May 20, 2021 - Brittany Garlin

How To Outsource Content Marketing Without Losing Your Brand Voice

Small and large brands always face the problem of wanting to do everything themselves. It isn’t possible to keep doing everything on your own. Sometimes, you need to delegate work in order to scale up. Delegating work to your teams – internally and externally helps get the job done in time. Internal teams are those that are part of the business or company, external teams are the ones that are outsourced. Businesses that are interested in learning how to outsource content marketing can benefit by scaling up during busy times and focusing on better managing their core efforts by having more free time.

Even larger marketing agencies tend to work with more specialized agencies on extensive projects. Once the brief is shared, you can concentrate on other critical tasks, knowing that the work is getting done within the stipulated time. The only issue most businesses face is ensuring the brand voice stays the same with so many moving parts and people involved. The brand voice on social media matters greatly for consistency and brand recognition. It is crucial to reconcile an authentic voice (associated with your brand) with copywriting. 

The best way to achieve uniformity is to ensure you have the brand voice and style guidelines and communicated correctly when you outsource content marketing to your agency. You will need to sit and explain the brand vision, mission, and objectives carefully. Most marketing agencies have brilliant ideas, but they may not be in line with your brand identity. You should initially have strict quality assurance systems in place to ensure that only approved content makes the cut.

What is a Brand Style Guide?

A brand style guide is a set of guidelines that help keep everyone on the same page. It explains the brand, the image, the voice, and any other aspects like text, color, font, and so on to help identify the brand. 

1. Create a Brand Style Guide

Your content should have uniformity across all social media platforms. It should be viewed as the same brand no matter which platform is being considered by customers, users, or key stakeholders. It should cover grammatical preferences, formatting guidelines, the same tone of voice, imagery, brand story, and colors. It should have your mission, vision, and business goals. Marketing agencies need to be explained how to achieve the end goals. The brand style guide should also have all the demographics of your target audience. You must always keep in mind that the language changes according to preferred audiences. Younger audiences must find the brand easy to connect with, whereas older audiences must see the professionalism in the brand. 

2. Assign an Editor

When considering to outsource content marketing to an agency, always keep the approvals in your hands. Hire or assign a brand editor to review all the content before it is published. Formatting, changes in words, spellings, and typographical errors can mean the difference in liking a brand. A competent editor will spot these differences, make the changes required, and provide valuable feedback to the marketing agency. You can hire more than one in-house editor if the content volume is high. However, you should ensure that both editors understand the brand style guidelines entirely.

3. Approval Process

Off-brand images, incorrect color palettes, inconsistent writing styles, and poor grammar can destroy your brand. You should ensure that each piece of content is consistent with the process and guidelines and is a good representation of your brand’s values. You should streamline the approval process with the help of one or two content managers to review and finalize all content before it goes live. Since this may take time, you should have all your content strategies planned out in advance of the publishing dates. 

Why Should My Business Outsource Content Marketing?

To get ahead of the competition, your website and social media need a steady stream of high-quality, practical, and error-free content relevant to your target audience. Content creating and marketing can take a big chunk out of your time. You will have to juggle all the other responsibilities of running a business while writing, proofreading, editing, and publishing content for your audiences. 

With video being a huge focus for content marketing, it may make more sense for your business to outsource content marketing such as video production to an agency that specializes in this area. Even in-house content teams can often not cope with the ever-evolving design standards surrounding content marketing, especially when there are so many moving parts. When this happens, it invariably affects your website’s SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and your rankings start falling. You begin pumping in vast amounts of money into paid advertising without seeing any desirable results.

It is beneficial in the long term to have a team of professionals working full time on your content strategy and churning out large amounts of high-quality content by the day. As we’ve mentioned earlier, outsourcing to a marketing agency is the key. 

7 Benefits of Outsourcing for Your Brand

1. Cost-Effective

Large and small companies save a lot of money in outsourcing their image and content needs to a marketing agency. It is cheaper than hiring someone full-time and having to pay employee benefits, taxes, and insurance. When you outsource content marketing to an agency, you only pay for the work without the overheads of hiring an employee on your payroll. 

2. Frees Up Time

If you plan to add blogs to your site, you may spend two-three hours researching to write a 1000-word article. Once you’re done researching and writing, you would need additional time to edit and proofread. Delegating the content writing to a marketing agency with in-house writers helps free up your time. You could spend those hours on other critical parts of your business. 

3. Point Of Views (POVs)

Hiring a marketing agency always has its benefits since more people are involved in brainstorming ideas for your brand. As far as the brand voice and tone remain the same, all posts that help get attention and keep people engaged should be encouraged. Marketing agencies help bring in fresh ideas based on industry experience. 

4. Flexibility

Hiring multiple marketing agencies to work on different aspects of your go-to-market strategy with each product and service helps bring in a lot of flexibility and ideas. You get to choose from the best. At the end of the day, hiring one or even two agencies is in your best interest since you get a lot of subject matter to choose from in the long term. 

5. Quality Control

Marketing agencies also have their own proofreaders and editors. It is taken for granted that the content will be looked into at least once or twice. Having quality content written and sent to you for approval saves time and money in the editing and approval process and helps you stick to the marketing strategy and timelines. 

6. Strict Deadlines

Marketing agencies have to be given deadlines. When factoring in the cost of writing, image sourcing, strategies, and publishing speeds, timeliness matter significantly. Marketing agencies are used to strict deadlines and help deliver content in the correct amount of time. 

What To Look For When Hiring A Content Marketing Agency?

You might have decided that you will opt for a marketing agency to outsource content marketing tasks. It will not be easy to finalize a content marketing agency if you do not know what to look for during the hiring process.

Let us look at some ways you can hire the best content marketing agency for your needs. There may be more aspects that you might need, but these are the generic ones. 

1. Social Proof

In today’s day and age, social proof is the word of law. Online reviews, testimonials, and critiques from past users and clients are considered honest and trustworthy. Most people prefer choosing content marketing agencies with experience. Reviews from past clients help you understand the quality of work done. 

Each Agency Vista profile has the ability to house verified reviews from an agencies customers.

2. Influential and Impactful

Any content marketing agency that you hire should be influential in the market. Again, this comes only with experience. If you do come across a content marketing agency that prides itself on the caliber of its writers, proofreaders, and editors, you should definitely consider giving them a shot. Experienced writers and content creators add tremendous value to your preferred brand voice and help create a buzz in the market. 

Get to know the people you may be working with through the team section on an Agency Vista profile. Now, suddenly there’s faces behind the names and you can start to see if their credentials match your needs.

3. Versatility

Many content marketing agencies stick to only one niche of writing. However, if you need to diversify your content, you should not be at a disadvantage. When hiring an agency, always check that they are well-versed with different writing styles, various niches and can create compelling copy for all your audiences. Sticking to a single type of writing may make a lull in the social media space. As long as the brand voice remains the same, the content should be rich and varied, adding a lot of value to your brand and its customers. 

Agencies can showcase their client portfolio on their profile and verify these relationships. Agency Vista’s verification process requires agencies to provide detailed information on their business to help guide us in ranking and recommending the top agencies – providing businesses with a trusted resource when selecting a partner. 

4. Turn Around Times

When choosing a content marketing agency, you want to make sure that you get your work delivered within time. Hiring a content marketing agency that does not deliver in time is counterproductive to the entire outsourcing exercise. You should look for a content marketing agency with excellent customer service and fast turnaround times. The best way to see this is to give them a few test pieces to write with a time frame. Once you see the results, you can start with a small percentage of the content that needs to be written and then take a quick call. 

What Instructions To Give The Content Marketing Agency?

You’ve finalized an agency. Now you need to get them on the same page. Clear, precise instructions are always required when working with someone new. Most businesses wait for initiative from the marketing agency without giving them too many instructions. This is not helpful in the long term. If the agency does not know your requirements, brand style, guidelines, tone of voice, and conditions, they will not deliver the quality of work you expect. 

It is best to be clear and thorough about all instructions beforehand. If you would like the font size, type, and spacing to be in a particular way, mention that. If you’re unclear with your instructions, there will be countless edits at a later date, with frustrations piling up between teams. 

1. Specific Outlines

Ensure you have all the outlines and broad scope of work in a simple, easy-to-understand manner. Simple working titles, placeholders, anchor texts, backlinks, and salient points covered in each written piece of content will help with clarity and precision. Talented writers will understand all the topics needed to be conveyed and ensure the content has all its features. Think of it this way – if the content marketing agency understands what you wish to say, your readers will understand it too. But the inverse is also true. If there is confusion in the minds of the agency, your readers will be lost. 

2. Examples

Many agencies will ask you for samples or examples of work you have liked. This is crucial because it will show them your preference. If you have an in-house content head, you should delegate this work. Finding the best examples that highlight the content you wish to convey will ensure that the content agency gives you perfect quality written content each time. All you need to ensure is that they stick to your brand voice and style guide. 

3. Sources and References

If you have a bank of resources and reference sites that you would like to quote, you should mention and share these with the content marketing agency. Many businesses prefer referencing only Authority sites or government sites for authenticity. Backlinks and Google bots also favor authority sites for referencing since these are already vetted and have a large fan following. Reliable sources of information are always prized over those that are still struggling to find authenticity and viewership. Audiences that flock to authority sites and those who see your backlinks to these sites will prefer your content. Ensure the content marketing agency understands these critical points before starting out any of your work. 

4. Keywords and SEO

The whole point of creating excellent content is to ensure that you pull in organic traffic to your blogs and your website. This can only be done with a good frequency of valuable keywords and phrases. As mentioned earlier, anchor texts, keywords, terms, and backlinks work towards enhancing your SEO (Search Engine Optimization). SEO helps your content rank higher in search engines. Audiences always prefer sites that feature on the first two pages of search engines and tend to visit these more often than others.  

5. Target Audience Introduction

The content marketing agency should understand your target audience. The demographics, geographical location, needs, and wants of your potential customers should be clearly defined. If the content creators do not understand your audience and what you want to convey to them, the writers cannot aid in the successful translation of your content. Take time to explain how you picture your target audiences and how you want to convey your brand in front of the public. 

What’s The Final Part In How to Outsource Content Marketing?

Outsourcing your content marketing does not end with content creation. Once it is created, you should promote it. Getting the ROI (Return On Investment) from your content is the key to a successful outsourcing activity. Here is where the content marketing strategy comes into play. 

1. Content Strategy

The agency needs to sit with you and strategize the entire content marketing. This includes audience tracking, analyzing existing content, setting goals and actionable results, and establishing and preserving your brand voice. You also need to plan the advertising and campaign budgets. 

2. Posts

Posting can be cyclical and ongoing at a specific time each week and should be pre-planned. Guest posts are done through blogger outreach, while sponsored posts are like advertisements. Sponsored posts help drive additional traffic apart from social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. 

3. Community Building

Online communities are excellent for promoting content. These communities reach people outside of social media, where the content tends to get discussed and shared. If you want your content to be noticed by experts, you should definitely target communities. 

Final Thoughts

Any type of marketing requires review and focus. You cannot simply give instructions and forget about the deliverables. You must keep a watchful eye to protect the brand identity and voice. The tone of voice across social media platforms, articles, blogs, and other content matter greatly when creating a positive brand that is easily recognizable.

While you are outsourcing content marketing to an agency, you should also hire an in-house social media manager to track and analyze all the data from these platforms. Tracking metrics will help re-shape the content strategy to build more significant audiences and improve your brand standing.

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