Have you ever considered outsourcing your blogging by hiring content writers?
Depending on what blogging strategy you’re currently using, this could sound like a godsend. The basic idea is simple; you’ll hire a writer or team of writers to take over writing and publishing articles for your blog (or for outsourcing your off-site link building). Over time, those articles will increase your website’s visibility, especially if you’re building a search engine optimization (SEO) strategy around that content. Leaving the work to someone else puts it in the hands of an expert—and takes it off your plate.
But is hiring content writers really all it’s cracked up to be?
Content writing (in the form of onsite blogging and guest posting) is a fundamental pillar in almost any online marketing strategy. It can be used as a persuasive tool to get more conversions, a way to attract and retain more direct visitors, and a framework for an SEO or targeted advertising campaign.
Unfortunately, for your content to be valuable, it needs to be well-researched, cleverly written, and aligned with your overarching goals. That means it’s going to take time, so you can’t do it all yourself. There are only a few alternative options:
- Internal hires. You could hire someone full-time to handle your SEO copy writing on your behalf. This technically isn’t outsourcing, and tends to be both expensive and inefficient (for reasons that will become clear).
- A professional agency of content writers. SEO agencies and content marketing agencies have access to teams of specialists, who work together to handle client campaigns. They’re incredibly efficient and tend to lend access to more expertise than a client could get with full-time hires alone—but they tend to be costly as well.
- Independent contractors. You could also hire independent contractors to outsource your blogging. They’re more flexible than full-time hires, but give you the potential to get the same expertise as an agency—but they’re very hard to find, and may be unreliable.
Hiring SEO copy writers of any variety (i.e., independent contractors or an agency) will yield the following benefits:
- You save time with outsourced blogging services. Most marketers spend somewhere between 1-2 hours writing a typical 500-word blog post. If you want to compete on a national scale, you’ll need to be writing many 1,000-word-plus blog posts per month, at minimum. That translates to dozens of hours of additional work, which will end up on your plate if you don’t have someone else working on it. Obviously, getting someone else to do the work saves you the time directly, but there’s another time-based benefit to enjoy here; professional writers tend to be much faster and more efficient than you, reducing the total number of hours spent on your blog while simultaneously improving its quality.
- You (often) save money with SEO copy writers. At first glance, you might balk at the cost of hiring an SEO copy writer through a professional blogging agency. Many firms charge hundreds to thousands of dollars per month, depending on what kind of campaign you want to run. However, you’ll actually stand to save money in the long term. Hiring someone full-time is almost always going to cost more than hiring an agency or contractor—especially when you factor in additional taxes and benefits. Plus, by working with an agency, you’ll tend to see much better results, earning you a higher total return on investment (ROI), and diminishing the relative cost of the campaign (which is what really matters).
- You’ll have access to more expert content writers. You might know your industry and your company inside and out, but you’re not a writer by trade. Working with professional SEO copy writers will give you access to higher-quality writing for your blog. As you likely already know, better-written blog posts will yield better results; they’re more likely to attract links, they’re more persuasive, and they leave readers with a better impression of your brand. If you’re not confident in the quality of your own writing (or the writing of your full-time hires), working with an agency is a must.
- You’ll have a more diverse range of available voices. This benefit is only accessible through an agency or a large team of contractors, but it’s a strong one. By outsourcing your blogging with an agency, you’ll gain access to a diverse range of voices. Rather than having a single author or a single voice working on your blogging campaign, you’ll have a symphony of different perspectives, voices, and angles. This is ultimately a good thing; while consistency is an important factor in building an audience and generating more visibility, diversity will ensure that readers never get bored, and will give you the opportunity to explore various topics in your industry more thoroughly. You may also be able to rotate writers so you can pick and choose your favorite voices, or deliberately avoid voices that aren’t in line with your brand standards.
- Blog writing services are highly scalable. Blog writing services tend to be both flexible and scalable. Agencies have access to many writers—sometimes dozens to hundreds—so they can accommodate your content needs at every stage of growth. If you’re just starting out, you’ll be able to negotiate a small, entry-level package, and as your needs increase, you can increase your investment without worrying that the agency won’t be able to keep up. Most content writing campaigns start out slow then expand rapidly, and having a consistent team of writers supporting you throughout this process is invaluable.
- Content writing consistency is a given. Most content agencies have set standards that all blog posts must follow; they may have an editor or head writer through whom all articles pass. If you choose a reputable agency, you’ll never have to worry about typos or stylistic inconsistencies, which could otherwise make your campaign seem unprofessional or unpolished. There are a few caveats to this benefit, however; you probably won’t get as much consistency from a new or inexperienced agency, and this is far from a guarantee if you’re working with independent contractors. Be sure to look through samples of past work for an indication of what you’re going to get.
- Someone else will be accountable for the success of your campaign. Assume for a moment that you’ll be taking on 100 percent of your content writing and SEO by yourself. What happens when your growth stagnates, and you no longer see the results you wanted? How are you going to make up for a blog post that misinforms readers and gets heavily criticized? If you’re outsourcing your campaign with an agency, you’ll have someone to hold accountable; a reputable agency will be ever vigilant to prevent these instances from occurring. And in the rare occasion they do occur, they’ll work twice as hard to investigate the root cause, make up for the error, and reestablish trust so they can keep your business. Paying money to an agency gives them an enormous incentive to help you achieve better results, and they’re going to take your campaign seriously as a result.
However, not all businesses will benefit from hiring blogging services. There are some potential downsides to watch for, though most can be compensated for:
- Not all blog writing services are created equal. You’ll notice in most of the “benefits” points, we alluded to the advantages of a “reputable” blog writing agency. Unfortunately, you’ll find a wide range of content writing agencies and contractors to choose from, including impeccable professionals, questionable amateurs, and everything in between. In general, agencies tend to be more polished than contractors, though this isn’t always the case. Some agencies don’t invest heavily in their writing staff, or don’t offer high quality standards, while others make quality their absolute highest priority. You can look at reviews, testimonials, and past work as an indication of an agency’s trustworthiness, but in general, two adages hold true: you get what you pay for, and if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Finding a reliable team of content writers is difficult. Reliability is a must when outsourcing your content writing. Content marketing, in any context, demands consistent attention for months, if not years, of ongoing development. If your contractors keep abandoning the project after a few weeks of effort, you’ll end up spending more time recruiting candidates and getting them up to speed on your goals than you will actually enjoying the benefits of your campaign. Again, this problem is nonexistent if you choose a reliable agency from the outset. Try to establish a long-term contract, and make the scope of your goals and your project as clear as possible during your initial campaign kickoff.
- There’s personal value in writing your own work. Writing your own content isn’t a waste of time. In fact, many entrepreneurs enjoy the process of writing their own blogs; it’s an opportunity to research new ideas, put your thoughts and instincts into words, and see what your competitors are doing. Spending just a few hours per week blogging is a way to stay plugged into your most important industry news, and a way to keep your linguistic skills sharp. Using external blog writing services means you’ll spend less time developing yourself and your business in this way.
- No one knows your brand better than you do. If you want to connect with your readers and get more conversions, it’s important to write your content in a way that’s aligned with your brand voice and brand values. Most agencies and contractors will, before writing anything, take the time to get to know your brand better. However, even with several hours of explaining and weeks of practice writing blogs on your behalf, nobody will ever get to know your brand as well as you know it. Outsourcing your blog writing services means trading a bit of brand familiarity and control for higher writing standards.
- The upfront costs can be hard to manage. If you have an ample marketing budget to work with, the cost of content writing services shouldn’t be a concern; relatively speaking, it’s fairly inexpensive, and it tends to have an enormously positive ROI. However, if you’re a small business or a startup, the upfront costs may be harder to manage—especially since the best returns tend to come only after months of development. In this case, working with contractors can be a convenient way to save money, but remember, quality should still be one of your highest priorities.
- Low-quality articles are worse than no articles. Cheap articles aren’t good for your business. Outsourcing to a non-native English speaker, an amateur writer, or an inexperienced agency can leave you with low-quality articles that aren’t reflective of your brand values. Ultimately, low-quality articles are worse than having no articles for your brand; they can leave first-time visitors with a bad impression, and worsen your brand reputation.
Whether you’re trying to scale your link building campaign or just want to offer better content for your most loyal customers, outsourcing your blog writing is a good idea. Most of the downsides can easily be remedied by proactively guarding against them, and the benefits are undeniably powerful (so long as you choose the right agency to work with). The more important, less answerable questions are things like how much are you willing to spend? How fast do you want to grow? When do you want to get started? And what do you ultimately hope to achieve?
If you’re interested in hiring a team of content writers for your business, or if you’re just curious to learn more about the benefits of outsourcing your blogging, contact us at SEO.co today! We’ll run a free analysis of your current content marketing and SEO strategy, and introduce you to the SEO experts who can help you get the most out of your content writing campaign.
He is a recurring speaker at the Search Marketing Expo conference series and a TEDx Talker. Today he works directly with high-end clients across all verticals to maximize on and off-site SEO ROI through content marketing and link building.