Should You Outsource Content Marketing?

Having an enterprise content team doesn’t necessarily mean you have all the resources you need to execute content marketing consistently. Just like any other department, you might feel the need to get some outside help. There are pros and cons to outsourcing your content marketing. Let’s look at these, so you can decide if it’s the best move for your business.

How Prevalent Is Outsourcing for Content Marketing?

Outsourcing content marketing is on the uptick. According to a study by SEMRush, 40% of respondents outsource some aspect of content creation, the most popular being writing, design, and animation.

outsource content marketing - SEMRush Data

Image: SEMRush

What prompts organizations to outsource? There are numerous reasons, including the need for specialized skills they may not have in-house. Another leading cause is a lack of bandwidth to meet content production goals. Finally, with the pandemic, companies are reassessing how they work, leading to higher demand for content planning.

The alternative to outsourcing certain functions is to hire more employees for your content team. In most cases, the salary and benefits of a full-time employee will be greater than outsourcing.

To determine if outsourcing is practical and worthwhile, you’ll want to explore the pros and cons.

What Roles Can You Outsource?

Many resources make up your content creation team. No matter how large your team is, there are likely still some holes. Here are some roles to consider for outsourcing:

  • Editors: Your team can proofread and make edits to ensure the content follows your style guide. However, they may not be trained editors. These professionals are masters at grammar, syntax, and style guidelines.
  • Designers: Developing branded assets and graphics can be time-consuming and slow down your content workflows. Outsourcing here can ensure that projects don’t get stuck.
  • Content writers: This role is the most outsourced. However, you need to ensure that these writers have experience in your space, especially if it’s niche or technical. Remember, you get what you pay for here, so don’t expect high-quality content if you’re only paying a few cents a word.
  • SEO: Determining what keywords to optimize for is critical to getting your content visibility on organic search. It requires specific expertise. If you don’t have a dedicated SEO person or team, it may be a shared responsibility. Outsourcing can centralize efforts.
  • Social media management: Distribution of your content is just as important as actually creating it. While most social media management is automatable on a content marketing platform, you could still choose to outsource aspects relating to monitoring, responding, and listening.

Outsourcing Content Marketing Pros and Cons

It’s always a good idea to think about what you can gain or lose by choosing a business strategy. There are pros and cons to just about everything, and they may differ depending on your company size, industry, and content goals.

The Pros:

  • Save time: Your in-house team can only do so much every day. To keep them engaged and happy, you don’t want to make their workload too heavy. A good way to determine how much time you could save, is to look at your average production times. How long does it take from ideation to publication for a content project? If it seems too long, then you have a problem. Also, consider how your internal team could reallocate their time if they had some outside help.
  • Cost-effective: You can probably save money by outsourcing versus hiring more staff. Your marketing budget may be shrinking in this time of uncertainty. Maximize the dollars you have by outsourcing key roles.
  • Expertise: If you outsource a particular aspect, you’re hiring someone who is an expert in content, design, SEO, or social media. Their expertise is likely much deeper than generalists that may make up your team.
  • Higher throughput: Are you meeting your content production goals? If you aren’t, there are barriers along the way that may relate to a lack of resources. To hit your content goals, try outsourcing to move things along.

The Cons:

  • Finding the right talent: It can be time-consuming and overwhelming to find the right talent. There are thousands of sources out there, from freelance platforms to agencies, and you may feel like going down the rabbit hole isn’t worth it.
  • More revisions: If you outsource to designers and writers, you may find that revisions take longer because they are still getting up to speed on your brand. This may level out after you work with them for a while, but expect some bumps in the beginning.
  • Lack of workflows can cause confusion: If you don’t have workflows and processes for content production, your outsourced talent won’t have the direction necessary to meet timelines. If you’re suffering from disorganization or silos, you’ll want to improve them before you outsource.
  • Hidden fees: You may encounter additional fees with outsourcing beyond the agreed-upon rate. Look at what the rate includes in terms of revisions or editing. It may only cover one or two rounds, with additional changes costing more.

If You’re Going to Outsource, You Need Processes in Place

If you choose to outsource some aspect of content marketing, it’s crucial to have processes, technology, and documentation in place.

First, you need a content strategy that guides everything you do. Second, you should have a content calendar that’s dynamic and shareable, to keep project status transparent. Third, you’ll want to be able to measure performance with aggregated content analytics. All these tools can be on one central content marketing platform.

In addition to these three integral pieces, designers need style guides, and writers should receive a voice and tone document.

Last, your team must have processes in place that define how to handle content workflows. These provide parameters and instructions for freelancers, so they function as an extension of your team.

To Outsource or Not? Weighing the Pros and Cons

After reviewing these pros and cons, you can decide how to proceed. If you do decide to outsource, be sure you’re ready to onboard these resources. One way to ensure all team members are on the same page is to use DivvyHQ, the leading content marketing platform with all the functionality and features you need to be content marketing rock stars. See how it works today for FREE!