Do your content writers fail to meet your expectations?
Do they forget deadlines … write poorly … or stray from style guidelines?
There are a number of root causes for problems like these.
A report by Acrolinx cited a few common issues that plague content teams:
- For 30% of respondents, lack of resources was the biggest problem — regardless of budget size
- 14% lacked enough time
- 13% had problems with consistency
- And 12% felt their writers didn’t have enough expertise
According to the report:
It’s probably because of these and other difficulties they face that more than half (54 percent) acknowledge that they aren’t as effective at creating high-quality content as they should be.
Another 46% felt they couldn’t create enough content to meet their business objectives.
The report highlighted a number of underlying reasons beneath these problems.
Below, I’ll discuss them in light of my own experience as a copywriter and content marketer.
5 Reasons Your Content Writers Don’t Deliver
In some cases, content writers are to blame.
- Be lazy
- Have poor work ethics
- Be inexperienced or mediocre writers
- Not understand copywriting, sales, or marketing
However, if the same problems appear repeatedly, the content production pipeline should be adjusted.
Which is good news — because unlike writers, systems can be fixed.
Let’s look at a few common reasons content marketing programs don’t meet expectations.
1. Outsourcing Isn’t Working
Outsourcing has its pros and cons.
- It’s cheaper than hiring in-house staff
- You can hire freelancers as needed
- Freelancers can offer fresh ideas and perspectives
For these reasons, many companies work with a mix of in-house and outsourced writers.
However, outsourcing isn’t all a bed of roses:
- Good freelancers aren’t cheap
- Freelancers who are cheap create low-quality content
- Many content writers come and go like the wind
These problems can lead some marketers to opt for in-house staff and avoid freelancers altogether.
However, savvy marketers — especially direct response marketers — know that the benefits of outsourcing outweigh the drawbacks.
Below, we’ll see a few ways to fix problems related to outsourcing.
2. Silo-ed Content Isn’t Consistent
Large enterprises often divide content creation among various departments.
This makes sense, of course.
Coordinating content development across a large organization can be a time-consuming, complex affair.
One side effect of silo-ed content creation is inconsistency.
Different departments may apply brand guidelines differently … or not at all.
In the Acrolinx study, style guide adherence was very low:
- 42% said that “some people use it, some people don’t”
- 20% reported it was followed closely by marketing, but not other departments
- And only 30% said it was followed closely by the entire organization
Finally and fortunately, only 8% reported that their style guide wasn’t consulted at all.
The result: inconsistencies in style, tone, voice, and quality.
3. Cheap Content Writers Deliver Cheap Content
In the Acrolinx report, 74% of companies employ non-native English speakers to create content.
Personally, I was pretty shocked when I read that number.
Working with non-native English speakers and cheap writers can cause a lot of problems:
- Poorly written content gives a bad brand impression
- Inexperienced and non-native writers don’t understand persuasive copywriting or direct response marketing
- Low payouts force writers to cut corners when it comes to research, editing, and writing
The result: engagement dips.
This, in turn, negatively impacts SEO, conversion rates across the marketing funnel, marketing ROI, and so on.
Businesses should also be aware that engagement metrics impact rankings. That is, Google monitors signals such as dwell time and bounce rates.
I’m not aware of any data that proves this. However, it fits within Google’s modus operandi.
4. Poor Training or Documentation
Clear documentation is essential for writers to know a brand’s style or tone.
In the Acrolinx study, under 50% of its respondents had documented content strategies or personas.
Without this type of documentation, content creators lack the guidance they need to write effectively and on-target.
Inevitably, this will lead each writer to adopt a different tone, style, and voice.
The result: different target audiences, styles, tones, and voices.
5. Inefficient Use of Technology
Technology is another area where many businesses could use improvement.
This is to be expected, of course, since technology is constantly evolving. Many times, businesses aren’t aware of new developments until after they’ve arrived.
There are a number of technologies that help with content marketing and production, such as:
- Content Management Systems
- Content Marketing Platforms
- Marketing Automation Software
- Sales Automation Platforms
- AI-Driven Active Content Governance Platforms
Among many others.
At the enterprise level, such systems can help centralize content creation and marketing efforts.
Conclusion: How to Get Better Content from Your Writers
As mentioned, writers themselves cannot be controlled.
Little can be done to change writers who are lazy, inefficient, or who have limited skills.
However, fixing issues in your content production system will improve efficiency and the quality of your content. And it will help you attract and retain the right kind of talent.
To improve your content production pipeline, start by fixing the issues mentioned above:
- Use formal guidelines and documented personas
- Recognize that you get what you pay for — so don’t expect killer content from cheap writers
- Take advantage of tools and software that can make your content pipeline more efficient
- Centralize content development within your organization
- Systematize recruiting and onboarding for freelancers
All of this is easier said than done, of course.
But actually getting it done will pay for itself … and it will make content development that much easier.