There is no longer any question as to whether or not you should engage in content marketing as part of your marketing strategy, but rather, how you should build and execute a successful content marketing plan. In 2012, 44% of companies elected to outsource their content-marketing programs. These are the typical reasons—good reasons—why companies would outsource their content-marketing programs:
- They lack the in-house team and know-how to build a content marketing strategy and plan.
- It is more fiscally sound to outsource because marketing firms are easily hired and fired.
- They have had success in utilizing outside firms or agencies to execute marketing needs.
- The near certainty that ROI will be better rendered and measured with ’experts‘ running the program.
- Outside firms can see past the barriers and bring to the company a new level of objectivity as well as creativity.
While all of these reasons are logical, that does not mean that outsourcing your content-marketing needs is the ‘easy way’. It still requires work, input and management on your part.
If you’re considering outsourcing, make sure you keep these five important tips in mind when making your decision:
Have a plan before you engage
Before diving into any outsourcing of your content-marketing needs, have a content-marketing plan in places that determines who is handling each aspect and deliverable of the content marketing.
Ultimate success depends on the leader
Every content-marketing effort needs an internal champion—someone who rallies behind the cause and can spur subject matter experts and other internal resources into action when necessary. Without this internal resource, even the best outside content-marketing team will have trouble. But someone also needs to spearhead the effort and take on both strategist and taskmaster roles.
Choose a firm that fits
Working with a firm that does not fit, can’t understand your culture and has little reality or appreciation for who you are is difficult and won’t be successful. As part of your homework in vetting your prospective firm:
- Ask for references and reviews
- Review their work and content pieces
- Inquire as to the processes involved in creating and marketing some of those specific content pieces
- Dig into the type of reporting you’re going to receive
- Ask what will be done and by whom
- Inquire about who will do the copywriting, video, etc.
Background work is required to craft professional, polished content
It is crucial that you inquire about how the firm will get to know your company well enough to create the high-quality content. Understandably, most companies and business professionals are skeptical about an outside firm’s ability to comprehend a company’s ethos, its products and services well enough to write original, high-quality content.
Ensure that your outsourced content-marketing company has a solid plan for learning about your company. They should ask for everything imaginable about your business—marketing strategy, tactics employed, video, blog posts, white papers, articles, press releases, etc.