State of Content Ops & Outsourcing Report 2021 — How Businesses Scale Content

Jakub Zielinski

Nov 10, 20214 min read
State of Content Ops & Outsourcing Report 2021 — How Businesses Scale Content

Missed deadlines ARE NOT among the top challenges for outsourcing content writing. AI writing tools are not far behind writers from freelance gig sites. And website copy tends to be the second most popular type of content produced out there.

What you just read is only a fraction of the findings we are excited to share with you! After conducting over 20 video interviews with seasoned marketers from top-notch brands such as Userpilot, Piktochart, LiveChat, Netguru, GetResponse, Remote, Mailshake, Sales Hacker (and much more!), and analyzing the results of over 700 completed surveys, we are proud to present our State of Content Ops & Outsourcing report!

Dive into full report

The World of Content Outsourcing

Even though increasing business results with captivating content may seem like pure gold lying on the ground for you to pick up, the reality is much more complicated. 

To regularly create high-quality content, you need to have time, resources, and budget. While in some cases brands can entirely rely on their internal creative workforce, in others, businesses need to look at outsourcing content writing services. 

What does the content writing landscape look like? 

It turns out that the marketing world is divided nearly in half: 51% of our respondents admit that they don’t outsource content writing at all, whereas the other 49% confirm they do — either entirely (12%) or in a hybrid model (37%), which is a combination of internal and external content writing. 


Why Do They Outsource? And Why Not?

We wanted to find out the reasons behind both — “yes” and “no” — approaches. 

Let’s start with the non-outsourcing camp. According to our survey results, no opinion significantly outranks the others. The leading one, however, which scored 24% of answers, boils down to a statement that it’s more manageable to write the content in-house.

Not so far behind, with 22% of the respondents clapping for it, there is a viewpoint that it’s too difficult to explain the dynamics of a product or service to external writers.

The third most popular stance on this is about storytelling — 20% of marketing folks believe that only they can flex their creative muscles and tell a story around their niche, which wouldn’t be possible for freelance writers or other outsourced writing forces.


As Agata Krzysztofik, VP of Growth at Piktochart, said to us during an interview:

In 2020, we had an ambitious plan to create all of our content in-house. Why? Because internally, we know our product best. Good storytelling is also part of our DNA. Unfortunately, reality hit us. It's difficult to write that much content if you have a small marketing team. You cannot scale it, because everyone has other tasks. So, we decided to go back to outsourcing.

Agata Krzysztofik, VP of Growth at Piktochart

With this insight in mind, let’s jump to the other side of the fence and find out the most common reasoning for outsourcing content writing!

And it’s the scalability that stands out as the primary decision-making factor — as many as 51% of our respondents confirmed that they needed to scale up their content production.

Next, there are three musketeers with an equal 37% score:

  • Not having enough writers in the company
  • The cost of hiring content writers internally is pretty high
  • In-house content marketers are buried with other tasks unrelated to writing content

As Maximilian Hoppe, Customer Success Manager at Content Bird, explains:

I think there are many people out there who don’t outsource their content production, because they fear sharing responsibilities. But let’s face it, you can’t do everything yourself. You can’t be a video producer, a copywriter and a content strategist in one person.

Maximilian Hoppe, Customer Success Manager at Content Bird

Our qualitative research helped us to distinguish five primary content writing providers that brands put to action when it comes to outsourcing their content:

  • High-end freelance writers with long experience and established personal brands 
  • Freelance writers available on gig sites such as Fiverr or Upwork
  • Content writing services providers such as Semrush Content Marketplace or Verblio
  • Digital and content marketing agencies
  • AI writing tools

And according to our survey results, the first option is an indisputable winner! A result of 47% of responses confirm that marketers entrust their content writing to reputable freelancers with impressive portfolios.

A silver medal goes to digital and content marketing agencies. This option collected 27% of votes of content ops people. 

Content writing services providers (aka content marketplaces, aka one-stop content shops) are the third force in the content writing industry — 24% of the responses confirmed that this is where marketers go to get their content.

Next, there are freelancers from gig sites like Fiverr or Upwork, who turn out to be content writing option number four with a score of 17% of answers.

And those writers should be starting to look in their rearview mirrors, because AI writing tools are already on their tail with 12% of the responses.


Discover More Data and Insights for Content Ops and Outsourcing 

Want to know the decision-making factors behind choosing content writing providers? Dive into our State of Content Ops & Outsourcing report and find out much more:

  • Which industries tend to outsource and which don’t
  • What are the company, marketing team, and content team sizes on both sides of the coin
  • What are the most popular content formats produced in the wild
  • Who are the most common stakeholders that have to approve content
  • How many content pieces a month do companies admit to produce
  • How much money do they allocate on content outsourcing each month
  • What do content ops people usually include in their content briefs
  • What are the most favored writing-quality aspects
  • Does knowing writers and having direct communication with them matter to marketers
  • What are the most commonly used content performance metrics
  • Do marketers measure ROI when it comes to outsourcing content writing
  • What are the biggest challenges in working with external writers
  • What do content writing providers need to improve in the future
  • Will companies still outsource content writing in the future?

Loads of data and inspiring quotes from high-end marketers are waiting there for you! See you in the report!