The pandemic in 2020 has forced brands to be more creative in presenting their products and services to their target audience online. Humanising their offerings to something that their audience can relate is a bait to engage and turn them to brand advocates.
Content is still KING!
Without a doubt, content marketing is one of the best ways to reach your audience in this new era. These include developing essential and different types of copy for your social media platforms, websites, blog pages, email newsletters, whitepapers, and more. To draw attention, it sometimes us to complement the copy with graphic designs, eye-catching images, illustrations and infographics. Today’s audience needs the content to be relatable and not sales pitchy. With the right content, you may just raise your brand awareness further and increase your audience fan base.
For many businesses, taking on content marketing for your products and services on your own can be difficult. Trust me, it is a massive and daunting task to keep up with producing content day in day out. It may easy to start doing it on your own initially. However, the moment your business gets the momentum running, producing content regularly and consistently may require you to look for marketing talents elsewhere or, in other words – outsource them.
According to a trend report, the top content types for B2B marketers used in 2019, leading up to 2020, were social media content and blog posts. With the pandemic, we foresee these trends to continue in 2021.
Do I really need to outsource?
While some medium and large organisations can afford a dedicated team of digital marketers, several opt to outsource a particular part of content marketing to agencies or freelancers – and that is perfectly fine. This way, it allows the core marketing team to carry out their roles more efficiently rather than multi-task many roles, possibly affecting the outcomes’ quality.
Coming from an agency as well as my experience working in a corporate communications division in the corporate organisation, I can tell you that different talents bring different types of ‘magic’ to the content marketing equation. If you expect for one content marketer to run multiple roles, I am not saying it is impossible, but it may affect outcomes and productivity.
More benefits for small business owners
For small business owners on a shoestring budget, outsourcing some of your content marketing efforts like social media management or blog writing is a more time-saving and cost-effective method than paying a fixed salary to permanent staff. Having an agency to help you with content marketing also gives you the flexibility to adjust your needs and requirements when needed. More importantly, outsourcing also allows you, the business owner, to focus on business strategy and other business-related activities.
An experienced outsourced content marketer can focus on developing spectacular content and not be distracted from completing other tasks. You might think writing a copy for a social media post or a 500 word is easy peasy. Hold that thought right there! Don’t forget the time needed to do research, write the content with the right keywords and SEO-driven copy, publish it, and then manage the responses and engagements. As business owners, you only have 24 hours a day, and you may fall short trying to meet all these content deadlines if you are too ambitious. Focus on what your strengths are and leave the content development to a professional.
Understanding the various roles
In case you are wondering if one individual can do content marketing, I would say it really depends on the intensity and volume of your content. However, one needs to understand what the responsibilities of a full-fledged marketing team are. The diagram below (source: Chris Lake) shows the various talents in a content marketing team. As you can see, different skills make up the powerful marketing team mix. Unfortunately, not everyone can afford such as a mega team. Some businesses may not even require them. So, it is time to do some reality check and what works best for your business.
Now that you know you need to outsource content marketing, here are some tips that you can consider in ensuring the quality of your content marketing outcomes.
- Identify your content needs.
Ask yourself which part of the content marketing mix scope you need to outsource. Assess which areas you or your team can handle and decide what to outsource. For example, if you need to produce regular social media posts and infographics or blog posts and email marketing newsletters weekly, outsourcing to an agency or a freelancer helps speed up content creation. These outsourced team can also bring in fresh perspectives and suggest angles and content ideas that can interest your readers.
- Identify the talents/skills you need.
Identify the talents of your extended team to produce your content. Basically, content marketers are expected to write either product-centric or service related posts, thought leadership posts, or an industry-related topic. While one can be an expert in one area, one may not be an expert in others, and if you need a suite of articles or posts to give you a variety of content, hiring a specialist that can cater to different contents can help you do just that.
- Share your branding guidelines, tone of voice, and messaging.
Your extended team is, after all, an outsourced team that is not privy to your companies branding guides. Walkthrough the brand guides with them and share the type of fonts to use for the various platforms, language option, i.e., British or American English, the tone of voice, target audience, purpose of the content, and samples of ideal content for them to have an idea of what is expected.
- Introduce them to your team, designers, subject matter experts, community managers, etc.
Introduce your team responsible for reviewing and approving the copy, their preferred approving process, and how the working arrangements will be. If your content writers are writing on a particular subject, give access to your company’s subject matter expert so that your writers can work directly with them for faster access and interactions. Always provide them with the assurance that they are part of the team, and they will be given full support to resources. If you fail to do this, it might affect the outcomes, and you can’t blame your content writers as mediocre. So, develop a strong partnership from the very beginning.
- Offer resources.
Most times, companies outsource their writing and design work to agencies. For your agency’s content marketers to do their job well, collate relevant resources that they might need. This includes the relevant information from brochures, subject matter experts i.e. their names, contact, and info or short bio of the person to interview or write about; experts, access to style guides, content sheets, etc. Think of what other resources they need so you can prep them in advance.
- Create an open communication channel.
Inform your content writers of the best way to reach you. Some organisations use email, google sheets, WhatsApp, or phone calls. Let your content creators know that you can easily be reached for them to ask questions and clarify.
- Set KPIs or targets.
All brands would expect a certain return of investments in their content marketing. Set these KPIs with your outsourced team. Some of these metrics can include the number of views, likes, shares, and even conversions resulting from that content. It can also be an increase in sales. Work with your content writers on the types of content that can help you raise your ROI and engagements.
The advantages of outsourcing content marketing to a freelancer or an agency outweighs the disadvantages. Hiring a social media content marketing or a blogger from an agency, for example, can help you save time, and as a team, we can help you achieve your business goals. What are your challenges in content marketing, and how can we help? Please drop us a note and share it with us. Who knows, we might be the talent you are looking for your business in 2021 and beyond.