External content creators, part one: expertise

After reading a SideHusl recommendation for suggested work for nomads (even though I’m not a nomad), I signed up with yet another external referral service, Skyword. My Skyword profile is here, by the way.

From https://johnbredehoft.skyword.com/

After getting everything set up, I explored the company more deeply, and ran across this article by Skyword CEO Andrew Wheeler entitled “The Truth About Trusting External Content Partners.” The article addresses the reluctance of companies to trust outsiders to create their content. Wheeler cataloged four concerns and addressed them one by one.

As I read Wheeler’s article, three thoughts came to mind.

  1. I have things to say myself about each of these four concerns.
  2. Hmm…four-post series. Because the four-post series last week wasn’t enough.
  3. And then I can add the series to my Skyword portfolio.

So, let’s dig in. I’ll summarize the concern that a company may have with using an external content creator, look at how Andrew Wheeler addressed the concern, and then add a few thoughts of my own.

The concern

The first concern Andrew Wheeler raised in his article was the following:

The content won’t be in-depth or expert enough for our audience

From the perspective of the company, they’ve spent years or decades acquiring the expertise in question. What happens if they bring someone off the street who can spell “AFIS,” but has no idea what it is?

What Andrew Wheeler said

Wheeler addressed this concern by noting that there are a lot of people out there who have the expertise that a company needs. This is but a small part of what Wheeler said; read the rest here.

The reason we believe in tapping into freelance creators for content, rather than agencies or insourcing, is that the talent pool is so large it’s guaranteed that people with the skills you’re looking for are out there. 

From https://www.skyword.com/contentstandard/the-truth-about-trusting-external-content-partners/

As part of the process of signing up with Skywords as a freelancer, you are asked to go into detail about your specific expertise: identifying the types of expertise that you possess, and where you acquired that expertise.

What I say

From the freelancing perspective, it is incumbent on the freelancer to identify the specific expertise they can provide.

I won’t link to the specific conversations, but I’ve seen social media posts from aspiring freelance writers saying, “Hey, I can write stuff.” When pressed for details, they often respond, “Oh, I can write anything.” No wonder companies get jittery about using freelancers.

If you’ve read any of my stuff, you know that I have identified some specific areas of expertise that I provide. You know, the biometric content marketing expert and biometric proposal writing expert stuff. Although I’m certainly willing to expand beyond these core markets (see my first goal for 2022), I realize that my best chances at writing are with companies in the biometric/identity space.

In fact, my issue is the inverse of the company issue. While companies are looking for freelancers with relevant expertise, I am looking for companies that can use my relevant expertise. There are obviously a number of biometric/identity companies out there, some of which have used Bredemarket, others of which have not used Bredemarket.

Why isn’t EVERY biometric/identity company using Bredemarket?

Well, the concern about expertise is only the first concern. There are three others that must be addressed:

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