To Outsource or Not to Outsource? That Is the Content Question (Among Others)

Jul 29, 2011   //   by Chris Help   //   blogging, SEO Blog  //  10 Comments

So I subscribe to lots of email lists. And I mean lots. Do I ever buy anything from them? Nope. So why do I do it? To get ideas. All sorts of them. Marketing ideas, ideas on what NOT to do, product offering ideas, even article and blog ideas. In fact, I got the idea for this post from another I just read.

Now before we go any further, understand this: I don’t mean to say you should rip off someone else’s content by any means. Instead, you should look for something that strikes a chord with you and use that as a spring board for your post. And that’s exactly what’s happening here.

Last night I was going through email and clicked a link that took me to a post entitled Google Thinks Article Marketing SUCKS. Since one of the key pieces of my business is writing articles for article syndicators, the author had my full attention.

Of course, the topic is nothing new. SEO guys have been arguing back and forth about the value of article syndication for quite some time. But since the whole PANDA deal (debacle?), the debate seems to have heated up a few degrees.

That said, I read the article and found the author making some good points. But of course, I have to follow that with a huge BUT…

Should You Outsource Your Content Writing?

The author of the above referenced post answers this question with a resounding “NO.” In fact, his exact words were “My advice:  never outsource your content to anyone.  It just isn’t worth it.”

Hmph.

Of course, as someone who runs their own copywriting business, I immediately took offense to this. In fact, looking back I realized I almost got my feelings hurt. Silly, I know.

But after thinking about it a bit, I suppose I understand where he’s coming from. After all, if you Google “article writing services” or something similar, chances are you’re going to end up having a bunch of drivel written by someone who barely speaks English. And if content really is king, what good will that crap do you? Not much.

But what the author failed to mention (and maybe realize), is not all content writing is outsourced to foreign countries and bad writers.

There is another way.

Working with High QualityighH Content Writers

Funny I actually just finished a piece of direct mail on the very topic I’m writing about. Aimed at SEO/SEM firms in a particular city (hey you might get one if you live there!), the letter explains how you and your clients will benefit by forming a relationship with a quality copywriter (me). Notice the keyword here: quality.

Your clients certainly won’t be impressed by subpar copywriting. But someone who really knows what they’re doing will design words in such a fashion as to make the readers actually want to…well, read it.

That applies to all copy, including SEO articles, blog posts, and press releases. Yes, I consider all of those to be ad copy. The high quality content writer truly understands that it’s not only actual advertisements that need to be written in an enticing manner. It’s all content.

Top Sign of a Copywriter You Should Outsource To

So how can you tell if the content writer you’re about to hire is going to provide you with the level of work you’re looking for? Well, you could ask for samples, but who is to say those samples will be indicative of what the majority of their work actually looks like?

No, here’s what I think the first sign of a top notch content writer is. Are you ready? Caution, you may disagree with me…

The number one sign of a high quality content writer is…his rates. Yep, that’s right! That old saying, “you get what you pay for,” it’s right 9 times out of 10. Or maybe 99 times out of 100.

See, most SEOs who aren’t happy with the articles or ghostblogs they get in return for their money—well, they were pinching pennies. Let me be frank: the odds of you getting content that is truly king at a beggar’s price is slim to none.

Just think about all those article writing services out there selling keyword-driven articles for pennies on the dollar. Promising to churn out 100 articles for you in a week. Come on, really? Think you’re going to get something anyone wants to read? Hell no.

If You Are Paying Less Than ___ Per Article, You’re Not Getting a Good Deal…You’re Getting Garbage

Can you fill in that blank? It’s kind of hard, right? Well let me tell you how I’d fill it in. I’d say $30. And that’s cheap. In fact, it just so happens to be the special I’m running right now (how coincidental?). But in all seriousness, maybe that number will vary a bit, I charged less when I was first starting out but still delivered quality content. However, it really is on the lower end. I know for a fact that some SEO people I write for are reselling my articles to other clients for four times what they’re paying me. And I’m fine with that because:

  • I know they’re worth it
  • I’d rather make a little less and not have to market to the individual clients

And guess what? The clients are happy with them. And furthermore, the articles are still helping the clients’ search engine rankings climb. And I guarantee if one of those articles I wrote turn up in a Google search, the person who reads it isn’t pissed off that they wasted their time reading something that sounds like a second grader wrote it. More likely, they’re clicking on links trying to find more useful information.

My Point Is…

First of all, yes you should outsource your content writing. But not to someone who charges really cheap prices in exchange for really bad content. Suck it up and pay someone to produce pieces of carefully woven copy. Articles included!

Secondly, article marketing isn’t dead. I don’t care what Google or anyone else says. I’ve seen the ranking reports of multiple SEOs who still use it as their first line of offense. Granted, it may not be as effective as it once was, but it still has some gas left in the tank. How much though is still anyone’s guess.

Regardless, if you’re in the search engine optimization or social media marketing game, you need content. And not just any content—you need great content. Now more than ever. And unless you’re capable of writing it yourself, you’re going to have to hire someone to produce it for you.

My advice: outsource your content writing, but don’t be a cheapskate!  

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Chris Help

Chris HELP started his own copywriting agency, HELP! Copy and Design, a few years back as a sort of side project to showcase his passions. But what ended up happening is it snowballed into full-fledged thriving business. So whether you need press releases, SEO articles, or good old fashioned high-conversion copy--he's ready, willing, and more than able.

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  • Personaly, I agree with you. I outsource just when it comes to content. Linkbuilding and KW reserach and things like that – I do that by myself.

    Im not to familiyar with buying content but I honestly dont have time to write a lot of content. I know evryone is thinking like me, but there is a question about money and time. Also called RIO.

  • Chris HELP! says:

    @Badrumsrenovering

    Yeah, there are definitely pieces of my business I would never consider outsourcing. The no brainer stuff–no problem.

    Thanks for the response!

  • This is such a awesome website! Thanks for sharing keep up with the hardwork

  • Ivin says:

    Hello Chris, $30. It’s cheap, but depends on who it is for. I personally don’t like paying someone to write my stuff. You lose your voice and signature that way. You can add it later on, but then you might as well not outsource.

  • Kostas says:

    Outsourcing it’s a great way to save time and use it on something that you are more productive, but you should be careful who you choose to write content for you, there are so many content writers that promise high quality articles on low prices but they deliver low quality and bad written articles

  • Chris-

    I am in the energy efficiency industry in San Antonio and I have 2 writer’s that work along side me. There are so many topics we want to blog about, but spend most of our time producing content for our websites. Do you have experience writing about the heating and air conditioning or solar energy industry? If so, I would definitely like to get in contact with you about some projects. I think $30 for a well written article is very fair. Thanks for the info!

  • Worli says:

    Outsourcing your content will depend on 4thing. Passion! Money! Time! Writing Skills! If some one is passionate about writing then he wont consider to outsource. If some one is making enough money then he will consider. And some one is just busy then he will.

    Not every one is good in writing, in that case one should outsource content.

  • Century says:

    Nice post… Thanks…

  • Zain says:

    Tottally agreeing with you as Outsourcing allows you to focus in on what you do best. they will save you on hiring, training, administration, benefits, absenteeism, workspace and equipment. It is your aim to work seamlessly with you (or your appointee) – as if you were in the office next-door.

  • Nhick says:

    Agree with the idea of outsourcing to give yourself time to do other important tasks.