We all know how important content is when it comes to SEO. Whether it be having great content across all pages of your site, or keeping up a blog with valuable and fresh content, you need to take the time to craft content that is not only relevant to your products or services and keywords, but is also useful for your site's visitors.
Writing content that is both readable and SEO-optimized can be challenging. Doing it yourself is one option, though many businesses don't have the time or resources in-house to take on this task - and do it right.
So, what's the next best way to get this content written? Many businesses consider outsourcing their content writing as a solution to get the content they need. Over the past few years, I've worked with a variety of freelance writers and content writing services, and I have also been a provider of writing services for clients myself. Since I've been on both sides of the equation, I've learned a few things about the best ways to go about outsourcing content projects in order to produce good results.
Here's a look at the top 10 things any marketer must know before they outsource any type of content:
1. Choose a Reputable Freelancer or Content Service
There are countless sites on which you can find freelance writers. You may choose to hire a single writer, or you can use content marketplace services like Textbroker, Zerys and WriterAccess to order the content you need. In either case, make sure you see sample work before you hire any writer or register for a content writing service. You may also want to test out a few different freelancers or services before you decide on which one will work best for you.
2. Better Instructions = Better Content
If you give poor instructions to your writer, you're going to get poor content back in return. Writers aren't mind readers, so you've got to tell them exactly what you are looking for. Through trial and error, I have confirmed that giving very clear instructions does, in fact, result in better quality content, even from the same pool of writers. For any project that I outsource, I make sure to clearly communicate:
- The topic and title of the page or blog post
- Tone and style
- Word count
- Specific instructions about what the piece should be about
- Keyword(s) to incorporate
- Where this content will be posted (offer a link to the website or blog)
- Any sample content or resources to be used in the writing of the content
3. Express Your SEO Requirements
Most of the content that I write and outsource has some sort of SEO considerations that must be incorporated. Let your writers know exactly what you need when it comes to incorporating keywords, anchor text, title tags, meta descriptions and so on so they can keep this in mind right from the beginning of the project.
4. Don't Go Cheap
When it comes to content, you get what you pay for. A decent web page or blog post is going to cost you anywhere from 2 cents per word to upwards of 7 cents per word. Of course, if you're looking for premium, expert-level content, you're going to have to pay much more than that. Hint: If you're looking for well-written content, you're not going to get it for $10 a page.
5. Organize Your Favourite Writers
Once you've found some freelance writers who are producing good content for you, stick with them! Many content writing services will let you keep a list of your favourite writers so you can assign projects directly to them. Putting together a pool of trusted writers will make outsourcing easier and more reliable.
6. Ask For Revisions
Has your writer missed the mark on a couple of points or forgot to mention a key idea in the content you've ordered? Politely ask them to revise the piece with clear instructions indicating what you would like changed - most will be happy to do so.
7. Make Small Edits Yourself
That being said, if you get a piece of content that you like overall, but have a few minor edits (word choice, a single typo, formatting changes), don't bother asking for a revision. It's much easier to make these small changes yourself and not worth the back and forth time it will take to have your writer fix them. Trust me - most writers would prefer you make these minor edits yourself!
8. Make Deadlines
Remember to set appropriate and strategic deadlines when outsourcing content. Need a blog post two weeks from today? Order it as soon as possible to leave time for revisions. Always communicate clear deadlines with freelancers so you can have your content ready when you need it.
9. Don't Be Afraid to Fire People
Is your freelancer stressing you out? Are they having a hard time following instructions? Stop working with them. If it's taking you more time to tell them what to write than it would be to actually write it yourself, you're not saving time or money.
10. Have Realistic Expectations
You must remember that your freelance writer is likely NOT an expert in your industry (unless you're paying them the big bucks!). The content that they produce will not be exactly what you personally might write about as a business owner or expert, nor will it be an award-winning piece of literature. Be realistic about what you're going to receive from your writer and you'll both be happier working together.