Trying to figure out how to outsource blog writing and content production can be a daunting task.
The decision on whether to outsource is one that many affiliate marketers will face sooner or later and there are a number of pros and cons you should consider when deciding if outsourcing is right for you.
This post assumes you have already decided to delegate part of your work and discusses some outsourcing tips and common pitfalls.
Outsourcing Mistake #1: Buying Cheap…Too Cheap
If you’re new to outsourcing, it can be easy to become seduced by workers offering years of experience for unbelievably low rates. Remember that while hourly wages are significantly lower overseas due to differences in cost of living, it’s unlikely that you’re going to be able to find a highly educated and experienced worker for $1/hour. Sometimes, you get what you pay for.
Solution: Don’t Accept the Lowest Bidder
Remember that as with most things, with outsourcing you almost always get what you pay for. Yes, it is possible for someone to work for next to nothing, but the work is more likely to be of a poor, or even automated quality.
I take recommendations from other users very seriously when hiring a new freelancer, but be sure to read the details of the comments provided. Evaluate how the task compares to the employer’s expectation and the freelancer’s work history.
At the end of the day, it can be well worth it to spend a few dollars more per hour for someone who has more relevant experience. That expertise will not even mean better work, but might even take them less time to complete the task as well.
Outsourcing Mistake #2: Accepting Language Barriers
When it comes to blog writing, there’s no question that the cheapest workers are overseas. While many individuals speak and write excellent English, keep in mind that if the writer is not a native English speaker, some language barriers are likely to arise.
Solution: Maintain High Standards
Screen candidates in depth before you hire them. You’re likely to have an excellent first experience with a superbly polished cover-letter. Don’t be fooled into thinking this means the worker speaks and writes perfect English.
Before you hire a candidate, ask questions that forces the candidate to write you a few paragraphs in English. If the individual writes short, choppy sentences in emails, chances are the blog posts won’t meet your expectations.
Decide on your expectations and tolerance level before you hire the candidate. Are you willing to do some light editing? How much? Will you accept British spelling? Having an idea beforehand helps you be consistent when working with your contractor.
It’s important to maintain high standards both before and after you make the hire. Be clear about your expectations, and let the outsourcer know what they are or are not doing well. I always assign a short task when using a new freelancer, which gives an easy, low-risk way to abandon the contractor if the work isn’t of a good quality.
Outsourcing Mistake #3: Providing Unclear Directions
Providing ambiguous instructions is probably the biggest mistake most people make when starting out working with freelancers. It’s all too easy to say something you think is clear only to be disappointed by the results.
Unfortunately, this problem is amplified when working with individuals overseas. Many workers (especially if you’re a new employer for them) hesitate to ask questions, and a language or cultural idiom you might take for granted can seem foreign to them.
Solution: Describe Exactly What Your Want
Be more clear than you think you need to be.
Here’s an example: “I need a 500 word article on Obama’s life.”
On first glance, that sounds straightforward enough, but there’s a lot that’s unclear. It’s possible (even likely) you’ll get back a well-written article that doesn’t match what you were looking for, because the task doesn’t specify which part of Obama’s life the freelancer should focus on. Childhood? Early Career? Presidency?
The task could be more specific: “Please write a minimum 500 word article on Obama’s life and political career. The first paragraphs should focus on his early life. Be sure to include date and location of birth, date and location, and subject of all educational degrees earned. The next two paragraphs should focus on Obama’s early political career, from his work in Chicago through his time in the Illinois Senate. Finally, there should be minimum two paragraphs focusing on Obama’s primary achievements as President.”
At the end of the day, outsourcing is a great way to manage your time and delegate tasks that could easily be performed by someone else. Most people who are new to outsourcing are easily frustrated after making 1 or more of the mistakes above.
If you’ve just started working with freelancers and are still unsure how to outsource blog writing, it’s important to understand that there can be a bit of a learning curve. Budget room for a few mistakes and feel confident that with a little time and practice, you’ll be able to learn from these mistakes and develop long-term, healthy relationships with your writers.