5 ideal qualities to look for from your outsourced content marketing agency
What do we mean by success when we’re talking about blog content creation? Successful content is engaging, educational, relevant, and actionable. It is formatted in a way that makes it easy for the reader to comprehend and apply what they’ve learned. Successful blog content brings businesses results in the form of increased website traffic, social media shares, credibility, and more.
There is one problem: When businesses produce their content in-house, they often don’t have the time or the know-how to produce successful content. Outsourcing content puts the responsibility, time, and effort into the hands of a company that specializes in creating blog content.
How Do I Know It’s Time to Outsource My Content?
If you answer “yes” to one or more of the following questions, it may be time to outsource your content.
Question #1: Are my team members missing the necessary skills to create a successful content strategy?
Your content marketing team should possess the following skills:
- Marketing knowledge: A basic understanding of content marketing is necessary for publishing killer content. This includes a basic understanding of SEO and keyword search.
- Writing skills: Your team should be able to communicate their ideas clearly and effectively.
- Creative design: Your team should be able to create content that is formatted to catch the reader’s attention.
- Domain Expertise: Do you have someone on your team who is an expert in your field? Can they write an in-depth article that will adequately teach your audience about a topic related to your industry?
Econsulatacy created a matrix that describes the perfect content marketing team. Can you put together a killer team with all these skills?
Click here to see what epic blog content looks like next to mediocre content!
Question #2: Is my team taking a long time to produce high-quality content?
If you notice that your marketing team has an overload of work and your blog content is suffering because of it, then it’s time to outsource your content. While a third party company focuses on producing high-quality content, you and your team members focus on the core operations of the business.
Pro Tip: Use tools like Google Analytics to determine your blog posts’ performance. Google Analytics will measure factors such as click-through rates, engagement, and more.
Question #3: Do we have the budget to outsource our content?
Like most things in life, you get what you pay for.
To generate the right blog content, you have to hire the right writers. To hire the right writers, you have to understand that creating epic content will cost money.
If you don’t have it in your budget to hire a decent content marketing team, then it’s best to wait until you do have the money. Your competition is already publishing epic blog content and if you can’t deliver the same, you are wasting your time and your money.
How much of my budget should I expect to put towards content marketing?
According to a recent study, the average business spends 28% of their budget on content marketing. The study also found that B2B businesses that spend 42% of their budget on blog content marketing receive the best results. Watch this video to find out how much money you should invest in your content marketing based on the size and industry of your business.
Question #4: Do I want to do everything I can to build the trust of my consumers and increase the performance of my company?
The hard facts say that producing high-quality blog content will:
1. Increase website traffic
Kissmetrics analyzed over 18,000 small to medium e-commerce businesses to find that 30.5% of their traffic comes from organic searches on different search engines like Google and Yahoo. Hiring third-party companies that specialize in SEO will help with your search engine ranking, increasing your visibility and website traffic. Click here to see more 2017 data on why SEO is important for businesses.
2. Increase consistency
According to a study conducted by Hubspot, “companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5X more traffic than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” The same study concluded that “companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5X more leads than companies that published between 0 – 4 monthly posts.” Content creation companies take deadlines very seriously. Outsourcing your content will ensure that you can post 3+ high-quality posts/week on a consistent basis. Pro Tip: Always ask the writer to create more than your monthly or weekly requirement of blog posts. Even if something goes wrong with deadlines, you’ll have an article to publish.
3. Increase Credibility
Error-free, engaging, and authoritative blog content will earn your brand a spot as an industry leader. For example, Zillidy used content marketing as a means for becoming a leader in the consumer banking industry.
Zillidy used content marketing to:
- Publish authoritative content
- Increase traffic from relevant sources
- Convert website visitors into customers
- Build brand awareness
- Attract press coverage
- Build their social media community
According to econsultancy, Zillidy, “published weekly blog content, which typically covered Canadian startups and personal finance advice-driven topics, and also contributed with highly authoritative articles in places like the Huffington Post and New York Times.” As a result of their efforts, Zillidy:
- Grew their social media following from 100 to 1000
- Increased their search impressions by 1350%
- Earned over 2500 unique social shares
The unique social shares prove that Zillidy is considered a trusted source. No one would share an article that they didn’t have confidence in.
4. Increase conversions
Trust is a crucial element in the buying process. Consumers who trust a brand are more likely to purchase a product or service. One method to build consumer confidence or trust is through content creation. Content that is engaging, informative, relevant and all around awesome will help readers feel that the brand knows what they’re talking about. Outsourcing your content will ensure that you are delivering blog content that converts readers into customers.
5. Increase returning visitors
According to the same study by Kissmetrics, the average returning visitor spends over 5 minutes on a site compared to a first time visitor who spends just under 2 minutes. The more time a visitor spends on your website, the more likely they are going to purchase your products or services. Engaging and exciting content will bring readers back to your site again and again.
6. Decrease Costs
Outsourcing your content with a third-party content marketing service is cheaper than hiring an in-house writer. With an in-house writer, you have to pay employee benefits, specialized training, and any other expenses that come with hiring full-time employees. Neil Patel on the importance of publishing valuable content for your costs.
The choice between hiring a freelance writer and an agency depends on your company’s needs.
Are you looking to create and publish blog content well into the future? Or are you looking for a one-time writer for a special project?
Read on the find out the pros and cons of hiring freelance writers vs. agencies for your content marketing needs.
Pros of Hiring Freelance Writers
- Cost: Hiring a freelance writer is usually less expensive than hiring an agency. On websites like Upwork or Fiverr you can hire a writer for as little as $5/1000 words or $10/hour.
Cons of Hiring Freelance Writers
- Quality: When hiring freelance writers (especially the cheaper writers) you’re guaranteed words, not quality. For example, a writer that charges $0.04/word will deliver 1000 words for $40 but those words may not be at the level of excellence you expect.
- Resources: Freelance writers have fewer resources, skills, and software to offer businesses. For example, many agencies use content planning tools, editorial calendars, content writing software, and writing strategists to help create and deliver epic blog content.
- Skills: A cheaper freelance writer may not possess the necessary skills or expertise for taking your content to the next level. This includes the skills to create a detailed content strategy.
- Consistency: Every writer has a unique writing style. If you’re using a different writer for all of your articles, you won’t be able to develop a consistent voice for your brand.
Pros of Hiring an Agency
- The Range of Services: With an agency, you get more than just content. The monthly flat fee usually includes services such as marketing strategy, article analytics, WordPress integration, social media promotion, email copy, and more.
- Time: Finding and hiring an agency takes more time in the short-run, but will saves time in the long-run. Agencies are a one-stop-shop where you can find a writer, editor, and content strategist. We’ll be discussing later in this article how each of these roles can help create epic content.
- Expertise: Expert writers working for agencies have been weeded out from the large pool of beginner/intermediate writers on freelance websites. You’re guaranteed quality writing when you use an agency.
Cons of Hiring an Agency
- Cost: Hiring an agency is typically more expensive than hiring a freelance writer because of the scope of services involved.
Overall, long-run content marketing success comes from hiring an agency that can adapt to your brand’s voice, develop your content strategy, and grow with your company.
We want all of our readers to find long-term success with their content marketing. That’s why the rest of the article will cover the qualities you should look for when outsourcing your content from an agency.
Pro Tip: There are other sources for finding writers such as student writers on Student Gems or industry experts on Google.Content Pros has an elite team of writers, editors, and project managers that will help deliver epic content. Click HERE to see Content Pros’s content plans.
5 Qualities to Look for When Outsourcing Your Content
What Qualities Do I Look For When Outsourcing My Content From an Agency? 1. Team of Experts
Look for agencies with services that include a team of specialists who can handle all the important roles of content creation. These roles include:
- Writer: Your writers should have a writing style that fits your brand’s voice.
- Editor: Editors ensure that all content you publish is 100% error-free.
- Customer Success Manager: The role of a customer success manager includes overseeing the strategy, direction, flow, and timely delivery of your content. Project managers also handle communication with the writers and the clients.
- Content Strategist: The role of a content strategist is pretty straightforward. They break down the short and long term strategy of your blog content.
Together your agency’s team should be able to:
- Create content that resonates with your ideal audience
- Create SEO content that is optimized for search visibility
- Promote content on the right channels for maximum visibility
- Develop a long-term content strategy with measurable results.
Do your research to see if the agency has a reputable history.
Look for a stellar list of blog posts from the agency
A red flag should pop up in your head when you’re researching an agency to hire, and they don’t have their own blog.
A blog post will tell you a lot about the agency’s writing skills, domain expertise, and professionalism.
Look for agencies that:
- Write about relevant topics
- Post engaging content
- Make sure your blog content is error-free
- Post content for SEO
Look for a stellar list of long-term case studies and customer testimonials from an agency
Read the agency’s list of case studies or customer testimonials to see if they have a successful track record. Pro Tip: Look for case studies of companies that have been using the content marketing agency for over six months so you can see the impact of their services in the long-run.
3. Communication Skills
When working with an agency, communication is extremely important…on both ends.
On Your End
As the client, you need to be able to communicate your content marketing needs.
Questions you should be answering for the agency:
- What is your brand’s voice? Casual, authoritative, or professional?
- What keywords would you like to appear in your articles?
- Who is your ideal audience? What are your buyer personas?
- Are your blog readers in the awareness, consideration, or decision-making stage in the buying process?
- Is there a trial period for your services?
The most important part on your end of the communication is providing instruction. You should be able to provide clear, concise instructions so the hired agency can deliver blog content up to your standards. To illustrate my point, here is a made-up example of an online marketing company looking to use an outsourced company to communicate their value. They want to write an article on the importance of marketing for B2B businesses.
Poorly Communicated Instructions: One 1500 word post on the importance of marketing for B2B businesses.
Helpful Instructions: Write 1500 words on “The Importance of Marketing for B2B Businesses.” We’re going for a brand voice that is relatable, knowledgeable, and authoritative. Our ideal audience is B2B companies that are having difficulty with their online marketing and would like to hire a company (like ours) to take care of all their online marketing needs. Key points we want to communicate in the article:
- The benefits that marketing online can bring to their business
- The different online marketing channels available
- Case studies proving that online marketing is valuable
Keywords we want to be included in the article:
- Online marketing
- Marketing resources
- B2B Marketing
- Benefits of marketing
Provide the agency with a few examples of articles to illustrate your instructions.
On The Agency’s End
Your writing agency should have a person you can communicate with directly if any issues arise.
Questions you should be asking the agency:
- What is the average level of experience of your writers?
- How much time and resources are available to me?
- What method of communication will we use?
- What are your hours of availability?
- Will I be in direct content with the writer, editor or customer success manager?
Be prepared to edit the first few rounds of articles your agency sends. It’s not uncommon that it takes time for your assigned writer to find the correct style and voice.
4. Content Specifications
Ask the following questions about your agency’s content specifications:
How long are your blog posts?
Quality matters over quantity, but it’s been proven that posts that are at least 1000 words in length perform better than posts at 500 words.
What types of content are included in your blog posts?
According to a report by Adobe, articles that include visuals receive 650% more engagement than regular text articles.
Pro Tip: The agency you hire should guarantee the incorporation 3-5 relevant visuals throughout your blog posts.
5. Research Skills
Ask your agency the following questions to determine if their research skills are up to par:
How do your content writers research trending topics?
The agency you hire should be using different research tools to find relevant topics. Relevant topics are topics that your audience has been asking questions about.
Tools such as Buzzsummo analyze articles to see how well they’re performing based on Facebook engagement, Twitter shares, the number of links, and more.
How do your content writers research relevant keywords?
How do your blog content writers gather their information?
Most content writers use something called the Skyscraper Technique. The skyscraper technique involves finding other articles that performed well and then creating one mega-article that crushes all the others.
To keep your content fresh and relevant, you have to contribute a considerable amount of time and effort into creating blog posts. If you decide to take the burden of writing blog content onto your shoulders or add it to your marketing team’s long list of responsibilities, you may not generate the positive results you’re looking for. Outsourcing your content will save you the time, money and headache of producing killer content on a consistent basis.
What if outsourcing my content doesn’t work out?
Don’t worry! The great thing about hiring an agency is that they usually offer sample posts and short-term contracts so clients can decide if they’re the right fit for their blogging needs. Writers will grow and adapt their writing style the more they work with your brand. Plus, writers love constructive criticism because it improves their writing for the future!