Winning the battle for search engine rankings can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor. While there are multiple factors to consider on your quest to the top, many studies suggest that having high-quality content on your website is key.
Unfortunately, this, like most things in life, is easier said than done.
No matter how you look at it, you’ll need to invest time and money to land on the first page of Google and boost your traffic.
The key is to use your resources effectively—and outsourcing pieces to freelance writers may be your best solution. How so? There are five distinct advantages to outsourcing your website’s content creation.
1. It’s more cost-effective than hiring in-house writers
Businesses that lack the deep pockets of mega-corporations are often reminded (by invoices and price tags) that money doesn’t grow on trees. In other words, every dollar needs to be directed carefully, and hiring someone is a serious investment.
What does that mean for your business?
According to a survey by Payscale, the average full-time content writer in the U.S. earns $44,150 a year. But given the cost of recruiting, onboarding, equipment, and benefits, you can expect to pay closer to 1.5 to 3 times a new employee’s salary. This means a first-year in-house writer might actually cost somewhere between $66,000 to $132,000.
In the past, these expenses were unavoidable. Companies begrudgingly accepted them—after all, they needed employees to do work.
But today, hiring freelance writers has become a more common practice among many small- to mid-sized businesses.
It’s hard to pin down the rate of a freelance writer because it can vary so much, but hiring one is almost always going to cost you less. This is especially true if you hire them through a platform, where you’ll normally pay $50-100 per blog post.
At this rate, if you wanted 30 articles each month (roughly one a day) for an entire year, you’d be paying between $18,000 and $36,000.
Still pricey, granted, but Hubspot has crunched the numbers—you don’t even need that many pieces to achieve positive results. Their research found that businesses see the biggest gains in traffic after posting 11 or more pieces of content per month.
For $6,600 to $13,200 a year on content platforms, you can reach this threshold and get more traffic to your site for your dollar. That’s much more cost-effective than the $44,150 salary and benefits an in-house writer earns.
2. There’s a larger talent pool to hire from
Estimates suggest there are 56.7 million freelance workers in the U.S., and that immense figure includes freelance writers.
While traditional workplaces once necessitated employees to be in the same general vicinity, technology makes it easier than ever for people spread across different cities, even continents, to work together.
That ultimately means an enormous talent pool to choose from for your site’s content needs. After all, you’re no longer limited to hiring writers living within a certain radius of your office.
Whether it’s technical copywriters, pop culture experts, or legal scribes, you can find people on the internet that can get the job done. So if you aren’t online drawing from the largest talent pool in human history, you’re missing out.
And if you think hiring online means getting spammy emails by way of Craigslist, think again. There are plenty of content platforms out there that make the hiring process easier, including:
These platforms make it easy to find qualified writers for your line of work. Moreover, they also generally simplify the billing and invoicing process, so you can cut straight to business.
3. Pay for the content you need when you need it
Freelance writers come in all shapes and sizes. Some are recent college graduates that demand minimal compensation for their efforts, and others earn more than six figures a year writing in technical fields and for major publications.
Based on your content needs, you can find the precise caliber and style of writing that matches your audience.
If you need a large number of articles about something non-technical (e.g., pop culture, music, television), you don’t need to hire a specialist. On the other hand, if you need someone to write about the nuances of the American tax code, they’re available online, too. They just might cost more.
Depending on your company’s budget and industry, you’ll need varying types and amounts of writing for your website. For many smaller businesses, paying the salary and benefits of an in-house writer is simply impractical because there isn’t enough work to keep them occupied. But by outsourcing your content, you only have to put down money when you want pieces written for you.
4. Find new talent easily
If your freelance writer doesn’t meet expectations, it’s pretty simple: hire a new one.
There’s no need to fire anybody—just move onto someone else. The only thing you lose in this scenario is time. No need for expensive severance checks or phone calls from the ACLU.
After all, firing employees is a drain, both emotionally and financially.
LinkedIn estimates that the cost of firing an employee ranges from 30-50% of the annual salary for an entry-level worker to upwards of 400% the salary of high-level or specialized personnel. This doesn’t take into account the time and energy of finding a replacement either. It’s a huge pain for a company to fire someone, and this can sometimes result in lazy employees and lower productivity levels.
On the flipside, freelance writers understand the nature of their work, and the impermanent nature of such work acts as an incentive for them to provide compelling content to their client.
Most understand there are people waiting to pick up their gigs if they fail to meet expectations. As a result, they’re incentivized to produce excellent writing for job security as well as to expand their network and create job future opportunities. That means you can expect high quality—or at least a willingness to fulfill your expectations with detailed edits.
5. Outsourcing is scalable
Building a team of in-house writers requires some organizational structure, like who’s managing who, how bonuses are determined, and so on.
Assembling a team of freelancers, on the other hand, presents a far more simplistic and easily scalable alternative.
You can grow and shrink the size of this group as your company evolves over time. If your business succeeds beyond your wildest expectations, you’ll need a larger team; if your business needs to downsize, it’s a simple matter of reducing the number of freelance writers you employ.
Not to mention, you’ve got technology on your side. Once you’ve identified solid freelance writers to work with, you can use organizational tools like Google Docs to Trello to manage different projects. And in case you need to communicate directly with writers, there are services like Zoom and GoToMeeting at your disposal.
Aside from appointing a manager or editor to commission projects from writers, you don’t need to worry about bureaucratic logistics like signing timesheets and approving vacation time and sick days. This makes outsourcing an efficient and scalable solution to growing your content strategy.
Dominating your market niche on the internet requires a lot of quality writing.
However, today’s workforce looks nothing like the way it did 50 years ago, as evidenced by the rising number of freelance workers in the U.S. and worldwide.
This evolution is to your benefit, as there’s never been a better time to outsource work, especially content writing. Given such a large talent pool of freelance writers online, outsourcing can help build your company’s online presence and simultaneously improve your profit margins.
Joyce Chou is a Content Specialist at Compose.ly, a content platform that matches businesses with seasoned freelance writers. Apart from writing for Compose.ly’s blog, Joyce also contributes to other publications about digital marketing, personal finance, and business and ecommerce. You can reach Joyce on Twitter or LinkedIn.