Every good marketer knows this adage well, and sure enough, content is a strong focal point for any business. In today's modern era, with consumers being savvier than ever, educating and informing about the benefits of your particular product or service via content is crucial to driving sales, revenue and a host of other key performance indicators for your organization.
Unfortunately, content isn't created in a vacuum. You need people, but where do you find them? Your first inclination is probably a writer, and you'd be correct. Despite of the rise of video, a good writer will pay off in spades for your business whether it be SEO, direct response, scripts, white papers or anything in between. As the demand for good, quality content talent has surged, businesses have been left asking: Where do I turn to find the right marketer who can produce the content results I need?
The temptation is to choose a marketer located where your business resides, but this often bars you from accessing high-quality talent at more affordable rates. Content writing is a task that can be completed anywhere, and many lean into the "digital nomad lifestyle," which means you can look for talent that isn't in the same area as your organization.
This leads you to outsourcing, but where do you outsource content? After spending more than eight years on both sides of the equation — both as an offshore content writer and as an employer — I recommend considering the following:
Onshore content talent
Content is a unique business need that, in my experience, generally takes structured thinking, discipline and a reasonable aptitude within the field of interest. Traditionally, this leads to a prioritization of writers in the same location as your business, but this can be costly if you reside in a major metropolitan area.
For the U.S., two sources stand out for content writing: college towns and smaller regional centers. The latter is self-evident: With a lower cost of living, you can gain a high-quality writer for less. An additional benefit is the ease of communication because no matter where you are located in the contiguous U.S., you will be within a three- hour time difference.
The former is a hidden gem when it comes to content writing talent. College students and recent graduates are hungry for experience, which often leads to a high level of output. Given their studies, they are also likely in the thick of it when it comes to being diligent with their writing structure, making them ideal for content-related tasks.
Pro tip: I've found journalism majors to have a unique aptitude for content work. Their inherent writing and research skills coupled with the competitive field create an ideal scenario for your business to snap up quality content talent.
Offshore content talent
Whenever the issue of cost arises, a natural inclination is toward outsourcing overseas. This is a little trickier but not impossible as long as you know where to look.
For example, I've found that the northern parts of England have excellent writing talent and have a compounding effect when it comes to cost because more remote areas usually have lower costs of living than major cities like London or San Francisco, which can help you save significantly. Other areas you might not have considered that are familiar with American culture, such as New Zealand, also have talent to offer who can pick up on the nuances of communication for your particular audience.
The English-centric need of many U.S.-based companies will likely affect where you look for content talent, but it's important to think outside the box about where you choose to outsource the work. You can still outsource to countries where English isn't the official language, especially instances when you require expert analysis on a niche topic. Even if you have to augment with additional writers or editors, there's no substitute for this level of technical content quality.
When trying to get the best out of overseas talent, there are three key considerations that help you successfully offshore: specific deliverables, clear business goals and strong project road maps. Underpinning each of these is frequent communication. Micromanagement, of course, can become counterintuitive and hurt the productivity of remote workers, but consistent communication is key to ensuring that both your offshore writing talent and you are on the same page regarding deliverables.
Too many people lean into fear when offshoring, trying to implement monitoring and surveillance systems to ensure they "know" when their team is working. This does not work and breeds resentment. Instead, focusing on ROI and where each task fits into your overall content strategy helps offshore writers feel motivated and take ownership, leading to a better overall output.
Onshore versus offshore: Which is right for you?
When deciding whether to keep content delivery onshore or offshore, companies need to ask themselves a few questions. First, is the content time-sensitive? If it isn't, in my experience, offshoring often leads to higher-quality content production at a lower cost.
If the content is time-sensitive, the second question to ask is: Does my content contain unique, idiosyncratic cultural considerations? If yes, onshoring talent might be best because the person you hire might be more immersed in the particular country or region's culture for which they're writing. Otherwise, you can consider turning to a nearshore writer.
Regardless of whether you look onshore or offshore for your content outsourcing needs, there's no doubt that quality content is only increasing in its importance for advertisers and marketers. In today's remote world, it's less about where you are and more about where the talent is located. Find the right talent, and your content will strike a chord with your audience.