The Pitfalls of Outsourcing Content

Feb 21, 2020

Some mistakes are easy to make when you’re outsourcing your content

In a world where time is precious and there are always a million and one things on the to-do list, it’s no surprise that you want to outsource your content.

Between making sure that your clients are happy, your staff is motivated, your business processes are efficient…there just aren’t enough hours in the day. So why not let someone else take the strain of putting pen to paper and letting the words flow? It makes a lot of sense! The value of outsourced content can’t be denied. It frees you up to give value where you can add it the most, and your content strategy will pretty much be delivering itself while you focus on the day job. 

The Productivity Institute tells us that only 20% of our workday is spent on crucial or important things, so we need to make those minutes count by focussing on the must-dos (The Productivity Institute, 2018).

But is the process of outsourcing content always smooth sailing? Well, we’ve got to be honest, no, not always! 

Even with the best of intentions there can be a few bumps along the way, and you don’t want to replace the headache of writing content yourself with the headache of rectifying outsourcing issues. 

The good news though is that you’re not the first person to walk this path. There are plenty of others who have taken the good business decision to outsource, lived through the process, hit a few hurdles…and learned a few lessons along the way. 

The even better news is that we’ve pulled these lessons together so you can learn from where they went wrong.

Mistake 1: The Bad Hire

Choosing the right person to hire is one of the most important decisions you’ll ever make in business. Whether you’re choosing a new customer service agent, a new engineer or the new VP, people are the most valuable resource in your business and you need to get it right (, 2018).

Good employees equal good performance, by and large. So what do bad employees equal?

You guessed it, an unwelcome problem for you!

And what’s true for your in-house staff is also true for your outsourced services. It’s so important to put the same care and attention into choosing your outsourced content provider as it is your internal staff. The people writing your content will be the mouthpiece of your business and your voice to your customers. They speak on your behalf, so choosing someone who doesn’t represent you as a business can be a fatal mistake.

If someone is churning out 20 bad articles a week then that’s no good to you; far better to find someone who can write one or two high-quality pieces instead.

Top tip: if you want to know more about how frequently you should publish content, then check out our recent article discussing the ideal blog post frequency.

Mistake 2: Pay peanuts, get monkeys

Jump on any number of online job forums and what do you see?

Writing jobs. Dozens of them. Thousands of them! There are so many people trying to make a living out there writing blogs, articles, and eBooks, so how can you tell if they’re any good?

Well a top tip if that if they’re charging 1 cent a word then they’re probably not the best! There’s a world of difference between someone who dashes off a quick article with no regard to tone, style or search engine optimization as compared to someone who writes a well-researched, 1500-word thought piece with strategic use of keywords.

Think about it like buying a used car. You could walk to the nearest sales lot and kick a few tires, ignore any obvious issues with rust and damp and drive away in something for a couple of hundred bucks. The car might break down all the time and feel like it’s falling apart on the freeway, but it’s a car! 

Alternatively, you could do some research into which kind of vehicle would be right for you, find a vendor to talk you through the pros and cons, look through the service history and reliability stats and pay a thousand bucks for a solid vehicle that you can rely on to get you from A to B safely.

In both scenarios you’ve got a car, but which is a better value? Is it worth the savings of the cheaper vehicle when you consider the hassles it will bring? Price isn’t the only factor here, you need to think about your goals too. If you want a good car that will keep running then you need to pay a bit more. 


Choose your price point carefully!

And so it is with hiring content writers. By and large, trying to keep costs down by hiring the lowest bidder is a short cut to wasting money. Quality content that helps your business to rank online is a valuable asset and doesn’t come dirt cheap. You need someone who understands the importance of good SEO, and is able to put that knowledge into practice.

You’ll get a heck of a lot more value from spending a bit more for a content agency that can deliver what you need. Do your research, choose your goals and spend your budget wisely to make sure you get the results you’re after. 

Mistake 3: Micromanaging

One of the biggest benefits of outsourcing your content is that you can reclaim the time you would have spent writing, and can use that time elsewhere. 

So why would you wipe out that benefit by becoming a micromanager of your content?

The desire to oversee the process is understandable because the quality and tone of your content is incredibly important, but that’s where pitfalls number 1 and 2 become so important again. If you’ve hired the right people at the right rate then you shouldn’t have to worry!

The best way to minimize the urge to be involved in the outsourced content creation process is to put all the effort in upfront. Write clear and concise briefs, spend time talking to your content creators to make sure they understand your visions and goals, and set clear outcomes. 

Don’t underestimate the importance of having a content strategy to give you peace of mind – 65% of successful marketers have a clearly articulated strategy whereas only 14% of successful marketers go without (ContentMarketingInstitute, 2019). 

Knowing that everyone is working to an agreed plan means there’ll be no need for you to lose sleep over your outsourced content. 

Mistake 4: Measuring what works

And talking of outcomes, you’re outsourcing your content because you want to see great results. 

But how will you know if you’re achieving those results? What does success look like, and how are you going to measure it? 

Knowledge is power

One of the pitfalls of outsourcing content is not having an answer to these kinds of core questions before you start the outsourcing journey. If you can’t measure whether your outsourced content plan has been a success or not, then you can tell if you’re getting value for money? You’re operating blind, and that doesn’t feel good.

One of the most important elements of business is learning from your data. Analyzing data is one of the reasons that companies like Amazon dominate the market and is one of the best strategies you can employ to grow your business

Failing to collect data on the success of your outsourced content is an opportunity wasted. We’re talking page rankings, click-through rates, customer engagement, new leads. Don’t ignore the numbers, use them to understand customer demand and help design your services in the future. 

How to avoid those all-important mistakes when outsourcing content

If you think carefully about each of these potential pitfalls and plan for them, then you won’t go too far wrong. We’re always here if you want to talk through any outsourcing issues as we’ve experienced most of them ourselves at one point or another!
Schedule a call with us and we can help you navigate your way to great outsourced content.


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