Is it time to outsource your content writing?
You understand how important it is to have top-notch digital communication in the era when every credible business maintains a website, and maybe a blog and a social media presence.
You can write well enough. But as your business evolves, you just don’t have the time.
That’s when you’ll likely hire a copywriter or a content writer. (The terms used to mean, roughly “sales” writing vs. “marketing” writing; but today the terms are interchangeable. We may use them both throughout this article.)
This article is for you if your organization’s website, blog, and social media are doing nothing to turn prospects into customers, and you think it might time to outsource your content writing. Here’s what you need to know.
First, Understand the Content Writer’s Job
The content writer’s work is meant to directly influence people, and to compel action. In marketing, we say this content is meant to “convert.”
The market has been booming for content writers since our consumer economy became driven by advertising in the 1940s and 50s (and probably for some time before that). We help organizations craft the communications required to sell products and services. For nonprofits, the goal may be to attract donors and volunteers.
But the point is, the copywriter’s work must move people to action. That is the hallmark of copywriting for a business, an organization, or a cause.
Content Writing Tactics
The copywriter produces print products like brochures and annual reports – but content writers today are more associated with writing for the web. Here are some of the tactics they use to convert prospects to customers:
- Email marketing campaigns
- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or other social media ads
- Sales funnels
- Landing pages
- Digital newsletters
If these terms are Greek to you, learn the basics.
Actions you may want your client to take along their journey with your brand:
- buy a product — or
- give you their email,
- sign up for your newsletter, or
- download your free offer
Triggering those actions takes knowledge and skill. Using language, images, promotions, and search engine optimization to do so is the copywriter’s job. If you don’t have that expertise, the best option may be to outsource your content writing.
It’s not enough today to write deathless prose. Your online presence should work for your bottom line. If it’s not, think about hiring professionals.
Who Hires Content Writers?
A company of any size might hire a content writer. But companies that rely on the internet as their primary source for lead generation are the ones most likely to outsource the function completely.
That type of all-in online marketing requires many different types of content, all the time. This content – words and images – is the foundation for the powerful strategy known as content marketing.
Whether words or images, every bit of content will be search engine optimized (SEO).
This means it is structured, formatted, and seeded with keywords; making it easy to find by people and search engines alike.
For clients implementing a content marketing strategy, the copywriter’s highest aim is to get their pages to rank in the first three results of a Google search – because that’s all most people see.
So, larger companies who are pursuing a broad reach and companies who’ve chosen to invest their marketing dollars in a digital strategy are the ones most likely to outsource their content writing.
The Main Reasons Companies Outsource Content Writing
Every business needs to communicate effectively in writing. If you are too busy to take on the task of creating brand consistency for your company – in print and across the entire web – hiring a professional content writer to help may be an investment that pays off…well, forever.
1. For consistent quality, hire a content writer!
Invest in a content writing pro to save marketing dollars.
Every single idea or instruction you need to communicate in business will benefit from great copywriting. From your HR handbook to the all-important About Us page on your website, clear writing with no typos is a minimum basic requirement for a business of any size.
After all, who is great copywriting for? Why, the people who matter most!
Whether you’re talking to customers, employees, prospects, suppliers, or others, good problem-free writing is a signal people use to decide whether they can trust you. Or not.
When presented with information that’s disjointed, without context, outdated, or just plain wrong, people run away. If this is a problem for you, that’s an urgent reason to outsource your content writing.
2. To look good, and make sure you never look bad, hire a content writer!
Bad writing, on the other hand, can do worse than make a bad impression. It can easily lead to misunderstandings. And misunderstandings, in business, generally cost you money!
Typos, misspellings, and bad grammar might make people think you don’t have a firm grip on the basics. Those who know you won’t judge you, but the rest of us will.
So, for the small business, social enterprise, or nonprofit the copywriter can be a sort of “canary in a coal mine.” With their eye on your content, you have a brand auditor who can make sure every bit of it is brand-consistent, on-message, and taking you in a direction you want to go.
3. For objective brand storytelling, hire a content writer!
The content writer’s work fulfills many functions. But first and foremost, the words and images we create represent brands. We are brand storytellers.
Brands are usually companies and other kinds of organizations. But even individuals can be brands.
And, every brand has a story.
The content writer’s job is to tell that story.
Even with all the tagging and keyword placement, the content writer must be able to tell your readers a good and compelling story.
How Content Writers Tell Your Story
What are the tools and tactics content writers use to tell your “story?”
Many you know – for example, traditional media such as:
- Annual reports
Or newer, web-based tools and platforms like:
- Social media channels
In addition, professional content writers put words in people’s mouths. We write:
- Keynotes and other speeches
- Short talks
- Scripts for film and video recordings
And then there is the area of public writing that more directly seeks to exert influence:
- Press releases and press kits to educate
- Opinion pieces (Op-Eds) to persuade
- Articles to establish expertise or thought leadership – or to influence your customer (or your industry)
At the end of the day, content has a role at all points where your business connects with people – and the most successful companies use brand storytelling at all levels.
This is all territory where the content writer can make you stand out from the rest.
Content Writing is Collaborative – At Least At First
The writer cannot do their work without you – at least not initially. Before you can unleash a professional content writer to write independently for your brand, they will need to understand two critical points:
- your unique value proposition (UVP) – what distinguishes you from all the competitors in your industry.
- the problem that your product solves. Their job will be to help you educate potential customers – teaching them why and how to buy from you.
You’ll have to be present for all that!
The successful partnership will begin with a deep dive into the heart of your brand – your company’s mission, vision, values, workplace culture, products, and brand promise to customers.
The writer must review your visual brand assets, brand messaging, current sales and marketing program, etc. Knowing your company’s history will also be helpful.
Eventually, though, a freelance content writer can be a surrogate for you and your company.
Blending a Content Writer with an In-house Creative Team
A writer you embed within your in-house team, however, is an active partner.
- The marketing director or CMO should be involved in the hire.
- If you hire a staff writer, your CMO will be their boss. But if you hire a freelancer or a firm, they should be willing to blend seamlessly with your people – and take instruction as if the CMO were their boss.
Content Writing is a Defined Process
Professional content writers will also involve you in content planning. They will:
- Create a content topic list from their understanding of the brand. From there, the integrated team will craft a content calendar.
- A content calendar lets the writer know exactly when content will be needed – down to the day and the hour – and which type of content is to be produced for each phase of a campaign or the calendar quarter.
- Depending on your business and your available resources, the timeframe for your “project” will be different. The company that commits to a long-term content marketing strategy may work with a writer or a team of writers for years. However, you may also use a content writer only for defined projects.
And even if you’ve never worked with a professional writer before, their proposal should outline clear processes that you can readily understand.
What Can You Expect to Pay for Great Content Writing?
The content and copywriting will not be the largest chunk of your marketing budget. However, as with any other important investment in your business, go for the best you can afford at any given time.
Expertise tends to save time and money, though it may seem expensive upfront. A professional content writer should be fast and efficient. They should also be able to match the pace of your internal marketing team if you have one. And a pro should consistently meet deadlines.
Some pricing guides may be helpful.
The Writer’s Market, published by Writer’s Digest Books, is an excellent resource for writers; but it can also help consumers learn about copywriting fees.
In addition, American Writers and Artists, Inc. (AWAI) has a helpful guide about copywriter rates.
This calculator from Payscale may be useful if you are thinking about investing in professional content writing services.
As with many other services, what you pay may depend on what part of the country (or the world) you live in.
Content Writing: Still a Mystery? Call Us!
Call us at The Allyson Group anytime for a free consultation and quote – or to talk through your project. We will help you tidy up your content writing – whether in print or on the web.
At The Allyson Group, we write original copy for websites, blogs, digital content marketing programs, and more. We are based in the Washington, DC metropolitan area. However, we work with clients all over the country (and a couple of other countries too).
So, who do you need to reach?
- elected officials
- industry peers
- and more?
Our goal is always to communicate the essence of a client’s brand to the audiences that matter most to their business.