This was originally published on AllBusiness.
I’ve been in the content marketing game for 14 years, and for most of those, my focus was providing content services for small businesses. But over the past few years, I’ve started working with bigger brands. This surprised me initially. After all, corporations have their own marketing teams—why would they outsource content?
But after working with large corporations, I see the perks for them. Whether you run a one-person show or market for a multinational organization, here are the benefits of outsourcing your content development.
1. An Outside Consultant Brings a Fresh Perspective
Being an employee, you sometimes get mired in the messaging. What I mean is, you’re too close to the brand to sometimes see it from the customer’s perspective. You think your brand is amazing for X, Y, and Z reasons, but someone else may see it very differently.
Working with someone outside your company, you get a different viewpoint. They may have ideas for content that you couldn’t have seen because you were focused on messaging you’ve received internally. And, as they say, it’s always great to have a fresh pair of eyes.
2. They’ve Seen What Works (and What Doesn’t) for Other Companies
Even if you have a robust marketing team, often your staff only knows what they’ve done for your company. There’s a whole world of SEO (search engine optimization) and content strategy out there beyond the walls of your office.
Often in an organization, processes are inherited and rarely questioned. If the person who held a role before did it this way, who are you to change it? With a third-party content consultant, you get the benefit of everything they’ve done for other clients and everything they’ve learned along the way.
3. You Tap into Broad, Deep Expertise You May Be Lacking
I hate to burst your bubble, but your incredibly complicated industry is actually not all that complicated. An outsider—granted, an experienced content creator—can glom onto what your company does and what its differentiators are faster than you’d imagine. Consultants immerse themselves in your industry so that they can speak intelligently in your brand voice.
What you do need is a content expert, and sometimes you simply don’t have that on staff. Hiring a marketing associate, or even a marketing director, does not mean that individual is skilled in content strategy. Marketing is a wide umbrella and you need to ensure you have experts in everything you do—from email to social media to advertising to content development.
4. You Free Up Your Team to Focus on What They Do Best
The reason for outsourcing your content development is to free up time to do what you do best in your role. For a one-person operation, that might be running the business or attracting new customers. For an enterprise, that might mean focusing on the bigger marketing picture while a consultant handles the content.
5. You Save Money and Time
This is the best part for you: rather than paying a full-time salary plus benefits, with an external writer you pay only for what you need. That might be a here-and-there blog post or a retainer for a set amount of work each month.
You also don’t have to have HR onboard them, and they don’t need to come to all your strategy meetings. Your relationship with your content writer can be as involved as you need it to be. Assign an article. Set a deadline. Get the article published. It’s simple.
Tips for Hiring a Content Creator
Oh, where do I begin? Let’s start with this: Believe in your investment. What I mean by that is, you have to understand that content is an essential service, and you won’t be happy with the results if you expect to pay $50 an article. You want to hire a writer who is skilled at creating content that engages your specific audience, and that won’t come cheap. But think about it. You don’t hire a $10-an-hour accountant because you want your taxes done right. So why would you look for a discount content writer?
Next, look for a writer with industry experience. This isn’t absolutely essential, but it helps if they have a basic knowledge of your industry. Read industry blogs and seek out bios of authors you like. Reach out and see if they’re interested in writing for you; that’s how I’ve gotten a sizable chunk of my business.
Set parameters and processes. The more precise you are about what you want, the more likely you are to get it. Do you want to give the writer topics to cover, or would you like them to develop topics and story ideas for you? What’s the process and turnaround time for delivering an article, getting it reviewed, and then published?
Writers like feedback (good ones do, anyway), so communicate what you liked and didn’t like in a constructive manner. This will help the writer nail it.
Outsourcing your content development can help you beef up your blog with relevant and well-written articles that attract new business.