When should you outsource your blog, or your news? What is the cost of virtual and overseas outsourcing, like oDesk, versus the cost of training an intern? When is a local, professional freelance writer a good option?
Be Realistic – Outsourcing is Only Part of the Solution
I’m not a business consultant, but I want to offer a common insight into blogging, and news posts.
Set more realistic schedules. Change your expectations, so you can do your real work (engineering, building, coding, etc.). What is realistic?
Well, blogging every week is usually 50 to 52 blogs a year, depending on what you plan during company holidays. For most people, their job role is not dedicated to writing, but that person has writing as a task among other very different job duties. That is not realistic.
Instead, blog once or twice a month! That’s 12 to 24 blogs a year. Write 2 blogs in one sitting. One blog is news that happens right now, and one blog is product or service information that will be useful for months.
Let’s take this a step further, before you outsource. You have suppliers, and businesses that benefit from working with your products, and services. So, how about asking your allies for blog articles (guest blog), or interview them for your blog. Ask your business allies to link to the articles that mention their company.
Outsourcing – What Caused Your Need?
I’m going to be honest with you. Most of the time I am called in by a client to fix a difficult situation. The client has gotten behind on writing. Common problems are:
- Got behind, and cannot finish a writing project
- Hasn’t started a writing project, and doesn’t have time to finish before the deadline
- Has too many contributors, editors and reviewers mucking up the document
- Can usually do the writing, but has a seasonal event like a trade show, annual inventory, or tax season
- Doesn’t want to deal with this writing project and is stuck in a moment of “situational procrastination”
Most of the time, I can get you caught up, and get the project done with interviews, research, and phone conversations. I’ve even been known to call up that “other person” who didn’t give you the data you needed to finish. The next problem is after I leave, another writing project and deadline get ahead of you.
Outsourcing Is an Affordable Option
What if you are still behind, or just don’t like writing? Outsourcing is a much more affordable option when you have a lean, practical plan in place. So when should you hire and intern, outsource to through online providers, or bring in a freelance writer? What are the costs, risks, and benefits?
Interns are often eager, motivated, and innovative. They work small blocks of time, before and after class, or while transitioning into a new career. The risk is that you need to spend larger amounts of time training, and mentoring interns. Their work may need more editing than an experienced employee. Also keep in mind that in Australia, Free internships are illegal. You must pay your intern fair-market rates for their training time, and work.
Online outsourcing, like oDesk, is very inexpensive, because most of the labour comes from countries where the cost of living and wages are much lower. One risk is that the cultural differences, can leave you with awkward phrases, and unusual conclusions. Additionally, time zone differences can make it difficult to communicate, or slow the ability to relay information. The good news is that most of the online services allow you to review recent work.
My recommendation is give yourself two to three times more time to work with your first couple outsourced writers. Try to find people who have gone to school in your country, have worked with other clients in your country, or who have worked in like industries in their country. Often these people are not the cheapest of the available writers, but usually more competitively priced than local writers.
Personally, I have had great experiences using oDesk for graphic artists, web developers with specialised software skills, and bookkeepers. While I am not listed as an available writer on oDesk, I have seen several affordable writers in the US, and UK, who would be great candidates for some writing projects.
Local writers seem to come at a premium cost compared to interns, and online outsourcing. In fact, a local freelance writer can be quite expensive, but brings the ability to walk into your facilities, and get face to face with you and the people that have the knowledge. Many local writers carry special knowledge, such as the legal boundaries, and best practices for topics that are placed into annual reports, tenders, or when legal action is a risk. Local writers are more efficient than interns, or online outsourcing, in most cases. If you have an important document, extremely short deadlines, or confidential information, a local freelancer is the smartest choice.
I am Shauna, a freelance writer working in Perth, Australia. I can help you write. As part of my desk-side support, I enjoy training my clients how to speed up their writing and improve the quality. My support services are as-needed, which means I can flex to write parts of a document in parallel with other staff, or only work a small segment of a larger project. You can write; I can edit – or visa versa. And, I don’t mind coordinating my work with your intern, or you online outsourced services. Completing your deliverables is my success.
Contact me, and find out where I can catch up. Ask me to give you some relief writing. Feel free to book me to train you, or your staff how to maintain the writing after we are caught up.
- Relationship and Trust before Litigation – having a good relationship with your vendors, and contractors prevents the need for legal action
- Legal Obligations – Performance Isn’t for Actor’s – your customers may be able to legally demand the outdated offers or claimed mentioned your web pages, blogs, and email marketing
- Editorial Calendars – Content Planning – write about topics that are timely and interesting to your customers and not wasting time writing when a customer is on holiday, or looking for other topics