The hidden benefit of outsourcing your content writing
Ongoing content writing agreements are one of the fastest-growing parts of my business. There’s a lot of demand for content like the stuff I write for Sharesies, where I provide blogposts on a regular basis. This is a good arrangement for everyone involved. I get reliable, ongoing work, which is obviously useful for things like buying groceries and paying my rent. My clients get an ongoing stream of content that they don’t have to worry about writing themselves. Easy.
But there’s another benefit to this approach, and it’s not immediately obvious.
When you work in an organisation, there’s all kinds of information you take for granted around how your product works, where it fits in the market, who your audience is, what they respond to and so on. Most of this stuff isn’t written down. It’s just shared knowledge that sits in everyone’s brains.
This can create problems when you bring in outside help. Either you have to spend loads of time putting together an exhaustive brief, or you have to have multiple rounds of feedback as your contractor gets up to speed. Often, you end up doing both.
This not ideal, especially because so many organisations outsource work when they’re under time pressure - so the last thing you need is to spend more time explaining things. This puts you in a tricky position: how do you get outside help without having to explain and document all those little things that in-house people intuitively know?
Knowledge by osmosis
If you think about where you learned the various things you know about the organisation you work for, you probably won’t be able to pinpoint an exact time and place when you learned it. Rather, this stuff just kind of naturally shows up in your brain over time. You can achieve the exact same outcome by having someone produce content for you on a regular basis. That person - me in this example - learns all those little details about what your organisation values and how you get things done.
An insurance policy
This basically gives you an insurance policy. At some point, you are going to need to produce more content than you have capacity for. A time-critical opportunity may come up, someone might get sick, you might have a crisis - who knows. When this day inevitably comes, you’re not going to have time to write a novel of a brief, or go back and forth with a contractor a zillion times on a draft. You’re going to want someone who can just get into whatever it is you need without any fuss.
By having someone produce content for you on a regular basis, you are essentially creating this person. If one of my ongoing content clients needs a white paper, campaign, report or whatever, I can just jump into it with a light brief, because I’ve picked up all that informal knowledge over time. This is not to say that I’m an expert like someone who works for the organisation, but I’m a lot closer than I would be if I was coming in completely cold.
It’s one of those rare situations where there’s not much of a tradeoff, because not only do you get this insurance policy, you get content in exchange for your ‘premiums’ along the way. I’m hesitant to call anything a free lunch, but at the very least, it’s heavily discounted.
Works for me, works for my clients. And if you’d like it to work for you too, you know where to find me.
Image credit: Patrick Tomasso via Unsplash