You might have the insights and knowledge to conquer the world. But if you’re nursing your fifth cup of coffee and staring blankly at the wall while trying to piece your thoughts together on paper, you could probably use some help.
Sure, it could just be writer’s block. Thankfully, there are many helpful strategies for overcoming that. But what if it’s something more?
The time, effort, and resources needed to identify your target audience and craft high-quality content that adheres to the intended publication’s guidelines can be overwhelming.
By evaluating your content needs and understanding the resources it requires, you can determine whether outsourcing to capable individuals, hiring an expert team, or keeping your efforts in house will relieve the stress and headache that often accompany the writing process.
It’s difficult to judge the quality of your own writing. You could potentially be the next Malcolm Gladwell, Chris Guillebeau, or David Sedaris. You could have entertaining anecdotes, revolutionary insights, and enough time to document all of your wit and experience.
But after attending your sixth conference this month or wrapping up a complete project overhaul, you’d probably rather to spend time unwinding than immersing yourself in your laptop.
Influence & Co. has researched the process and estimates that it takes at least 14 hours to flesh out an idea, write, and polish a high-quality article between 600 and 900 words.
This internal research involved having our content and editorial teams track their efforts to determine the average time spent per article. Keep in mind that your intended publication is far from guaranteed. You could spend that 14 hours in fits of inspiration and doubt and still not accomplish your actual goals.
If you plan on creating and publishing your own content, you’ll need to set aside time to research and write about your topic. A great deal of this initial research should be focused on whether you have something unique to say. If your ideas essentially recap an article written six months ago, publications and audiences will know.
To be successful as your own content creator, you need:
If the steep time commitment that creating content demands isn’t realistic for you, there are alternatives. Many businesses are hiring in-house content creators or outsourcing this process. Both approaches can lead to effective content and the necessary connections to publishing platforms.
An in-house writer has direct access to you and your team to brainstorm topics and perform internal research to help strengthen the final article. That writer should be versatile and knowledgeable about your specific industry and different forms of content, including press releases, educational articles, and any promotional materials your business might need. Content writers’ salaries vary, but you will need to budget accordingly to land a quality writer or team.
Outsourcing content creation can also remedy your writing woes. A dedicated content marketing team can provide the resources, staff, and expertise to streamline the creation and publishing process for your business. Outsourcing is often the most efficient creation-to-publication approach for many businesses and agencies.
Consider these factors when searching for that perfect content partner:
Can a writer deliver great content that tackles today’s issues? Publications look for articles that address current events and new ways of thinking. Yesterday’s news doesn’t attract new audiences. Your content creator should be aware of current trends in your industry and able to predict where the industry is heading to advance the conversation.
Making an impact through content also depends on consistency. A quality writer needs to hit deadlines and communicate insights in a confident, informative, and entertaining manner depending on the subject matter. A reliable writer knows the ins and outs of your industry. Coupled with an ability to elevate your ideas, he can capture an audience’s attention and inspire that audience to search for more content from you.
Your content partner should have a network of capable writers and be knowledgeable about the publishing industry. What type of content works best in a given situation? What qualities does an article need before it can land in that marquee publication? You can’t approach your content opportunities with a “let’s see what happens” mentality. Publications demand quality, and you need a writer who can meet those standards.
Hopefully you’re not staring at that wall right now, still trying to decide how to begin. If you are, take a step back and evaluate your content goals to determine the most efficient approach.
Creating valuable and publishable content is hard work. Enlisting the help of a dedicated content partner can transform your muddled brilliance into a thoughtful and inspiring article. Then you can break through the trepidation and find the inspiration you’ve been searching for.
I'm a senior content strategist at Influence & Co. I enjoy crafting content to be the best it can be. I also enjoy spending time with my family, songwriting, recording, and hiking.