Outsourcing content writing can be a great solution for increasing the amount of content you can create to support your marketing and sales efforts. Developing a long-term partnership with a reliable writer or content writing agency can help you hone your brand voice, provide more value to your customers, and improve your SEO

There are three main ways to outsource content writing

  • Hire a content writing agency like ContentWriters.com or Compose.ly, which have huge teams of vetted freelance writers that they in turn outsource your gig to. 
  • Cut out the middleman and find your own freelancer on a marketplace like Upwork or Fiverr — relying on ratings from past clients to vet the writer. 
  • Or you find a professional copywriter available for contract work, in other words, a solopreneur whose full-time gig is content writing. 

In this article, I’ll share my perspective on when it makes sense to outsource content writing, how to find and vet expert writers, and how to set a writer up for success. 

When does it make sense to outsource content writing

Many people underestimate how grueling content writing can be when you have to do it week after week. Even for a one-time project, like redoing your website, people often assume they’ll be able to crank out five to ten pages worth of great content explaining their services and company history if they can just carve out an hour or two of focus time. 

I’ve seen digital marketing managers who are expected to write all of the company’s content on top of all of the strategy, project management, and coordination involved in their job. That’s simply unsustainable. In those scenarios, new content creation will be the first thing to fall by the wayside.  

In reality, writing authoritative, informative, conversion-oriented content that will help your target audience find your products or services takes serious time and focus. It’s very hard to have the mental energy available to do this kind of writing while also attending to all of the other duties of a digital marketing leader. 

So if you don’t have a full-time, in-house copywriter, and you want to use content as a growth channel (maybe you’re working on your organic SEO, or you’re publishing a LinkedIn newsletter, or you’ve writing guests posts for Forbes or Inc.), outsourcing content creation can help you produce high quality content consistently. 

Does outsourcing content writing still make sense in the era of Generative AI? 

GenAI vs Professional Writers. Image shows a screenshot of ChatGPT interface, next to typewriter.

In November 2022, when ChatGPT first came online, a lot of people were questioning whether it would put content writers out of business. However, I’m not hearing that as much anymore, because most people have gotten a chance to play around with ChatGPT and the many other similar Generative AI writing tools. Most people can see for themselves that it can be a helpful tool in the hands of an experienced writer equipped with a sound content marketing strategy, but it can’t create great content on its own. 

ChatGPT doesn’t really know how to build an argument, it’s not good at tailoring your message to your specific audience, it’s terrible at fact-checking, and the examples it provides to drive home a point are vague and often confusing. But it can still be useful. In my experience, it’s most helpful when I’m looking for an alternative way to say something and I’m drawing a blank, or if I need to say something in a more concise way. And it’s helpful for brainstorming headlines. I almost never like the headlines it provides, but seeing the bad headlines it offers gets my creative juices flowing. 

Where to Find Expert Content Writers

I mentioned in the intro that there are three main ways to find content writers: content writing agencies, professional writers with their own businesses, and freelancers on sites like UpWork and Fiverr. I’ll dive into the pros and cons of each option now. 

Content Writing Agencies: Pros and Cons

Content writing services can be a good choice for marketing teams who need to crank out a ton of content, fast. I’m not going to diss all of the writers who work at agencies and say they’re not as qualified or talented, because that’s a dumb generalization. There are a lot of talented writers out there who have no interest in going solo. 


  • You don’t have to vet the writers
  • They can crank out a high volume of content because they have a writing team 
  • They may have other services available, like graphic design or web design to help you execute other aspects of your content marketing strategy 


  • You may not get to vet the specific writer assigned to you ahead of time
  • Writers often have little to no insight into the content strategy

When you go through a big agency, you almost never get the chance to vet the writing of the writer you’ll be assigned. Also, if you do happen to get a writer you like, you don’t know how long they’ll stay at the agency or be assigned to your account. That makes it harder to develop long term relationships, where that person really gets to know your voice and ends up actually defining your voice for you. 

My experiences working with agencies were mixed. In many cases, I got the bare minimum support and info needed to create impactful content. It wasn’t unusual to be handed a bare bones content brief by a content manager assigning me a topic like “affordable housing” and be expected to fill in the gaps with my imagination and some healthy Googling. I was rarely let in on the overall content strategy informing this topic assignment, and I almost never got a sense of whether the article made an impact, and why, which would have been vital insight to help inform my future writing for that brand.

Professional Writers: Pros and Cons

Outsourcing content creation to a professional content writer who has their own business can be a great fit for small-to-medium businesses who have an in-house marketing director, but don’t have an in-house writer


  • You can develop a long-term relationship with a writer who will keep a consistent brand voice
  • You can make sure the writer is fully equipped with the strategic insights and subject matter expertise to successfully execute on the content strategy
  • You’ll always get a consistent level of quality
  • Rates are often lower than a full-service content marketing agency, but might be higher than a content writing service


  • Their volume may be limited because they’re one person
  • Rates will be higher than a freelancer

When you hire a solopreneur, you’re hiring a content partner. A content partner is someone who is intimately involved in and informs your entire content marketing strategy, while also executing on that strategy, honing the brand voice, and fine-tuning the strategy. This means they’re figuring out what the knowledge level of the audience is, learning which topics strike a chord, which arguments are the most persuasive and lead readers to convert, etc. These are insights that you gain over time by talking to a variety of stakeholders in the business — from sales to customer success to the actual customers.

If you’ve hired a top tier content agency, the editor or strategist assigned to the account will probably be the one getting those insights, and they’ll make sure to communicate that to the writer. But you have to pay top dollar for that. 

Freelance Sites like UpWork and Fiverr: Pros and Cons

The cheapest option by far for finding writers is to look on freelancer sites like UpWork and Fiverr. However, it’s a risky option. 


  • Cheap
  • Quick turnaround


  • Hard to verify that the person is who they say they are (scammers have used my name and image multiple times on UpWork to win gigs) 
  • Inconsistent and unpredictable quality
  • Seasoned professional writers do not use these sites 

You won’t find people like me (experienced professional writers) on freelance marketplaces like Upwork or Fiverr because the quality of work (and the pay) available is not high enough to meet my standards. 

You might get really lucky and find someone with a lot of talent who is still establishing themselves, but eventually, the best writers get off of platforms like that because they can (and should) make more money and have more control over the kind of work they do by striking out on their own. 

Your content is a huge part of your brand. It’s your personality, your voice. You can do real damage to your credibility by putting out crappy content. At best, you can waste a lot of money putting out content that will never improve your rankings on search engines and won’t convince a single person to purchase your product or inquire about your services. 

How to Vet Expert Writers

Finding and vetting content writers or content writing services is challenging. It’s critical to see examples of a writer’s work before you decide to work together, and to fairly evaluate their skills, you need to know that it’s their work alone, not the finished product that went through three or four editors/managers.

Option 1: Review Their Portfolio

Most writers will have a portfolio, but there’s always a solid chance that the pieces they include were heavily edited by the client before they got published. So you should consider the pieces in a writer’s portfolio to demonstrate the upper limit of someone’s skill as a copywriter — in other words, if the content in the portfolio isn’t great, you definitely shouldn’t expect their writing style to magically improve for you. Additionally, it will show you which other companies have trusted this writer to represent their brand in the past. 

Option 2: Do a Paid Test Project

A test project is usually a contrived project where you provide the writer some kind of content brief and attempt to simulate the conditions of a real project, but you don’t publish the finished piece. They should absolutely always be paid, because completing a test project is work. And no one should ask anyone to work for free. 

A test project lets you evaluate a writer’s skill and style when they’re writing about your business and can show you a taste of how well they can write things like product descriptions or short blog posts. It overcomes the problems with portfolio pieces because you know there’s no other editor involved. But test projects have some downsides as well, the biggest one being that good writers hate them and won’t bother to do them, so you’ll miss out on some of the best writing talent by requiring a test project. Plus, they can also be very time-consuming for you to set up and evaluate. 

Instead of setting up a contrived test project, I recommend finding other ways to limit your commitment to a writer until you’ve done a few real life one-off projects together (at their normal rate). Once you’re confident you’ve found a good writer, you can consider committing to a monthly retainer or a longer contract if they offer some kind of volume discount. 

Option 3: Read Their Blog

One of the most reliable places to find examples of a writer’s work is their personal blog. Not every writer has one, but if they do, it’s a gold mine. 

While it’s very common for content writers to ghostwrite for their clients, I’ve never met a content writer who could afford (or would tolerate the expense) of hiring a ghostwriter for their own blog. 

As a writer, my personal blog is my chance to show off my skills, to make an impression, to write freely in my own style, instead of conforming to the voice and style restrictions of my clients. And yes, it’s still grueling, as I mentioned above, so it’s often hard to make time for it (a classic cobblers’ kids have no shoes situation) but if the writer you’re vetting has a blog, consider it your most reliable source of intel about their skills. 

How to Set an Outsourced Content Writer Up for Success

Once you’ve found a qualified writer, your work isn’t done. You or someone on your team will still have to put in a decent amount of time to equip the writer with the info they need to produce the content and to provide feedback to help them hone in on your brand voice and align with your strategy and values. 

There are three essential things you need to provide for your writer to succeed: 

Content Marketing Strategy 

If you don’t have a content marketing strategy, you have no business hiring a content writer. You could hire a Nobel Prize Laureate for Content Writing and their content could still suck if it’s not grounded in a sound content strategy tailored to your business needs. But that’s a conversation for another day. 

Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)

Almost every piece of content you produce will need to have an SME. If you don’t have the in-house expertise about the topics you want to write about, you should not be producing content about those topics. 

Let me tell you a true story: A tech recruiting firm once reached out to me because they wanted to start an industry-leading blog that would appeal to the talent they recruited. They wanted to talk about issues that appeal to developers, like tech company culture and productivity stuff. Basically, hackernoon, but hosted on their own site. I said, “Great, who is the SME I’ll be interviewing to fill these articles with unique perspectives that represent your company and build the audience’s trust in your company?” They looked at me blankly, and said “That’s why we’re interested in hiring you!” 

I walked away immediately. I’m a subject matter expert in exactly three things: SEO strategy & content writing, how to properly dress for a run at any temperature, and how to objectively determine which cats are the cutest cats in the world (hint: do you own these cats? If so, they are the cutest). 

Your writer is almost never a subject matter expert. If a writer is such a deep content expert that they could produce the kind of industry-leading insights that actually drive conversations among your prospects, you’re not going to find that person trading their hours for dollars as a writer. They’ve probably already got a following of their own, or are trying to build it, with their eyes set on publishing deals, podcasts, you name it. 

An SME (or team of SMEs) could be your sales people, your customer success people, your founder, your technical engineers, or anybody else who deeply understands your customers’ needs, your product/service, and/or your industry. 

At the beginning of an engagement with a new content writer, your SMEs will need to be available approximately 30-45 minutes for each piece of content you want to produce on a new topic. So if you write 3 articles on unique topics per month, your SMEs need to be prepared to give up a minimum of 90 minutes of their time per month. If you keep working with the same writer for a long time (more than a year), it’s likely that they will start to become an SME and will need fewer interviews.  

If you don’t have an SME, and you just tell your writer to do their own research, you’ll end up with regurgitated lookalike content that matches exactly what everyone else on the web is saying. It won’t stand out, it won’t rank highly in search engines, and it won’t have an impact on your bottom line. 

Consistent and Timely Revisions

Even amazing writers still need to be edited. As you get to know and trust your writer throughout a long-term engagement, the amount of time you’ll need to devote to editing should decrease, but at the beginning, someone on your team has to be available to review the content and make sure it represents your voice, doesn’t have any factual errors, that none of the more complicated technical details were lost in translation, etc. 

I highly recommend that you limit yourself to 30 minutes per review and take a really light approach to line edits. A good relationship with a writer requires you to accept that their personal writing style will come out a little different from yours. As long as they’re following your style guide and making compelling, logical arguments and representing your brand well, you should expect each writer to have their own small stylistic quirks that may not sound exactly like you, but still get the job done.  

Outsource Your Content Creation to a Professional Writer

I’ve been a full-time professional content writer and strategist since 2016. 

I produce a variety of types of content to support my clients’ content marketing teams, including the following: 

My long-term clients say I have “a way of deep listening and finding the words to depict who we are” and that my work is “consistently high quality and helps us establish ourselves as thought leaders in our space.”

I’m available for one-off projects as well as monthly content creation retainers that come with only a 30-day commitment. If you’re interested in hiring a content partner who will be an asset to your brand, schedule a free consultation.