How to make the most of your outsourced content

If you've taken the (very wise) decision to delegate some of your responsibilities in the name of growth, you're going to want to get the very most from your sometimes costly investment. Don't worry - in content marketing, there's no such thing as published and done. All you need to get much more from your outsourced content is to give it a little squeeze...

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>>Get one piece of solid content and repurpose like hell

Repurposing content is a major cornerstone of content marketing. If you don't already know this, you've got some learning to do. Most content can be reused for another purpose. Sometimes this takes a lot of tweaking, and sometimes barely a new title. Either way, your content will go much further if you start thinking of the new blog post as a starting point, and not the end of the journey.

What do I mean? Ok, for example, you outsource a blog post to a fantabulous writer. Once it's back in-house, you can publish it, and then think about using it as the script (or starting point of a script) for a video. More artsy? Take the main points from the blog post and change it into some kind of graphic-heavy content, like an infographic, for example.

Got a linked series of blog posts? What about making them into an ebook, or a guide? A video? Take the main points and repurpose as a blog post or checklist.

Remember, not all content can or should be repurposed into something else. Some things are blog posts because they work best as blog posts and no amount of poking or prodding is going to make them into a feature film. Live with it and move on.

The important point to remember here, as with pretty much everything else about content marketing, is that NOTHING should be undertaken without a goal.  Pick and choose your reuse cases wisely, or you risk producing inferior, watery content that dilutes your brand and reputation.

>>Dominate re-promotion

Re-promotion - the OTHER cornerstone of content marketing. As we've mentioned before, you should have promotion down. If you don't, you have a whole lot more to learn, but that's not what we're talking about today. You need to be on top of the promotion of old content. Just because something has been produced and promoted (and even more so if you don't really have your promotion game together), doesn't mean that you're finished. 

Even if an outsourced post is pretty old, it can still be reshared and bring in new eyes, new visits, and new leads. Always respect the 30:70 rule (30% self-promotional, 70% shares of interest to your audience), but if you're looking for a ballpark figure, I'd say that as long as the post is STILL RELEVANT, you can repromote it on social media once or twice a month (or more - don't worry about spamming!).

You may have to do a little bit of maintenance on posts before you repromote them - check to see if the links work, images look fresh and nothing funky is going on, and then reshare them with a tool like Buffer or MeetEdgar*. Don't reshare as is; always mix it up with some new titles and images. Try quotes from the article, questions and dramatic statements for interest.

Wordpress users have a tool called Revive Old Post. It used to be pretty limited, but I understand new versions have more functionality. Still, you'll have to cough up for the pro version to get custom messages, which are an important part of the equation.

>>Outsource with a plan

Purpose - namely having a defined and measurable goal for your content - is pretty much the most important thing about web content. When you request content from external providers, always order with a purpose and a view to the future. This is certainly related to repurposing, above, but no way is it limited to it.

For example, I outsource content all the time and recently ordered a series of 10 blog posts about social media for a particular industry with a view to taking the best content and making it into an ebook to use as a lead magnet for our mailing list later in 2017. I've also done this with checklists and video. Never request content haphazardly or randomly - make a plan and THEN AND ONLY THEN, request the content to fill that plan.

To do this effectively, you'll need to keep a rein on your outsourced content, with plenty of input and direction. This is fine, and will never be a problem with a professional freelancer, but you'll need to let them know from day one (some freelancers manage blogs completely independently, deciding what to publish and when). One of my clients NEVER see their blog posts in advanced and, as a result, couldn't implement this strategy. 

>>Use outsourced content and webcopy as a template 

Professional content producers are just that - professional. Their content should be highly polished and technically superior, and you could do MUCH worse than to learn from them. This is effectively copying, but sure that's what the internet is all about! Read their content, look at style, tone, formatting and structure, and see if you can copy it for any related new posts, pieces of content, or even web copy (page on your website).

Sure, it might not be the same quality (and you might not be happy to publish your efforts), but you could strike lucky and add a new skill to your bow. The same goes for new employees who might be creating content, and it's useful to have these skills yourself to save money, fill a gap, or quickly create new material.

If you found this list helpful, you can buy a full, 15-point guide to saving money when outsourcing content - without sacrificing quality over in the Clockwork Blog shop.

This post was originally published on on January 2nd, 2017 and moved to Clockwork Blog and edited slightly to update on November 16th, 2017. 

*Affiliate link - if you use this link to sign up to MeetEdgar, I receive a small payment. I use the product myself and love it, which is why I recommend it!