Sooner or later, Internet marketers and commercial bloggers will need to consider outsourcing as part of their business. Writing takes a lot of time and effort, and even if you love it more than anything (many don’t), you could make better use of your resources by delegating some of the work to freelance writers.
And for those of us who are US-based, offshore writers in countries like India and the Philippines offer a cheaper alternative than local freelancers.
But along with the benefits come disadvantages. Before you hire a writer from overseas, learn how they work and think as these factors will directly influence the quality of work they do for you.
Overseas Writers Who Have Brokers
Many offshore writers produce articles for clients through brokers. If you have ever used or written for TextBroker.com, you’ll know how this works. From writer’s perspective, there is a pool of available assignments grouped into categories. Each assignment contains a title (if the client requires a specific title) or a set of keywords, along with special instructions from the client such as word count, format, etc.
The writer chooses the articles he or she wants to write, and has a limited time in which to write those articles before they “expire” and return to the community pool.
Such overseas writers (and this applies to US writers who have brokers too) have some freedom to choose what they want to write. They can browse the categories and pick only titles or keywords that they like. If you submit assignments that have universal (i.e. global) appeal, there’s a big chance they’ll get done in no time.
But if your topics are too foreign to them (say, if you ask for South American travel articles and the writers are in the Philippines), it will take longer. Writers might not pick up such articles until there’s nothing else left in the assignment pool, or unless the broker assigns “forced” articles on them.
If you are the client publisher, working with a broker offers some advantages:
- There usually are writers available
- Delivery is on time
- Streamlined process means less hassle
- Your money is secure if you work with an established, reputable broker
The disadvantages include:
- Article output may be inconsistent, because different writers may write your articles (Example: You order 15 articles on Facebook, but 8 people write them.)
- Writers may not be able to do what you want exactly, since you aren’t allowed to contact them directly (otherwise who needs the broker?)
- Quality may vary depending on how competent the writers are on the topic and on how well paid they are
Overseas Writers Who Have No Brokers
Some offshore writers work autonomously, without the help of a broker to find them clients. You find them in places like elance.com, odesk.com, Craigslist and freelance writing forums. Their level of expertise and competence varies greatly. Some of them may have worked with brokers before and are now hoping to earn more by dealing directly with clients.
Such writers may therefore demand higher pay if they think they deserve it, or just because they’ve heard US writers get paid more. (But then what’s the point of outsourcing offshore?) Others may be more reasonable.
You can ask to review their portfolio or see samples of their works. If you meet via Elance or Odesk or some other site, you can view ratings and feedback about them– as they can about you. The environment in Elance or Odesk, etc. offers security for both writer and client than Craigslist, so you might want to use those.
The benefits of working directly with writers are:
- You have a better chance of matching your content with a writer who is familiar with it
- You can expect more consistent work if you hire the same writer for your content
- You can foster a solid professional relationship in which both of you benefit
- You get to give instructions directly to the writer
- You may need to pay more
- Some writers are unprofessional— they may never write back if they think they can’t do what you ask
- Working without an escrow like Elance or Odesk is less secure
- Working with the same writer may cause you to be too dependent on him or her
Should You Outsource and How?
Outsourcing shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you outsource to the wrong writer, you could end up with more work in your hands than when you were doing it all by yourself.
I’ve outlined the pros and cons of the options available. But I suggest you start out small whichever way you go and see how it turns out. Hiring an overseas writer is not right for everyone, but it can be a smart business decision if you know what you are dealing with– or rather whom.
Do you hire freelance writers for your online business ?
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