Why outsource creative services?
If you don’t have time to write, edit, and design great communications, it’s time to ask for help.
Advantages of outsourcing
Companies rely on outsourcing to save time, lower costs, and acquire specialized expertise. Those benefits seem like a no-brainer in areas like accounting and IT, but are often overlooked when it comes to content development.
Finding the right words takes a dedicated stretch of time. Creating a compelling presentation takes expert design skills. And publishing something perfect demands the touch of a professional editor.
By outsourcing these types of creative services, you can produce more high-quality content more quickly—without adding to you head count.
Every word you publish is important. Explore how outsourcing content development and production can bring you powerful advantages. (Bonus: It can seriously lower your stress level as well!)
Why outsource? A professional content partner can fill in when you don’t have the time or the right talent on staff.
Why do companies outsource content?
Gosh. Don’t take this personally, but … not everyone is a good writer.
Your subject matter experts may be at the top of their field. But put a blank page in front of them and watch them either recoil in horror or start madly typing irrelevant details. And even if you have a professional writer on staff, they may not be able to do all the things. For example, writing a technical white paper requires a different skill set than drafting an ad or a tweet. Furthermore, most writers aren’t great at proofing their own work, let alone creating a compelling design.
Sometimes creating an amazing in-house creative group means reaching outside for help.
Why outsource? Many companies opt for outsourcing when:
- They’re riding a content rollercoaster. Product launches, mergers, and unexpected RFPs can create a flurry of content requirements. Then, for weeks, there’s nothing! Outsourcing allows you to cover surges in writing, editing, and design needs when they occur, without adding full-time employees (and increasing your payroll).
- Writing and editing isn’t their passion. Tasks you don’t love tend to slide further down the to-do list. Outsourcing can help you accomplish tasks you’re dreading, like editing a technical proposal or writing your 45th blog post of the year.
- They don’t have the right tools or skills for graphic design. Not everyone has the talent, tools, or time required to transform written words into stunning visual communications.
- They’re missing deadlines. Passion or no, sometimes, there’s just not enough time to create great copy or layouts. An outsourced partner can tackle individual content projects so you can focus on the big picture, whether it’s the creative direction of your company or your next important proposal.
- They’re out of ideas. Constantly coming up with new content is hard—especially when you’re living and breathing the subject matter every day. An outside writer can help you see your content through a new lens, inspiring fresh ideas and angles for your content.
- They need expertise across platforms. Not everyone can turn a 30-page report into a 50-character email subject line. Or reconceptualize a webinar as a white paper. An experienced content partner can translate your content into different mediums, maximizing your investment in the content you’ve already developed.
- The topic, industry, or audience is really specific. When “speaking their language” is essential, a copywriter or editor who knows your industry is invaluable. They can help you develop content that’s crystal clear and written in terminology that resonates with your readers.
- It has to be right. It’s always important to create accurate, error-free copy. But some communications have a higher profile than others. An expert editor can see past your internal team’s blind spots and make sure high-stakes copy is letter-perfect.
What parts of the content development process can be outsourced?
When considering outsourcing, think about the content development process end to end. You can bring in outside help at many stages along the way, such as:
- Content planning. Most content projects are part of a broader editorial calendar or content plan. If you don’t have one, a professional content strategist can help you put one together. They’ll assess your business goals and communication needs and help you develop a content calendar that outlines what to communicate, which medium to use, and when to share it.
- Writing. A copywriter can take your ideas, notes, and goals and turn them into publication-ready content. They can also take the writing process off your shoulders from start to finish. They can generate story ideas, develop interview questions for subject matter experts, conduct interviews, build story outlines, craft copy, and manage the review process.
- Editing. After content has been written, professional editors can help in three ways. First, a substantive editor can assess the logic, clarity, and flow of your content. Next, a copy editor can ensure that your spelling, grammar, and punctuation are consistent and correct. Finally, a proofreader can check for tiny typos that might still remain in your final file and confirm that no errors were introduced during the design process.
- Fact-checking. Many companies include fact checking as a critical component of their publications process. A fact-checker verifies every factual statement in your copy and tracks it to a reputable source. Has the US population really declined over the past 10 years? Maybe so, but you’ll be a lot more confident stating that fact if you know it’s backed by data from the US Census Bureau.
- Permissions. If you’re publishing scholarly or research-based content that borrows from other sources, you may need to seek permission from the rights holder to reproduce part of their copyrighted work. A permissions expert can use RightsLink or another vehicle to help you obtain permission to use text, graphics, photographs, or other material from previously published sources.
- Layout and design. A professional graphic designer can bring your content to life. They’ll turn words on a page into a visual story that engages your readers and amplifies your key messages. They’ll do this all while applying your brand standards consistently and correctly.
- Printing. Much of the collateral we create these days is fully digital or lives as a downloadable PDF. But printed materials still have their place. Whether you need to print a series of posters, a saddle stitch report, or a four-panel brochure, a production specialist can help you evaluate print vendors, printing options, papers, and paper treatments.
- Production management. For any publication to be successful, all the steps described above need to be scheduled, staffed, and managed to completion. The more complex the effort, the more time is required to ensure that all milestones are completed on time, within budget, and according to expectations. If the thought of managing one more deadline makes you want to pull your hair out, working with an external project manager can be a godsend.
If your projects frequently stall during any of these stages, consider outsourcing one (or several!) of them. Doing so can get your publication schedule back on track—and keep it flowing smoothly.
What types of content can be outsourced?
Just about any type of content can be outsourced. You can’t just “throw it over the fence” and run away, of course. You’ll need to set your new partner up for success.
For example, an outside writer will need an outline or topic idea, access to subject matter experts, and a clear understanding of the piece’s audience and goals. An editor will need access to your house style guide. And a designer will want to review your brand standards and see examples of how you’ve articulated these standards across different types of projects.
Deadline-sensitive and time-consuming projects are outsourced most often, but you can delegate any content development task, including strategy, fact-checking, and design. Professional writers and designers can produce:
- Marketing communications like case studies, fact sheets, brochures, and reports
- Thought leadership pieces like blogs, white papers, and industry analyses
- Technical content like user manuals and scientific, engineering, or environmental reports
- Digital content, like web copy, landing pages, email campaigns, and social media posts
- Internal communications like executive emails, employee newsletters, and intranet feature stories
- Infographics, animations, posters, and PowerPoints
What if your needs are specialized? Can you still outsource?
Yes. Just be clear about your content needs up front, so your project gets assigned to a writing, editing, or design team that has experience with your industry, audience, or project type.
Interested in outsourcing?
Outsourcing content development can improve the quality of your work and give you a little room to breathe.
Relax. We can help.
Building your business case: The benefits of outsourcing content development
Asking for help isn’t an act of defeat. It’s a good business decision.
Here are six reasons you should outsource content development:
- Cost. By outsourcing, you can avoid human resource expenses related to recruitment, training, payroll, management, and benefits. You’ll also save on the often pricey software and hardware required for graphic design.
- Quality. A professional writing, editing, and design team will make you look amazing. Effective content wins more business, drives more web traffic, and creates happier, more productive workplaces.
- Talent. You can get specialized skills from a much larger talent pool by outsourcing content support. Need someone who can fully animate a PowerPoint presentation? Or a wordsmith with experience writing about Rett Syndrome for pediatric neurologists? You might not be able to find that level of niche expertise in-house.
- Scalability. You pay for creative services only when you need them—and you can ramp up quickly to meet surges in demand.
- Productivity. Who has time to do everything? Nobody. Outsourcing can help you accomplish more of your strategic content plans.
- Job satisfaction. With outsourcing, you and your teammates can keep the projects you’re passionate about and outsource those that you don’t enjoy or that aren’t strategic priorities.
“It was truly a pleasure to have Dragonfly on our team. You were so responsive and had a great attitude the whole time, which is just as important as raw skill. We look forward to working with you again in the future!”
— SJ Technologies
How can we help?
We’re excited to write, edit, and design for you.