Outsourcing your content gives you access to specialized expertise, cost-effective options, and better scalability.
However, you must have a firm grasp of the intricacies of outsourcing; otherwise, you risk falling for common yet highly damaging mistakes that can ruin your content marketing campaigns.
Knowing the dos and don’ts of working with external creators is key.
In this guide, we’ll help you learn how to outsource your content. We’ll cover the top five common content outsourcing mistakes to avoid, including the strategies to help you spot and steer clear of these mistakes to ensure successful outsourcing partnerships.
Mistake 1: Not Clearly Defining Your Brand Voice and Objectives
When outsourcing content, external creators will struggle to nail down your brand’s vibe if you don’t provide clear goals and a distinct brand voice. With these two elements lacking in the picture, external content creators are bound to create content that misrepresents your brand and causes confusion for your target audience.
That’s a big problem, of course.
Because if your content fails to align with your business dynamics, you’ll fail to achieve meaningful results.
How to avoid
Create a comprehensive brand style guide to ensure consistency and coherence across all your in-house produced and outsourced content.
Follow these quick tips to develop your brand style guide:
- Define your brand identity. Articulate your brand mission, personality, and values in your style guide. Include your target audience and their preferences.
- Outline the tone and voice. Specify your brand’s tone of voice based on the context and how you want target audiences to perceive your brand. Give examples of how you want your brand to communicate to audiences in various scenarios.
- Specify proper brand element usage. Set rules on how content partners should use your logo, color palette, typography, images, and other brand assets in your outsourced content. Include size, spacing, color code, type, format, and resolution guidelines.
Mistake 2: Choosing the Wrong Content Partner
Not all external content creators are created equal. Some can mesh easily with your current operations, while others would fail to align. As you can imagine, many headaches can arise from outsourcing content to an external content production team that doesn’t meld well with your company.
You’ll experience needless friction between your internal and external teams. You’ll end up doing tons of firefighting. Also, there is the issue of increased costs due to your workflows becoming lengthier and more complicated — all without you experiencing meaningful results.
That’s why taking the time to learn about your potential content partner is crucial. A reliable content partner can do wonders for your company. On the other hand, partnering with the wrong provider can be a total nightmare.
How to avoid
Navigate the freelance economy by leveraging a blended workforce. Carefully vet and select the right content partners with these tips:
- Determine your objectives and criteria. Identify your content requirements and business objectives to find the best content partner that addresses your needs. Set specific criteria such as writing style, industry expertise, and understanding of your target audience.
- Read reviews and references. Check reviews or contact a potential content partner’s previous customers to know their professionalism, reliability, and output quality.
- Check the provider’s experience and portfolio. Review your potential content partner’s portfolio to determine the quality of their previous work. Check whether they have experience in your industry and have diverse content types. Assess how well they create relevant and engaging content for specific topics and niches.
Mistake 3: Inadequate Communication and Feedback
Poor communication and feedback mechanisms with your external content creators can cause a lot of misunderstandings — let alone firefighting and missed opportunities.
After all, running successful content marketing campaigns has many moving parts.
You must understand your readers’ pain points, how and when they prefer consuming content, their goals, etc.
If your external content creator were to miss out on certain crucial pieces of information, the content they produce will likely flop. Establishing an efficient communication and feedback framework is key to minimizing the likelihood of this happening.
How to avoid
Implement the suggestions below to strengthen communication and feedback with your content partners:
- Schedule regular check-ins and meetings with your content partners to discuss your ongoing projects, share updates, and address concerns promptly. Doing so allows for real-time feedback and maintains an open line of communication between parties.
- Set clear communication protocols, including standard response times, preferred channels, and escalation processes. It helps ensure that your team and external content creators are on the same page about proper communication throughout your content projects.
- Establish a structured feedback framework to highlight positive aspects and gaps. Constructive and specific feedback helps content partners better understand your content needs, allowing continuous improvement.
Mistake 4: Overlooking the Integration of Outsourced Content
Neglecting the seamless integration of outsourced marketing content into your internal strategies poses a significant risk of misalignment in brand voice, messaging, and long-term objectives.
When internal and external teams operate in silos, it can lead to inconsistencies in style, tone, and messaging, ultimately diluting your brand identity and causing confusion among your target audiences.
That’s why it’s imperative to develop workflows that integrate outsourced content seamlessly into your internal content marketing initiatives. By including the outsourced content in your workflows, its integration becomes a natural, logical result.
How to avoid
Consider implementing the following strategies to integrate outsourced content into your internal efforts seamlessly.
- Include your outsourced content in your editorial calendar. Combine your internally created and outsourced content into one editorial calendar. It helps you develop a cohesive publishing content schedule.
- Establish collaboration across teams. Develop processes and systems that foster collaboration between external content creators and internal marketing teams. It ensures regular collaboration and communication to help align your outsourced content with your internal strategies. For example, you can host content strategy sessions that capture input from your internal marketing team and external content creators to develop a cohesive approach.
- Implement an approval process. Create an approval process for your outsourced content. It can include content reviews to ensure alignment with your messaging, brand guidelines, and strategy before publishing.
Mistake 5: Ignoring Quality Control and Consistency
A clear benefit of outsourcing content creation is increased content production efficiency.
As your capacity to produce content increases, scaling your content marketing campaigns becomes more manageable. While that may be true, it’s worth noting that scaling also introduces complexity to your process.
This underscores the importance of implementing quality control measures to ensure the consistency of your content, even in the face of heightened process complexity. Considering how discerning the customers have become, companies can’t afford to be inconsistent with their brand messaging and content.
How to avoid
Implement a rigorous outsourced content quality control process with these tips:
- Create a checklist. Create a comprehensive content quality checklist covering crucial elements such as spelling, grammar, readability, and adherence to your brand guidelines. The checklist can be a quick reference for assessing the quality of your outsourced content.
- Implement a content review and editing process. Deploy a review and editing process to detect inconsistencies and errors in your outsourced content before publishing. It can also include checks to ensure the content follows your brand guidelines.
- Conduct regular quality assessments and audits. Perform periodic quality assessments and audits of your outsourced content. You can assess samples from various content projects to check if everything adheres to your quality standards and spot areas for improvement.
Know the Pitfalls and Strategies for Content Outsourcing Success
Successful content outsourcing requires careful thought and the right strategies.
Understand the common pitfalls of content outsourcing and what to do instead to make informed, strategic decisions that lead to effective content marketing. Nail your content outsourcing to develop a cohesive brand strategy and create content that contributes to your efforts to reach your marketing and business objectives. Find the best content partner for your unique business needs.