Quality is a common concern for marketing agencies outsourcing written content. After all, you not only have to commission the creation of content assets that fulfill the needs of your clients, but you also need to ensure your team of writers make you and your brand look great. That requires reliability, loyalty, subject expertise, consistency, and a serious display of writing chops in the people you hire.
The following tips serve as a guideline for extracting content you’d be proud to resell to clients—the type of content created by writers who are dedicated to quality, accuracy, and consistency.
Tip #1: Look for Writers with the Right Expertise and Skill Sets
It takes time to find qualified wordsmiths who possess niche-specific knowledge. It takes even longer to find copywriters who could sell water to a drowning man. No matter how long it takes, the wait is worth it to get the job done right every time. Aim to build a team of authors who have experience writing for the industries your typical clients target. Besides producing thoughtful pieces with accurate information and detailed insight, writers with expertise in a particular subject are likely to have a better grip on relevant buyer personas and industry trends.
Tip #2: Sample a Reasonable Number of Writers
Reward doesn’t often come without trial, which is why you should be prepared to sample plenty of writers before narrowing down your options. Set a small portion of your budget aside to order test articles that are designed to measure certain performance factors. Right off the bat, you should evaluate candidates based on their quality levels, writing style, and ability to adapt to a brand’s voice and personality. Although results may be subjective, you know what you’re looking for in a writer. Just as you wouldn’t implement a marketing action without testing in place, don’t commission content on a client’s behalf without first finding a writer you can trust to deliver content your client will love.
Tip #3: Master the Art of Compiling a Great Editorial Brief
Extracting the best work from a freelancer depends largely on your ability to provide clear and concise instructions. An editorial brief is your opportunity to provide direction and set expectations for a particular piece so that you’re not disappointed with the result. To ensure your brief positions a writer effectively, be sure to include the following:
- The Content’s Objective – Always let writers know what your client wants the content to achieve. Whether it’s conversion metrics like sales, signups, and social shares or editorial goals like educating consumers and promoting your client’s unique selling proposition, telling writers upfront allows them to craft content around the main objective.
- The Target Audience’s Profile – Tell your writer about the individuals your client aims to connect with so that the writing style and language will resonate with the right people. Make certain you also fully comprehend who the buyer persona is before you relay this type of information.
- Your Client’s Brand Voice – In order for a writer to ensure your client’s content is on-message, consistent, and perceived desirably, you need to provide relevant details regarding the style and tone the writing should convey. Provide writers with existing examples so that there’s cohesiveness no matter who pens the material.
- Supporting Information and Resources – If there’s specific research, examples, information, links, or other data your client wants incorporated into the content, make sure you provide those details in your brief.
- Basic Project Specs – From content type and word count to paragraph requirements and SEO considerations, your brief needs to cover the basics. If you’re working on something a little more in-depth than a blog post, you may want your writer to provide project updates so be clear about those expectations too.
To ensure the efficiency of your agency, it’s best to build templates for certain types of projects or clients and keep them on file. While you don’t want a brief to be too restrictive that it stifles a writer’s creativity, you don’t want it’s vagueness to result in generic content.
Tip #4: Keep Deadlines in Mind
Providing a writer with plenty of lead-time not only allows time for ideas to marinate and develop, but it provides time for editing and revisions. Refining content can take time, and while some people work better under pressure, last minute orders don’t always render the best results. You also can’t guarantee your preferred freelancer will be available to accommodate your needs. Managing an editorial calendar for clients can help you keep things on track but be sure to schedule projects with writers as far in advance as possible. This also gives freelancers an opportunity to ask relevant questions and gain additional information about your client if needed.
Tip #5: Offer Constructive Feedback
Take the time to offer thoughtful critiques your writing team can use now and in the future. If your clients offer positive or constructive feedback, you should pass it on so your writers know how well they’re performing. Constructive criticism will ensure they continue to do the things your clients love while helping them identify areas that demand improvement.
Tip #6: Build a Solid Relationship with Your Writing Team
Although you might never be in the same office, you want writers who are as passionate about your projects as you are. A major part of that is making feel like they’re a vital part of your team. Whether it’s dropping them a quick note in your next order or sending an email to let them know you appreciate their work, try to engage them as you would engage in-house staff. This can help cultivate a greater sense of accountability with better content being the by-product.
Tip #7: Create a Review Process
The great thing about outsourcing from a provider like TCA is that our team already has a review process in place to monitor quality levels. What you should do, though, is monitor writers on your favorites list and conduct an internal review after every few projects. That way, you’ll be able to track progress and ensure a particular writer is consistently delivering the stellar content your clients have come to enjoy from your brand.
The crucial thing to keep in mind is that your firm doesn’t need to add a full-time editorial team to payroll. Outsourcing a task like writing is a cost-effective solution that keeps both yours and your client’s expenses to a minimum. The trick is to find the right writers who produce a consistent level of quality content you’d be happy to white-label before selling it on to clients. Use the tips above to build a top-notch outsourced writing team you can count on for exceptional content.
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced when finding writers for your firm? Share your thoughts with us in the comments section.