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You’re hired: Outsourcing content work

by Julie Vollenweider on April 1st, 2010

Recently, someone asked if I could help him understand when it makes sense to outsource content work vs. handle it with an internal team.

At first, this question surprised me – it’s not one I hear often. Or ever, for that matter. But it got me thinking that perhaps it is asked (or silently considered) more than I realize.

Before diving into the details – here are some familiar situations that prompt the question: Who is going to do this content work?
•    We have a giant pile of messy content.
•    Nobody really “owns” our content, so everyone avoids it.
•    We have content all over the place, and none of it is consistent when it comes to voice, tone, style or message.
•    Our content isn’t useful, usable, relevant, or accurate.
•    We are thinking about implementing a new content management solution.

OK. Yep. You have content work to be done. Now what? There are two common scenarios when it comes to the content requests we get:
•    We have/are building an internal team that will take care of our content. Can you teach us some best practices and/or help us get started?
•    There’s nobody/no time to take care of our content. Can you do it for us?


A shameless, yet good-humored, plug

Of course, it really wouldn’t hurt to consider hiring a content strategy consultancy (preferably based in Minneapolis) either way – to jumpstart your effort or to just take care of it. Content professionals (like the awesome staff at Brain Traffic) are standing by to help answer questions, develop a plan, increase confidence and dole out general content happiness.

  • arnold

    Have you heard about Mojofiti.com? http://www.mojofiti.com is a website where anyone can get an international blog and every entry, email and group is translated into 28 different languages for free. It's awesome, finally a world without language barriers!

  • http://www.blue-ferret.com/ BlueFerret

    Okay, this one's getting a link and a tweet from me. I have people referring others to me because they asked that question! The tables are excellent for highlighting the value of both content roles.

  • JulieVollenweider

    Thanks, Chris! I'm glad you find it helpful. Since this sounds like a question you've answered before, how have you approached the explanation? Would love to expand the conversation …

  • http://www.blue-ferret.com/ BlueFerret


    Many such referrals come to me with very little (if any) understanding of content uses, strategy or value. Often I'll have to break down their old concepts and introduce newer ones.

    Such as asking how much time they spend talking with prospects to find that most aren't even in their target market (content helps filter these out by speaking to specific audiences). Or I ask what their website's persuasion tactics are, only to get blank stares (content experts are responsible for making the content persuasive/relevant).

    A year ago I recommended to a software firm (who were actually -growing- in 2009) that they hire a full-time content specialist. They had content coming out their ears–and maybe 15% of it was written as relevant to their audience. (They of course asked me to come on board; I would have, but I had two prior commitments. I recommended a colleague.) Generally however I recommend outsourcing, for one big reason: Total focus on the content.

  • mariatal

    Well, what Outsource is becoming the secret weapon of companies in both production and cost reduction. Product Development Outsource has become a trend preferred by companies such as Sanyo, Fender and Panasonic. These companies benefit from Prototype Outsourcing offered by companies such as OutsourceIndustries. A rapid prototype manufacturer has been aiding these companies in the development of their technologies with minimal costs.

  • samwalker

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  • http://www.kpo.com KPO India

    You did a great job of laying out the advantages of outsourcing content work. This will really help companies to decide whether to outsource their work, or if they even meet the outsourcing “criteria”.

  • http://www.acquisix.com Telemarketing

    Now, this is an interesting post! I haven't also heard of someone asking when should they outsource content or not. Often times, content writing is outsourced. However, you did raise some great points in comparing when to outsource and when not to.

  • Kris

    There is so much spam comments here. 4 out of the 5 posters are spam. I can’t believe it especially on braintraffic ?!

  • http://filsupport.com/web-design-outsource/ Web Design Outsource

    I think it’ll be better if you can outsource than creating the new team. I’t's gonna be more practical and effective.

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