5 Reasons Why Companies Should Outsource SOP Writing to a Writing Agency

15 Jun 2022


Successful companies, big and small, live by clear and consistent instructions. These instructions are the building blocks of Standard Operation Procedures (SOPs).

Companies use SOPs to guide virtually every facet of their operations. Therefore, SOPs must communicate precisely what staff members must do in order to achieve the company’s objectives.

The challenge, however, is communicating these instructions so that everyone can easily grasp them.

In this article, we will explore five reasons why companies should consider hiring a writing agency for these Standard Operating Procedures.

But, before we get started, let’s dive into what SOPs are and why companies need them.

What are SOPs?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines SOPs as “established or prescribed methods to be followed routinely for the performance of designated operations or in designated situations.” Thus, the purpose of SOPs is to take the guesswork out of regular tasks.

SOPs aim to facilitate work so that staff members can be as productive as possible while minimizing risks and mistakes.

As a result, it makes sense to craft SOPs clearly and concisely.

SOPs, after all, become the backbone of a successful organization.

In a manner of speaking, SOPs are the playbook companies use to guide them to victory.

Why are SOPs critical to company success?

Since SOPs are the backbone of any successful company’s game plan, their importance goes without saying. However, companies tend to overlook one crucial factor: SOPs must be easy to understand and implement.

How so?

For instance, employee handbooks contain SOPs. When employee handbooks are clear and concise, there is little room for error.

In contrast, using complex prose in SOP drafting may cause staff members to miss the point of what SOPs intend to communicate.

The challenge for companies is to produce SOP texts that are straightforward and clearly articulate what staff members need to do.

Nevertheless, communicating complex procedures in plain language can often become a considerable challenge. The challenge magnifies when SOPs cover an extensive area of knowledge, such as entire systems.

Moreover, highly detailed technical processes require careful attention to detail.

When companies set out to formulate their SOPs, relying on their Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) is a given. Nevertheless, while SMEs are the go-to referents for technical knowledge, they may need a helping hand in producing the text end-users will engage.

Thus, it is worth looking into how a writing agency can help companies produce their SOPs.


Five Reasons Why Companies Should Outsource SOP Writing to a Writing Agency

Hiring a writing agency can make the entire SOP formulation process straightforward when in doubt. Here are five key reasons why companies should hire a writing agency.

1. SMEs have the technical know-how but lack writing experience.

SMEs know their business. They are experts, after all. Nevertheless, SMEs may lack writing experience.

How so?

SMEs master their domain through years of training, study, and experience. While writing may be a part of their training, their focus is generally on technical documentation.

Consequently, technical documentation typically utilizes complex terminology which might not be easy to follow by non-experts.

Ultimately, an SME’s job is not necessarily to write documentation. Their job is predominantly focused on accomplishing specific organizational goals.

Thus, SMEs may lack the overall experience needed to produce documentation consistently.

2. Producing texts is not part of SMEs’ job.

Most technical job descriptions do not include producing content. However, most SMEs or staff members produce documentation regardless.

They do so because producing documentation is a part of the company’s processes. However, the issue arises when writing is not an explicit part of a staff member’s position.

Please note that staff members will go the extra mile to produce documentation. However, when producing texts is not a part of their job description, it becomes an additional task that may take away from a staff member’s core tasks.

As a result, staff members, including SMEs, may become overburdened. Overburdening may then lead to core tasks falling behind schedule.

It is, therefore, crucial to understand each staff member’s core tasks so they can focus solely on them.

3. Producing documentation is time-consuming.

Producing high-quality documentation is time-consuming. It is even more so when staff members must capture long and complex processes in black and white.

Consequently, companies may need to hire additional staff members to handle writing tasks. In doing so, producing documentation may take longer than anticipated.

Furthermore, producing top-notch documentation is not only about writing. Producing high-quality materials requires revision, editing, and proofreading.

These are all processes that require careful dedication and attention to detail.

Unless companies have a dedicated writing team, staff members may find it difficult to cope with their regular workload in addition to writing and editing tasks.

4. Having an in-house writing team is costly.

When companies opt to have dedicated, in-house writing teams, they soon find it becomes costly.

The cost involved in having a writing team goes beyond wages. A dedicated writing team may entail hiring them as part- or full-time employees. This approach means the company needs to pay benefits, insurance, or bonuses. Thus, the price tag on a writing team can get quite high.

If a company chooses to hire freelance writers, it may find itself dependent on a single person. If this writer, for any reason, chooses to leave the project, the company may need to scramble to find an alternative solution to complete the project.

In short, hiring a freelance writer may not be the best answer either.

5. The core business of companies is not writing.

Unless a company’s main purpose is producing documentation, writing does take away from its real core business.

For instance, a software company’s core business is producing software, not documentation.

Indeed, a software company must produce documentation to accompany its software releases. Nevertheless, this documentation is not their core business. Therefore, dedicating time and effort to producing documentation takes away from the company’s main objectives.

Companies need to devote their time and attention to boosting their core business in today’s competitive marketplace.

Otherwise, distractions may cause companies to lose ground with their competitors.

Consequently, outsourcing writing tasks is a great way to cut away from non-core functions. This approach allows companies to focus specifically on what they do best.

The Benefits of Hiring a Writing Agency

Companies have five key benefits when they work with a writing agency to produce their SOPs.

A writing agency is a team of experienced professionals.

Working with an individual writer is a good way to ensure high-quality documentation. However, there is one considerable drawback: Relying on a single writer may cause delays if the writer runs into any type of obstacles. If the writer leaves the project for any reason, the company will need to find someone else to pick up the slack quickly.

Delays essentially go away when hiring a writing agency.

A writing agency is a team of professionals that support one another and can pick up the slack when needed.

Additionally, a writing agency helps companies save time and effort because the agency has the experience and know-how to produce texts within a shorter timeframe.

In other words, the SMEs provide the materials and the writing agency puts pen to paper. This combination facilitates producing accurate, high-quality information in a much shorter turnaround time.

A writing agency is a multifaceted team.

Writing agencies often have a multifaceted team consisting of writers with diverse backgrounds. This combination of talent allows writing agencies to tackle any number of projects, regardless of topic, requirements, length, or specifics.

The secret lies in building a team of writers with a mix of experience and academic credentials.

Thus, company SMEs easily communicate with writers to produce the right documentation.

As a result, writers can easily communicate with SMEs to capture the essence of SOPs and translate the SOPs into language that everyone in the organization can grasp.

Please note that this is not about “simplifying” things. It is about articulating complex systems and procedures in a broadly appealing format.

Consequently, all stakeholders can find common ground, thereby facilitating communication across the board.

Furthermore, SMEs no longer need to go beyond their core functions. They can confidently focus on their tasks while the writing agency takes care of producing top-notch documentation.

A writing agency saves time and money.

In today’s business environment, time is money. Companies, therefore, seek to save on expenses without cutting corners. Unfortunately, some companies view hiring a writing company as an added expense.

In reality, hiring a writing agency saves time and money in the long run.

Consider this example:

What do most people do when a water pipe breaks?

Do they try to fix it themselves? Perhaps, if they have the time, knowledge, and tools.

Do they hire a full-time employee to fix the pipe? Most likely, not.

Most people call an expert, that is, a plumber, to fix the pipe. The plumber comes in, does the job, and leaves.

So, why do companies feel the need to ask their full-time employees to write, especially when it is not their area of expertise? Additionally, why do companies feel compelled to hire full-time employees to handle writing tasks?

Hiring a writing agency saves time and money by reducing the time needed to produce high-quality documentation.

Additionally, a writing agency’s fees reflect the project itself. There is no need to pay wages, benefits, insurance, and other associated expenses. A writing agency comes in, does its job, and sits back until the next project.

A writing agency allows companies to use their resources efficiently.

A writing agency helps companies cut down on time, money, and effort. Consequently, a writing agency allows its client companies to make more efficient use of their resources.

Consider this situation:

A company’s money invested in an in-house writing team could be better invested in bolstering its SME team, equipment, research, and operations. In the end, a writing agency can become part of the investment needed to take a project to fruition.

A writing agency allows companies to free up resources by eliminating the need to commit resources indefinitely, as would be the case with an in-house writing team.

Indeed, a writing agency helps businesses’ bottom lines financially and logistically.

A writing agency helps businesses focus on their core functions.

A writing agency’s core business is writing. So, it would make sense to delegate writing tasks to someone whose core business is writing.

By delegating writing tasks, companies can focus solely on their core business. This approach allows SMEs to devote more time and attention to what they do best.

Most important, hiring a writing company avoids overburdening staff members with tasks that may go beyond the regular scope of their functions.

Overall, a writing agency is the best way that companies can produce high-quality SOPs without needlessly overwhelming their staff.

One Last Thought

Professional writing agencies can help companies produce outstanding SOPs and first-rate documentation. However, the question might be, “How can companies find a reputable writing agency?”

Unfortunately, plenty of companies out there claim to be the best. So, here are three things to consider when looking for a professional writing agency.

  • First, professional writing agencies are transparent. They are willing to work with their clients to ensure the best possible results. Moreover, they do not shy away from revising and reviewing work until it meets the necessary standards.
  • Second, a reputable writing agency is clear about its limitations. Professional writing agencies recognize when a project does not fall within their area of expertise. In such cases, they will be upfront about it. Moreover, professional writing agencies will find a way to help even when they do not do any writing.
  • Lastly, a respectable writing agency is realistic. Good writing agencies are honest about timeframes and costs. They do not overpromise by offering low-cost solutions. Plus, great writing agencies never cut corners. Ultimately, going with the lowest cost may end up costing far more in terms of revisions, editing, and rewrites.

A great place to start is through word-of-mouth. References are key. So, companies looking for a great writing agency would do well to ask around and take their search from there.

Zach Richter 

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