10 Tips to Outsource Content and Put Your Marketing Funnel on Auto-Pilot
Content creation is one of the most difficult things for busy insurance agents, who know they need to be online but don’t have the time to get there. It’s why sites like Fiverr and ELance have found the staying power that they have. While these sites can be an affordable way to dip your toe into the online marketing waters, the results are hit-and-miss and depending on your luck, can turn into a wild goose chase filled with disappointments and countless restarts. That’s why, if you’re wanting to outsource content, you should keep these 10 tips in mind.
1. Hire an insurance person who creates content, not a content creator who knows little about insurance.
This tip is one that busy insurance agents often overlook when they’re starting to outsource content on their blog or social media channel. They figure that they need somebody — anybody — and that they can just work out any kinks in the wash.
Unfortunately, more often than not, this turns into a situation where content is turned in unusable or in bad need of adjustments, thus sucking away more time from the agent, who should be focused on making sales.
Don’t get caught in the trap. Take your time looking for help and try to find someone with previous experience in insurance content creation or a related industry. Also, take the time to see how quick of a learner they are before turning over the reins.
2. Avoid cheap
Fiverr generally offers intro projects at $5 a pop across a wide spectrum of specialties. Some green online marketers will try to fund all their content creation needs through cut-rate, discount prices. However, what they often find is that you get what you pay for, and that even those willing to work so cheaply in the beginning have a bigger endgame in mind.
Even if you can continue to get someone to work so cheaply, the results will eventually show through in their work because it takes time to create viable content, and people cannot work at $5 or $10 per hour.
For the sake of your business, don’t go after the low-hanging fruit. Look around. Post job ads on niche websites that writers or content creators frequent, and you’ll consistently attract a much better pool of talent.
3. Be involved
There is a temptation when you decide to outsource content to turn everything over to the first person you hire and assume they will do a good job. This is a decision you should reconsider.
In fact, from the moment you start outsourcing content, you should just assume that you will never be FULLY out of it, nor should you be. That’s because no one knows your business or your clients better than you do. You’re in a much better position to know what will earn a response.
4. Never compromise on communication
If you are going to be involved with the content creation process, your major role will be that of a communicator. You will need to be able to communicate your needs clearly, quickly, and effectively to any outside content creator, and you should expect the same from them.
Look for a content creator, who will be thorough and prompt in his communication. For experienced professionals, these are attributes that will come naturally. Cheap labor, on the other hand, could go either way depending on how hungry they are. As a rule, you should expect a new collaborator to get back to your last response within 24 hours.
As you get results and build rapport, you may choose to be more flexible, and that’s fine. But in the beginning, impressions are everything.
5. Have a blueprint in mind
One tip for greatly reducing the learning curve for your content creators is to have a blueprint of quality already in mind when approaching them with your needs. If there is an article or video or podcast on the web that really speaks to you, save it to Evernote or Flipboard or whichever aggregator tool you use for saving important information.
Provide that to the content creator at the time you provide details of the job. Also, know why you like it. Is it the voice? The data? The provocativeness? Being able to explain why you like something will give a content creator better insight into what you’re looking for and thus produce a more seamless outsourcing process.
6. Never lose sight of your purpose
While there is something to be said about posting frequently to your blog, website, or social media channel, you should not post just to post. Keep your purpose in mind. Know before each project that you assign what the objective is to your audience.
Is it to grow your social media audience? Get someone to sign up on a mailing list? Approach existing customers about expanding their policies and coverage? If you’ve hired an experienced professional, they will be able to take your channels in the direction that you give. But make sure you are aware of what that direction is!
7. Try new things
The only constant when it comes to online content is that it’s always changing. Part of that has to do with Google, the mother of all search marketing channels. Reportedly, the tech company has hundreds of factors that influence search rank, and getting ranked highly is essential to being seen.
Furthermore, Google and Bing and Yahoo are all in a constant state of revision. That’s why companies that used to invest in keyword-rich articles and got page-one results, are no longer in business.
Keep audience needs at the forefront of everything you do, and you’ll be able to survive whatever changes the search companies throw your way. Also, expand into video, podcasts, and anywhere your audience might be.
If you’re unsure of where that is, ask them!
8. Don’t get comfortable
When you find a collaborator that you trust and you get those first few results you’re hoping for, there is a danger in stepping away and allowing the whole thing to go on auto-pilot. But as tip 7 indicates, getting comfortable with the arrangement can be a huge problem.
If you fail to challenge the person you outsource content to, then you may run the risk of employing a one-trick pony. The question, then, is what happens when that pony has run its last race?
Accept the fact that — outsourced or not — your content strategy will always need tweaks and changes, and you will eliminate most of the risk that comes with getting too comfortable.
9. Welcome the challenge
If this is not something that you have the energy to do, then it will become disheartening and smear the other aspects of your business. That’s why, going back to the first tip on hiring, you need to connect with a content creator, who gets it and can make you feel good about what you’re doing.
When you see your online platform as something with purpose — something that will yield results with audience interaction and lead generation — then you can get excited (instead of discouraged) about the challenging aspects.
10. Pay fair
The pay issue is a big one to any professional on a budget. This is especially true when you are an insurance agent and so much of your income and stability depend on performance. Don’t be wooed by bottom-dollar amounts. Instead actively seek to pay people what they are worth.
How do you determine that?
Start with you. Since whomever you outsource content creation to will need a knowledge and understanding that rivals your own to be effective, determine how much time will be spent on each project. Then ask yourself, “How much is my time worth?”
Whatever that number is, can be your ceiling. From there, ask the contractor what his or her rates are and see if you can arrive at a number and amount of work that is fair to you both.
As you venture into the world of online marketing — and these days, every insurance agent should — you will need quality content creation. If you’re capable of juggling that with your sales and customer care, more power to you! But if you need extra help, adhere to the 10 tips above, and watch your results soar.