If your content marketing program is moving along nicely, you may be wondering if you should hire a freelancer to help. If your plan is more conceptual than reality, you may be wondering the same thing. There are lots of benefits to working with freelancers if you hire the right one for the job. It’s important to make sure your program is ready for a freelancer’s help to be the most successful. So, when is the right time to hire a freelancer.
Knowing where you need the help of a freelancer is vital. Just hiring someone and hoping they can do everything you need often leads to frustration. It's important to know where you need help before you hire. Understanding the roles within a content marketing program helps. So, who's involved in your typical content program?
The truth is, you may need a freelancer sooner than you think or you may be able to wait longer than you’d initially planned. It all depends on your needs.
Do you have a content strategy in place? If not, is there someone on your team with the background and experience to provide this for you? If not, you might want to look for a freelance content strategist or even a content marketing agency to help with this task.
Having your content strategy in place and well research is critical to your program’s overall success. Imagine getting into a car and heading out on a 1,000-mile road trip without ever learning how to shift gears, park, or even which pedal controls gas vs. brakes. Moving into a content development plan without the content strategy in place is pretty much the same thing. If you're missing a researched and documented content strategy plan, you may need to hire a freelancer today to help you generate the plan.
If you have a plan in place and the team agrees it’s the right plan, it addresses the needs of multiple audiences and is what you want to focus on, but you don’t know how to take your strategy and turn it into a tactical plan with blog post ideas, you may need a freelancer to help with content planning. This would most likely be a content strategy freelancer, and if you partnered with someone for the content strategy plan, they might very well be able to provide this service too.
A freelancer who focuses on content planning will turn your strategy documents into an actionable content plan. They’ll create content topics that align with your core pillars and schedule the content for you, so you know what needs to be published and when. You can hand this document off to your internal team and have them start writing and editing the posts. They can then enter them into your blogging CMS (Wordpress is the most common) and ensure they’re published on time.
Think SEO is only for your website? Think again. If you’re creating content, you not only want but need the benefits of SEO. Hiring an SEO specialist as your freelancer could make sense if your internal team doesn’t have the content SEO background. Now, with SEO freelancers, you’ll want to make sure you hire a content SEO not a technical SEO freelancer for this freelance role. Each blog post you’re going to write should be optimized for search. You’ll want an internal team member or freelancer to provide targeted keywords for SEO to be used in both your copy and your optimization elements (Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, and Header Tags). Skipping this step could negate all other work that you do. This is a critical portion of the writing process. You don’t want to risk the optimization process being done wrong.
It's time to start writing once you have your strategy, topic, and targeted keywords. Do you have someone on your team to write the blog posts or create the copy for your new web pages? If so, great. Can they produce the amount of content that your plan calls for? On average, a small blog post – 500-750 words takes two hours or so to write. More in-depth, research pieces can take much longer. If your plan calls for 1,500-2,500 word pieces, it’s going to take a long time to craft each. The number of posts that can be created each day or week drops drastically.
How do you determine if you need freelance help with content development? Keep track of your team’s average production time for each type content piece over the course of a month or two and see what production levels are typical. If you find the team can keep up with the standard day to day posts but not the in-depth research pieces, maybe you hire a freelancer to produce the big parts. If your subject area is one that requires a lot of background knowledge, perhaps it makes more sense for your team to write the in-depth pieces and hire a freelancer to help with day to day posts. Work with your team to determine what’s the best plan for you.
If you don’t have a team, then you probably need to hire a freelancer to write all of your content. You might be better off to hire a few freelancers or an agency to manage the production requirements.
Yes, there are steps beyond writing, editing, and optimizing. Before your audience can find and read your content; you need to get it out into the world. If your internal team is non-existent or maxed out, a freelancer who can manage your content distribution might be the answer. This person is responsible for uploading your post or page to your blog or website CMS. They make sure the Title Tag, Meta Description, and Header Tags are set correctly for SEO and ensure the posts or pages are pushed live, and there are no mistakes.
This role also distributes your content across your social media channels. If you’re producing a large amount of content each month, they may actively manage your content distribution tools. You may find it helpful to implement a distribution management system if you don't have one yet, it can streamline the process greatly. And anything that streamlines the process and saves time is welcome in my experience. A freelancer who manages your publication and distribution plans could help your team focus on the content strategy, planning, and production.
Walk through the content production process and identify names for each task and that will initially help you determine if you need to hire a freelancer or not. If you find that you need more roles than you have on staff now, it might make more sense to partner with an agency and have them manage everything for you. Add the name that corresponds to each role, and you’ll quickly determine if you need a freelancer, and in what role.
You’ll want to reassess the roles and needs each time you add or lose a team member. It’s also a good idea to review your content production process periodically to make sure the initial projections align with reality. And finally, if your content production scales up or down or you change the type content you are creating, you may need to adjust.
So, after reading this post, did you determine if you’re ready to hire a freelancer yet? If yes, what area do you need help with? Are you looking for a single freelancer, someone with multiple skill sets, or maybe a whole agency to manage everything for you? There are lots of places you can look for help. If you’re in need of help with Content Strategy, Content Planning, Content Optimization, Content Writing or Editing, Content Publication or Distribution, we’d love to chat and would be happy to provide a free quote for our services. We manage the entire process or steps within the process for clients every day.