How to Successfully Outsource Your Content Marketing to an Outside Agency
Even though digital marketing is ever-growing and ever-evolving, content marketing still plays an important role in this game.
Regardless of all the algorithm changes and improvements, Google has never stopped loving top-notch content. Even though the definition of that type of content tends to vary from case to case, the term fundamentally refers to producing and publishing material that both the engine and the users will see as informative and relevant for the keyword that it is being built around.
Everyone is investing in content today. According to a study conducted by the Content Marketing Institute, more than 90 percent of questioned marketers said that they rely on content marketing to build audiences for brands, nurture leads and position themselves as credible sources/authority figures within their niche or market.
While most marketers agree that content is the only thing that actually influences how the search engines and audiences feel about their brand, one thing is certain: not everyone is successful with their efforts in this domain.
Despite all the statistics that praise this practice, content marketing is still a pretty tough cookie to crack. Even though 94 percent of B2B marketers invest in content marketing, only 9 percent of them rate their company’s efforts as “very successful”.
There are numerous reasons why people fail in their content marketing efforts. Here are just a few common ones:
- Lack of strategy
- Poor planning
- Lack of depth
- No promotion
- Insufficient resources.
The last entry on the list is often the biggest problem for brands that operate in the B2B world.
The above-mentioned CMI’s study brought to light the fact that for 53 percent of companies, content was produced and managed by a single employee. That is the main reason why most businesses struggle to consistently produce and promote high-quality content. Regardless of how good or experienced your content manager may be, content marketing cannot be handled by a single employee.
Effective content that breaks through the noise and generates attention requires consistency in every stage of the process. Creating a high-quality blog post means nothing if you don’t do a good job of promoting it to the right people at the right time.
That’s where outsourcing enters the picture.
To Outsource or Not to Outsource?
For content marketing to work, you have to go all in. You need to put in the hours to create something attention-worthy. In addition to that, you need to secure a budget that is large enough to get the right writers and designers involved in making your content an adequate representation of your brand on the Web.
People want engaging stories, compelling metrics, case studies and research papers. And they want all of that wrapped in a visually appealing package. If you think content marketing is cheap, it’s time to think again.
For companies that struggle in this domain, outsourcing their content marketing can be a great way to improve their overall quality and performance, while staying on the budget. Once they allocate the biggest and most complicated part of the work to an agency that specializes in content development and promotion, companies (or their managers, marketing teams or in-house content writers) will have a chance to closely work with experts in this field and learn along the way.
Agencies help companies produce more specific, data-driven content that requires a lot of time and nurturing before it finally gets published. They can help build large, engaged audiences by producing expert-level material that speaks to the exact people that companies are targeting with their efforts in this department.
When it comes to outsourcing content, the hardest and most difficult part is the handover. For a lot of clients, letting go of the wheel can be quite difficult. Even though they need help, clients tend to hold on to their previous strategies and bring friction into the relationship. Of course, this kind of behaviour causes more harm than good. It brings unnecessary stress to the process and slows everything down. If you want to outsource your content to an agency, you as a client need to identify which parts of your strategy you want to keep doing in-house and which to outsource.
In order to help you effectively outsource your content marketing and collaborate with an agency that specializes in this line of work, we have created a guide that will surely provide you with everything you need to make the most out of this deal:
1. Locate Your Problem Areas and Decide to What Extent You Want to Outsource Your Content
Before you contact an agency and ask for help, it’s advisable to first figure out what is it that you need assistance with. Take a long and honest look at your current situation. Open up your Google Analytics and start looking at content performance. Once you finish with that, take a glimpse at your content team. Assess which skills your team already has, and where it might be struggling.
If you have a clear plan and strategy here, it’s easier to bring in an agency to help you meet your goals. If you don’t define what you need before you start outsourcing, you’ll either waste too much money hiring the wrong contractors or just time because you won’t have any real assignments for your new partners.
The goal here is to have a plan and a general sense of what you want to achieve with your content. Examine your current content marketing strategy, the skills you and your team already possess, and what you need in order to elevate the quality of your content to a whole new level.
There are many different areas of content creation and promotion you could outsource. You can outsource your social media posting, weekly blog content, guest posts, ideation, video creating, illustration, or maybe even the type of material that directly builds your authority online (ultimate guides, ebooks, etc).
2. Have Faith and Properly Brief Your New Partners
Outsourcing your content development to professional freelance writers makes a lot of sense. Apart from speeding up your content creation process and giving you a necessary boost in style and other writing elements, hiring people who aren’t really part of your company can bring a fresh perspective to your content.
However, even though this sounds great in theory, in reality, it’s not quite that simple. Companies often outsource their blogging to freelance writers, which in many cases doesn’t work because a lot of brands aren’t sure which writer to hire, what information the writer needs, or how to explain exactly what they want. In addition to that, they aren’t really sure if the writer will be able to provide in-depth insights or demonstrate expertise in the subject matter as adequately as the people who currently write for the company’s blog.
Before reaching out to freelance writers to produce content for you, it’s highly advisable to first learn how they operate. Professional content creators know how to do research and find information that will help them create compelling articles for their clients. However, even though this is true – their work is greatly dependent on the clients and their wishes.
Content writers are not mind readers. During my many years of working with clients and advertising agencies, I have often been surprised by the lack of a proper brief that would detail requirements and expectations. People either give you a keyword and say: “make it awesome”, or they just send you a messy bulk of text that doesn’t really mean anything.
This can leave both parties disappointed: clients may be frustrated that they did not get what they want (or expect) and the writer might feel like a hamster running in a plastic circle.
- What’s the goal of this specific article?
- How and where does it fit in the overall strategy?
- Why is it important?
- What makes it unique?
- How long should it be?
- What keywords should it contain?
- How many images?
- What tone and style are preferred?
- How many links should it include?
- Should it include a link to a specific page on the site?
These are just some of the questions that content writers need answering before starting to write an article. A good brief is everything to a content writer. It should be short and sweet. Informative and on point.
3. Build a Solid Workflow
The key to successfully outsourcing your content marketing to an agency lies in setting up and maintaining a solid workflow. There are dozens of tools out there that can help you successfully organize your content marketing process. Many of them are free, like Google Docs and Trello.
Google Docs is a great tool for organizing your content marketing process. It allows you to share documents with the entire team, so those who need to review or make changes can do it whenever they want to. Google Docs is also great for building lists, assigning tasks, and following up on the progress of certain key activities. It allows for a great and clean overview of every fragment of your strategy.
When it comes to developing specific pieces of content, you should have a dedicated process for that as well, so that every piece you create is a sure hit with your audience.
Create a list in Google Docs and share it with the agency. In one column of the list, write down the working titles for upcoming posts. Then, next to that, add a column for keywords, notes, and briefs. Once you finish doing that, have an agency representative take a look at your idea. When you both agree on the angle, the task gets assigned to the writer.
4. Set KPIs and Track Performance
If you’re thinking about outsourcing your content to an agency, you should come up with some KPIs that will help you keep track of their efforts and how well they’re promoting your business.
If you want to achieve success with content marketing, you need to plan your moves carefully, learn how to analyse your performance, what you need to do in order to improve the overall quality of your content and feed your audiences with what they actually need from you.
Getting someone to produce random articles that you think your targeted audiences will love won’t really get you far in this game. Your decisions need to be influenced by actual data. Organic traffic, unique visitors, site retention, location, exit rates, CTRs, backlinks – these are just some of the KPIs that will help you monitor your success in this department. The goal is to pick a set of metrics that mean the most for you and your business and work on improving them via your content marketing efforts.
If you want to keep a part of your content strategy in-house, you should then outsource only the elements that currently have low ROI.
Your content marketing strategy should be full of high ROI tasks that ensure you’re getting the most of your invested time and money. However, this isn’t a one and done deal. Content marketing is an ever-evolving and ever-growing process, so you should be prepared to constantly evaluate your efforts in this department and think of new ideas to engage your desired audiences.
Over to You
Thank you for taking the time to read this article from the beginning to the very end. I hope it helped you learn how to effectively outsource your content to an agency that specializes in that particular work. If you have any questions, feel free to write them down in the comments section below and I’ll get back to you with answers ASAP.