Outsourcing Your Authenticity

Four Six Commerce is a legitimate small business. Always grinding and looking to keep the workflow going. We participate in a variety of forums, belong to e-commerce focused social media groups, get a fair amount of leads from the organic traffic that hits our website, and of course we get referrals courtesy of past and current clients. I never know where our next client or project will come from and would not change that for the world.

A couple years ago, as we were ramping up the business, I stumbled across a website called Outsource.com. It's a simple platform that connects small and mid-size business owners with freelancers that offer all manner of services. Those seeking help post ads - for free - detailing their needs. Freelancers and agencies - like us - spend a few bucks to respond to the ads and bid on the work. The Outsource.com platform delivers Four Six Commerce maybe one solid client lead a week. To find that lead we sift through dozens of eye-opening emails.

Why should you care? Why share this with you? Because these emails present the perfect opportunity to hammer home a lesson about the importance of authenticity.

The lion's share (about 90%) of the posts we see are asking for help with content writing. This reinforces what we have known for the past few years. Content creation is critically important!

The mix of businesses seeking content help is eye-opening, too. Dentist offices, inventors, investors, tax professionals, wholesalers, retailers, restaurants, personal trainers, and even garage door repairmen. Digitally-minded entrepreneurs from all industries have embraced the importance of creating value for customers by developing useful, original content.

Great, right? Not exactly. Let me explain.

These passionate business owners have decided that content creation is an important piece of their digital strategy but not important enough to do it themselves.

Hey, we get it. They're busy. We're all busy. Despite good intentions, these business owners head to a site like Outsource.com and hire a freelancer to do the job for a rock bottom price. And let's just say you get what you pay for.

It's bad. It's worse than you might imagine.

Your friendly, intelligent, compassionate neighborhood dentist just hired a college-age kid from India for $6/hour to write a series of blogs, social posts, and emails about the importance of oral hygiene. How qualified is that young man to give suggestions about the health of your teeth and gums? About as qualified as I am to launch a rocket. The result? Keyword-stuffed, uninteresting, overly-generic, often-plagiarized content that holds no real value to consumers. Does it fill up webpages? Sure. Does it drive search engine traffic? Doubtful and debatable. Does it hold anyone's attention? Absolutely not. Is it authentic? Hell no.

Here's the thing. Content creation IS huge. It is a really big deal! If your business is online, you need to know a thing or two about content marketing.

Content marketing isn't rocket science. Content marketing is about establishing to your customers, and to the search engines, that you are a legitimate authority on something. An authentic, genuine, real-deal expert! (That's what SEO is all about, but it's another topic for another day!)

When you decide that you're too busy to create your own content and decide to outsource it, you are doing your brand and your customers a tremendous disservice. You are delivering your loyal customers a big steaming pile of nothing. Don't do that. It will not take long for them to realize you're a fraud on the content front.

Do yourself, your brand, and your bottom line a favor. Be authentic. Do whatever it takes to make the time to create great content. Dazzle your customers. A little authenticity goes a long way!

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