Content marketing doesn’t seem like a big deal until you trip down the rabbit hole of keyword research or trying to tie your content to business objectives. Once you do, you’ll find that employees are more likely to abandon the project and never look back. Don’t let your company’s blog be one of those website fixtures that never gets dusted off. Learn why you should outsource content to a trusted partner may bring you the success you were looking for.
Here’s the podcast episode:
Or if you’d rather watch the video:
The Steps of Generating New Content
When I talk about outsourcing, I’m normally talking about content, because I’m a content consultant. That’s what we do at Defy The Status Quo. So we’re going to run with that as an example, but keep in mind that this applies to pretty much any type of service that you would consider outsourcing to a freelancer, company, or agency.
Trying out Blogging
We’re going to go with blogging. I feel like that’s where most companies dip their toes in terms of content marketing. Blogging doesn’t seem like too big of an extra task. How much time can it take to write up a blog post?
The Steps of Writing a Blog Post
You have to consider the content plan and what you’re actually going to be writing about. In order to develop the content plan, we need to do keyword research.
We should also be tying content to business objectives. Your marketing director is probably pretty clear on the business objectives, but it’s not always considered necessary to share those in detail with your employees.
So now we’ve got:
- Creating the content plan
- Doing the keyword research
- Tying every single piece of content to a business objective.
We should also probably also have a downloadable or lead magnet of some sort, like a white paper, an ebook, a research report, etc.
We covered white papers in Season 1 and a white paper can easily take 20-30 hours to finish. And that’s normally over the course of 6-8 weeks. Who’s going to do that? But I digress.
Continuing on, now we need a distribution plan for our content. We’ve got the content plan, and we need to have a distribution plan.
Once you write it, it’s not a case of “build it and they will come.” It’s a case of “build it and then distribute it, so people know about it, and then they will come.” So you actually have to have a plan in place for that.
Also, who’s checking our analytics to make sure that everything is performing the way it should? Someone needs to check analytic sources, like Google Analytics.
The Return of Investment on Blogging
At first, it seems very easy, but then it easily snowballs. People are asking questions about ROI. We have someone spending 10 hours/week on blogging. What’s the ROI to the business? We’re paying them for that!
Getting real ROI from content takes time, but there are short term KPIs that you can measure to help predict how content is going to perform over time.
Content marketing builds momentum, and that’s another way that it generates long-term ROI. But the level of content marketing that generates real ROI may take up more time than the people in your marketing department have.
Everyone is Doing Something
What I’m saying is that, even if it seems like the people that you assign this to aren’t doing anything, they are doing something with their 40 hours. I’m assuming that your marketing employees work 9-5, Monday-Friday.
They need to be able to fit in the content, so there’s going to be some juggling of responsibilities. It shouldn’t be a problem, but it is something new.
Starting a New Project
New projects might only be taken up halfheartedly. Big projects can have many points of failure, like blogging, white papers, and case studies.
Oftentimes, for employees who are only half-heartedly taking on a project, one failure is enough to put the project on the back-burner. Especially if nobody’s checking on them.
Time Over Zeal
You may have to give a project to an employee, not because they’re the best fit, but because they’ve got time.
Maybe your best writer or your best video person, or social media person is engaged in another marketing project. So this white paper’s gonna go to John Smith because he’s got time.
Then, it kind of goes back to point #1 about employees taking up projects halfheartedly. John Smith doesn’t want to do a white paper. He would rather be updating his resume on Indeed, so he’s not going to be happy about taking on this project either.
Why No One Points Out Your Bad Ideas
Employees aren’t always going to tell you when you’ve got a bad content idea. I have to be honest: one thing that most of my clients tell me in the discovery call is, “I don’t know this stuff. I just want somebody to tell me what we can and can’t do. That’s a good idea. That’s a bad idea.”
So there are two reasons why employees might not tell you:
- Nobody likes to deliver bad news. They don’t.
- They may not know enough to deliver bad news.
That’s what makes having somebody who knows enough to tell you that you’ve got a bad idea so important.
When you’re spitting out these content ideas at your marketing meeting, you’re developing a self-reinforcing bias within your marketing department because they don’t have the expertise to tell you that it’s a bad idea.
Assigning Content To Your Employees
So when you’re looking at assigning content to your marketing people, you need to check:
- Have any of them received content training?
- Do they understand writing for search engines, and writing for your audience?
- Do they understand the sorts of market research that they’re going to have to do?
- Are they well versed in the analytics, and are able to report to you on the ROI?
Invest in Your Employees
If none of them have received that sort of training but you have people who are interested, then I would go for it. I would definitely develop those employees.
When you invest in your employees’ education and help them grow in unexpected ways, they value that. It can increase employee loyalty and retention in your company.
If All Else Fails, Outsource Your Content
If you don’t have people jumping up out of their seat for this, you’re probably going to want to outsource your content in order to create the best long-term assets.
The best way to do that is through interviewing agencies or solo practitioners like myself. All of our professional knowledge will translates to your content. We’ll tell you everything you and your marketing team need to know to create the best content.