Content marketing has become prolific over the last decade. As B2B and B2C alike have recognised the benefits of a strategic content marketing approach, we've seen an increase in email newsletters, blogging, social media marketing, podcasts and video.
It's clear that investing in the creation and publishing of content is essential if businesses want to succeed. But what is the best way to invest?
Do you train your existing teams in content marketing strategy and tactics?
Do you hire in a suitably experienced marketing professional(s)?
Or do our outsource your content marketing entirely?
When all your energy is focused on running a successful business, how do you manage to consistently produce and distribute remarkable content at the same time?
It's a perennial debate, especially in the B2B world. One that sparks apprehension.
With so many elements to consider, content marketing is far from simple. Blogging, social media, email marketing, analytics, measurement, websites, user experience and SEO. All this eats into your resource. Surely the more efficient thing to do is just pass the buck?
To some extent, yes.
But on the other side of the argument, how can another business do your content marketing on your behalf?
They don't know your business like you do, they don't interact with your customers and users on a daily basis. For example, how can you hand over all of your social media to an agency - what happens when you receive a customer complaint or if you need to react to something quickly?
Co-sourcing your social media allows you to combine your knowledge of your business with an agency's expertise and resources for the most effective results. Think of them, in this instance, as a 'consultancy' rather than an agency.
But while this works for social media, there are some elements of your content marketing that can be completely outsourced.
Some argue that it's actually better to outsource your blogging and eBook writing to experienced, professional writers.
You see, content marketing is about building authority online, offering valuable and education content that hits potential buyers at the right point of the buyers funnel. And it takes expert guidance and resource to achieve that.
Trained content writers will already be adept at researching and curating relevant content to help them to mould further content. And since content writers are usually from a journalistic background, they are also skilled interviewers who can speak to your existing or prospective customers and extract relevant details needed to build great content.
But the reality is, even if you outsource your content writing, you're still in a partnership. You're knowledge of your business, industry and customers will be invaluable to the writer or agency you work with. Combine this with their expertise and experience in writing, and you're on to a winner.
Why not just recruit?
Generally, smaller to medium sized businesses could (and often do) call in the help of a suitable new employee to handle all of their marketing. But what about the on-boarding, overheads, training costs of hiring in? Not to mention another salary to pay. Outsourcing, or at least co-sourcing, could be a more viable and cost-effective option long-term - and here's why.
Outsourcing to an agency gives you access to a whole team of experts trained in every area of content marketing.
Expert writers can write or edit blog posts, social media gurus can consult on social media, and SEO experts can guide and move the entire strategy towards real results.
An agency will also have the resources to develop and train individuals on their topics of focus so that they can continue to produce the best results for you. They will be up to date with the latest content marketing trends and movements in the industry. Plus, no overheads, no training costs and no salary costs for you, leaving you safe in the knowledge that everything is taken care of in one spend.
By outsourcing your content marketing, it also gives you more time to focus on your core activities, such as sales, strategy, or staff development. You can really prioritise these things while safe in the knowledge that your content marketing is taken care of.
In a fast paced environment things are constantly in a state of flux - on top of managing, planning, creating, executing, publishing and analysing your content marketing strategy, you can be sure you have the time to keep up to date with how things are moving too. A good content marketing agency will advise, guide and navigate that landscape on your behalf.
So, should you outsource your content marketing?
Perhaps the best solution is to co-source for certain elements, whether it's social media or SEO, and use your relationship with your agency to learn and develop yourselves as content marketers. A good content marketing will always be willing to help and support you to learn more about all aspects of the approach, from content writing to social media marketing, email marketing and more.