StayOnSearch

Why Outsourcing Content Development Can Hurt Your Company

Mark Thompson November 5, 2009

It is true that having unique content on your site is a big part of search engine optimization and continuing to build quality traffic.  However your content development strategy can have a big impact on how fast and how much traffic you can gain.  There are a number of ways to generate content; blogs, forums, articles, whitepapers, press releases, discussion boards, etc…  But ultimately the quality of your content is going to be what brings visitors back to your site.  Here are a number of real life scenarios companies deal with when putting together a content strategy, along with downfalls that could hurt your companies brand and site.

SCENARIO 1

Your company does not have the internal resources to produce quality content on a regular basis, however you have a marketing budget to outsource content development.  You decide to pay a writer to blog 2-3 times a week about relevant topics related to your business.  Depending on the industry, the writer is going to have to do some research on the topic to be able to write intelligently about it.  They also lack product knowledge, industry terminology, and the ability to add their own insight to the topic.

Result

Industry professionals that visit your blog will realize that the content is not written from an expert and that the quality of the content provides no value. This can result in visitors never coming back to your site or put a negative experience with your brand.

SCENARIO 2

You are on a tight budget but you understand that having unique content is essential.  So you outsource your content development overseas strictly based on the fact that it is cost-effective. 

Result

You get a lot of bang for your buck, receiving quantity, but not quality content.  Many outsourcing companies in India or China will write articles for $1.00-$3.00 for a 250 word article, however most of the time it will not make grammatical sense and any American user would be able to see that.

SCENARIO 3

You hire a PR firm or industry expert to produce quality content.  You pay 3x more than for a normal writer because of their industry knowledge or audience reach.

Result

You are unable to provide as much quality content because of the high expense of using someone with industry knowledge.  As a result, you will not be able to build the readership that you would have liked to.  However the content that you do provide will make an impact on the users who do read your content.

SOLUTIONS

I understand that every company has different circumstances, resources, and budgets, however there are a few ways you can build quality content given any scenario.

  1. Focus on Quality:  Instead of worrying about producing content on a weekly basis, try using all of your time, money and resources towards creating high quality whitepapers or articles that can be downloading and syndicated.  Make the content unique, valuable, and authoritative.  If if you don’t provide a lot of content, the content that you have built is well-known in the industry.
  2. Encourage Employees:  Your best resources for developing content are your employees.  They are the ones entrenched in your business, have industry knowledge, and can provide the most value for your company.  Offer incentives to employees who contribute content by giving them a small perk, whether its $25/post or half a day off for every 15 posts they write.
  3. Think outside the Box:  Instead of trying to produce normal content like blogs, articles, and whitepapers, think of unique ways to produce content.  Try creating a viral video, neat graphics/images, tools, product comparisons, etc…
  4. User Generated Content:  Let your readership help you to create community content by adding comments, guest posts, reviews and testimonials.  The down side to this option is that it may take time before you start to have a substantial amount of readers.
  5. Leverage 3rd Party Sites:  If you are trying to build an audience, try to leverage sites that already receive a lot of traffic.  Ask if you can guest blog or even pay to be featured on their site.  This can be a great way to get people to your site and if the content on your site is valuable, people will come back.

SEOmoz Whiteboard Friday – Generating Unique Content

Rand takes a look at the three major content classifications – editorial, machine-built, and user-generated – to help you understand what exactly qualifies as “unique” content, why it’s important to your site, and strategies you can use to generate it.

Scenario 2Scenario 2


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