Content is the key to maintaining and growing a steady stream of visitors to your website, but not everybody has the budget or management resources to maintain a full stable of in-house writers. If that sounds like you or your business, outsourcing your content is often the ideal solution. So we’ve done the research for you and come up with the 5 best places to outsource your content writing and given you a little background each of those options.
The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing Content Writing
That said, outsourcing content isn’t quite as hands-off a solution as it may seem. When you sign up with one of the following content providers — some of the best in the business — you get easy access to a wide range of writers, from affordable idea generators to those with specialized, elite-level qualifications.
But you’ll still have to invest time in learning the platform, the trial-and-error process of finding the writer or writers that are the best fit for your subject matter and style and some inevitable editing or revising. The good news is that once you navigate those obstacles, outsourcing packs some very real benefits. It’s a great way to build long-term relationships while only paying for content when you need it, and most services offer multiple pricing options to help you balance your budget against the quality you desire.
With all that in mind, here’s a look at the five best places to outsource your content writing today.
When you sign up for Contently, you’re paying magazine rates for magazine quality: Contently only works with journalists and bloggers that have credits in major, well-known publications and proven expertise on your subject matter. The platform pairs talent scouts with data-driven analytics to find you the best writers for your project.
If you have a large, high-visibility brand that needs the cohesive, polished content stream that comes with highly qualified writers and a dedicated talent manager that brings it all together, Contently is a great bet. Any jobs you list here will go out only to a small, pre-selected pool of highly vetted talent.
Another great option for working with highly qualified professionals, eByline deals only with journalists that have bonafide clips to back up their reputation. You post your writing, photography or multi media assignment brief, then wait for the applications to roll in. Because these writers are well-qualified and highly vetted, you can expect to pay standard newspaper rates or better for top talent.
Heads up: You’ll have to pay a subscription fee on top of what you pay for your content, although you can try the service for free on a seven-day trial, and your membership comes with unlimited 24/7 support. Ultimately, this is a good mix if you want to blend affordability with high quality and a reasonable level of support from your outsourcing company.
One of the biggest hurdles in content outsourcing is sorting through writers whose English is less than perfect; WriterAccess solves that by working only with U.S.-based talent. Freelance writers are vetted and assigned star ratings before being accepted into the platform; you can use lower-rated writers to generate rough drafts at an affordable rate or pay a premium for more polished content from high-rated writers.
Turnaround times at WriterAccess are usually very fast and the rates are middle-of-the-road, and if you don’t want to release assignments to the general writer pool, their talent managers can recommend talent for direct assignments. You can also post what you’re looking for and choose from the writers who respond with an application. This is potentially a good fit for anyone from big companies to individuals looking for a ghostwriter, although you may have to go through some back-and-forth before you find the best talent.
If you’re looking for highly flexible communication, pricing and assignment types, Scripted is an excellent platform. They allow an unusual degree of communication with talent, including real-time messaging within Scripted, pre-arranged conference calls and the ability to negotiate rates and deadlines for set content types.
That said, although the writers are vetted – Scripted advertises that only some 2 percent of applicants are accepted – quality can still be variable, and Scripted’s management takes a hands-off approach. It’s up to you to release assignments into the general pool, browse through writer profiles or use the company’s SmartMatch algorithm to suggest the best writers for your project. Also, you’ll pay a monthly membership fee in addition to the prices you pay for the content itself.
If ever there were an unregulated Wild West of content outsourcing, Upwork is it — so expect to spend a lot of time weeding through unqualified talent. That said, their pool of talent is truly vast and includes everything you can imagine, from market research to design and, of course, writing, photography and editing. If you can do it at a computer, it can be assigned at Upwork. You also have the option to pay your freelancers hourly or on a project fee basis, and have access to customer support if you need it — although unless you trigger a help ticket, you’re on your own. If your freelancer works on an hourly basis, Upwork’s proprietary tracking software makes it easy to monitor their activity.
Upwork is a great solution for companies who need a high volume of work that doesn’t require much skill, and for basic service, they take a percentage from the payout to your freelancers. You’ll also find some highly qualified contents here, but unless you want to pay extra for the dedicated talent manager/assistance that comes with Upwork Pro, you’ll have to invest some time in separating the wheat from the chaff.