How To Ensure Strict Quality Control In Outsourced Content

How To Ensure Strict Quality Control In Outsourced Content

Today businesses need content outsourcing – but it can often be a Herculean challenge to ensure that externally produced content aligns with their brand’s standards and values.

The solution lies in a meticulous, multi-layered approach to managing the quality of content obtained from outsourced talent.

While traditional methods provide a solid foundation, the evolving nature of digital content demands innovative strategies. To stay ahead, it’s imperative to blend tried-and-tested techniques with creative, out-of-the-box solutions.

This balanced approach not only safeguards quality but also injects a unique vibrancy into your outsourced content, setting it apart in a crowded digital landscape.

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Why is quality control so important in outsourced brand content?

Quality control in outsourced brand content is vital because it directly impacts a brand’s reputation, audience trust, and overall content effectiveness. When outsourcing content creation, businesses face the challenge of ensuring that the final product consistently meets their standards and reflects their brand voice accurately.

Without stringent quality control measures, the risk of misaligned messaging, factual inaccuracies, and sub-optimal content increases, potentially alienating the target audience and diluting brand integrity. Furthermore, high-quality content is essential for SEO rankings, as search engines prioritize content that is relevant, informative, and engaging.

Effective quality control ensures that outsourced content adheres to SEO best practices, enhancing online visibility and driving traffic. It also fosters a reliable and professional image, encouraging customer loyalty and repeat business.

In an era where content can significantly influence consumer behavior, investing in rigorous quality control processes for outsourced content is not just important—it’s imperative for sustaining competitive advantage and achieving long-term business success.

Proven and unusual ideas for quality control of outsourced content

Embracing both proven and unusual ideas for quality control of outsourced content is fundamental to ensuring that every piece resonates with your brand’s unique voice and meets the highest standards of excellence.

This approach is rooted in my “Unusual By Strategy” forte, a mandate that drives the pursuit of innovation alongside established methodologies. Incorporating conventional techniques, such as detailed style guides and rigorous editorial reviews, lays a solid foundation for quality.

However, it’s the integration of unconventional strategies—like leveraging AI for predictive content performance analysis, organizing creative workshops for freelancers to deeply understand the brand ethos, or using gamification to enhance writer engagement—that truly differentiates and elevates the content.

This blend not only ensures consistency and accuracy but also infuses creativity and freshness, essential for captivating and retaining an audience in the competitive digital landscape. By harmonizing these elements, outsourced content transcends the ordinary, embodying a brand’s distinctive essence and strategic vision.

8 steps to strictly control the quality of outsourced brand content

Leveraging my 40+ years’ experience as a Brand Content Strategist with a penchant for the unusual, I have outlined eight ideas that blend time-tested approaches with innovative twists to ensure strict quality control in outsourced content. These ideas are crafted to not only uphold the highest standards of content integrity and alignment with brand values but also to inject a unique flair that sets the content apart.

By integrating conventional quality control measures with creative, out-of-the-box strategies, these ideas are designed to elevate the effectiveness and impact of your brand’s content, ensuring it resonates deeply with your audience while standing out in the digital landscape.

How To Ensure Strict Quality Control In Outsourced Content (Infographic)

1. Determine detailed content guidelines

Establishing detailed content guidelines is a critical step for any brand looking to outsource their content creation while maintaining strict quality control. These guidelines act as a blueprint for creators, ensuring every piece of content not only aligns with the brand’s voice and objectives but also meets high-quality standards.

For example, a company specializing in eco-friendly products might include in its guidelines the importance of using a tone that conveys urgency about environmental issues, specific language around sustainability, and a directive to include current research on eco-friendly practices.

By doing so, the brand ensures that outsourced content consistently reflects its values and engages its target audience effectively. Moreover, these guidelines serve as a reference point for evaluating the content’s adherence to the brand’s standards, facilitating feedback, and revisions.

In content marketing, where the connection between brand perception and content quality cannot be overstated, such detailed guidelines are indispensable for achieving consistency, relevance, and impact across all published material.


  • Define brand voice and tone: Establish clear specifications on the brand’s voice (e.g., professional, conversational, authoritative) and tone (e.g., serious, humorous, inspirational) to ensure all content consistently reflects the brand’s personality and resonates with the target audience.
  • Outline content objectives: Specify the primary goals for each type of content (e.g., educate, entertain, convert) to guide writers on the intended impact of their work, whether it’s to increase brand awareness, drive sales, or engage the community.
  • Detail visual and formatting preferences: Provide guidelines on the use of visuals (e.g., images, videos) and formatting (e.g., headings, bullet points) to maintain a coherent look and feel that enhances readability and aligns with the brand’s aesthetic.
  • Specify language and cultural sensitivities: Highlight preferred language use, including phrases to avoid, and address cultural sensitivities to ensure content is inclusive, respectful, and tailored to the global or specific demographic segments of the audience.
  • List required legal and compliance checks: Identify any industry-specific legal requirements or compliance checks that content must adhere to, such as disclosures for sponsored content or guidelines for making claims about products or services, to avoid legal pitfalls and uphold brand integrity.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Dynamic Content Adaptation.” This unusual enhancement involves integrating adaptive guidelines that evolve based on content performance analytics and audience feedback. Rather than static rules, these guidelines are designed to be flexible, allowing for adjustments that cater to emerging trends, audience preferences, and content engagement metrics.

Applying this to the example of an eco-friendly products company, if analytics reveal that audiences engage more with content highlighting personal stories of sustainability, the guidelines could be dynamically adjusted to encourage writers to incorporate such narratives. This ensures that the content not only adheres to quality standards but also remains relevant and highly engaging over time, fostering a deeper connection with the target audience.

2. Select writers with industry expertise

Choosing writers with industry expertise is crucial for producing content that resonates deeply with your audience and upholds your brand’s credibility. Such writers bring a wealth of knowledge, ensuring that the content is not only accurate but also rich in insights that only come from years of experience within the field.

For instance, a financial services company looking to establish thought leadership might outsource content creation to a seasoned financial analyst.

This writer’s deep understanding of market trends, regulatory environments, and investment strategies can transform standard content into a compelling narrative that captures the intricacies of financial planning, offering readers value that goes beyond surface-level advice.

This strategic alignment between the writer’s expertise and the brand’s content goals ensures that each piece of content reinforces the brand’s authority, builds trust with the audience, and distinguishes the company from competitors by offering unparalleled depth and perspective in content marketing efforts.


  • Assess writer portfolios for relevance: Review potential writers’ portfolios to identify those with a proven track record of creating content within your industry, ensuring their experience aligns with your brand’s specific needs and audience expectations.
  • Conduct subject matter expertise interviews: Arrange interviews with writer candidates to gauge their understanding of your industry’s trends, challenges, and jargon, verifying their capability to produce content that resonates with your target market.
  • Verify industry credentials: Check for relevant qualifications, certifications, or ongoing education that demonstrate the writer’s commitment to staying informed about the latest developments in your field, enhancing the credibility and value of your content.
  • Evaluate previous client feedback: Look into feedback or testimonials from the writer’s previous clients, particularly those in your industry, to assess their satisfaction levels and the writer’s ability to meet industry-specific content requirements.
  • Test assignments for fit: Provide short, paid test assignments to finalists to directly evaluate their ability to craft content that meets your standards and appeals to your audience, ensuring a practical assessment of their expertise and style compatibility.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Expertise Immersion Sessions.” This unusual enhancement involves organizing immersive workshops or webinars for potential writers, led by industry experts within your company or field. These sessions aim to deepen the writers’ understanding of specific industry challenges, trends, and innovations, beyond what traditional research or experience might offer.

For the financial services company example, this could mean hosting a seminar on the latest in financial regulation or investment strategies, conducted by a leading financial analyst in the company. This approach not only enriches the writer’s industry knowledge but also aligns their content more closely with the brand’s current focus and objectives, ensuring that the outsourced content is both authoritative and cutting-edge.

3. Implement a rigorous editorial process

Implementing a rigorous editorial process is essential for ensuring that outsourced content not only aligns with brand standards but also excels in quality and effectiveness. This process involves multiple layers of review, from initial drafts to final edits, ensuring that each piece of content is scrutinized for clarity, accuracy, and engagement.

For example, a health and wellness brand might outsource an article on nutritional strategies for athletes. The editorial process would start with a subject matter expert reviewing the content for factual accuracy and relevance to the latest nutritional science.

Subsequent rounds of editing would focus on readability, tone consistency with the brand’s voice, and SEO optimization. This meticulous approach ensures that the final piece is not only informative and scientifically sound but also resonates with the brand’s audience and meets search engine criteria for visibility.

By adopting such a comprehensive editorial strategy, brands can significantly enhance the quality and impact of their outsourced content, making it a powerful tool in their content marketing arsenal.


  • Establish a multi-stage review process: Develop a structured process where content undergoes several rounds of edits, including an initial review for alignment with content guidelines, a secondary review for language and clarity, and a final check for brand voice consistency.
  • Assign dedicated editors for different phases: Appoint specific editors for each phase of the review process, with one focusing on factual accuracy and adherence to guidelines, another on grammatical and stylistic aspects, and a third on ensuring the content matches the brand’s tone and voice.
  • Create a checklist for each review stage: For each stage of the editorial process, generate detailed checklists covering key elements to be assessed, such as factual accuracy, SEO elements, readability, and engagement factors, ensuring nothing is overlooked.
  • Implement peer reviews among writers: Encourage a system where writers review each other’s work before it reaches the formal editorial stage, fostering a collaborative environment and catching potential issues from a fresh perspective.
  • Schedule regular editorial training: Organize ongoing training sessions for editors and writers to keep them updated on the latest content standards, editing tools, and best practices, ensuring the editorial process remains rigorous and up-to-date.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Dynamic Editorial Gamification.” This unusual enhancement integrates game mechanics into the editorial process to boost engagement and productivity among editors and writers. By introducing elements like points, badges, and leaderboards for various editorial tasks – such as catching inaccuracies, enhancing readability, and ensuring SEO optimization – this approach turns the rigorous review process into a more engaging and competitive activity.

Applying this to the health and wellness article, editors could earn points for each improvement made, encouraging them to thoroughly scrutinize and enhance the content. Such gamification not only makes the editorial process more enjoyable but also drives a higher level of detail and creativity, leading to content that is meticulously crafted and aligned with the brand’s standards.

4. Utilize plagiarism detection software

Utilizing plagiarism detection software is an indispensable step in maintaining the integrity and originality of outsourced content, ensuring that all materials published under a brand’s name are unique and free from copyright infringement.

A plagiarism detection tool systematically scans content against a vast database of published works, highlighting any duplicate content that could potentially harm a brand’s reputation and SEO rankings.

Consider a tech company that outsources articles on emerging technologies. By running each article through plagiarism detection software, the company can verify the originality of the content, safeguarding against the publication of material that could be seen as derivative or, worse, plagiaristic.

This not only protects the brand legally but also reinforces its commitment to providing valuable, authentic information to its audience. In the realm of content marketing, where trust and credibility are paramount, the use of plagiarism detection software becomes a critical element in ensuring that outsourced content meets the highest standards of quality and originality.


  • Choose reputable plagiarism detection tools: Research and select plagiarism detection software known for its comprehensive database and accuracy, ensuring it can effectively identify potential plagiarism from a wide range of online sources.
  • Integrate software into content workflow: Embed the use of plagiarism detection software as a non-negotiable step in your content creation workflow, making it mandatory for all pieces to be checked before they proceed to the next stage of review.
  • Educate writers and editors on tool use: Provide training for your writers and editors on how to use the plagiarism detection software effectively, including interpreting its reports and understanding the threshold for acceptable similarity scores.
  • Review and act on plagiarism reports: Establish a protocol for reviewing plagiarism reports, identifying what constitutes a red flag, and taking appropriate action, whether it’s revising the content, discussing concerns with the writer, or rejecting the work altogether.
  • Document and analyze plagiarism incidents: Keep records of any incidents of plagiarism detected, analyze them for patterns or recurrent issues, and use this analysis to inform future content strategy decisions and writer selections.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Creative Integrity Workshops.” This unusual enhancement involves organizing workshops for writers that blend education on copyright laws and ethics with creative exercises designed to inspire originality. Beyond just scanning content with plagiarism detection software, these sessions encourage writers to delve deeper into their creative processes, fostering an environment where originality thrives.

In the context of the tech company outsourcing articles on emerging technologies, such workshops could include case studies on copyright infringement and brainstorming sessions that challenge writers to approach topics from unique angles. This proactive strategy not only minimizes the risk of plagiarism but also elevates the quality of content by embedding a culture of innovation and ethical content creation from the outset.

5. Incorporate best practices for SEO

Incorporating best practices for SEO is crucial for ensuring that outsourced content not only reaches its intended audience but also supports a brand’s broader digital marketing objectives. This involves a meticulous approach to keyword research, ensuring that content is optimized for relevant terms without compromising readability or value.

For example, a boutique travel agency focusing on eco-friendly vacations might optimize its content for keywords such as “sustainable travel destinations” or “eco-friendly travel tips,” carefully weaving these terms into articles, blog posts, and guides.

This strategy not only improves the visibility of the agency’s content in search engine results but also attracts a targeted audience interested in sustainable travel.

By prioritizing SEO best practices, such as optimizing title tags, meta descriptions, and utilizing internal linking strategies, the agency ensures that its content is discoverable, engaging, and effectively drives traffic to its website, thereby enhancing its online presence and authority in the niche market of eco-friendly travel.


  • Conduct comprehensive keyword research: Perform in-depth keyword research to identify terms and phrases your target audience uses when searching for information related to your content, ensuring these keywords are naturally integrated throughout the text.
  • Optimize content for featured snippets: Structure content to answer specific questions directly and succinctly, increasing the likelihood of appearing in featured snippets at the top of search engine results pages, thereby boosting visibility and click-through rates.
  • Ensure mobile-friendliness: Verify that all outsourced content is fully optimized for mobile devices, acknowledging the significant portion of users accessing content via smartphones and tablets, thus adhering to mobile-first indexing practices by search engines.
  • Implement structured data markup: Apply schema markup to help search engines understand the context of your content, facilitating richer search results with enhanced visibility and potentially higher click-through rates from search engine results pages.
  • Optimize images and multimedia: Ensure all images and multimedia elements in content are optimized with descriptive file names and alt tags that include relevant keywords, improving page load times and contributing to overall SEO performance.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Semantic Richness Boosting.” This unusual enhancement involves delving beyond basic keyword integration to focus on semantic SEO, which leverages the context and relationship between words to improve search engine rankings. By analyzing top-performing content within your niche for semantic structures and themes, you can identify deeper, related concepts and questions that audiences are engaging with.

Applying this to the boutique travel agency specializing in eco-friendly vacations, instead of solely optimizing for direct keywords like “eco-friendly travel tips,” content could also encompass related topics such as “sustainable travel practices,” “impact of tourism on local ecosystems,” or “how to choose a green hotel,” thus enriching the content’s semantic web and boosting its visibility and authority in search engine results. This approach not only aligns with SEO best practices but also caters to the evolving algorithms of search engines, ensuring content is both discoverable and deeply engaging.

6. Schedule frequent content reviews

Scheduling frequent content reviews is a critical practice for maintaining the relevance and accuracy of your outsourced content, ensuring it continues to meet your brand’s standards and audience’s expectations over time.

This practice involves periodically revisiting existing content to assess its performance, update outdated information, and optimize based on new SEO insights or audience feedback. For instance, a digital marketing agency might review its blog posts on social media trends every quarter.

Given the fast-paced nature of digital marketing, what was relevant six months ago might now be outdated. By regularly reviewing and updating these posts, the agency not only keeps its content current but also reinforces its position as a thought leader in the industry.

This ongoing commitment to content quality and relevance not only enhances user engagement but also supports improved search engine rankings, as fresh, up-to-date content is favored by algorithms, making frequent content reviews an indispensable part of a comprehensive content marketing strategy.


  • Set a regular review schedule: Establish a consistent timetable for reviewing content, such as quarterly or bi-annually, to ensure all materials remain accurate, relevant, and aligned with the latest industry trends and SEO practices.
  • Assign review responsibilities: Designate specific team members or external consultants to be responsible for conducting content reviews, ensuring that there is clear accountability and that reviews are performed thoroughly.
  • Create an evaluation framework: Develop a standardized framework for evaluating content during reviews, including criteria for relevance, accuracy, engagement metrics, and alignment with current SEO standards, to guide the review process.
  • Update for relevance and accuracy: Make necessary updates to content based on the review findings, which could include revising statistics, refreshing outdated references, or adjusting content to reflect new industry developments.
  • Document changes and insights: Keep detailed records of all changes made during content reviews, along with any insights gained about content performance and audience engagement, to inform future content strategy decisions.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Iterative Enhancement Reviews” for outsourced content. This unusual twist involves a dynamic feedback loop where outsourced content is not only reviewed for quality and relevance at scheduled intervals but is also subjected to iterative enhancements based on emerging trends, user feedback, and performance analytics. For the digital marketing agency example, after initially publishing a blog post on social media trends, subsequent reviews could involve consulting with social media experts outside the agency to introduce fresh perspectives or novel insights.

This process might lead to adding new sections, revising existing content, or even integrating multimedia elements to enhance engagement. Such an approach ensures that outsourced content remains cutting-edge, highly relevant, and continuously improved upon, reflecting a commitment to excellence and innovation in content strategy. This proactive strategy enriches the quality control process, ensuring outsourced content consistently delivers value and aligns with the brand’s evolving content marketing goals.

7. Give feedback for steady improvement

Giving feedback for steady improvement is pivotal in the cycle of outsourcing content creation, ensuring that each piece not only meets the current standards but also evolves to surpass them over time. This process entails providing detailed, constructive feedback to writers and content creators, highlighting both strengths and areas for enhancement.

For instance, a lifestyle brand outsourcing articles about sustainable living might receive a piece that excellently aligns with their brand voice but lacks the depth of research expected.

By offering specific feedback—praising the tone alignment while requesting more comprehensive data and real-life examples—the brand facilitates the writer’s understanding and ability to deliver more targeted content in future assignments.

This approach not only refines the quality of content over time but also fosters a collaborative relationship between the brand and its contributors, ensuring that outsourced content continually improves and remains dynamically aligned with the brand’s evolving content marketing strategy and audience expectations.


  • Formalize feedback mechanisms: Establish clear, structured channels for delivering feedback, ensuring that it is both timely and specific to each piece of content, allowing writers to understand and apply guidance effectively.
  • Highlight specific examples: Use direct examples from the content to illustrate points of feedback, providing clarity by showing rather than just telling what needs improvement or what has been done well.
  • Balance positive and constructive feedback: Ensure feedback includes recognition of what was done well in addition to areas for improvement, fostering a positive relationship and motivating writers to continue refining their work.
  • Set actionable improvement goals: Outline clear, achievable goals for writers based on feedback, such as increasing the depth of research or enhancing narrative flow, to guide their development and improvement over time.
  • Schedule feedback follow-ups: Implement follow-up discussions or reviews to assess how well feedback has been incorporated into subsequent content pieces, reinforcing the importance of continuous improvement and providing additional support where needed.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Feedback Visualization.” This unusual enhancement transforms traditional textual feedback into a visual format, employing charts, graphs, and infographics to depict strengths, areas for improvement, and progress over time. For the lifestyle brand focused on sustainable living, instead of simply writing out feedback on the depth of research required, the brand could use a graph to show how the depth of content correlates with reader engagement and article performance.

This approach not only makes feedback more engaging and understandable but also provides a clear, visual representation of how specific improvements can lead to better outcomes. By visualizing feedback, writers get a more intuitive grasp of their progress and areas needing attention, encouraging a deeper, more analytical approach to content enhancement.

8. Conduct periodic performance audits

Conducting periodic performance audits is a crucial strategy for ensuring the effectiveness of outsourced content, enabling brands to assess how well content aligns with goals and identify areas for strategic enhancement.

This involves analyzing content against key performance indicators (KPIs) such as traffic, engagement, conversion rates, and SEO rankings. For example, an e-commerce company specializing in fitness gear could perform quarterly audits to evaluate the impact of its outsourced blog content on product sales and website visits.

By examining metrics such as page views, time spent on page, and the bounce rate of articles related to fitness tips and gear recommendations, the company can pinpoint which content types are driving the desired customer actions and adjust their content strategy accordingly.

This data-driven approach ensures that content not only adheres to quality standards but also contributes to achieving the company’s business objectives, making periodic performance audits an indispensable part of a comprehensive content marketing plan.


  • Define clear KPIs for content: Identify and establish specific key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to your content goals, such as traffic, engagement rates, conversion rates, and SEO performance, to measure the success of your outsourced content accurately.
  • Set regular audit intervals: Decide on a consistent schedule for conducting your performance audits, whether monthly, quarterly, or bi-annually, to ensure a regular assessment of content performance and alignment with strategic objectives.
  • Utilize analytics tools: Leverage advanced analytics tools to gather data on content performance, using these insights to inform the audit process and provide a comprehensive overview of how content is contributing to business goals.
  • Analyze content engagement: Dive deep into engagement metrics for each piece of content, examining factors like page views, time on page, social shares, and comments, to understand audience interaction and content’s impact.
  • Review and adjust content strategy: Use the findings from your performance audits to make informed decisions about content strategy adjustments, identifying successful content types and topics for future planning while pinpointing areas needing improvement.
Unusual Idea


Consider the idea of “Predictive Content Analytics.” This unusual enhancement involves leveraging machine learning and AI to not only analyze past performance but to also predict future content success. By feeding historical performance data of outsourced content into predictive models, brands can forecast which topics, formats, and writing styles are likely to resonate with their audience and achieve specific business objectives.

For the e-commerce company specializing in fitness gear, utilizing predictive content analytics could mean identifying upcoming fitness trends that are likely to engage customers or pinpointing the optimal posting schedule for maximum visibility and engagement. This forward-looking approach allows for strategic content planning that is both data-driven and anticipatory, ensuring that outsourced content is not only aligned with current standards but is also poised to capitalize on future opportunities, keeping the brand ahead of the curve in content marketing.

In summary

  1. Strategic integration of unconventional methods: The fusion of traditional quality control measures with innovative strategies, such as dynamic content adaptation and predictive content analytics, significantly enhances the effectiveness and relevance of outsourced content, ensuring it remains aligned with the brand’s evolving needs and audience expectations.

  2. Continuous improvement through feedback: Implementing structured, constructive feedback mechanisms, including unusual enhancements like Feedback Visualization, plays a pivotal role in elevating the quality of outsourced content. This approach not only ensures adherence to brand standards but also fosters a culture of continuous learning and improvement among content creators.

  3. Data-driven decision making: Periodic performance audits, bolstered by advanced analytics and predictive modeling, empower brands to make informed, strategic decisions regarding their content strategy. This data-driven approach allows for the identification of successful content trends and the agile adaptation of content plans to meet future challenges and opportunities.

Take your brand's content marketing from run-of-the-mill to remarkable

Shobha Ponnappa

"As a Content/Brand Specialist, and SEO/UX Writer, I can help transform your brand's online presence. I can lift it with innovative ideas to take it to an enviable position. Let's collaborate to create a captivating brand story, engage your audience, boost your online visibility, and increase your ROI. Take the next step towards your brand content success and contact me today."

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