just think through the basics.
2. Support: Support your writers (this should be a bumper sticker). Give your writer nothing to work with, get nothing back to work with. It's that simple. You're the subject matter expert.
Writers are the ones to bring your expertise to light in a readable way. When you provide more information and direction, you'll get more of what you expect out of your writer.
Question 6: What blogging tips should businesses consider when outsourcing blog writing?
- Don't outsource until you have a strategy and editorial calendar in place.
- Have a budget; commit to it.
- Understand the long game of content marketing.
- Experiment and test content lengths, CTAs, headlines, etc.
- If you're just starting out in content marketing, start small and get early wins.
- Repurpose your content across other channels: For example, take a blog post and turn it into an infographic (see what we did there?).
Question 7: Outsourcing my blog feels kinda weird. Do many other companies outsource blogging?
Yep. Just like small businesses and major companies hire accountants and PR firms, outsourcing content creation is commonplace.
Companies who outsource content realize two things:
- No matter a company's size, scaling to meet the content needs within an organization is difficult and expensive.
- In 2018 content marketing is incredibly popular—because it works—but this also means there's more competition. And to win when there's this much competition, you need specialized resources—outsourcing blog posts gets your specialized writers who know content marketing, inside and out.
Question 8: If I outsource my posts, will I have exclusive rights to what gets written?
You damn well better get that assurance! In modern content marketing, and particularly SEO, duplicate content (the same, or very similar, content on two websites) is bad news.
So wherever you get your outsourced blog posts, make sure you get exclusive rights to the content you purchase. Many reputable providers will offer this to you, but beware of anyone whose pricing seems too good to be true (see below).
Question 9: How much does outsourcing blog posts cost?
We'd ask you a couple of questions before answering this one:
- What's your budget for blog content creation?
- What type of quality do you need?
- What are you using this blog content for?
- With a service like Fiverr or some overseas content farms, you can pay $5 for a blog post or pennies per hundred words. But stop and think about this—the math just doesn't work to pay this much and get high-quality content written by a native English speaker. You're at high risk for
plagiarizedcontent, non-sensicalcontent, content that's copied and pasted in large chunks from other websites, or just, to put it bluntly, total crap.
- With a crowdsourced content solution or freelance writer community, expect to pay between $25 and $200 per blog post, depending on the length,
amountof research, and experience of the writer. Our pricing here at BlogMutt can give you a good feel for what you'll pay.
- Individual freelance writers typically charge more than what you'll pay on a platform as they need to handle the administrative side of things (finding clients, invoicing, etc.) and take on the risk of working with clients directly. A freelance writer may end up spending half their time looking for clients, and needs to recoup that time when they aren't being paid.
- Some specialized services charge up to $5,000 per blog post for highly-specialized pieces with extensive research and data analysis.
Question 10: Anything else I should consider when considering a move to outsource my business blogging?
We'd offer a couple of points:
- Many business owners know blogging is important and want to write their own blog posts (or delegate to a talented writer on their team), but find that writing continually gets pushed to a lower priority. And content outsourced to a freelance writer that gets done is better than content that doesn't ever get written.
- Outsourcing content comes with its own set of advantages. Your outsourced writer isn't going to know your business as well as you do. Period. But they probably have skills and benefits you don't—a good freelancer is probably a professional writer, while you (likely) aren't. And a good freelance writer will work hard to understand your business, do the research, and understand how to write from the perspective of your prospective customers—something that is often hard to do for people running or working for a given company.
- Outsourcers can bring fresh ideas to the table. Trying to come up with fresh ideas for your blog is tough. A good freelancer writer (or
crowdof them) brings fresh ideas and insights that can make your blog better.
Have a question we didn't answer?
If you don't see your question here and want to discuss your outsourced writing needs, feel free to ask us any other questions you have.
Looking for a way to get started?
We happen to be a company that has helped thousands of businesses outsource blog writing! Yes, we're biased, but if you wonder if we might be able to help out, let us know what questions you might have by reaching out to sales[at]blogmutt.com directly.
Editor's Note: this post was originally published in May 2016 but has been updated with new information and republished in January of 2018.