A recent SEMrush study revealed that 49% of businesses outsource content writing. The same research also highlights that the top content-related challenge for 52% of marketers is ‘Scalability’. You might wonder why.

 

An older study has some answers. This B2B Content Marketing report shares that 51% of marketers ‘Lack Time and Bandwidth’ for content writing. At LexiConn, our experience reinforces this finding too. We’ve been in this business for over a decade, and the demand for quality content has been only rising.

 

Outsourcing Content Writing
Image Source: Freepik

 

Why is Content not Easy?

The thought of being a “content-led website” or a “content-first company” appeals to everyone. Setting such mandates is easy. But the god is in the execution. 

 

Businesses soon find that while they know what they want, they do not have the expertise, range of skills, or time to do many things required to make good content consistently. Once they embark on this journey, they realize that they do not have the time to produce quality content at scale.

 

This results in missed content marketing opportunities and much heartburn, especially when they see a fantastic piece of content from their competitors and wish it was their own.

 

Outsource Content Writing

Amidst all the gloom and doom, businesses turn to content outsourcing. Among the many content outsourcing options (discussed later in this blog), they seek a ray of hope and bring a method to the madness.

 

After all, a content partner brings assurance, consistency and scale. In our experience, several businesses are doing it successfully. So how do you go about outsourcing content? 

 

“What do you look for in a content provider, and how do you differentiate the wheat from the chaff?”

 

Selecting a Content Outsourcing Partner for your Business

Content writing is an art. Digital marketing is a science. But Content marketing is a profession. Selecting the right partner or company that can bring all of these together requires some work.

 

Here are eight things you should look for in a content provider:

 

1. Credentials 

Get introduced to the content partner’s core team and key account managers. Ask for relevant work portfolios, along with past and current clients, services offered, success stories, and testimonials. Most importantly,

 

“Ask your prospective content partner about their core philosophy and approach to content.”

Here are a few more questions you can ask:

 

  • How does this work? What are your expectations from us?
  • What is your experience writing for our domain?
  • How well do you understand our business and our audience?
  • What do you think are the top challenges we will face?
  • How will our teams work together?

You can also assess the company’s exposure to your domain by checking out the clientele and case studies – typically featured on a content company’s website or social media pages.

 

You can also gather further information by asking the agency about their work on similar-sized projects and the related deliverables and outcomes.

 

Credentials Of Content Agency
Look for brand names you know

 

Examining their core team and services will also give clarity about the company’s vision and mission, project management capabilities, and commitment to content quality. You can also share your brand positioning and expectations and discuss their views.

 

2. Subject Matter Expertise

The availability of a Subject Matter Expert (SME) is a crucial factor when outsourcing content, as they bring unique, futuristic, and industry perspectives. 

 

Top content outsourcing companies have (or they make available) the subject matter experts for your business. This allows you to discuss critical differentiators, trends, and content marketing strategies that are likely to work for the challenges and opportunities your business is chasing. 

 

Subject Matter Expert (SME)
Image Source: Freepik

 

Content SMEs also provide compelling insights for creating specific, relevant, and authoritative content. They infuse the required technical terminology to make your content more relatable and increase affinity to drive the desired call-to-action (CTA).

 

3. Business Focus and Operating Model

Your audience is intelligent, fickle, and has the attention span of a toddler. Hence, getting them to consume even top-quality content is difficult. Standard and mediocre content doesn’t even stand a chance.

 

Hence, you need a competent content outsourcing partner that knows what it takes to cut the clutter and give you the best chance of being heard. Here are four content outsourcing options:

 

a. Web Agencies

These companies primarily offer website hosting, domain registrations, website designing, development, content writing, digital marketing, and other online services.

 

However, their strength (and passion) lies on the technical side – that is, designing and development. Everything else is an add-on. Hence, content is not their best face. Most agencies have junior or generic content writers who mainly write SEO-focussed, keyword-heavy content for blogs, website META descriptions, and occasional punchlines for social media posts

 

Most web agencies know this and prefer to play to their strengths. They partner with content agencies that offer specialized teams to deliver on crucial content mandates.

 

b. Freelancers

Freelancers are the first choice for content outsourcing, thanks to their abundance and cost-effectiveness. However, the uncertainty, lack of consistency at scale often outweigh the advantages.

 

Scores of brands have realized that it is challenging to stick to a content calendar while working with freelance content writers. They might ghost you. Or say you receive the delivery on time, and it is a reasonable effort. But, you still do not like the tone of writing and need variations – with a one-man-army, you might not have that option.

 

Don’t get us wrong. We hire freelance writers too [LexiConn even started as a one-person company], and most of them do a fabulous job for us. But our processes have been perfected over the years, and we always undertake some serious in-house quality checks before pushing out the content to our clients.

 

c. Freelancing Portals (a.k.a. Managed Content Platforms)

Content platforms such as Fiverr, Upwork, Crowd Content and a few Indian ones now work for some content marketers. What attracts companies to these content ordering platforms is the number of “registered” content creators. But one rarely finds solace in numbers.

 

Moneycontrol.com reporters recently spoke to industry experts and marketing professionals who said that content platforms help companies that want to quickly scale their content but are on shoestring budgets. It said,

 

“Content Platforms work for firms where quantity is more important than quality. It might not work well for long term brand building.“

 

With content platforms, it is difficult for brands to interact, brief, and engage the writers (since they are generally third-party vendors). Often, platform policies do not allow brands to communicate with their writers directly, adding Chinese whispers into a process where being on the same page is mission-critical. Dangerous.

 

Even with managed content services and editing support, clients often complain about the disconnect and lack of relevance. 

 

d. Content Agencies

If you are looking for intellectual, immersive and strategic engagements, a content agency might be your best bet. A content agency (and LexiConn is one such, so we might be blowing your own trumpet here), is dedicated to content writing. Instead of spreading ourselves thin with a wide range of digital services, we go deeper into content and its many forms. 

 

Evolved content agencies operate with a strategy-first approach. We appoint account managers, scout for subject matter experts, and establish dedicated in-house editorial teams for your brand.

Content Agencies
Image Source: Freepik


With content agencies, you can expect dependability and short turn-around times because we function with in-house teams. We also have access to SMEs, freelance writers, editors, and designers who chip in on demand.

 

The drawbacks (yes, there are a few) of hiring a content agency is that you might need to offer commitments about the volume of content you need each month and the budgets you are willing to allocate. In addition, agencies have higher overheads related to training and upskilling, employee engagement, and retention.

 

4. Range of Content Offerings

Content marketing is complex. One comes across various content formats, options, features, posting mediums, platforms, content lengths, measurement mechanisms, and more. In short, this means your content outsourcing partner should be able to deliver on various content types that your brand might need – presently and in the future.

 

Hence, while planning to work with a content marketing agency, check the range of their offering. An agency that ticks most of the boxes for you is certainly the better choice. However, we have a word of caution here.

 

If you are a B2B brand looking for a content marketing agency, look for a partner offering the required content services for your domain and brand. For example, most B2B companies need thought leadership articles, they look for whitepapers and case studies. At the same time, they might want to skip Instagram posts or Pinterest creatives, or WhatsApp content and the likes.

 

So choose a content outsourcing partner that will do well for your audience and formats.

 

Range of Content Offerings
Image Source: Freepik

 

5. Communicating with a Global Audience

If you are writing for an overseas audience, this is important. Having a content outsourcing partner with exposure (and success) in writing for brands catering to a global audience is a desirable trait.

 

There is no doubt that history, culture, and languages influence how readers perceive content across markets. Hence, it is essential that your content partner understands the audience and is sensitive to their tastes and preferences. For example, in India, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) sets the guidelines for influencers and generally acceptable content (online or offline).

 

Nuances of grammar, idioms, choice of words (even pronouns), tone of voice, references, data sources, and the flow of writing are some of the many aspects that professional writers consider while writing for a global audience. 

 

Engaging content results from a well-thought strategy customized for a specific audience. Ensure that your content outsourcing partner brings this ability to the table. 

 

6. Client Testimonials

Genuine client testimonials and success stories can tell you a lot about the relationships a content outsourcing company has built over its many years of existence. 

 

Of course, the stuff you see online (websites/ social media pages/ review portals) will be biased. You will not see a grumpy, one-star review on any website. However, your key takeaway with these testimonials should be to know the “best” outcome that you can expect.

 

Alternatively, for more extensive mandates, you can choose to reach out to the said client/ reviewer independently for a more detailed conversation.

 

Client Testimonials of Content Agency
Image Source: Freepik

 

7. Success Stories

Technical case studies offer a deep dive into the nature of work done and mandates delivered by the content writing company.

 

These stories offer an in-depth account of the opportunity a client came with, the challenge they were facing, and how the content company could help. Such case studies list the tools and platforms used, the benefits accrued, and the subsequent developments.

 

Success Stories of Content Agency

 

Ask a potential content partner for these references and skim through these to understand the thought process and the workflow that the agency believes in. Would you be happy with the same for your brand?

 

8. Content Tools

Content writing today is collaborative, data-driven, technical and multi-format. This means your content outsourcing partner should be aware, available, and leveraging these tools for their operations. Here are a few tools you should look out for:

 

Content Writing and Editing: These tools assist in content creation by offering easy to use interface, accessibility, sharing, and automatic saving, among many others benefits.

  • Grammarly: It is a professional tool that proofreads, checks your grammar, typos, punctuations, enhances the vocabulary and gives insights based on your writing goals.
  • Hemingway Editor: Adapt a cleaner and clutter-free style focusing on proper punctuation, grammar, and sentence formation. You can also import and export content to Microsoft Word or any other processor.

Related: 12 Best Online Tools For Writers To Check Grammar

 

Project Management: There are various tools available that offer end-to-end project management.

  • Trello: It is a project management tool that aids collaboration and helps organize tasks
  • Asana: This application allows effortless management, organization, collaboration, and tracking of work projects across all teams and members

 

Stock Images and Videos: Access to visual content libraries is no longer optional. Here are the popular ones:

  • Shutterstock: It is a library of images, photographs, videos, animations, and much more
  • Freepik: It is a valuable resource for locating relevant photos, videos, vectors, and Photoshop Documents (PSD)

 

SEO Tools: From keyword research to competitor analysis and topic generation to email marketing and analytics, digital marketing requires tools for various tasks and purposes. Here are a few of the important ones.

 

SEO Tools for Content Creation.

 

 

Final Thoughts 

Today, every business is a publisher. Content is no longer a differentiator. It is a must-have. If you are a business owner or are running a marketing function, you know that creating content at scale is imperative.

 

Content Agencies are an excellent choice for businesses to outsource content operations. They offer a dependable source of customized content for your business. Once this piece is sorted, you can move to higher levels of content activities like email newsletters, e-books, content-led social media campaigns, and tap mainstream content distribution channels for increased engagement, higher conversion rates, and business outcomes.

 

Want to get started with content outsourcing? Contact LexiConn right now and know more.