Should You Outsource Content Marketing? 11 Questions to Consider

content marketing

It’s something that everyone needs to consider at some point as they become more successful.

Do you continue to do certain work yourself?

Do you hire someone to help you out?

Or do you outsource it?

There are many areas like this in any business, but one in particular is content marketing.

Creating and promoting content, especially for a new site, is essentially a full-time job.

If you have a small team, you can’t always dedicate a full-time person to content marketing efforts.

What ends up happening is that it is ignored or it’s done on a limited basis.

Without consistency, you’re much less likely to see the full results of great content.

Regardless of your specific situation, there will come a time when you will lack the time or manpower to execute content marketing properly.

So, what do you do then?

In most cases, you will have to decide whether you want to outsource your content marketing.

This is not an easy decision.

To help you make it—and make the correct one—I’ve compiled a list of 11 questions you should consider and answer.

Download this cheat sheet of 11 questions to consider while outsourcing your content marketing.

Some of these questions are meant for potential hires, and some are meant for yourself.

I highly recommend opening up a blank spreadsheet and at least jotting down your answers to each question. 

1. Does anyone on your team have the skills you need?

Content marketing can be incredibly effective.

I’ve driven millions of visits and tens of thousands of customers using it for my various websites/businesses.

That being said,

it’s not easy.

In order to be successful in content marketing, you need to have a wide variety of skills. And you can’t just be average either; otherwise, you’ll get lost in the crowd.

If you really want to break it down, you could highlight 12+ skills that a great content marketing team needs:

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Obviously, one person can have more than one skill from this list.

The best content marketers have all, or nearly all, of these skills.

I think that you can simplify it even further. Content marketers need to be highly skilled in three areas:

  • Writing
  • Domain expertise – are you an expert in the subject you’re writing about?
  • Networking skills – do you know how to promote effectively?

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It’s not very difficult to find someone with one of these areas covered.

But it’s pretty hard to find someone with two of these, and it’s even more difficult to find someone with all three. That makes a “unicorn” in the diagram above a top content marketer.

They do exist, but you need to find them.

The fact of the matter is that you’re unlikely to have one of them on your team already.

In a recent survey, 42% of companies said that they currently did not have the expertise to use content marketing effectively.

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They’re not even just talking about one person having the necessary skills. These companies couldn’t find all the skills within their whole teams.

That’s how difficult it is to assemble a great content marketing team.

So, this is your first question:

Do you—or anyone on your team—have the skills and experience with content marketing to be successful?

If the answer is no, then you have no choice. You’ll either have to bring in someone new or outsource your content marketing.

If your answer is yes, you do have a choice.

Then, you’ll have to determine if it’s worth having them spend their time on content marketing while taking away from other areas of your business.

Many of the remaining questions will help you determine this.

2. What kind of budget do you have for content marketing?

Like with any other kind of marketing, the more you have to spend on content marketing, the better your results will typically be.

Since your content needs to be head and shoulders above your competition to be effective (here are some examples of epic content), it makes sense to spend as much as you can.

I’m not talking about throwing away money, but don’t pinch pennies when it comes to things like graphics and research.

In a 2015 survey, it was found that on average, B2C marketers spent 25% of their total budget on content marketing.

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I’d say that if you have no experience with content marketing, that’s a good ballpark target.

If you have a lot of success, you can scale up your budget in the future.

I expect those percentages to continue to rise in the coming years. Another recent survey found that most businesses (60%) are increasing their content marketing spending.

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Very few are decreasing their investment, which suggests that even mediocre content marketing efforts are getting some results.

Your budget will determine your options: If you have a very limited budget for content marketing, say $1,000 or less per month (and I’m including the creator’s time in that figure), you won’t be able to hire a good agency.

Typically, you’ll need to be spending at least a few thousand before an agency will take you on as a client.

However, for that amount, you could hire a freelancer. Assuming they produce really good pieces of content, you’ll be able to publish 1-2 pieces per month.

That’s not a lot, but it can get you started. Also keep in mind that if you want extensive content promotion, it’ll cost even more.

If you have a larger budget to work with, you have all options available to you, and this won’t be a limiting factor.

If that’s the case, base your decision on your answers to the other questions.

3. Would you rather work with freelancers or agencies?

If you do decide to outsource your content marketing, this is a huge decision that you’ll have to make.

You can work with freelancers, or you can hire an agency.

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They can both be good options, but each has their own strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re not familiar with the terms, a freelancer is someone who is self-employed and generally works for multiple clients at the same time.

An agency, on the other hand, is more “professional.” They’ll have a full staff of at least three employees and typically have a wide variety of clients.

Price comparison: Here’s where your budget limitations might come in.

When you’re hiring freelancers, cost is all over the board. In general, you will pay less to a freelancer for the same work than you would pay an agency because the freelancer has less overhead.

However, there is a huge range in what freelancers charge.

Most of it depends on what you’re looking for.

Currently, you’ll have a tough time finding a great freelance content marketer unless you’re willing to pay more than $100 an hour (that’s the low end).

The best freelance content marketers can charge upwards of $300 an hour because there is no one else who can do what they can.

These guys know your subject in and out, are great writers, and also have contacts in the industry to help promote the content.

They’re expensive, but they get results.

However, if you can’t afford that, don’t worry. You can go down a tier or two and find freelancers who charge what works out to be $50-100 an hour.

Although they may call themselves content marketers, most are just good writers and know your subject well.

They can still produce valuable work, but expect to hire another freelancer for promotion or to do it yourself.

What about agencies? Any good agency will charge at least a few hundred dollars per hour. They can do this because they offer a lot.

They typically have an expert in every area of content creation and promotion. They’ll have an expert designer, writer, editor, and promoter. Together, the team does everything a top individual content marketer could do (and sometimes more).

In summary: You can usually save a bit by hiring freelancers, but you’ll have to do more work managing them. You can hire both cheap freelancers and agencies, but you’ll get what you pay for.

Quality comparison: There’s a lower bar to entry to become a freelancer than to start an agency.

That means that there is high variance in the quality of freelancers. There are a lot of terrible ones out there, but there are also some top notch ones.

With agencies, you also have variability, but you are less likely to come across a bad one. Most agencies are started by competent freelancers who want to grow their business, so the quality is higher on average.

What does this all mean? It means that you can get a quality result either way. But if it’s crucial that the quality is decent from the start, an agency is a safer bet.

Either way, reviewing their past work is the easiest way to see if they can deliver what you’re looking for.

Dependability: When it comes to dependability, agencies are also a safer bet in general.

Some freelancers are great. They are highly professional, will always put you first, and deliver what they promise every time.

However, others are terrible. They might drop off the map, and you’ll have no way of communicating with them.

Additionally, unless you’re one of their main clients, you risk being dropped without notice or deprioritized when something else comes up.

If you go the freelance route, you need to interview your candidates and try to get a feel for their work ethic and priorities. It’s not easy, but you’ll get better over time.

An agency has at least three people you can contact. It’s rare for them to go completely out of touch. Plus, you will be able to reach them pretty much at any time during normal business hours.

As far as always delivering their work on time, they all will have the same issues. Agencies usually have several or hundreds of clients. Unless you’re a big spender, they’re not going to lose sleep over whether or not you’re happy with them and whether or not you’ll leave.

If you have a smaller budget, it’s often better to hire a freelancer. Even if you can only spend $1,000 a month, that’s a large chunk for a freelancer, but almost nothing to an agency.

The more important you are to someone, the more dependable they will be.

4. How much of your content will contain private/personal data?

There are many different content marketing strategies that can be successful.

Some will get you to the results you’re looking for faster than others.

One aspect of content marketing in particular—transparencyis one of the most effective things you can add to your efforts.

Readers enjoy getting a behind the scenes look and getting more detail in general.

If you’re willing to share company data (that you’re allowed to share), you can increase the chances and speed of success with content marketing. It allows you to provide unique value. No one else has your personal data.

For example, you might talk about your customers.

Dating site Plenty of Fish creates some great blog posts, in which they analyze what kind of profiles get the most and least success on their platform:

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It could also be about the results of your work.

For example, I often share traffic and profit details with you in Quick Sprout posts.

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Readers find this valuable, and it increases your credibility in their eyes.

To answer the question of this section—how much of your content will contain private/personal data?—you’ll need to decide whether you have any interesting data to share and whether you’re willing to share it in your content.

The reason why this is so important to decide right now is because it will affect your final decision.

To create these kinds of posts, you need to analyze whatever data you have.

I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I don’t want a random freelancer or agency digging around my personal data.

I also know that there are some things that I’d rather keep private.

If you decide to reveal personal data, you’ll have to do it yourself. Or you’ll probably want to get someone from your team to do the analysis.

So, while you can hand off the results of your analysis, that still leaves you (or someone you work with) with a lot of ongoing work.

If you’re in a niche where your transparency is really important, this kind of work may be required for almost every piece of content. In this case, you’ll probably want to keep your content marketing in-house.

5. Do they have an area of expertise? Is it relevant?

If you choose to outsource your content marketing, it’s crucial that you hire someone (or some agency) that will get you results.

Just for a second, let’s think about the type of marketers you might need in this situation.

Most of the marketers will have two skills—writing and networking—out of the three main skills we talked about earlier (writing, networking, and domain expertise). Those are, after all, fundamentals of modern marketing.

But the third one isn’t so easy.

To truly gain domain expertise, you need to be studying one specific topic for years. If you market to a particularly sophisticated audience, you’ll need to be even more advanced.

The biggest challenge you’ll face is finding someone who is an expert in your niche.

It’s very rare for someone to both be an expert in a niche and also have the necessary marketing skills.

Wade through the “generalists”: If you decide to hire freelancers, you’ll find a lot of content marketers who say that they can market any business.

The fact that they think so shows that they are not top-level content marketers.

All the best freelancers will have one or two areas of expertise.

When it comes to agencies, it’s a bit different.

A large agency may have content creators who are experts in several niches. However, small- to mid-size agencies who are generalists face the same problems.

Their content will not be worth what you pay.

Instead, you should look for specialists in your niche.

For example, “Gourmet Marketing” is a small agency focused on content marketing for restaurants:

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That alone doesn’t mean that they’re a good agency, but at least it tells you that they understand your industry and recognize that domain expertise is important.

6. What will their content marketing process look like?

Stick around in the marketing world long enough, and you’ll start seeing buzzwords everywhere.

They’re not exactly bad. They just don’t mean a whole lot.

Some people will use these words to sound smart in order to convince you to hire them.

The easy way to screen them out is to simply get more details.

When someone mentions “content marketing,” it can mean anything. Everyone has their own picture of what it is.

One of the biggest goals of any interview you conduct should be to figure out what your candidate’s definition of content marketing is.

More specifically, how do they plan to help you?

You should be looking for specific answers that address:

  • how they will determine how much content is needed
  • how they will determine which type of content is needed
  • who will be creating the content
  • how they will encourage engagement and ensure growth over time

The two biggest challenges in content marketing are creating enough content and creating engaging content.

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You need to get as much detail as necessary so that you are confident that they have the systems (manpower plus processes) in place to create content regularly with no delays, and make it engaging.

If they try to dance around the subject, move on to the next candidate.

While you shouldn’t expect specifics, all freelancers or agencies should be able to outline the main stages of their work for you.

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They won’t have all the small details worked out, of course.

But if someone is a good marketer, they’ll have already done some preparatory work before talking to you and should have an idea of how to approach content marketing for your business.

7. How will they measure success?

Just like everyone has a different definition of content marketing, everyone also has a different definition of success.

In order to have a good working relationship, you need to establish reasonable guidelines for success beforehand.

If your expectations don’t match up, at least one of you will be frustrated.

It’s entirely possible for a freelancer to be thrilled that they produced X pieces of content or attracted Y links to your blog posts—and for you to be underwhelmed by those results.

Or you may not care about the same things that the freelancer or agency cares about.

If you’re most interested in email subscribers, raw traffic numbers don’t always matter much.

Before you agree to work together, determine which metrics you care about.

Make sure to go through why you care about each and what level for each metric you would consider “good.”

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When you discuss your expectations, you will see whether you have any differences with the other party.

If they think your expectations are unreasonable, they can tell you why, and you can discuss the subject until you agree on reasonable expectations around their work.

If you can’t come to an agreement now, consider yourself lucky that you found out early that you aren’t compatible. It will save you a lot of stress and frustration in the future.

8. Do they give any guarantees?

Does this question look familiar?

It’s also a question that you should answer before hiring an SEO firm.

However, while an SEO firm can’t make guarantees about #1 rankings (honestly at least) because that’s out of their control, content marketing agencies and freelancers can make them.

Most freelancers and agencies know that it’s hard for you to commit a decent amount of money every month when the results could take over six months to see.

Most good content marketers (especially agencies) will offer some sort of guarantee of a result after 6-12 months.

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They probably won’t promise X,000 leads per month, but they can promise that you’ll like the work that they’ve done (the content), the way they’ve done it, and the results so far (according to the metrics you’ve agreed on).

By that time, you’ll know if you are getting the promised results and will either be happy with the direction they’re going or know that you want to get rid of your content marketer.

9. How does content marketing fit into your other marketing efforts?

I mentioned that one of the reasons you might want to outsource content marketing is because you have other things to do.

What kind of things might those be?

It could be many things, including the many parts of your sales funnel.

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Your most important job is to make sure that everything fits together smoothly.

There’s no point spending all your time and attention on content marketing if your products still need work.

Before you even think about hiring anyone to help you, get a good picture of how content marketing fits into your business.

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Content can be useful to attract readers, but you’ll also need to convert that traffic into leads.

You can then use content to nurture those leads into customers and use even more content to help keep them satisfied so that they’ll continue purchasing from you in the future.

When you hire a freelancer or agency, most of them will focus on the top of the funnel content. They’ll produce blog content to attract traffic and leads.

That may be fine for you.

However, if you want them to produce content to support other parts of your business, that’s something you’ll have to budget for and bring up.

A freelancer may not be able to handle that extra work, but agencies usually can.

And while most content marketers will perform some basic SEO to target keywords, you need to make sure that you also start generating organic search traffic with your content.

Furthermore, you need them to understand what products you sell, which products you’re creating, and relationships you have with other companies in your nice.

They need to know this because it will affect whom they mention in content and which topics are most important to your target audience.

The takeaway: Content marketing is only one piece of your business. If you outsource it, make sure that the work you have done fits with the rest of your business.

10. Do you need a content marketer or an editor?

There’s one unique case that we need to look at with this question.

What if you have a big budget but also want to work with freelancers (as opposed to an agency)?

This might allow you to create a large volume of top notch content on a regular basis.

The biggest problem you’ll have is managing all the freelancers.

When you have a team of 5+ freelancers writing and promoting your content, things can get disorganized fast.

You’ll find that you’ll have to step in and spend a lot of time finding good freelancers, assigning topics, reviewing their work, and coordinating their promotion.

Although that’s an okay solution, there is another option.

Hire a great content marketer as your editor instead. Although this will cost more because you’ll pay a fixed fee, it’ll also free up a ton of time, and assuming you value your time highly, it’ll actually save you money.

Here’s how it’ll work.

On the Crazy Egg blog, we have several writers who contribute on a regular basis.

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But I don’t spend all my time coordinating them because we have a blog editor for that.

The editor finds new writers as needed, makes sure that important topics are written about (with the right keywords), edits posts to improve their quality, and promotes them as well.

You’ll need to hire a great freelancer for this unique type of role, which will be expensive, but you’ll save money because now you’ll be getting most of the content created by writers (not full-fledged content marketers).

This process has allowed us to post daily articles on the blog for years, and the results have been great.

11. How will they keep you informed of their progress?

This final question will also save you a lot of stress and frustration.

All agencies and freelancers communicate differently.

Some won’t communicate as often as you’d like, while others will keep you too updated.

Everyone’s different, but I think a monthly report is a good frequency for checking in, in addition to communicating about any big issues that may come up.

Most agencies will send a template-based report of all the most important metrics, which is good because you’ll get used to finding important information within those reports quickly.

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Most freelancers don’t have any reporting software, so it’s critical to outline to them beforehand what information is important to you and how often you want it.

This may not seem like an important issue, but it’ll save you from wondering about the status of any work in progress or worrying whether any work is being done at all.

Conclusion

Content marketing is an effective method of marketing for almost any online business.

Its importance continues to grow every year, so even if you haven’t started, you should still get going.

If you have started but are finding that you don’t have enough time to give content marketing the attention and effort needed to get the results you want, something needs to change.

The most common option is to outsource your content marketing (or parts of it).

This is a big decision that will have a significant impact on your overall marketing results, so you need to make it carefully.

The 11 questions that I’ve gone into great detail about in this post will ensure that you know whether you should outsource your marketing and how to find the right person or agency to hire.

If you’ve had any experience with outsourcing content marketing or have questions or concerns about doing it, let me know in a comment below.

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Comments

  1. Great article Neil! I really like that it takes into account a variety of situations, such as whether you have a big budget or not, since there are so many different reasons that one might consider outsourcing content marketing.

    I have both good and bad experiences as well with having texts and posts written by others, but will definitely look at this post again before we make another decision. Thanks! 🙂

    • Rune, glad you found it helpful — looking forward to hearing much more from you on the topic. I think there are multiple considerations to take into account when deciding how to proceed with a good content marketing approach.

      Let me know how it goes and if you need any help along the way.

  2. Al-Amin Kabir :

    Yet another step by step guide, Neil.

    I loved the content marketing team matrix graph most.

    Hugely helpful! 🙂

    • Al-Amin, glad I could help. If you need any other help please let me know. I am sure the team matrix will help immensely 😉

  3. What are the top 3 content marketing agencies which product the best results from your experience so far in the online marketing niche?

    Are there any that are doing fantastic work (regardless of price) which you use?

    What do they charge?

  4. Neil, top-quality as always. What I like most about this post is you divulge the responsibility details an employer needs to focus on when systemizing their content marketing efforts. Posts like these are why I bookmark 2-3 blog posts per day from your sites. – Joel

    • Joel, glad you found the post helpful.

      I think it’s important to give as many details as possible so that others can achieve similar success. Glad you found them helpful. Thanks for sharing!

  5. Tauqir Hussain :

    Neil, once again a thorough and complete analysis. Great Insight.

    Thanks.

  6. Fabulous, Concise and educative as always Neil. I have learnt so much in the past few days reading your content. Thanks! Raghu

    • Raghu, glad to help. If you need help with anything else please let me know. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  7. I personally do not prefer since finding a credible source can be hard. Could you write a post on this in future. How to find a good content marketing company. Cheers!

    • Steve, it really can be hard — but with the right time and effort you can achieve some great results. I’ll definitely see what I can do in regards to writing a post in the future. Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  8. (Most) businesses are there to sell eventually. So, if someone is spend enough on a business that’s already established, he/she’d surely look for something that’s already organized.

    Nice post Neil! Keep up the good work.

    • Grishma, I agree — people are looking for the next big thing. Having a company that has great customer success is a great reason to go with them. Sometimes the proof is in the success. Thanks for sharing.

  9. Hi Neil,

    I believe that content should stay “indoors”. Why? Because you understand your audience and product better than anyone else. Sure, not all companies have the “talent” to be creating content in a consistent basis. But still I think that businesses should hire someone in charge of the content marketing efforts.

    What do you think?

    Regards,

    Gio.

    • Gio, I completely agree if your company is big enough and has the internal resources. If on the other hand your company isn’t that large or doesn’t have the required materials to put together content marketing then it’s tough.

      At the end of the day it’s all about getting the best quality posts.

  10. William Holder :

    Totally agree that the content is almost the most important part of your site. I know it as a professional blogger and freelance writer.

    • William, it really is. At the end of the day content will speak volumes for how your company operates. Looking forward to hearing much more from you and seeing your continued success.

  11. I have kind of a different issue. I make the most of my income from ghostwriting, but I also have some blogs that make money.

    Recently, I decided to take part in a challenge where I create a new blog from scratch, and I chose a niche related to personal development. As soon as the challenge started, I got a new client who wanted articles that fit my new niche perfectly. I had to write for him because it was a new source of active income.

    That client has ordered hundreds of articles in the past few months, so I’ve been busy building up their blog and ignoring mine. It’s frustrating – to say the least. I have no time to work on my blog, and I’ve thought about outsourcing my content – which is ridiculous considering what I do and unjustifiable.

    If I was making enough money from my blogs (or anywhere but ghostwriting) to supplement my household income, I would easily be able to create enough content. It’s a conundrum for me, and the stress of it sometimes makes me want to give up on ghostwriting and blogging altogether.

    • Kari, sounds similar to what I did with my nutrition challenge. It really is tough starting from scratch, but as I am sure you know it’s well worth it.

      I honestly think you’ll figure it out soon enough — you’ll hit an inflection point where you will either make a LOT more money or other resources to make your job easier will become apparent. Just stick it out and the rest will follow.

      Let me know if you need any help along the way!

  12. Hephzy Asaolu :

    This is an eye opener. I am an aspiring content marketer and I really learnt a lot of lessons from this post. I have been working as a freelancer writer for a long time now, until I came across your blog and learnt all about content marketing from your guides. I established a content marketing outfit (not really an agency per say), but I am moving on to learning more so I can make it a full fledged agency. Thank you for this great insight!

    • Hephzy, glad you found the post helpful. I think with the right resources and pieces in place you’ll see some great success. If you need any other help along the way please let me know.

      Looking forward to hearing much more from you.

  13. I run a small agency that focuses on one particular part of the content problem, producing enough content.

    We don’t aim to be everything, we simply aim to reduce the stress of producing daily content that is relevant to your business.

    You can then take it further from there, and focus on creating really good meaty articles at your leasure, while we take care of the daily grind.

    • Sam, I like that you have narrowed down your niche to solve that particular problem. You should focus on small problems so that you can ultimately provides large solutions — the more narrow you are in your focus the better the results will be.

      Best of luck and keep me updated on progress!

  14. Partho Pratim Mazumder :

    Thank you ,bro for nice post. I found good tips. from this post. 🙂

  15. Great post and timely for us, Neil. We’ve just brought on an outsourced content agency in the last couple of months! Just shot our AM a message with a link to this post, heh.

  16. Vishal Kataria :

    I think you’ve summed up what someone busy should do well in the conclusion Neil – outsource content marketing or at least parts of it. It’s important for busy people to find what they are good at (creation or distribution) and stick to it while they let someone else handle the other aspect.

    P. S. Many people have been talking about Buffer’s post where they admit to losing traffic from social. Is this also a post to address that issue? Just curious.

  17. Very useful information here. Will definitely come back to this at a later stage !
    Thanks Neil,

    Esteban

  18. Jeannette Paladino :

    Neil —

    I always look forward to receiving your posts because of your thoughtful insights. But this post disappointed me.

    You claim “An agency, on the other hand, is more “professional.” Using quotes around “professional” doesn’t lessen the sting of the implication that freelancers are less professional. I had senior positions with major companies during my long career, and also managed one of the Big Four accounts while I was with an agency. I’ve had experience with agencies that were far from “professional.” They will pitch the account with their best people and then the junior team works on the account. A lot of “bait and switch” goes on.

    Recent example: one of the world’s largest global communications agencies won the account of a brand-name global consulting firm. They were fired within 2 months because they didn’t have the right people on the account and messed up.

    It’s all about who is doing the work — whether you hire an agency or a freelancer. You need to vet every outsider who works on your account. What is their experience, who have they worked for, what are their clients saying about them? Is the chemistry right? I’m also disappointed that you linked to another agency’s self-serving post that claims it’s “always” better to hire an agency.

    The term “freelancer” has become a pejorative. Change “freelancer” to “consultant” and you will see a complete change of attitude even though it could be the same person.

    I have years of experience in marketing communications so I feel I know this terrain very well. You can’t make generalizations about agencies and freelancers — each has to be evaluated on a case-by-case basis.

    • Jeanette, thanks for sharing this valuable feedback.

      I agree — it’s a case by case thing. In my experience I have always had a great time working with freelancers and the in-house experiences has been a complete blunder. It’s not always good to talk speak in absolutes but empirical data is what I am going off of. Also, in the tech scene I have heard similar stories.

      Thanks for sharing your unique perspective 🙂

  19. I mostly agree with your points, Neil, but am not without sympathy for Jeannette’s points as well. As the owner of a small business for many years, I know my customers. Moreover it has been my experience that agencies invariably offer boiler-plate material, however tried and true it may be. On the other hand, freelancers tend to actually listen to ME, absorb the years of experience I have acquired, and tailor the material to MY specific needs and those of my customers. Over time, the latter has proven more effective – for my company, at least.

    • Stephen, my experiences have been similar. When you hire a freelancer you are actually working with one person that can tend to your needs. However, when you are working with someone in-house there may be a lot of bureaucracy that muddles objectives up. Thanks for sharing!

  20. Great article! And very timely. I’ve gone back and forth over the years between outsourcing content to trying to write it all myself. I’m in a phase right now where I’m outsourcing a ton of it.

    I love saving myself the workload but I’m always concerned that readers of my blogs won’t enjoy the “voice” of the outside writers as much as my voice. I fool myself into thinking that people are spending time on my blog because they want to hear from me… In reality, they are there because they want to learn something. They typically have a question and are seeking an answer… When I get the ego out of the way and realize that my site exists to solve problems and not so people can simply “hear from me”, I feel like good progress is being made.

    Thanks for the timely post!

    • Matt — you touched on something very important.

      Bloggers think that people are coming for them — and in many cases if you get the branding down right they are. But ultimately, they are coming to your site to learn something and extract information. As bloggers we aren’t celebrities — we are just educators and our content should be treated as such to get the most engagement and provide the most value.

  21. Hi Neil,

    This is one post that should be turned into a guide.

    Very detailed, touched on the right points and even as a Content Writer, can totally relate to this and learnt a lot from it.

    Thanks Neil

    • Hannah, glad you found it helpful. I try to make my posts as actionable as possible so that people can replicate the same results I’ve achieved!

  22. $50-$100 seems a huge amount. I can outsource an article for $5 dollar on a micro job site like fiverr. The quality is good.

  23. The only time I’m frustrated is when content marketers like us need to deal with clients who want content marketing to be done for real cheap. Like…..I’ve had to deal with clients who wanted articles for $5-$10 a piece, 800+ words, details and with a lot of crap that would need at least a couple of hours to research. My bad!

    I always try to keep my writers motivated and pay them extra most of them times as a bonus. I feel that content marketers like you need to speak out for the writers out there who are helping people run sites and make money out of it. They need to be backed up and not be treated as typing machines.

    What you sow, shall reap.

    Another great post as expected Neil. Great work!

    • John, completely agree. You really do reap what you sow. If you pay top dollar for a post then you will get a top dollar post. There are a lot of people who like to skimp the process and then get upset when results aren’t up to par. My strategy has been to always find the best writers so I can get maximum exposure. It’s a solid strategy.

  24. Charles Bohannan :

    Wow, Neil — this is a really fascinating and thoughtful angle on procuring content marketers. Do you actually know of any freelance content marketing “unicorns”? Do they actually exist? What kind of clients do they work with? Seems like a great niche for a freelancer willing to put in the work, though I’d wonder if at a certain point they’d just start producing content for their own projects.

  25. Luke Fitzpatrick :

    Awesome info Neil. From working in small teams, I have never thought about how complex a full-fledged content marketing team is. Graphics and images are often things smaller companies and startups lack in – I totally agree, 100% necessary.

    Neil – I’d love to know, how many people are involved in your content marketing team?

    P.S. This might make an interesting post 🙂

    • Luke, there are a lot of pieces that need to be put in place to see great results. I have about 4-5 to core players that make sure everything goes well. Let me know if you need any help along the way!

  26. Some good stuff here, Neil. However what about the start ups and small businesses that don’t have $1,000 per month to spend? Where do they fit in? You’re suggesting that if you don’t have the time to write great content, then hire someone to do it for you. I don’t think that’s realistic. Most small businesses don’t have this luxury. So then it comes down to creating your own content, which is a tough ask when you’re trying to work on your everyday business. It’s a vicious cycle wherby new businesses are trying to grow and gain exposure/authority by creating regular, good value content, but in reality they don’t have the time and resources to do this.

    • Max, I totally get where you are coming from. I would suggest just taking your time and being patient while the pieces come into place. As your company scales and you have more budget to allocate towards marketing efforts the rest will follow. Thanks for the share and looking forward to hearing much more from you!

  27. Ethel Paderes :

    What a great insight you’ve got here Neil!

    I totally love reading your post and I find it very useful for my next content marketing studies.

    Thanks for sharing this!

  28. Anthony Martello :

    Hi Neil,

    I followed your instructions for finding content writers from your article back in May called “How KISSmetrics grew to 793,858 Visitors a Month by Using One Simple Formula” but found it didn’t work for my niche, SEO.

    In that post you estimated having a good blog post written was going to cost $100-$200 per post. I found that I could not get a good writer for less than $250 per post and that was still for someone who was not an SEO expert.

    I think the range you estimated in this new article of $100-$300/hr is more realistic (especially for technical niches).

    In the end, I decided to ask real SEO experts like Mike King, Jason White, Kaila Strong and Mark Munroe (who all speak at SMX) to write for my blog. (And they all agreed.) That was the only way that I could ensure I got “Unicorns.”

    • Anthony, wow! That’s great and and I am glad you saw such great results. It’s important to leverage all your resources and I am glad you got some top writers to contribute to your cause. Thanks for sharing and looking forward to hearing much more from you.

      • Anthony Martello :

        Neil, perfect timing on the tip you just gave me “It’s important to leverage all your resources…” It’s easy to forget to do that. A few days ago I really began kicking that idea into high gear to get the word out about my new SEO software. Thanks for stating it so clearly!

  29. i have been through whole of it and it’s really amazing! found it really useful but aren’t you bit biased towards freelancers as you have taken agencies to another level when it comes about content writing.Hope you don’t mind my anatomization 🙂

    • Erik, glad you found it helpful. I am not biased I just know what has worked for me 😉

      Everyone has a different opinion and experience. Would love to hear yours.

      • yeah off course opinions may vary,till now i couldn’t figured out what has really worked for me,hopefully it will take more time to caste my opinion in to it

  30. Hi Neil,

    Informative Post With Detailed Analysis And Perfectly Strategized Content Is Plotted Here!

    Thanks! Again

  31. Hi,

    Its a great information !

    thanks again.

  32. Regarding the choice between a freelancer or agency it depends on the country. As for me I prefer freelancers more than agencies.

  33. Thank you for tour information. It is great.
    I like email marketing.
    I come from Vietnam, welcome you to visit my county.

  34. There is no chance I could say that I didn’t like the article. Totally loved it again!
    Just a personal request: if it’s possible for you Neil then please arrange a seminar or workshop in India. I won’t miss it, no matter wherever you decide the venue.

    Thanks for this article anyway 🙂

    • Ritesh, I did one a few years ago in Bangalore — let me see if I can swing another one in the next few years. I am just so busy with work, travel and speaking engagements.

  35. I found simply the info about content marketing I already searched everywhere and just couldn’t come across. What a great site. Thanks and good luck

    • Preeti, thanks for the support and I am glad you found the article helpful. I try to provide some real in-depth stuff so that I can provide value to my readers.

  36. Hi Neil,

    I find it extremely hard to find decent writers and the search has been a thorn in my side for years.

    I recently tried Fivver once again. As the saying goes you get what you pay for. Yikes what an absolute mess, incomprehensible, horrid grammer, spun. May pass copyscape but who cares if you have to rewrite it all and file the fivver articles into the circular.

    Your business is your content, it’s worth every penny to find a good writer and pay them well.

    • Jan, I completely agree which is why I don’t use fiverr. I’d rather pay for the quality 😉 Thanks for sharing!

  37. Thank you Neil for your high valuable content! Keep doing it please.

    By the way, I would like to ask you an advice, maybe in a new post, about how to “sell” a sponsored post on my blog in order to get an extra income. For example, a company’s or product review.

    How should we sell that space? What should we do? Get in touch with many companies offering the sponsored post?

    Thanks Neil!

    • Fred, you’ll have to do it the old fashion way with manual outreach. You can also try to go on forums or on e-lance to see if people are interested. Leave no stone unturned and the results will follow.

  38. I am always amazed of how much valuable information I can find on one website. You are by far the best blogger Ive seen. People keep paying money to learn from so called online marketing “gurus”, when all they need to do is read neil patel.

    Thanks Neil !

    • Teddy, thanks for the support. As always if you need help with anything please let me know. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

  39. now after these questions I am in favor of considering Content marketing, Thanks Neil ji.

  40. That’s really cool guide, I have also bookmarked this website and tweet it in my social account. Thanks Nail keep write and educate us

  41. Sridhar Kesaraju :

    Hi Neil,

    Even me and my boss are facing the biggest challenge finding someone who is an expert in our niche. We are looking content marketers for IT industry Niche, but it is very hard for us to find the right person. Thanks for this article. It will really help us in finding the right content marketer.

    Cheers!

  42. Hi Neil,

    I have always hired freelancers for content marketing for my clients but I always prefer to edit and optimize because I have projects on different websites and their content needs different tone and budget.

    So for me, hiring freelancers for content content marketing works in 3 phase – 10%-50%-40%. I outsource middle 50% but first 10% (research and topic selection) and and last 40% (optimization and promotion) I do myself. It saves my valuable time.

    And generally speaking, this strategy worked for me.

    This is as usual a great post and I know it will help me making new strategy.

    Thanks-

    Neeraj

    • Neeraj, that’s an interesting take on things — but it sounds like it works. Thanks for sharing.

      Looking forward to hearing more from you. Keep up the great work and let me know if you need help with anything.

  43. I’ve never monetized before, but somehow I do see this as a big improvement in my strategy (assuming it’s done with HQ and emotion)

  44. Another great read Neil, thanks! I’ve been reading your stuff for a while, and this is my first comment.

    Found it very interesting (and something I’ve never really considered) that to be a good content marketer you actually have to “market” the content you’ve written. That’s the biggest lesson for me.

    I recently wrote an article that references your article on “Epic Content” which I thought was simply too awesome not to share… I guess it was epic 🙂 I referenced it in my article “6 Ways to Raise Funding for Your Cause Online”. Google that if you’re curious.

    Just a side note… I’d be curious to see what conversion increase you’d get on your floating twitter share button if you updated the icon to the current one. Doubt it would be significant, but nonetheless curious.

    Thanks again.

  45. Hi Neil,

    I recently started outsourcing content marketing. The major problem I’ve been facing so far is the quality of content.

    Most of the time I see I don’t find the quality I want from writers.

    No one can match your writing style. If you can adjust, outsourcing is for you.

    But when you have big projects, it become necessity .

    Regards
    Tauseef

    • Tauseef, it definitely is tough. I wouldn’t outsource the writing of content to others if your voice is stronger and resonate with your audience more than their’s. Just try to write as much as you can on your own — the rest will follow.

  46. I learned early on that it is necessary to outsource many things, and focus my own time on the bigger picture – my value to the business is in driving things forward. And yes, that means that I write maybe 1/3rd of our content myself these days, but it’s all about finding the right person to work with you, giving them a good plan of where you want your content to go, and then tweaking that final edit.

    • Sarah, I always find people who are smarter to work around me. I am never going to be a jack of all trades — nor do I have the time. You are doing all the right things. Keep it up!

  47. You have to share nice post Neil .. Outsourcing your Content to a good digital marketing reseller is certainly worth doing if you pick the right company. So we believe that outsourcing content creation is the most essential marketing tactic.

    • Tarun, it really is. I like to surround myself with those who are smarter than me. Everyone is good at something — you just need to find who is the best.

  48. Frederik Faarup :

    A little addition:
    Giving the freelancer a bonus for extra good work will motivate the freelancer to deliver quality time after time.

    It works for me, at least.

    Regards.

  49. Again You have written great post as usual.I believe that quality is at least as important as relevance these days, and quality doesn’t come cheap.

  50. Khalid Ibrahim :

    Hello Neil,

    Having to outsource your content marketing is something every business owners will have to decide eventually.

    The 11 questions certainly are compelling. I believe that as long as you can afford it, an agency will be your best bet for content creation, they are professional, probably have a team like the one you described above and will most certainly give you what you pay for.

    Thanks for sharing

    • Khalid, depending on your needs an agency just may be what you need — ideally you want to do your research on the agency so you can ensure they work as an in-house entity.

  51. Thank you for this article, Neil, which helps not only those who’re wondering whether to outsource content marketing, but those who are interesting in becoming better content marketers.

  52. Neil

    Your Content Marketing Team Matrix diagram elegantly illustrates why it’s so difficult to generate great content. There are a lot of different skills and expertise involved. Too bad so many “content marketers” go for the bland 500 word article.

    • It really is a shame. By having long in-depth content that provides value you can really differentiate yourself.

  53. Alfonso Prim (Innokabi) :

    Hello Neil, very very good article as always. It is the second time I read it and I have detect a broken link in point 3 in this sentence: “You can work with freelancers, or you can hire an agency.”
    Best regards

  54. Octavia Sosa :

    Again You have written great post as usual.I believe that quality is at least as important as relevance these days, and quality doesn’t come cheap.

  55. Yep’ a real matrix for content outreach. as a new entrant in the content marketing i am regularly following you, and hope it will get some luck to finding good bucks.

    thanks.

    regards

  56. Hi Neil, this post is very useful.
    But I’m with a doubt. Who is recommended to assign the bylines of the texts?

    1 – Freelancer?
    2 – In my name (Ghostwriter)?
    3 – In the name of the brand?

    Thank you 🙂

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