You thought you were being a BOSS and hired help to outsource your content marketing… but it hasn’t gone exactly as you thought it would.

Suddenly you have a never-ending list of tasks — broken down into subtasks and more subtasks — to try to account for all the moving parts of your marketing plan, but it means you’re getting alerts 75 times a day…

Your team is always behind on producing content… because they’re waiting on you for something or pinging you for approvals every other minute…

And it feels like you’re working for them instead of the team working for you…

What happened???

Before you assume that outsourcing content doesn’t work, that you hired the wrong people, or that hiring a different team will solve your problems, stop and ask yourself: do you have these three essentials in place to succeed in outsourcing your content marketing?

The 3 essentials you must have to successfully outsource your content marketing:

  1. A clear content marketing plan.
    Your team can’t read your mind (that wasn’t in the job description!). And, unless you specifically hired someone whose job and expertise is to create the strategy for you, they shouldn’t be in charge of creating the plan.Starting with a clear, strategic marketing plan ensures that you and your team members know exactly what they need to produce and why. It keeps everybody on the same page.

And adding dates keeps everybody moving forward and hitting deadlines. If you struggle with team members not hitting deadlines, consider what they are missing that’s preventing them from meeting those goals and if you can add those things to the plan.

  • A brand voice style guide.
    The next thing your team needs is a clear and comprehensive brand voice style guide. A good brand voice style guide will tell them all the things they need to know to write content that sounds like you.You might already have a brand style guide that includes things like your brand colors and fonts, your logos, your headshots, etc.

A brand voice style guide includes your brand vocabulary and terms you like to use (and don’t like to use), guidelines about how you like to communicate (ie: we like to be funny, but never crass), and any grammatical idiosyncrasies (ie: use a plus sign instead of the word ‘and’; always use serial commas).

  • A clear workflow and standard operating procedures (SOPs)
    Finally, you need a clear outline of what happens on a daily and weekly (monthly, etc.) basis so that the team is crystal clear on what’s expected of them.For example, if you create a live video each week, you might outline the following for your team:

    Download the video, upload the video for transcription, when the transcription is ready edit it into a blog post, when the blog post is written, write a 100-word email enticing people to read the post, then select 3 long quotes and 5 short quotes to share on social media, give the quotes to the designer to create social media graphics, when the graphics are done upload them to our scheduler, etc.

The point is, when you clearly define out outline the tasks that happen every week, the team knows exactly what is supposed to happen and in what order. When you create these SOPs, you may realize that your team needs more time to accomplish all the tasks from start to finish — which may affect your plan and content calendar.

The easiest way to outsource — without tons of approvals — is to start with great source material

You may have noticed that, in that last example of a content workflow, everything started with the business owner creating a video — which then provided the content that would be repurposed for a blog, an email, and lots of social media updates.

This is a perfect set up for outsourcing because the source material and thought leadership is coming directly from you.

That means that the actual meat of the message is your brilliance and in your voice.

Of course, you don’t have to do live video (or video at all) to build a system that works this way.

Your source material could be: a podcast, content from your products or courses — or you could have your team interview you to pull out your best ideas.

The point is, when you start with source material that is directly from you, your thought leadership, you’ll know that the content created downstream is something you can stand behind.

And that means there’s less approval required from you.

When you have those three essential pieces in place — a content plan, a style guide, and a clear workflow — and you’re starting with your own thought leadership in your voice, your team will easily be able to repurpose that for other channels.

There is always going to be a learning curve; don’t expect to be able to stop checking in and approving things right from the get-go. But as you put this process into practice, you should be able to give less and less input and approval and still get great output for all your content channels.