Sep 21st 2015

Outsource Content the Smart Way: An Interview with Scripted’s Marketing Team


(left to right) Miles Gotcher, Nicole Karlis, Eric MacColl

They have a new office.

They have a dog.

They have not one, but two kegs in the kitchen (“But be careful with that one–it’s not beer. It’s really strong, cold coffee.”).

We met up with Scripted’s marketing team at their office in San Francisco to talk about smart ways to outsource content, how they test titles, and their Valentine’s campaign that (mostly) backfired by being way too creepy.

Why do you think companies are often hesitant to outsource their content?

Eric MacColl, Director of Marketing: Most companies think that outsourced writers can’t get their voice or tone right. Or that they won’t be able to understand the type of material or level of technicality it requires.

We turn down clients when they come to us and say, “Can you write a very technical piece about our company and why our services are a great fit for this market?” That’s not something you want to outsource.

What we suggest is, understand what type of content you can outsource and what you should keep inside. For things like evergreen content, blog posts on trends and general topics in your space—you can definitely outsource.

Nicole Karlis, Content Manager: Companies also think that you have to either outsource your content or have a full in-house team. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Once you have an understanding for what can be handled outside, outsourcing to a content writing service can be applicable to any company, of any industry, of any size.

Miles Gotcher, Lead Generation Manager: Since content marketing is evolving to have so many different facets and moving parts, outsourcing content can also be a way to avoid bogging down your internal marketing team with just writing. It frees them up to concentrate on other things like promotion, distribution, and curation.

Another benefit to using a content writing service is that you get access to so many writers and fresh perspectives. I know everyone wants to keep their company voice so we do a good job of making sure that companies give us detailed guidelines about what they’re going for. But the flip side is that you have access to a lot of different approaches and writing tones which keeps your content fresh and interesting.

How does Scripted ensure that there’s a choice of writers for every industry, technical or “boring”?

Eric: We’ll be upfront: We have yet to find a project that we don’t have enough writers for, topic-wise. What we’ve done over the years is, take a community of 80,000 writers and vetted that down to 7,000. We have hundreds of writers that are in highly technical verticals like healthcare management.

Is it just a box that the writers tick off when they first set up their profile?

Miles: They are peer-reviewed by other writers to show that they actually have some knowledge of that space. We also base it on their customer satisfaction. For example, if one of our writers writes a job for healthcare, and our customers love it, and the other writers also say, “Yeah, this person is a health care specialist,” that’s how they reach that “industry specialist” status.

As you know, content is very noisy and messy: Everyone is doing it and everyone is doing it in volume. For Scripted’s own content marketing initiative, how do you stand out from the crowd? What makes the difference?

Miles: What you have to do–and what we’ve been trying to do–is find your edge. What makes you stand out from the competition. Find out what makes your company unique and then play to your strengths. Try to write to that. Have an opinion. Take stances.

Nicole: Yeah, don’t be afraid to be opinionated and have your own voice, even if it’s not what everyone else in your industry is saying. That can really help you stand out.

Eric: From a strategic perspective, we’ve been having success on long-form content. If you look at all the recent SEO reports, everything that performs really, really well is long form. We invested a lot of time in creating a super long eBook instead of producing blog posts that are usually around 600 – 1,000 words.

Would you say that as a marketing team, the eBook was the most successful piece of content that you’ve pushed?

Eric: I think in terms of lead-gen, yes. In terms of virality, maybe not. We’ve had other infographics and blog posts that performed better in that regard.

We also do a lot of testing on LinkedIn. We publish original content pretty much every day and we’ll send it out to content marketers as targeting to test those types of titles. Within a week of it being live, we can tell which content is resonating and we’ll just turn off the rest.

This also helps us with our marketing automation. We’ll look back to what articles resonated best with our audience, and when we need to nurture our content, we know which blog posts to use.

What’s your shittiest piece of content? Something you’ve put in a lot of time and effort into with little to no return?

Eric: The love letter. It was a Valentine’s Day-themed campaign. We decided, for fun, we would have a love letter writing service. It would be a spin-off of that movie, Her.

Nicole: We imagined it going viral.

Miles: But instead, people were more creeped out.

Eric: Yeah. People were like, “Why would I ever outsource this? This is so scary that we live in a time where this is a reality.”

Miles: People all thought the movie Her was coming to life. What started out as a joke kind of spiraled out of control.

Nicole: But let me say–my roommate ordered one for her mom, and her mom loved it. It was a really, really well-written love letter.


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Miles: It’s too bad that more people didn’t really “get it”. But the ones that were purchased went well so I guess that’s where we’ll leave it.

Nicole: We’ve also had blog posts that were, you know, normal blog posts that will get over 300 shares on LinkedIn. Like, “The 7 Reasons Why Marketers Should Be Good Writers”. It’s one of our most popular blog posts.

Miles: Well… that’s an important topic.

Nicole: It is an important topic! But we weren’t anticipating a lot of social shares when we came up with the idea.

Miles: I guess that’s the lesson. You can never really tell if something’s going to catch on or not, no matter how much you think it will. Sometimes, with content, you get good surprises and not-so-good surprises.

Most companies think that outsourced writers can’t get their voice or tone right. Or that they won’t be able to understand the type of material or level of technicality it requires.

We turn down clients when they come to us and say, “Can you write a very technical piece about our company and why our services are a great fit for this market?” That’s not something you want to outsource.

What we suggest is, understand what type of content you can outsource and what you should keep inside. For things like evergreen content (eBook), blog posts on trends and general topics in your space—you can definitely outsource.

Scripted is an online marketplace for businesses to find and hire freelance writers for all their copywriting needs. From press releases to social media posts, the writing service offers a wide variety of content types in a number of industries. For more, visit scripted.com.