If you own a small or medium business, you may have a marketing team, but it’s likely they’re not specialized in blog writing and content marketing promotion. This leaves you with an important choice: Do you hire and train someone in-house or do you find an outside company to outsource your blog content to?
There is no one right answer to that question – every company has different needs – but there are ways to determine which option is best for you. Here are the questions we use to help companies find the right solution for them.
The first step is knowing exactly what you are looking for so you can articulate that to a new hire or marketing company. A content marketing strategy can be as simple or as complex as you make it, but the components you choose, like blogs, social media, email marketing and PPC ads, determine how much expertise you should look for.
If you’re looking for all of those components, it’s highly unlikely one person will be able to handle them all. A complex strategy typically means you will need an outside team for the job.
So many companies decide they want to start blogging and choose someone on their existing team to be in charge. That person may or may not have experience in content marketing, but they are suddenly charged with that responsibility. This creates a learning curve for the entire company, and it can result in costly mistakes not only in time and money, but to the company’s brand.
If a company has no experience in content marketing, we recommend they at least bring in an outside consultant to help form the content marketing strategy. Then, an in-house team member can focus on heading up that strategy.
Having a consistent brand across every channel is a must. Your content will be produced in a number of formats, from written to video to pictures, and everything needs to be branded properly to make your organization look professional.
This is a job in and of itself that accompanies the content marketing responsibility. It’s also important to have brand standards for your content and media such as colors, fonts, line spacing, and logo use before you start.
Everybody wants to be found in the search engines and SEO still plays a critical part in content marketing. The head of your project should know at least keyword optimization and basic SEO to optimize every piece of content published on your site. One advantage of hiring a content marketing company is they often have a specialist on their team who is in charge of SEO.
Just because you have published a blog post doesn’t mean you’re finished with it. Repurposing your content is critical for prolonging its life and reaching more customers. This means you can get more mileage out of existing blog posts by turning it into new content. Everything from social media posts to text quote images can complement and expand on your original content.
Repurposing requires different viewpoints on a team or agency to make the best use of every content piece. If you’re not doing this, you’re wasting your team’s time.
One of the most important questions to ask yourself is, “Does the blog’s voice and tone accurately reflect our company?” This is often a disadvantage of hiring agencies to ghost write for your business. It’s also the reason we created our unique interview process so we capture your exact voice and inject it into every piece of content.
If you choose to outsource your content, your main concern should be how much emphasis the agency puts on the quality and voice of your content. If they don’t care about anything but pumping out keyword-stuffed content, that’s a huge a red flag. If you decide to create content in house, make sure your team has branding and voice guidelines outlined from the beginning.
The life of every piece of content depends on your efforts after you hit the publish button. But promoting your content doesn’t just mean sharing it on social media once you’re finished.
Your team or agency should have a strategy for content promotion for every piece of content, and should promote it in creative ways to continue getting the most mileage out of it. Promotion alone can take several hours a month, and this should be factored in when deciding to hire an in-house team or an outside content company.
Starting a blog is easy, and publishing regularly for the first few months is very attainable. But what happens when you run out of fresh ideas? The internet is full of blog graveyards – once lively, consistent blogs that are now dead to the world (and Google).
So many things get in the way of publishing consistently, whether twice a month or three times a week. This is a big disadvantage of an in-house team that often has other responsibilities. If you hire an outside content company, their main job should include keeping you consistent and publishing is less likely to be put on the back burner.
Either way, your team or agency should have proven ways to generate content long after you’ve run out of ideas yourself. They should have a system that combines customer needs, keywords, current trends, FAQ, etc. and produces a never ending list of great blog content.
Finally, does the person or team you’re considering have specialized skills for every part of the content process? If not, the process will often take two to three times longer and include a steep learning curve.
You should also take into account the outside perspective an agency will bring. It’s easy to develop a blindness from being too close to your own content. An outside company should provide a critical perspective, on behalf of your target audience, to objectively judge the effectiveness of your content. They should also have the skills to measure the ROI for each piece of content.
Now that you have the questions to ask, it’s time to get started answering them with your team! And if you have questions for us, you can always drop us a line here.
Joel Widmer is the Founder & CEO of Fluxe Digital Marketing—a content marketing shop that helps smart businesses create, produce and promote their content through a unique one-on-one interview process. When he’s not working, Joel can be found trying new restaurants with his wife and son.