You took the plunge and picked a content marketing firm like Nimble Media or a copywriting firm like Article-Writing to handle your digital marketing needs.

You’re not alone.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, about 50 percent of marketers outsource at least some of their content creation. The reasons vary, but most of the time, companies either don’t have the staff, the resources or the know-how – or all of the above – to handle the content on their own.

But picking a content partner is just the beginning. What are the next steps in the process?

1) Establish an editorial style guide

What’s your tone? Who’s your target audience? What keywords are you trying to rank for? These are all points that need to be discussed early in the process. Include things like your competitors and any websites, blogs or social media influencers you follow. Your new content team needs this information before they can start. Otherwise, they’re just winging it – and chances are, you won’t be happy with the final results.

2) What are your deadlines?

By the time you’ve picked a content partner, odds are good that you’ve already established the number of blog posts you’d like to publish each week, along with the social media platforms they will manage. Next, you need to establish when you’d like your posts to run. The vast majority of blog posts are published Monday through Friday, according to an analysis by TrackMaven, with 11 a.m. to noon EST the most popular time slot. So, if you publish three blogs per week, then schedule them out for Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, for example; for two posts, schedule them out for Tuesdays and Thursdays.

That, however, only covers when you want your blogs to go live. You’ll want to look over the content well before then. Establish a much earlier deadline, like on Thursday for the following week’s posts. That way, you have plenty of time to read over everything before it’s published, even if that means spending some time over the weekend, and it gives the content team time to make any revisions (if necessary).

3) Method of delivery?

You also need to establish how you will receive your content. Email is fine if it’s a relatively small account, but you should have a backup system in place, too. Consider using a file hosting service like Dropbox or even Google Drive. That way, both you and the content team have access to everything, and if the file(s) didn’t show up in Dropbox, for example, you should still receive it via email.

4) Time to share your passwords (gulp!)

This goes hand-in-hand with Step 3: If you want your content team to post your blogs on your website and/or handle your social media platforms, then you have to share those respective passwords. You’ll also need to give administrative access to everything if you want them to monitor your site’s analytics. Does that make you nervous? Then have them sign a non-disclosure agreement. A NDA is a contract that creates a legal obligation of privacy. That means, whoever signs it must agree to keep any specified information secret, explains Rocket Lawyer. (Everything you’d ever want to know about NDAs can be found here.)

5) Establish Billing Procedures

Finally, you need to figure out the payment schedule and procedures. When is payment due? How do they except payment? Make sure you include who receives the invoice in your company.

 

meniceJake Rigdon is the executive editor at Article-Writing, a copywriting firm based out of Toronto. You can reach him on FacebookLinkedInGoogle+Twitter or by email at jake@nimblemedia.ca.