30% of surveyed organizations said they outsourced content creation in 2020. 81% of those organizations identified writing as a specific service they outsourced. — Semrush
It’s not uncommon for companies to rely on someone outside of their organization to produce content for them. Copywriting, graphic design, video and SEO services are frequently entrusted to agencies or freelancers.
Writing is typically the biggest area of need, and for good reason. It’s difficult and it’s time-consuming. A good blog post must be interesting, informative and compel the reader to act. Depending on the length of the post and the amount of research required, the time to complete the task could vary greatly. And if the content marketing strategy includes frequent posts, the amount of writing time multiplies exponentially.
Many organizations either don’t employ individuals with extensive copywriting experience or rely on them for too many other tasks to expect them to focus all of their attention on producing blog content. For high-quality posts and quick turn times, outside help is sometimes the only solution.
The key to an effective blog post written by someone outside of your organization is efficiency. Time is money. The primary challenge is the fact that no one knows your company, products, brand and customers as well as the people within your walls. The more prepared you are to get the background, insights and resources out of your head and into the mind of your content partner, the faster your blog will be completed and the better it will be.
To help your copywriter create a winning blog post, there are a handful of important tasks for you to complete before the project gets underway. They will answer questions the writer would be likely to ask and also provide them with insight that will enable them to succeed.
Define the Goal of the Blog Post
The first thing you must do is communicate the goal of the blog post to your copywriter. Ask yourself these questions:
- What is the main point you want to make?
- What are you hoping to accomplish with this post?
Content should be created for a purpose, whether it’s to boost SEO, share information on an industry problem and solution, etc. It’s too broad to simply give your writer a topic and tell them to write about it. They need to know the angle for the post and what results you want to get from it.
Provide Resources Specific to the Topic
Most copywriters charge an hourly fee for their services. To help your copywriter complete the post faster and minimize your expense, provide them with resources that are specific to the topic they are writing about.
In some cases, research can take more time than writing. Why pay to have your writer research if you already have relevant information you could pass along?
With this in mind, here are some tips for providing resources:
- Share only what is relevant to the blog in development. If the information isn’t essential or valuable, don’t share it.
- If the provided resources are lengthy, communicate to your copywriter where the key information can be found so they don’t waste time sifting through information they won’t use.
- If it’s a large white paper, report, case study, web page, etc., point out the most important sections in which to look.
- If it’s a long video or audio clip, communicate the minute mark(s) on which they should focus.
A little upfront work by you will pay off in the end.
Share Examples for Inspiration
Blog post ideas don’t typically come out of thin air. In many cases, they are plucked from an existing source.
Do you have any examples of articles, videos, infographics, etc. that inspired you to select the topic? Is there a specific blog post you’d like to put your unique spin on for your website? If so, share it with your copywriter. They can use it as a blueprint for the post they write.
As long as they don’t replicate it too closely, you won’t need to worry about plagiarism. As they say, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Just make it a point to make your blog even better than the original.
Specify the Level of Bias
It’s rare for a blog post — or any form of content marketing, really — to be a sales pitch. That’s why sell sheets, catalogs, website product/service pages and salespeople exist. That said, there’s no rule that says there can’t be a sales angle to the post. You need to decide the level of bias you want the blog to contain and communicate that to your writer.
There are different levels of how “salesy” your content can be:
- Mostly or completely neutral — Your blog post could share industry news or helpful industry tips and insights without ever mentioning your company, products and services. This is true content marketing. The thought is that by remaining neutral, your company will earn trust with consumers who will be more likely to consider your solutions when they have a problem and need to make a purchase down the road.
- Product/service teaser — This type of blog post includes a teaser to your company’s solutions with a CTA to learn more. Most likely, the teaser will be at the end of the post. This keeps the piece mostly neutral, but the company plug enables anyone who may be interested in learning about a solution right away to see what you have to offer.
- Product/service focus – This is the most biased and salesy type of blog post. While not a full-on sales pitch, the post will include several references to your company, product and services throughout the piece. It’s a direct approach, but it will resonate with readers who are actively looking to buy.
Share Key Insights About the Target Audience
One of the most important ways you can help your copywriter create a winning blog post is to bring them up to speed on your target audience. By letting the writer know who will be reading the post, they can produce content that will resonate with the audience and, in turn, make it more likely that you’ll accomplish your goal.
Here are key questions to answer:
- What is the target audience?
- Who are the decision-makers within your target audience? (demographics, job titles, job functions, etc.)
- What products/services should the target audience be interested in?
- Why should the target audience be interested in those products/services?
- What problems are your products/services solving for your target audience? (benefits)
- Who are your competitors for this target audience?
- What makes your products/services better or unique for this target audience?
- Why does your target audience choose you over the competition?
- Why does your target audience choose the competition over you?
Help Your Copywriter Help You
If you hire an outside copywriter to produce blog content for you, your company can benefit by drawing on their experience and talent while freeing up valuable time for your internal team. However, you have the responsibility of equipping the writer with information that will enable them to meet your standards. If you are proactive and help your copywriter before they get started, they’ll help you by creating a winning blog post you’ll all be proud of.
Do you have additional questions about copywriting and developing blogs? Call us at 815.431.1000 or submit this form to contact us.