This blog was originally published on td.org in May 2018.
It’s time to roll out a new brand initiative! You’re very passionate about the change, and you work closely with one of your employees to create the optimal look and feel for your rebrand. After you’ve finalized your new logo, brand promise, and marketing materials, you ask yourself, “How will we bring our people on board?” Why, with training, of course!
The employee who partnered with you on the brand initiative, Belinda, is a marketing SME. She helped guide your vision to shape the new brand, and you can’t think of anyone better to develop the training. However, you’ve heard that when your competitor did a rebrand, they outsourced their training. They chose to work with a content development vendor. Isn’t that expensive? Why would they do that? You decide that they must not have any SMEs. They aren’t lucky enough to have a Belinda of their own.
Why Content Development?
Why would a company with a perfectly knowledgeable SME and a perfectly adequate L&D department contract a content development vendor for training? While it might not make sense at first, in many cases there are huge benefits in outsourcing your content development to someone else.
Using Belinda Costs More Than You Think
As counterintuitive as it would seem, using an internal employee to develop content can be as expensive as hiring a vendor. Think about it. What does your SME normally do for 40 hours a week? If you’re lucky, their job description is just to work on training, and they can focus on content development without cutting into the bottom line. In most cases, though, your SME is someone in a non-training role who happens to be particularly good at the things they do.
Guess what? Those things are not getting done while the SME is developing content for the training. As Copy Press notes about employees who plan to take on content development, “. . . who is performing their current job and who will do the job once they begin producing content full-time?” You might hope that your SME can do their normal job plus develop content. But if you want both jobs done well, then it’s probably not feasible. You’ll lose productivity every week, and with lost productivity comes lost dollars. Why not spend the money you’re losing on a content development expert instead?
Expert Is as Expert Does
Being a subject matter expert means being an expert only in the subject matter. It does not mean being an expert in writing and content development. In fact, research shows that a woefully large number of people think they can write at a professional level but are mistaken, according to Bloom Group: “There needs be a ‘minimal threshold of knowledge’ for a person to overestimate his or her abilities . . . When it comes to writing, of course, just about everybody reaches that ‘minimal threshold,’ and experts at professional services firms easily surpass it . . . This has caused many of them to develop an unrealistic confidence in their writing skills.”
Chances are you’re not an expert in writing or content development, and neither is the in-house person you’ve asked to develop your training content. You know who is an expert in writing and content development? That’s right, your friendly neighborhood content developer! If you want your training to look and sound professional, doesn’t it make sense to turn it over to professionals?
Delegation Is a Hallmark of a Successful Leader
It can be hard to hand over your training to somebody else. You probably feel better about keeping it in your grip and the grips of your colleagues. That makes it easier for you to closely oversee it.
But Harvard Business Review cautions leaders against personally spearheading anything that can be delegated. “How you involve others sets the ceiling of your leadership impact. The upper limit of what’s possible will increase only with each collaborator you empower to contribute their best work to your shared priorities. Likewise, your power decreases with every initiative you unnecessarily hold on to.”
Of course, you can’t delegate to just anyone. Delegation works well only when you delegate to people you trust—people who have a track record of being successful. Who could be better and more trustworthy than a proven content development vendor?
Get a Content Development Vendor Today
It doesn’t matter what your training is about or how awesome and reliable your internal Belinda is, there’s still a huge value in choosing to use an outside content development vendor. Using an outside content developer to get your training off the ground will set Belinda up for success by letting her do what she does best without the added logistics of creating training content. It will ensure your content is professional, and it will help you become a better leader by allowing you to delegate. So, the next time you’re in need of training, don’t hesitate to try an outside content development vendor!
Our team is ready to discuss your next training project. Reach out to us and let Belinda get back to her area of expertise.