Looking to Outsource Blog Writing? Here are My Secret Strategies!

Outsource blog writing

Don't you have writing skill or time to manage writing on your own effectively?

Or, are you lazy?

If so, it's time for you to outsource your blog writing. Blogging and content marketing is the most important of aspect of any online business.

Due to the ever-increasing growth of quality content online, the content quality must be epic to cut through the competition and make it to the top 5 Google positions for the keyword.

Owning a small business is no easy task.

In spite of sitting all day in-front of your desk, you have dozens of articles to be written for your blogs and social media channels at the end of the day.

In this post, let me dive deep on why, how, and where to outsource your blog writing tasks. This blog post will be very in-depth, you can use the below table of content to browse through the article effectively.

Stop! Should you outsource content writing?

Why should you outsource content creation?

  • Outsourcing blog content creation gives you enough time to focus on more important aspects of your business like marketing, social media promotion, brand awareness, getting leads, email marketing, and others. By writing blog content on your own, you are losing focus on doing what you are really good at.
  • If you are the only person writing for your blog, then you may be writing in your perspective that maybe boring for your readers. Outsourcing blog content gives your blog content a fresh perspective.
  • If you don't know or particularly not good at writing, you can outsource your content.
  • Outsourced content will be of high quality because of the large talent pool available online. For my fitness site, I have a nutritionist writing for it. You can't simply find an in-house team member who is a nutritionist, writer, and moreover will be ready to work in house.
  • When you are struggling to stick to your deadlines, outsourcing blog content to a dedicated content writing team is the way to go.

When you shouldn't outsource content creation?

  • Content on your blog is the main priority for you. For example, in case of GoBloggingTips, writing quality content is much more important for me than doing SEO. Due to the fact that I'm spending time to write quality content on my blog, I'm getting natural backlinks to my blog.
  • If you need to hone your writing and copywriting skills, writing content on your own acts like a growth-hacking.
  • If you know how to engage your audience better than anyone else, your voice and style of writing should be of utmost importance. In this case, you need to consider writing content yourself or else you may discredit your own blog.
  • You don't have budget. If you need to get a writer for your blog who has good writing skills, it costs a lot. For example, this very article written by me. I occasionally write content for other digital marketing blogs and I at-least charge $100 per 1000 words.

Where to find good freelance writers?

There are dozens of places where you can look for writers whom you can outsource your blog writing work.

#1. Cold outreach (Really?)

Email outreach

This may seem weird.

But wait.

This is the most effective strategy I've found when it comes to hiring the best writers in your niche.

Outreach site writers

For this, you need to reach out to the writers who are writing for your competitor sites. You can make use of tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush for finding out your site's organic competitors. You will come across at least 3-4 freelance writers who are writing for your competitor sites.

Now make sure that their content is getting good organic traffic and engagement. It speaks a lot about the quality of the content they are writing.

Here's the workflow.

  • Make a list of small blogs in your niche that have really good content and are ranking well.
  • Use a good email finding tool to extract the emails of those sites' freelancers/owners.
  • Now make sure you reach them out properly.

Example of an email that I receive once a month or two, by looking at the quality of content on my site.

Outreach

Followup

With this technique you usually get very high quality content writers who already have written content on their blog that is performing well on Google.

Believe me.

It doesn't mean that if the blog owner has not advertised on his/her blog as a freelancer, he doesn't accept your inbound freelance offer.

This technique will definitely give you good writers, but cost can be quite high.

Hiring niche enthusiasts

This is a good strategy if your niche is quite obscure, and you can't find quality content writers through competitor blog research.

You can consider browsing places like FB groups, Quora, Niche forums, Reddit, to get a good writer for your niche site.

Hunting lover

Once you come across a niche enthusiast who has proven his writing skills in the form of forum discussions, it's time to somehow get his email, or drop him a message in the forum/group itself.

Believe me, majority of the niche enthusiasts are clueless about the fact that they can earn like $20 – $100 by writing about what they love.

This technique lands you good writers and cost can be low. But you need to invest some of your time to educate them to make them suit your workflow. As they are used to forum posting, they may be quite lacking in blog writing, SEO, and formatting.

#2. Problogger job board (What to expect?)

The next best place for you to find quality writers for your blog is Problogger job board.

I prefer it to Upwork and other platforms because of the below reason.

  • If you hire writers on Problogger, it means that you are pre-qualifying the writers and saving lots of time and sweat. Writers on the Problogger Job board know about blogging and SEO very well.

As this is an exclusive platform for hiring bloggers and writers, you can expect the content quality to be high if filtered properly.

But the hard thing about Problogger platform is that you'll not be able to accurately assess the writers through reviews, job success rate, and feedbacks. You need to do all the heavy-lifting yourself by doing in-depth interviews which I will discuss later in this post.

The above platform is recommended if you are looking for marketing, social media and any digital marketing content in particular. There are also good tech and finance writers according to my experience.

#3. Upwork

The quality of writers you get at Upwork is poor! I can hear you muttering in your mind.

Let me tell you one thing.

If you have a good budget, and the ability to set right expectations before hiring, Upwork is the most flexible place to hire from. You get a wide talent pool to hire from. Using a platform like Upwork helps you streamline your workflow by automating invoicing, billing, and security under one roof.

Despite keeping 20-30% of the payment, the Upwork platform is very buggy and goes down at-least once a week for hours altogether. This is really a shame.

Remember that with Upwork you'll be paying 20-30% extra for getting the work done.

But the talent pool and the streamlined workflow is a big advantage.

Questions to ask yourself before hiring (Self-talk involved)

How Much Am I Willing to Pay?

Payment

Before outsourcing your content work, you need to first set a budget for your content writing. You can set a fair budget with the below techniques.

  • Asking your friends in the same niche regarding what they are paying or what they think is fair.
  • Browsing Upwork for your niche keywords, and reading the reviews or maybe portfolio content.

For niches like health, fitness, tech, the ideal price would be $15 – $20 per 1000 words. That's the sweet spot I found between quality and price. Most of my writers are from Philippines, I prefer them to Indians as they are good in English.

You can also get content for as low as $5 per 1000 words. But I won't really pay that low price, provided the content topic is basic and is for submissions and web 2.0 purposes.

The above prices are what I'm paying. But do remember that the price depends upon the research needed to write an article.

Don't be afraid to pay a good price for the articles. Hiring a good writer at a premium price, saves you a lot of time and energy spent in proofreading the content, asking revisions, typing in long feedbacks, and formatting the content.

Pro tip: You can hire a good low price writer (like $15 per 1000 words) from developing countries like Philippines, Pakistan, India, who are good at research (but most of the times bad at Grammar). Then, you can get a good native proofreader at $5 per 1000 words which is easy to find. With this process, you'll get much more quality content at a cheaper price.

How Involved in the Writing Process Do I Want to Be?

Frustrated writer

You can't expect a writer to magically write content that is top-notch and satisfies your needs.

You need to prepare a content outline, guidelines, keyword usage, resources, explainer screenshots, (apart from the style guide which I'll discuss below), so that you set the right expectations for the writer to work on.

You can't really fully quit out of the content creation game, unless you have a team member who can do content outlines for you and is a Google Search ninja!

You need to also consider the fact that you may need to format the content neatly before making it live.

Do I Want a Specialist or a Generalist?

Before hiring a writer you need to first consider whether you need a generic blog writer who writes in every niche, or a specialist.

For example, as I said, I have a nutritionist writing for my fitness blog. In this case, he is a specialist writer.

If a writer writes in multiple niches like tech, fitness, etc. ,he is a generalist. If you are looking for top-notch content, generalist writers are not the way to go.

On the other hand specialist writers are quite costly ranging from $15 – $2000. Yup! There are writers who charge $2000 per 1000 words and even more in some niches like law, medicine, etc.

Finding a specialist writer at $15 per 1000 words is quite challenging. But you need to be creative while searching a for a writer like this.

Secret Tips on Hiring Best Content Creators (Shh!)

I have a couple of affiliate niche sites, for which I hire content creators.

Here are some of the tips that worked wonders for me, when it comes to hiring the best content creator for my websites.

Giving reasons for applying by high quality writers.

  1. Hire them for the entire project: Hire high quality writers always for long-term work. In case of Upwork, if you set budget for the entire contract beforehand, the quality and quantity of the applicants will be high.
  2. Showcase personality as an employer: Nobody likes to work for an employer who is not cool-going, and does not  encourage creativity. You need to treat your employee as a team member, that's where creativity kicks in. Money is not always the thing. People do not work for money, they work for momentum. You need to give that freedom for creative thinking and experimenting the things. Will you give them multiple topic choices every time to write about? Will you publish the articles under their name? Will you allow them to present the content under their portfolio?

“If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.”
– Simon Sinek

You need to present your business mission and vision with your writers. Humans connect with emotions more than money.

Ask Writers to Apply With a Particular Subject Line

You write a very elaborative job description. But do the job applicants actually read them?

The answer is, the majority of them don't bother to read along.

To ensure that the writers who apply for your job post, read the complete job description before applying, you need to ask them to include a secret keyword in the cover letter.

Reply with fun

With this, the process of weeding out applicants who send the resumes or cover letters for all the projects in bulk will become easier. You can easily filter out lots of trash resumes, and this helps you focus on people who took time to read your description.

Ask Insightful Questions (Hint: Drive indirect inferences)

"If you don't ask insightful questions, you won't get insightful answers."

You need to ask questions that drive indirect inferences about the quality and the motive of the job applicants.

Remember that the questions should test their traits not their skills:

  1. What is keyword density? (A simple Google search gives them the answer)
  2. How many years of experience you have? (Years of experience has nothing to do with quality of the content)

Here are some insightful questions to ask:

Questions

Have you guest posted on any popular {fitness} blog? If the job applicant has guest posted on any popular blog, then it means you can be pretty sure that the content quality is good enough. The owner of that guest post site has proved that the job applicant's writing quality is good enough by publishing his work.

Always get guest post links of the niche you are currently willing to hire them for.

What {fitness} blogs do you read? If you are looking for a specialist writer, you need to ask for the favorite blogs of the writer. If he is indeed reading good blogs in the niche, then chances of the writer being a specialist in the niche is high.

What's your research technique for new posts? He should be doing research alongside writing the blog post. The research and writing are two separate processes.

By looking at the research process of the writer you're going to hire, you can indeed determine whether their writing experience is real or not.

Just let them answer what are all the sources, publications, they refer usually for writing articles in your niche. What would their workflow be like? Are they using any outlining and research tools?

It helps you a lot to determine how experienced, productive and organized the writer is.

What's your proofreading and editing process be like? If they don't deliver satisfactory answer for this question, the chances of grammatical and structural errors in your article will be more.

You need to make it clear, whether after writing the article they are doing the following things or not.

  1. Rephrase the complex sentences
  2. Check typos
  3. Check for grammar errors
  4. Chop down paragraphs
  5. Insert hyperlinks to relevant sources
  6. Reconsider intro to make it more catchy.

These questions test the "attention to detail" and "patience" of the freelance writer you are outsourcing your blog content.

You need to be also sure about the proofreading techniques and tools that they use. Do remember no matter what premium tools they use for proofreading, if the proofreading is not done manually with human brain, the article turns out to be full of grammatical errors.

Do you implement SEO into your writings? Writing SEO friendly articles is crucial for blogs nowadays.

Before hiring a freelancer, you need to ask him whether he implements SEO in his writing or not. If so, how?

He need to be aware of some SEO terms like.

  1. Keywords
  2. Keyword density
  3. LSI or related keywords
  4. Meta descriptions
  5. Alt tags
  6. Keyword placement

Educating the freelancer for implementing SEO in his writing is not a big task after hiring. But still, a freelancer having prior experience with SEO is always preferred.

What is your turnaround time and weekly availability? If you are particular about deadlines, knowing the turnaround time of your writers and also the availability of the writer beforehand reduces a lot of frustration. You may overlook this, but I personally have experienced some writers, especially freelancers going on a vacation for months altogether without informing.

Do you have any suggestions regarding our blog content? If a freelancer sees room for improvement in your blog content, then he may be the right guy for you to hire. You need to think twice before hiring a guy who says, "Content is awesome, let's work together", especially if you are looking to improve content on your blog.

How do you know whether a fact is from a credible source? Research and data backed posts are the lifeline of any blog. Being able to differentiate facts from credible sources like research articles, scholarly articles, etc. from not-so-credible sources like personal blogs, affiliate sites, is an essential skill to have for your writer.

What other services you provide? This is a most valuable question to ask. Without asking this question, all you know about the writer is that "he is a writer".

But after asking the above question, you'll know that:

  1. Person A: Writing, Video editing, Audio Editing, Voice-over work
  2. Person B: Writing, Copywriting, EBooks writing, Landing page design

Whom would you choose?

You can opt for person B, only if you ask what other services they offer. It enables you to judge the quality of their work as it would be the intersection of other services/skills they have. This is what I mean, when I told that your questions should get proper answers that helps you draw indirect inferences.

Scrutinize Writers Properly

Scrutinize writers

Once you get a huge list of applicants, it's time to filter out mediocre applicants.

As you may have witnessed in the previous section, if you have asked quality questions, it will do a good job of filtering outthe mediocre applicants without much effort on your end.

You need to look at the following aspects before considering to outsource blog content.

They should have:

  • Quality content
  • SEO knowledge
  • Quick turnaround time
  • Social proof (whether they have published on popular blogs)
  • Motive (to deliver quality content apart from money)

The last aspect, "motive" is really important. People always don't work for money. Good writers won't sacrifice their passion for money. So, you need to find writers who are truly passionate about writing in your niche or else the quality will be junk.

The writer who writes only for money without having any superior motive won't stick long enough and won't deliver quality work.

If you are paying anything above $15 – $20 per 1000 words, you need to always find writers who have true passion for writing in the given niche.

How to Get the Best of Blog Outsourcing?

Content writing

Content Style Guides and Content Templates

Style guide is a document containing content rules.

This guide helps all writers working for brand to be consistent when it comes to style, punctuation, usage of words, capitalization, so on.

There's no hard and fast rule to follow a syntax for content style guide.

Content style guides are common for the entire brand/blog.

  1. Which English to use American/Britain?
  2. Consistent spellings for some words with various spellings. Like eBooks vs EBooks vs e-books. I advise writers to stick to one variant
  3. Whether to capitalize heading texts?
  4. Typical size of the paragraphs.
  5. How to source relevant resources?
  6. How to make use of formatting tags?
  7. How to cite images?
  8. Whether to use the serial comma or skip the last comma?
  9. So on.

I have separate Content Templates for my informative posts, review posts, comparative posts, of a single blog.

In those templates, I describe:

  1. The elements to include in the introduction
  2. How to structure the blog post for that type of topic?
  3. Common questions to answer in the specific section
  4. In what instances you need to put the bullets or numbered lists?
  5. Tips that are particular for that content type.
  6. Do you expect them to create a comparison table for some kind of blog posts?
  7. How to start the introduction for specific types of posts?
  8. Where to include the call to action buttons/links in those posts?

Read:

Optimize for SEO

As I have discussed earlier, getting content written that's SEO friendly is very important. You need to make sure that the writer is knowledgeable when it comes to SEO. He needs to know the formatting strategies to keep the readers hooked on to reading your content.

He also needs to know the art of keyword optimizing the article in a natural way, by sprinkling related keywords alongside the main keyword.

If he is not sure about SEO, particularly on-page optimization, you can give him a good on-page SEO guide or prepare a PDF guide relevant to the niche you are working in.

Before assigning any topic for the writer, you need to provide them these things when it comes to SEO.

  • Focus keyword
  • Keyword usage
  • Related keywords
  • Bullet points
  • Formatting rules
  • Outbound linking rules
  • So on.

Even if the content writer is not familiar with SEO optimization, you can negotiate the deal, and you can handle SEO optimization on your own.

Collaboration tools

Collaboration tools

Having good collaboration tools in your workflow is very important to get the most of your freelance writers.

You can make use of tools like Trello, Slack and Google Docs to collaborate with your writers. I generally keep my editorial calendar in Trello, ask my writers to submit the Google Docs link as a comment in Trello once they finish writing the article.

You can make use of Slack for communication with the team that you outsource to.

I've heard people making use of only Gmail for collaboration, it's just a waste of time, energy, and when the project starts rolling, you lose track of the milestones.

Validate Topics Before Writing

Before assigning topic to the writer, you need to research the topic properly.

The main advantage of writing your own content is that while writing the article if you come across the fact that the topic you are writing about is useless, you can discard the draft without even completing the writing process.

But in case of outsourcing content creation, the writer does the job of writing, and your job is to just outsource the work and you are out of the scene.

Before, outsourcing an article to a writer, you need to first thoroughly validate whether you really need an article on this topic.

At the first impression, article idea seems pretty legit. So, it's quintessential for you to prepare an article outline or at least do a mental visualization of what to expect in the article before outsourcing it to the writer.

Prepare outline for every article

Majority of the ideas come only when you research the topic yourself.

Without including an outline of what you expect in the article, you are sacrificing the quality of the content to a very large extent.

I committed this mistake where I just gave the blog post idea or the title, and that's it.

Content outline

You need to make use of tools like Workflowy or even simple Docs to provide a brief outline, along with some notes to your writer. Treat outline as a skeleton of your blog post for which your writers need to attach strong muscles.

Along with the outline, you need to also include some notes, where you describe special things they need to consider when writing that particular blog post.

You should include things like target audience (including their FAQs), keyword usage, keywords, things to exclude, research tips, and special article-specific instructions in your blog post outline.

Providing this kind of outline prevents you from ending up with irrelevant article.

If you don't have time and resources to prepare an outline, you can ask your writer to submit the article outline, then you tweak it according to your taste, and resubmit to get the final draft done.

Treat first article submission as a first draft

No content is perfect. There's always a room for improvement.

Draft

Asking for edits, refinement and proofreading after the first submission is very crucial if you are working with medium-rated writers paying below $40 per 1000 words.

Investing some time going through the content, and giving constructive feedback to the writers about their work is worthwhile and gives a significant boost in quality for your current and as well as future articles.

When giving feedback, you need to be extremely specific, make use of screenshots, annotations, etc. If you are using Google Docs, make use of "comments" features to pin-point the section of the article on which you are giving feedback.

Have a video call regularly

You can hop on a quick Skype or Hangouts, to get to know about the writer. This is really important. It helps you develop that humanly touch with the writer.

You can also use screen sharing feature to explain what you expect from them. They will also get their doubts clarified instantly.

You or your writer may say , "Let's chat by text!".

But, the sad thing about text messages is that it lacks human connection, thus leads to less commitment, and it in turn leads to low quality work. Ask any companies that run solely with a remote team, whether it be Buffer or companies like Automattic (founders of WordPress) video calls are their secret tools for excellence.

Added to that, in text chats the expression of the ideas and concerns are limited by the speed of your fingers.

Hence, having regular video calls is very important to ensure that your freelancer will stay committed and delivers top-notch content by understanding what you expect clearly.

How to Lower the Cost for Your Blog Outsourcing?

Negotiate the cost

Look for university students

You can make use of LinkedIn (Job title – Student) and other portals to find university students who are passionate aboutwriting for your blog niche.

I came across a student from Alaska, who was writing for my fitness blog at $7 per 1000 words. She could not continue working with me, as she had exams.This maybe a downside.

You can also consider reaching out to university faculties or the principals and express your interest in hiring some of their students as writers for your blog.

Ask them to write only 90% of your target word count

Suppose if I want an article of 1000 words, I usually ask my writer to write only 900 words and pay for it.

Why?

I can add the remaining 100 words so as to fit my brand's style. I can add human tone, pun, questions, and add some chunk of text to make content more engaging and to keep readers hooked in.

If you want the article to best suit your brand, you need to add some additional texts, to make it extremely readable.

Make a long term contract or pay for bulk orders

Who doesn't like to see huge cash flowing in at once?

Every writer likes to have some security or certainty about the coming months. Instead of paying for articles, gig-by-gig, you can consider paying for bulk orders in advance. With this, they'll get a commitment to work and you can feel free to negotiate and make it a sweet deal.

But if you are hiring some writer, without any referral this can be quite risky initially. To make it safe, you can implement this strategy after working with the writer for a couple of months.

You can also consider hiring a writer who has good online presence, FB profile, and proper blog/brand online so that there are slim chances of him running away looting your money.

If they are sure that you give them ongoing work, they will be happy to write their heart out and aim for continuous improvement.

Compensate in another way

Along with money, if you provide your freelancers additional clients, access to premium products you own, access to your network, adding them to your community, offering them consultancy, they can really stick around with you.

They need to feel that they are growing along with you. If they are not feeling that inner desire to work for you (apart from money), they won't write passionately and reduce their price when you negotiate.

Wrapping up

These are some of the ways by which you can hire and manage good quality writers.The quality of the work mainly depends on how you project yourself to your writer. You need to always look for a win-win scenario. If you are paying less which the writer thinks is too less, then he may eventually lose interest in writing on your blog.

Hope you found these strategies on outsourcing blog writing helpful. If so, make sure you share this post with your community.

32 thoughts on “Looking to Outsource Blog Writing? Here are My Secret Strategies!

  1. Nice blog .u r providing good information about commenting websities.
    Social media is very important for improving the branding of any product. In this article given the information is very good and currently I am working on it..

  2. Thank you Akshay for this awesome and informative post! Figuring out reliable ways to improve your blogging process is a must, that's a given, but figuring how to do that can take a long time to get right. You seem to have nailed it as close to perfect as possible!

  3. I am new in blogging. I don’t understand the whole article completely but it really gives me a lot of information. Thank You.

  4. Thanks for sharing a detailed content about blog writing.You mentioned all the points are very important.In blog writing we will care about all the points.Your points are will reach a successful blog writer.s.Social media relationship do a important role in blogging.Traffic will increase through the relationship.Also helping and discussing give a good result.

  5. Thanks for the great article. I have outsourced a lot of blog writing but have never used ProBlogger so will have to take a look at that as well.

    I have really found that the blog posts I outsource are vastly improved if I provide the following information to the write:

    1. The Blog heading
    2. A 2-3 sentence overview
    3. A list of the subheadings
    4. A single sentence describing the focus of each subheading section.

    While it does take a little more time to write this job description out it is well worth it if you want to ensure that you get a quality piece of writing back.

    I have used this approach considerably for my task management blog and have been consistently pleased with the results.

    • Yes Paul, setting clear expectations is very essential. You can make use of Dynalist for collaboration with your freelance writer with content outline along with the data you mentioned and others. Trello is best for task management. I use both of the tools.

      Glad you loved this article on blog post outsourcing.

  6. it was an amazing article and as a content writer i can get some help from above list. thank you so much.

  7. Its a big and very informative write-up on blog outsourcing. I was also about to write on the same topic and came across your blog. Just felt, when there is already so much information over the web, what new could I provide to my readers. Is there any department on this topic, which you have left? Did I hear YES just now? Well in that case Mr. Akshay, just give me a clue if possible. Waiting for your response. Cheers

  8. This is exactly what I needed! Thank you. Thinking of starting but don’t want to tell peeps just yet, just in case it flops

  9. Hi Akshay

    You are one of the webmaster that always share helpful contents. I'm happy with this post to which give good idea for Outsource Blog Writing.

  10. Hi Akshay,

    Awesome article! This is so good and informative. I have hired a content writer and I basically followed the same structure you have here. I found him through reading content on a few blogs in my niche, then I simply made a google search for his name and I found his own website. Turns out he had a spot for one more client and now we are working on a project together.

    It is great to have a writer that loves what they do and know how to do it perfectly. While I busy myself with the marketing side of the business, I can always count on him writing extraordinary content for the blog. Of course, the price is little on the expensive side (up to $100 per 1000 word) depending on the topic and how much research is required.

    However, the return on investment is pretty good. I love working with him.

    Thank you for sharing this article!

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