If the marketing landscape was Wall Street, content is a blue-chip stock—and everyone is buying.
Some say that’s because “content marketing is the only marketing that’s left.” And that’s not based on a hunch: High-quality content can pay hefty dividends. The impact of one well-written, well-placed article can surpass paid search efforts, compound traffic over time, boost engagement, and ultimately, drive more sales. As a result, marketers who invest are seeing ROI hand over fist.
But the content landscape is competitive. It takes time, effort, and talent to crank out fresh, quality content to keep up. To stay in the game, marketing departments are finding a smarter and more affordable alternative: Remote content teams.
Here’s a look at how Upwork built a powerhouse content team of remote talent to grow a content strategy from the ground up—and how you can, too.
- Flexible Talent Can Help You Scale and Grow
- Let Your Content Strategy Guide Your Talent Strategy
- Structuring (And Supporting) A Hybrid Content Team
At Upwork, we practice what we preach. Many of our teams are hybrid, with a mix of on- and off-site talent that lets us tap into all the awesome experts out there, and scale up resources when we need them. It’s something our data, development, design, and content teams have down pat.
As a result, these teams can be “small but mighty” while allowing the company as a whole to innovate and try new things—like creating a content hub packed with resources to help educate and engage our growing community on their buyer’s journey with remote talent.
It’s a growth strategy other companies have won with—including FIXR, a website that used a network of Upwork content writers to create a library of blog articles that generated 500,000 monthly visitors from organic traffic.
And the beauty of doing it with flexible talent? Your strategy can always evolve—and your team can, too.
Our overarching goal is to create high-quality content that provides real value to business leaders and hiring managers. That caliber of content takes time and expertise to do well. For us, that meant finding trusted, talented writers with the business, technical, and sales acumen we need.
With that overall strategy to guide us, each quarter we ”taskify” our content needs into deliverables, then match those with our writers. This helps us determine what resources we need, how bandwidths will look, and any additional talent we’ll need.
In the beginning, our content comprised a library of skills-focused articles to help users match talent to their project needs. A digital strategist led a remote team of technical writers, a photo editor to source images, a UI designer, and a WordPress developer.
From there, our content expanded, and so did our team. We added more writers, including experienced programmers who could speak to more technical development content. Our original team of writers help to vet new contributors and review content, having cultivated a deep understanding of Upwork and its values over the years. This goes a long way toward helping us scale without sacrificing quality.
Visuals are key to great content, so we tapped remote design talent for custom illustrations, infographics, and animated videos. To target high-ranking keywords, we tapped an SEO expert to mine our analytics. When we started adding gated content to our conversion strategy, our PR team helped us tap publishing partners. We tapped a content operations admin to keep things buttoned-up and a dedicated WordPress/PHP developer to help fix any bugs. And along the way, we grew a network of internal subject matter experts (SMEs) and stakeholders who partner with us to lend their expertise.
And at any time, we have a legal consultant and a copyeditor on hand to ensure our content is accurate and polished. The social media team helps to promote our content to a larger audience, and lets us know when content has started a conversation.
Moral of the story: Expect your core strategy—and core team—to shift and grow over time. Keep an eye on how content performs, periodically reassess your audience personas, and use analytics to find new opportunities. Flexibility is the beauty of remote talent and will ensure your strategy’s long-term success.
This is all possible thanks to great communication and excellent collaboration. Our hybrid team is a well-oiled machine, thanks to a clear structure, thorough creative briefs, team meetings, and a few great tools.
Who Is Doing This Well?
For Upwork client and Director of Marketing at CompuVision, Cara Bedford, building a marketing department from scratch with freelancers not only helped save money, it multiplied productivity. “For us, I’m a one-person marketing department with a 12-person footprint around the world. We’re able to run brands and run marketing campaigns nationally because of Upwork. I’m now the managing editor—we went from zero to a full team.”
Team structure ensures everyone knows their lane and where to go up the chain for approvals or help. A strategist or project manager assigns article due dates and keeps an eye on quotas. A managing editor handles QA reviews from multiple contributors. And creative briefs provide a consistent way to convey what’s expected from deliverables.
Companies serious about making content marketing a part of their long-term strategies are finding top-quality flexible talent—and hybrid teams—to be the real key investment, and the most efficient way to unlock quality and scale.
Upwork is a freelancing website where businesses of all sizes can find talented independent professionals across multiple disciplines and categories. Ready to let freelance experts help you get more done? Start today!