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This article was published on May 11, 2014

A step-by-step guide to effectively managing an outsourced content marketing team

A step-by-step guide to effectively managing an outsourced content marketing team
Brian Honigman
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Brian Honigman

Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at NYU. Get his free Content Marketing Style Guide. Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant and an adjunct professor at NYU. Get his free Content Marketing Style Guide.

Brian Honigman is a marketing consultant, a professional speaker and a freelance writer. This article originally appeared on the Skyword blog.

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, 44 percent of B2B marketers rely on outsourcing content creation such as writing, design, content distribution, and editing. Of B2B marketers, a full 57 percent of technology marketers outsource their content marketing team.

It is evident that outsourcing content is a more effective and cost-efficient approach to constructing and executing a successful content strategy for many B2B businesses, especially B2B tech.

The goal of your content team should be to help your company create engaging content, distribute that content effectively, and analyze the results on a regular basis. In other words, you need to provide the necessary resources to launch and maintain an excellent content marketing strategy.

The process your internal team should follow to manage your outsourced content marketing team is as follows:

1. Establish goals

Regardless of whether you are outsourcing the creation of your content strategy or not, your internal team must establish the overall goals of your organization as they pertain to content. Ask yourself what you are looking to gain through content marketing. Is your organization looking to drive more traffic, increase conversion rates, raise awareness about your business, or achieve a combination of these goals?

Once you’ve established your organization’s content goals, your team or a member of your outsourced team can help choose the metrics that will best measure against those benchmarks.

It is critical to establish a framework for the goals you are trying to achieve before you bring on a majority of your outsourced content team. There must be a strategic direction to start with before you add more team members onto the project.

Though they can certainly help formulate your strategy over time, it is important that your internal team be the main drivers of these goals, since you understand your organization and its priorities best.

2. Create a flexible workflow

The next step to consider before bringing on outsourced content marketers is determining the process and tools your team will use to manage these team members, as well as deciding how your content will be created, distributed, and measured.

Your workflow should identify who will be the internal manager of the freelance team. This point person will regularly deal with the outsourced team members across different business functions.

This is a vital step in managing an outsourced content marketing team because they will need the direction and support of someone at your organization who can also review their work and approve it as it is developed, created, and distributed.

Lastly, the tools your company chooses to use to manage your B2B content marketingdirectly affect your outsourced talent. Decide what types of social, curation, content management, organizational, measurement, and visual tools you’ll need to best position your content marketing team for success.

3. Hire qualified freelancers

A vital part of running an outsourced content marketing team is hiring the right people in the first place. When looking to build your team, it is very important to reflect on your goals and match your organization with freelancers who will help you reach them.

Search through your personal network or use a content marketing platform to tap into a freelance community of writers, editors, and content specialists. Next, review the portfolios of writers, editors, designers, and others by browsing the quality of their past work and the clients for whom they have worked.

Reviewing their past work will help you determine whether their abilities align with your organization’s expectations. Once you have found potential candidates who suit your needs, interview them to better understand their interest in your project and to determine whether they’re a cultural fit for your organization.

This is important, since your outsourced team needs to get along with your internal team. You also want to make sure your freelancers are satisfied with your project and want to work for your company over the long term.

4. Choose the right topics and forms of content

Once your outsourced content team is assembled, it is time for your team and your freelancers to continually meet and communicate about which types of topics will resonate best with your audience.

Your team will direct this conversation by providing brand guidelines and a customer profile of your audience to help inform your freelancers. This will empower them to add their feedback and better understand the intricacies of your brand and customer base.

Decide which topics will be best addressed with certain types of content, whether that be blog posts, white papers, videos, infographics, and more.

5. Manage an editorial calendar

Your team should create and oversee an editorial calendar to ensure your organization is producing a variety of content in different forms, covering various topics of interest to your audience, and syncing these content efforts with other marketing activations across your organization.

This calendar will help organize the various members of your outsourced content team so everyone is on the same page about who is doing what, what topics are being covered, what types of content are in the pipeline, and when and where each piece of content is being published.

6. Review submitted work internally

As mentioned before, it is critical that at least one person from your organization manage the flow of content from your outsourced team. This person should be the final point of review and approval before anything is published.

This is not because a freelancer’s work can’t be trusted. Rather, it allows your organization to compare the content submitted by all the members of your outsourced team to ensure it presents a consistent message and experience for your audience.

Your internal team is responsible for making sure all content represents your brand and effectively reflects the interests of your customer base while continuing to relay these insights to your outsourced team.

7. Measure success and iterate

Lastly, it is important to consistently communicate the successes and failures of your various content initiatives with your entire team, both internal and outsourced.

Use a measurement tool such as Google Analytics to understand how your content is performing based on metrics that show a change in sales, lead generation, consumption, or sharing. This will show whether your content is achieving your goals and driving long-term results.

Measurement is important for your future success because it helps everyone on your team understand how their content is performing and allows them to alter their tactics based on what worked with your audience and what didn’t.

How is your organization managing its outsourced content team? What strategies have you found to be most successful when working on content with freelancers? Share your thoughts in the comments below.