You can’t outsource content marketing.

This is a problem that has been plaguing me for months, if not years.

I’m a very good writer in a world where many people struggle with writing. I should be able to make crazy money ghost blogging and ghost tweeting and ghost facebooking.

Oh, damn you, scruples! Why can’t I convince myself that’s okay?

Because it isn’t.

Because you can’t outsource content marketing.

“People can smell a poser from a mile away”

That’s a line from Gary Vaynerchuk’s book, Crush It. So true.

Listen, I can spin a pretty yarn, but I am not you.  I’m not passionate about lug nuts or rocket boosters or pizza kits.  You are.  That’s why you do what you do.

Say you outsource your blog to me.  It’s my job to invent the topics, write the posts, and promote them. You approve them from afar.  That’s what you want, right?  Approval, with no effort.

Now imagine you’re one of 30 ghost blogging clients, all of whom are in completely different industries.

Here’s a clue: under those circumstances, I will never sound like you do when you talk about the thing you love. I don’t know your subject matter well enough. And I don’t care enough, because I’ve got 29 other posts to write today.

(You’re starting to see why I can’t condone this).

If your blog is written by someone who doesn’t care, who doesn’t know her stuff, who is punching a clock…no one will read it.

You might as well throw your money out the window.

The only way I can truly manage your blog with so little input from you is if I spend a lot of time with you.  A lot of time.

Which means you’d better get ready for a big fat salary and a sharp uptick in the coffee consumption in your office, because I don’t come cheap.

What if you’re not a writer?

Easy for me to say.  But what if you’re not a writer?

Hang with me here, because I’ve got an important distinction coming.

DON’T: outsource your blog or twitter stream to a writer (or, god help us, a “social media expert”)

DO: hire a writer to draft and edit your blog posts, or cull your content for tweets.

What’s the difference?  When you outsource your content, you’re handing the whole process over to someone else.  Topics, research, writing, execution: it all goes to a third party.

If somebody promises you that you won’t have to do a thing but approve it, run away.

The content for your blog, or your tweets, or your facebook page HAS to come from you.  That means you have to write articles, or at least write outlines. You have to find the intersection of what matters to you and what matters to your audience and spend some time there.

That’s the heavy lifting of content creation, and it’s your responsibility. Once that’s done, feel free to hire someone like me to make it sound good.

Creation vs. Distribution

Here’s another way to think about.

YOU: Content creation

ME: Content distribution

You are the creator, the source of the original thought that will appeal to your audience.  I’m the conduit for that thought.

I can take your ideas and whip them into shape. I can blast them out through any number of channels.

But they’re your ideas.  They have to be.

What do you think?  Tell me in the comments.