As its ROI has become more apparent and supporting systems and strategies have grown in accessibility, content has become one of the hottest topics in all of marketing. But as interest has grown, many companies are left wondering what the best way to create and execute a content strategy is.
One of the biggest decisions you have to make about content marketing is whether to carry it out on your own or outsource the responsibility to freelancers or agencies. The choice is not an easy one to make. However, there are a few considerations any organization can make to help them decide who is most capable of delivering content marketing ROI.
1. What does your content marketing need to look like?
As a young and quickly-evolving discipline, content marketing means a lot of things to a lot of people. And the exact recipe of content that’s best for your business will be different from any other organization’s.
One of the biggest goals of any interview you conduct when looking for content marketing staffing talent to insource or to outsource should be to determine what their definition of content marketing is. What do they think your brand should be doing? More specifically, how do they plan to help you drive results?
You should be looking for specific answers that address:
- how they will determine how much content is needed.
- how they will determine which type of content is needed.
- who will be creating the content.
- how they will encourage engagement and ensure growth over time.
You need to get as much detail as possible so that you are confident that they have the systems (manpower plus processes) in place to create content and regularly make it engaging. If they try to dance around the subject, move on to the next candidate or option.
While you shouldn’t expect specifics, all freelancers or agencies should be able to outline the main stages of their work for you, even if the specific details are not yet worked out. If someone is a good marketer, they’ll have already done some preparatory work before talking to you and should have an idea of how to approach content marketing for your business.
2. Who internally has the skills you need?
Content marketing can be incredibly effective. But if it was easy, everyone would be doing it already.
In order to be successful in content marketing, you need to have access to a wide variety of creative, analytical, digital and marketing talent. This expertise is how you make content exceptional enough to stand out; otherwise, you’ll get lost in the crowd.
If you really want to break it down, you could highlight roughly 12+ skills that a great content marketing team needs.
But to simplify it even further, content marketers at minimum need these skills:
- Domain expertise–comfort and competence with the subject at hand
- Networking skills–the ability to place and promote content effectively
It’s not very difficult to find someone with competence in one of these areas. But it’s pretty hard to find someone with two of these, and it’s even more difficult to find someone with all three. They do exist, but you need to find them, either on your own or with the assistance of a content marketing recruiter.
The fact of the matter is that you’re unlikely to have one of them on your team already. Consider yourself extremely lucky if you do. In a recent survey, 42% of companies said that they currently did not have the expertise to use content marketing effectively. And they’re not even just talking about one person having the necessary skills. These companies couldn’t find all the skills within their whole teams.
That’s how difficult it is to assemble a great content marketing team. If you’re fortunate enough to have that talent in house right now, then you at least have the option to handle your content marketing yourself. But if you don’t, you’ll be forced to either outsource or bring in that talent through content marketing staffing and recruitment.
3. How will success be gauged?
Just like everyone has a different definition of content marketing, everyone also has a different definition of success.
In order to have a good working relationship, especially with an external third party, you need to agree upon reasonable guidelines for success beforehand.
Before you agree to work with an insourced or external solution, determine which KPIs you both think are most critical to success. Make sure to go through why you care about each and what results for each metric you would consider desirable.
When you discuss your expectations, you should be able to see whether you have any major differences with the other party.
If they think your expectations are unreasonable, they can tell you why, and you can discuss the subject until you agree on reasonable expectations around their work.
If you can’t come to an agreement now with either an internal or third party solution, consider yourself lucky that you found out early that you aren’t compatible. It will save you a lot of stress and frustration in the future. Instead, consider trying the alternative option if you don’t seem to be on the same page with candidates from one party.
4. Where does content fit in with the rest of your marketing?
One of the reasons you might want to outsource content marketing is because you already have so many other things happening in a complex marketing machine. Sometimes you’re just not in a good position to be adding to that complexity with a content team.
As a business leader, your most important job is to make sure that everything fits together smoothly. There’s no point investing a lot of time and attention into content marketing if your current machinations are already taking up as much capacity as can be spared.
Before you even think about hiring anyone to help you or taking on content marketing staffing, get a good picture of how content marketing fits into your business.
Content can be useful to attract readers, but you’ll also need to convert that traffic into leads. You can then use content to nurture those leads into customers and use even more content to help keep them satisfied so that they’ll continue purchasing from you in the future.
When you hire a freelancer or an agency, most of them will focus on the top-of-the-funnel content, like blog content to attract traffic and leads. That may be fine for you.
However, if you want them to produce content to support other parts of your business, that’s something you’ll have to budget for and bring up. A freelancer may not be able to handle that extra work, but agencies usually can. And of course if you choose to insource the work, then you’ll have discretion over creative staffing and content production priorities as you see fit.
And while most content marketers can perform some basic SEO, you need to make sure that you also start generating organic search traffic with your content. So you need to consider how your content can be augmented by SEO staffing and other digital support.
Article source: Quick Sprout
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