A couple of clients have asked if it makes sense to outsource their copywriting, social media, blog posts and website content to an offshore provider, an online freelancer, or a college intern: “After all, they know how to post cool stuff on Facebook!”
I always tell them if you’re outsourcing because you think it’s cheaper or more convenient, it’s usually not.
If you’re outsourcing and expecting content that’s passionate and involved, you’ll rarely get it. And here’s why:
Outsourcing Content is Not Always Cheaper or More Convenient
If the reason you want to outsource your website content is because it’ll be cheaper than learning all this new technology yourself, or bringing in professional consultants, then think again. There is truth in the maxim that you get what you pay for.
If you go cheap, you will end up spending more time managing the copywriter and editing their work than if you did it yourself.
I’ve been on the client’s side myself. During my days as a marketing copywriter, I was once given an oDesk intern as a company experiment. I was asked to work with this woman (whom I did not choose or hire) and have her do some odd marketing and communications tasks. I ended up trading way too many emails and phone calls explaining that I needed something better, or needed her to follow instructions to the letter. It’s not that she wasn’t good, but more that she wasn’t a good fit. Needless to say, the company stopped outsourcing after that experiment. And while I feel they should’ve just let me pick the candidate, the truth was it was just far quicker and easier to do it myself than to have to manage someone new.
Outsourcing Writers Rarely Gives You Passionate Content
The other factor to think about is familiarity and emotional investment. Let’s face it, you know your business best. You got into it because you’re passionate about it and can’t stop thinking about it. Hiring an intern who isn’t as invested in your business won’t always give you content that communicates your passion for the business.
It’s almost like hiring someone else to write your diary. Even if you tell them what to say, it doesn’t ooze with the excitement or insight that only you can bring.
Solution: Create Your Own Content
In short, I truly believe that if you can write your own content in-house, you SHOULD make the time and the effort to do so. Take a class. Learn the tools. Get some guidance if you need it. Hire an editor even.
But if you really do need to outsource, make sure your copywriter or copy editor knows how to follow instructions, can truly communicate in English(!), and has a track record of creating quality website content.
The less you have to manage, the better. Hiring a professional copywriter or blogger lets you focus on running your business while the blogger manages your content. Do what you do best and let a professional do what he does best, for you.
Do you have horror stories of outsourcing? That’s what the comments are for. Have at thee!
IMAGE CREDITS: “Writer’s Block” By Neal Sanche on Flickr. Some Rights Reserved.