A vital step in every business marketing strategy is to create a team of content writers. This is because a steady stream of fresh content is an essential element of any successful digital marketing strategy. And this content must offer value to your online visitors.
In my experience, creating scalable content that generates high-quality leads and drives organic visibility is one of the most significant challenges that businesses – especially small and medium-sized businesses – face. You need to create a team of content writers that can produce this for your business.
Businesses like yours have the knowledge that feeds great content. Indeed, many are industry experts. They also have the resources to get it done. The problem is, between running a business, having a social life, and taking care of a family, most owners and executives simply don’t have the time.
Let’s face it – researching, writing, publishing, and optimizing content isn’t a part-time type of gig. Your hours, like mine, are limited, and therefore should be saved for the core strategic activities that keep your business running – especially in these trying times.
So, what’s the solution? Well, sometimes, when you are looking to scale, the answer isn’t always in-house.
Today, I’ll discuss why you need to create a team of content writers through the merits of outsourcing content creation, the value (if done correctly) that it can bring to your business, and the steps you will need to take to create a team of content writers from scratch.
The Benefits of Outsourcing Content Creation
Although somewhere around 70% of businesses invest in content marketing, not everyone has the time or expertise to create branded content. Outsourcing your content creation is an easy and effective way to reap the rewards of high-value content without all the work. Below are some of the main reasons why it makes sense to outsource your content creation.
1. More Time to Focus on What Matters Most
As I mentioned in the opening paragraphs, content creation – from drafting to publishing to optimization – is a full-time job. And that’s not even considering the other aspects of content marketing, such as promotion and distribution.
Can you honestly say that you have the time and expertise to go down the DIY route? Most don’t, aAnd that’s why they choose to create a team of content writers with an organization that offers content writing services. This route is not only cost-effective, but it offers you, the business owner or lead marketer, a competitive advantage with respect to one of your most valuable resources – time.
2. Publish More Content Consistently
Content creation is seriously hard work. In fact, Zazzle Media reports that 60% of businesses struggle to produce content on a consistent basis. Sure, you can churn out a daily 500-word blog post off the top of your head, but it’s hardly going to have any impact on your marketing efforts.
The true value of content marketing lies with well-researched, comprehensive, and value-driven pieces, not superficial content.
Companies that publish 16+ blog posts a month generate 3.5x more traffic than businesses with 0 to 4 posts. If you want to publish more content consistently (i.e., at scale) without sacrificing quality, you need to create a team of content writers that can take over all the steps for you, from writing and editing all the way to content marketing.
3. You Can Experiment With Content Types
Blog posts are the first thing that comes to mind when we talk about content creation. But of course, there’s more to a robust content strategy than the occasional blog posts. When outsourcing, you can produce a diverse range of content, including social media posts, infographics, emails, e-books, landing pages, and even videos.
Video content, in particular, offers impressive results and is one of the most highly shared content forms available. According to a Cisco report, videos will soon represent more than 80% of all internet traffic. An outsourced team of strong content producers will enable you to experiment with video production and see what type of content is best for your organization.
4. Fresh Ideas and Varied Viewpoints
With a diverse team of outsourced writers in hand, you’ll have access to talent who can express concepts in ways that you’ve never seen before, elevating your overall content marketing efforts to new heights, especially if you’re stuck in a creativity rut.
An effective creative process is all about fresh ideas. Not only do most high-level writers have experience working with several different clients and agencies across industries, but they will be up-to-date with current and emerging digital marketing trends.
Preparing to Build a Team of Writers
Building a team of writers is meaningless if you don’t have a strategy – a blueprint that they can follow. Below are the steps you need to implement before building your outsourced content team:
- Define the goals in your content efforts. Research your target audience and analyze their interests and needs. This information will help you determine the right type of content to produce.
- Develop guidelines that cover writing style, tone of voice, grammatical issues, and any other specific instructions that will be applicable to all your content moving forward.
- No single type of content will appeal to every visitor. If you’ve done a good job researching your target audience and what appeals to them, you should be able to identify all content types that will be a part of your content strategy (blog posts, how-to guides, infographics, link bait articles, videos, etc.).
- Create a template for each content type you wish to use. Templates provide a sense of structure and consistency for your team.
- Create a workflow document that outlines all processes that your writing team needs to follow. A content workflow is beneficial for breaking down processes into manageable tasks and determining the stages of development for each content piece.
Develop the Roles Within Your Content Team
For your content team to function efficiently, it’s essential to have clearly defined roles. Without defining the roles, tasks and responsibilities get blurred, which, in turn, can lead to chaos.
Below, I’ve outlined the main roles you should implement in your content writing team and broken them down into two categories: Main Roles and Scale Roles.
- Content operations manager – The op manager is responsible for assigning tasks, supporting writers, receiving deliverables, and managing project workflows. This person also creates and maintains the process documents with the help of the CEO or business owner.
- Content creator – Creates content drafts based on internal documents and content plans. This role will also pitch new content ideas that align with the goals and strategy of your business.
- Proofreader – This person proofreads tasks and engages in quality assurance. He or she may also take on the responsibility of formatting and publishing content.
- Editor – Responsible for copy and line editing tasks, this role will manage the last step in the content production cycle before a piece of content goes live. This role isn’t always necessary but can be very helpful for producing highly polished content.
- Team leader – Team leaders manage a small group of writers, sitting between the operations manager and writers in terms of hierarchy. With respect to general communication, the operations manager will only deal with team leaders.
- Human resources – The HR role is solely responsible for onboarding and training writers. This individual also maintains relationships with writer sources.
Develop Processes and Training Regimens
A successful training regimen begins with defined, documented processes that enable team members to fulfill their tasks quickly with little to no oversight.
To ensure the efficiency and consistency of your writing team, you should have instruction documents for every step of the content creation process. Below are some examples of process documentation for your team:
- Topic research
- Project management workflows
- Style and formatting
- Call to actions
- On-page optimization
Your training documentation must be precise and concise. The best way to achieve this is to eliminate as many judgment calls from your writer’s tasks as possible. The idea is to eliminate doubts and prevent the need to answer questions about the process several times each day.
Source Quality Writers
After completing your training documentation, it’s time to hire writers and begin building your content team. For sourcing quality writers, here are some places that you might want to look:
- Freelancer sites (FreeUp, Upwork and Freelancer)
- Job boards (ProBlogger and Freelance Writers Den)
- Classified websites (Craigslist)
- Facebook groups
- Existing publications (useful for hiring subject matter experts)
Before posting a job listing, you must understand what to look for in a writer. Below are a few characteristics to keep an eye out for as you hire:
- Goal-oriented – Hire writers that aim to help their clients reach their goals. Be on the lookout for freelancers who are only there for a quick paycheck and nothing more.
- Proficient in grammar and spelling – You’re hiring a writer, so this characteristic is non-negotiable. I recommend testing your writers using Grammarly, a top-tier tool for evaluating one’s proficiency in grammar and spelling.
- Content marketing experience – Candidates who have more experience in content marketing or digital marketing, in general, are preferable as they will be easier to train and get up to speed with your content creation workflows.
- Deadline-driven – Content marketing requires a great deal of consistency, and you can’t afford delays. Therefore, ensure that you work with writers that can adhere to the deadlines you set for them.
- Experience in SEO – Hiring an SEO-savvy writer will save you a lot of headaches down the line. This type of writer will understand the nuances of writing for search engines and will know how to utilize target keywords within the copy.
Note that when you aim to hire a more qualified writer, you need to be prepared to pay a higher rate. If you don’t have the budget for quality content, be prepared to take on a lot of the editing work in-house.
During the hiring process, look for people who are detail-oriented and can easily follow the application requirements. On top of the actual writing skills, it’s also a good idea to find writers with certain personality traits such as:
- Fun and outgoing
- Keen on making clients happy (as opposed to just putting in minimal effort)
- Knowledge thirsty
I recommend that you put in place a 90-day probation period to understand a new hire’s strengths and weaknesses. You need writers that you can rely on in the long-term and not just someone who’s putting their best foot forward in the interim.
There’s no such thing as a perfect content creation team, so it’s a good idea to conduct regular team audits. At WordAgents, we consistently replace the bottom 10%-20% of the writing team with fresh, new talent every quarter.
Auditing your team will allow you to identify employees with poor motivation and performance, and replace them with more qualified individuals.
Ready to Create Your Content Writing Team?
Creating your own content writing team from scratch is a daunting task, but well worth the investment of time and money. The key to success is to find the right people for the right roles while laying a strong foundation through efficient processes and clearly defined roles/responsibilities.
Once in place, a robust writing team will ensure the long-term success of your content creation efforts.
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