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Is Outsourcing Your Content Marketing Evil?

More than ever small businesses are using some form of content marketing to promote themselves. I’ve been beating this drum for a number of years and it’s taking hold in a big way.

In a survey conducted earlier this year by, 74% of small businesses surveyed said they were using content marketing. And the tactic must be paying off, because three-quarters of small businesses also said they planned to do more content marketing this year than last—and just 4% said they had no plans to do any content marketing at all. (source: eMarketer)

But here’s the rub. It’s tough getting all this content done and it’s become a major point of friction for marketing departments big and small.

Another nugget from this same survey stood out for me – 61% surveyed said they created all of their written content on their own and never outsource.

We outsource entire departments these days – accounting, customer service, hr, tech support – so why not content creation? In fact, some marketers I’ve spoken with think this notion is not only unacceptable, it’s somehow wrong.

I believe that outsourcing content creation is an essential marketing tactic, particularly for small business.

Now, outsourcing is not the same as abdication.

Employing virtual resources to gain the greatest leverage possible is how you compete today, pure and simple.

If, however, you want to outsource anything in an effective manner you’ve got to do the work to create systems, processes and routines that ensure a high quality collaboration experience and a high quality end product.

Again, you can delegate certain elements of content creation, but you can never abdicate inbound content creation to a hired gun.

You need to maintain tight control on themes, voice, message and specific topic needs.

When you do decide to get some help from outside services or individuals here’s how I recommend you proceed.
Create a list of proposed titles for blog posts or articles and briefly describe the context of the article. This list should come from an annual editorial plan based on key topics or themes for your business. (Think SEO!)
Find a service like Zerys, InboundWriter or Blog Mutt and locate a couple potential writers to give a try.
When you receive your articles, don’t just cut and paste them, take the time to go over and edit for specifics, tone, voice and that personal touch.
If you find a particular writer that seems to work well for you, you may decide to set up a routine – so many blog posts per month, for example.
Then you can go about focusing on creating perhaps one very thorough post on your own each week. (The writing process, research and need to explain something in writing will benefit you in the long run so I never advocate total outsourcing of writing.)

Supplementing or building wider content reach using virtual contributors is a very smart small business play but you need to manage the process just as you would any important element of your business.

I’ve started a list of content outsource services and hope you’ll add your favorites to the list.

About John Jantsch
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, award winning social media publisher and author Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine. He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world.
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