Some points to ponder if you’re thinking of outsourcing your copywriting overseas

I recently received an email from a local networking group inviting me to meet some guests from the Philippines to see how I can expand my business by using offshore workers. As it’s just me in my business, the event probably wouldn’t have been be relevant, however this statement in the email somewhat riled me:

You have tried freelancers before and have found that you [sic] take up way more time and are unreliable.’

Apart from the statement being bad English, as a freelancer, I was totally insulted at the suggestion of me taking up time and being unreliable. Plus, given the event was focused on outsourcing services, the issues of time and reliability can also apply to hiring a service in the Philippines.

I’ve been to similar ‘expand your business by outsourcing overseas’ events and copywriting is usually on the list of what can be outsourced offshore. Now I’m sure the copywriters in the Philippines are well educated and speak good English, however is it really wise to send this essential business aspect to a person whose first language isn’t English? (Given the bad English in the sender’s email, I did wonder if they’d outsourced the copy overseas.)

Your website and other marketing materials, and your letters and other communications are the face of your business. Nothing irritates me more than seeing American spelling in Australian and British communications; if the company can’t get this basic right, what other standards has it allowed to fall?

I’ve mentioned this in a previous blog post – first impressions do count and bad English will reflect on your business. Your copy needs to be written in good English to ensure services are clearly presented and the right message is conveyed.

Furthermore, if you’re hiring someone local, you can meet them face to face, introduce them to your business and give them a ‘real feel’ for what your business is about. A local person will also understand the local market and the local culture so will know what works when targeting a local market. Plus they also may well have some other contacts that can help your business. Never underestimate the word of mouth factor too; I frequently recommend businesses I’ve worked with to friends and colleagues.

So while it may be cheaper to send your copywriting overseas, just remember that old adage, sometimes you get what you pay for.

However, let’s take it one step further; by outsourcing your copy to a professional in this country, you’re keeping someone here employed. They will not be a drain on the benefits system, and they will spend money with other local businesses. And this is before you look at what else that professional does financially to support local charities, clubs and other organisations.

While I can see the advantages of outsourcing some services overseas, I believe copywriting isn’t one of them. To the sender of this email, may I suggest you are a little more diligent with your database so you can avoid upsetting a contact by inviting them to an event which is potentially putting them out of a job?

If you haven’t got time to do it, perhaps you should consider outsourcing the cleansing of your database to the Philippines.

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