Posted on October 9, 2014
As content marketing gains in popularity as a practice, oftentimes, a brand – however sizeable – does not have the resource to write content in-house or the patience to go through a buttock-clenchingly arduous tendering process to work with a content marketing agency. One solution would be to find and develop an ongoing relationship with a freelance individual (a ‘ghost-writer’) that could manage content creation and editing.
GHOST-WRITING – MORE MARKETING MANAGERS DO IT THAN YOU’D EXPECT!
Contracting out their content creation is something that marketers often keep under wraps . Considering that this is a time when numerous influential figures have gained their status by writing blogs, few will willingly confess to outsourcing their writing. Nonetheless, research carried out by Content Marketing Institute has shown that the majority of innovative marketers (and marketing departments) are employing ghostwriters. More than 40% of marketers and over 60% of larger organisations are presently utilizing outsourced content marketing. Frankly, this practice outdates the internet; several successful books weren’t actually written by the author they are attributed to. If you’ve ever marvelled at how an industry pioneer found the time to create an incredible book or article, it’s quite possible that they didn’t. It’s certainly feasible to effectively utilise a ghostwriter to source content that will convert leads; however, it’s important to bear in mind a few things that will influence the outcome. Creating valuable content isn’t quick and without adequate information, even the greatest writers won’t be able to accomplish your goals. With that in mind, here are five things to consider when outsourcing your content creation:
SOURCE A SUITABLE WRITER
Practically everybody creates content in the social media age, but they won’t all be suitable for your business, so don’t rush the selection process (and certainly don’t rush to get ‘influencers’ and ‘fans’ to write for you). Vigilantly filtering through your pool of potential writers will allow you to select someone who will compel consumers, is proficient enough to produce at the pace that you require and possesses adequate knowledge of grammar and arrangement to reduce the amount of time you’ll need to spend proofreading. To further expand your selection process, one method you could use is to ask writers upfront to produce some sample content to appear on your channels, since you are giving them the task to speak for you.
SUPPLY DETAILED GUIDANCE
No freelancer is capable of creating appropriate content without instructions; anyone who could would be making a superior income working as a clairvoyant. The fact is that if you need incredible content, you need to give incredible direction to your content creator. Although assembling comprehensive instructions can be time-consuming, the increase in the value of your content makes supplying at least these basic instructions completely worthwhile:
- Tone; is a casual, conversational tone or a professional, data-focused tone more appropriate for your brand persona?
- Customer qualities; provide data about your target customers, such as demographics and concerns.
- References; supplying the latest trustworthy figures and data provides your content with authority. Recommend that your freelancer study specific resources.
- Content examples; pass on some samples of previously produced content that you found to be particularly valuable or well-received. This will give your freelancer inspiration for the direction of your content.
SUPPLY AMPLE RESOURCES
Numerous skilled writers are able to produce information that is equally sufficient for search engines and actual readers, even without having any personal knowledge or experience related to your niche. Nonetheless, it’s a wise move to spend time supplying a quick guide to your company structure and area of business. Explain your company background, goals and staff hierarchy. Supply links to the social accounts and blogs of influential industry figures, giving your freelancers a head start towards individual research and education. Should you develop a continuing affiliation with a freelancer, allowing them to access your blog’s analytics means they can utilise that data for improvement.
EMPLOY AN EDITOR
Perhaps, your ghostwriter is not a writer but an editor instead. The majority of our most celebrated writers hire someone else to provide editing services – even the best writers require editors. Although the digital age has provoked many businesses to abandon established marketing conventions – particularly as social media has democratised the content creation process - employing editors is a superior model that isn’t going to change any time soon. If your industry is very technical, or if your target audience is particularly specialist, it might be necessary to employ someone with expertise in your field who can additionally check the accuracy of your content. This might be somewhat expensive, but it’s far more preferable than sacrificing the integrity of your company.
ALLOW FOR BREAKING NEWS
Although we might dream of having our content schedules completed weeks in advance, this technique doesn’t really fit with how today’s customers absorb information. If your business is able to produce content in real-time and if you want to publish viral content, capitalizing on current popular events and subjects offers the best opportunity to do so (see Oreo’s ‘Dunk in the Dark’ tweet for the best example of this). The simple way to do this is to insert your own theories or perspectives into current news items; this doesn’t require you to make your theories well-liked, it’s simply necessary to cover the story while it’s still breaking news. If you’re looking to publish content that grabs attention and that readers will want to share, you’re going to require a writer who can create relevant content on extremely short notice. Of course, these tips aren’t absolute, but effective use of ghostwriting means you need to efficiently convey your brand, concept and customer base. Content produced by a third party should under no circumstances appear outsourced, and instead should be like an organic addition to your brand’s online persona.