Updated September 2023

Here are some actions you can take improve performance that don’t require additional budget. These easy-to-implement ideas will help you get more from your content marketing. This is the final installment in a series:

Content Marketing Planning Task:

Get better content from outside talent

If your organization outsources content creation to freelancers, contractors or agencies, you want to optimize that workflow for maximum cost effectiveness. Here are four tips that also work great with internal teams of content developers:

1. Use models and criteria to ensure quality

A list of descriptive criteria based on best-in-class examples gives freelancers a clear picture your qualitative and quantitative standards. This is more than your corporate style guide. It's  models and traits to guide their content development. These resources also make it a lot easier to review and revise their work if you’re working from the same standards. Click here to learn how to help writers with models and criteria. Bonus points if you share your content marketing mission statement.

2. Leverage writers’ interests, expertise & knowledge

After you’ve been working with folks, you begin to notice who’s best at what, whether it’s a topic (like cinematography), an industry (say, healthcare) or a form (like explainers). You can improve productivity and quality by making assignments based on those strengths. A writer who's adept at covering certain subjects or forms will generally work faster than one who isn't. And better writer engagement begets better audience engagement. But don’t overdo it lest your authors get bored or complacent. Mix it up when you can to keep content creators interested and to make sure you don’t put all your eggs in one contractor’s basket.

3. Package assignments to create efficiencies

Another way to create efficiency and improve effectiveness is to bundle assignments on a particular topic whenever possible, allowing one freelancer to research a topic and create lots of content from it. This is particularly effective if your content is highly technical or complicated, because only one writer will be investing time learning the subject matter, looking up terms or figuring out how to “translate” complex ideas into simple language. The result is faster, better content.

4. Develop a framework for planning content

Improve the odds of getting content that's on point by using a standard planning framework for freelancer assignments. We use an array of pre-writing strategies for each piece or set of pieces to ensure clarity of message and purpose. You can use one of them, too, or create your own standard format. This better-than-an-outline process is a road map for the piece and helps the writer -- and reviewers -- stay on track. It also helps guide research, reduce redundancy and limit review passes.

Content Marketing Planning Action Step: Review your assignment process and try at least one of these tips to improve freelancer production.

Related Content