It might seem strange that Content Marketing Institute's B2B Content Marketing: 2017 Benchmarks, Budgets and Trends – North America report found that 63% of B2B businesses surveyed consider themselves extremely or very committed to content marketing, yet only 22% find their approach to be extremely or very successful. In this way, creating content is like eating your vegetables. You know you need to do it, but it’s easier said than done.
However, content is a little different than a balanced diet, and you can easily hire someone to eat the veggies for you and get all the benefits for yourself. Think you're not a good candidate for content outsourcing? If any of the problems below apply to your brand, consider it a sign that you're ready to turn over blogging and other writing tasks to a content creation agency.
1. You're not publishing content writing on a regular schedule.
There are a lot of reasons companies fall behind on content. In fact, 57% of businesses surveyed by Content Marketing Institute reported that producing content consistently is their greatest challenge. Do any of these problems sound familiar?
- Your marketing person works hard and wears many hats. You've asked her to create a blog post every week, but she can't always find time.
- It's hard to come up with ideas on the fly. You sit down to write a post, but you're not sure what to say.
- You read a blog post saying you need to blog every day to see ROI. Just thinking about it is overwhelming, and so you get nothing done.
It's hard to find time for content creation, especially with limited internal resources. You can utilize a number of organizational strategies to simplify the process, such as creating an editorial calendar. However, even the most comprehensive editorial calendar won't add hours to your day for writing. And, if you don't have the time to blog or create sponsor content articles, there's a good chance you won't have time to maintain your editorial calendar either, let alone come up with ideas.
Hiring an outside content provider can eliminate the hassle of these tasks, from brainstorming content ideas to researching, writing and editing. When you partner with a copywriting agency, you're not just buying blog posts. Instead, what you're really getting is the fuel that drives inbound marketing. Look at it this way: Content powers your inbound strategy, so if you're neglecting it, you're seriously missing out. Entrusting a third party with your content frees your internal resources to do what they do best, and helps ensure you're not left wondering where your next blog post will come from – or where you'll find time to complete it.
2. You're not using a documented content and blog strategy.
Who determines what kinds of content you will create? Which types of content serve your audience's needs? How about the needs of your sales team? If you can't answer these questions, it's a good sign that you're working without a content strategy. According to Altimeter, 70% of companies operate without a consistent content strategy.
If you've ever tried blogging or creating other inbound marketing content, you know it requires a significant time investment. So why devote all that time to something that's not guided by an organizing principle? You can compare it to setting out on a family vacation. Do your research, determine what you want to see and plan accordingly, and you'll most likely have a great time. Get in the car, don't bother to fuel up and aimlessly drive until you find something you like – you can imagine how that trip will go.
Content created outside a comprehensive strategy yields extra work and frustration, but none of the lead-generating, conversion-driving benefits of strategic content creation. Unsure about what it means to strategize content? Here are just a few ideas:
- Determining which buyer persona each piece of content speaks to
- Assigning each blog post and other piece of content to a segment of the stages of the digital marketing funnel or buyer's journey
- Assessing the needs and preferences of your audience to select the right forms of content, from long-form articles to quick checklists
- Relating content to your marketing goals (if you're not sure how to define marketing goals, HubSpot's SMART goals framework is a good place to start)
When you outsource content creation, you effectively remove as much (or as little) of this work from your own to-do list as you'd like. If you already have ideas about strategy, your content partner can help you refine and organize them. If you're starting from scratch, a content provider can help you build a powerful strategy to serve your needs.
And don't think that just because you have a strategy, you aren't a good candidate for content outsourcing. A great team of writers can execute your strategy with minimal oversight, so you can rest easy knowing every post performs according to your standards.
3. You're not using SEO effectively in your marketing copy.
43% of web traffic is driven by search rankings. What does that mean for your business? No matter how good your blog posts are, it won't matter if no one finds them. You could be creating the most innovative, engaging and actionable content on the Web. Still, without ranking high on the SERP, you won't see significant benefits from your blog posts. That's why you absolutely can't afford to ignore SEO when creating your content.
Yet, while there's a lot of talk about SEO, it doesn't always translate to the benefits you want to see. Keyword research is daunting when you're unsure where to start, and that's just the beginning of your SEO checklist. If you're not including each of the elements below in your Web content, you need to brush up on SEO:
- A mix of broad-match and long-tail keywords
- Avoidance of duplicate copy
- Header tags
- Outbound links
- Layout, formatting and other features that improve readability
It's important to remember that a content firm is not an SEO company. Instead, content creation ensures that all of your SEO strategies are executed in relevant, high-quality content. At the end of the day, search engines are all about delivering what users want, which means that content quality will determine your SERP rank. Your content creator should be aware of this and use their expertise for everything from natural use of keywords to engaging titles and headers to formatting optimized for readability. And when your content is optimized for search engines, you'll begin to see the results you desire.
4. You don't edit or proofread your content writing.
To err may be human and to forgive divine, but readers don't feel forgiving when you publish content with errors. No matter how good a writer you are, you've introduced an error or two into your work. That could be something as small as a spelling mistake or an embarrassing error that turns missing punctuation into a meme that travels the Internet for weeks or months. Yet Orbit Media reports that just 15% of bloggers have a formal editorial process.
A lot can go wrong between the keyboard and the page, and if you're not giving your work a second glance, it's probably only a matter of time before you fall victim to typos and factual inaccuracies. The truth is that errors can hurt your reputation, confuse your readers and ultimately send them to a more carefully edited site.
Yet not all content creation firms include editing in their services. Some will ask you to pay an additional fee or leave it up to you to root out mistakes. But when you choose a firm that uses a documented editorial process, you can rest easy knowing your content has been reviewed for:
- Factual accuracy
- Grammatical correctness
- Ease of comprehension
- Adherence to your brand voice
- Standardization of numbers, spelling, punctuation and units of measurement
What Are Your Options To Outsource Content Creation?
Are you ready to outsource content creation? First, you must understand the available options. Many companies work with freelancers, who operate as independent contractors to complete writing tasks at low costs. There's also the option of a content creation agency, who may utilize freelancers themselves or employ an in-house team. Of course, you may decide the solution lies in simply hiring a team of in-house writers yourself. To learn more about these choices and what they can do for you, check out our recent post on hiring bloggers.
The Bottom Line: Great Content Won't Create (Or Optimize, Or Edit) Itself
No matter what kind of business you operate, there's little doubt that you'll need to master inbound marketing to see your company grow. And great content fuels the fire of inbound marketing, helping you stand out and get noticed by driving traffic to your site. These are just a few reasons businesses outsource content creation, and if you're noticing any of these symptoms, it's time to get serious about finding the content creation solution that will keep you ahead of the competition and in front of potential customers.
Need help deciding on the right content provider for your business? Check out our ebook for 6 must-ask questions when you're evaluating a content creator.
About Virtucom Group
Consistent business blogging yields results – more clicks, more subscribers and – ultimately – more conversions. Whether you’re writing an automotive blog, an accounting blog, a healthcare blog or a home renovation blog, blogging for business and content development are useful for any industry. Follow the content writers at the Virtucom Group blog as they share digital marketing tips and discuss website content writing services that can optimize your business blog.