Content marketing and search engine optimization for your website or blog are not as easy as it first appears. Companies go through a mental evolution as they gain experience in boosting their online presence and improving search engine ranking. Here is an overview of the “mental” life cycle of a typical company.
“I can do my own content marketing writing”
When companies first launch an online presence, they initially imagine that the owner or executive can handle all of the content marketing for the website. After all, these people are highly talented and know their industry better than anyone else. Sometimes, they even have a deep understanding of online marketing, search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and writing for the internet. They also may have impeccable grammar skills and be able to write effectively for both their audience and search engines. But even if business owners have all of these skills and knowledge, the one thing they almost all lack is sufficient time to write.
Usually, what happens is that the entrepreneur decides to launch a website. Then, he volunteers to write the content. Days, then weeks, pass and little, if any, content is written. There is always a sales deal or emergency that takes priority. As time passes, writing that copy falls further and further down the priority list. As a result, their content marketing and search engine optimization efforts suffer. Eventually, the business owner gives up and turns to the first option that comes to mind: a freelance writer.
“I’ll just hire a freelance writer”
Now, where is a business owner going to find a freelance writer to get this project done and improve search engine ranking? At this stage, business owners will first turn to familiar sources for help. Examples include the following:
• Their marketing agency
• The company designing the website
• Placing a job posting
Each one of these options may, ultimately, bring content marketing and search engine optimization success to the business owner and improve search engine ranking. However, each is not without its drawbacks. In total, those drawbacks may make launching and maintaining an online presence difficult.
Marketing agencies are in the business of advertising and communications, and their business model is pretty straightforward. They charge business owners an hourly rate for services and up to 15% commission on all media purchased. When hiring a writer from an agency, there are several “gotchas” that business owners should understand.
Writing services are generally billed on an hourly or fixed-fee basis. If pricing is based on an hourly rate, expect to spend upwards of $150 per hour for content creation. If it is on a fixed-fee basis, expect costs in excess of $500 per written page. Initially, business owners opt for this route, because they do not know how much such a service should really cost. The agency or design company will go to great lengths to explain why their service is unique and merits such a price.
Web designers are no different. They will employ a similar pricing approach. What will be different is how they position their services. They will focus their value toward search engine optimization, to improve search engine ranking and increase social visibility. Web designers will attempt to explain how their proprietary expertise allows them to determine just the right mix of keywords sprinkled throughout the content. Both types of companies also have a knack for omitting key details from their proposal, such as the following:
• Is the work guaranteed to be 100% original?
• Who owns the rights to the work created?
• Is there a cap on the number of hours that will be billed for the creation of this content?
• Who is responsible for editing the work? Is it the same person, who is writing the content?
• What kind of depth and breadth of content creation skills does the team really have?
• Does the person writing the work have any experience in my industry?
These omissions can quickly turn a straightforward content marketing project into a total nightmare. At minimum, companies should be aware of these hidden risks and deal with them head-on. In reality, companies pay top dollar for the convenience of working with a known vendor and having someone else manage the project. For most business owners, that convenience quickly becomes a financial burden.
They do not realize that creating and maintaining an online presence is not a one-time project. Instead, it is an ongoing series of efforts devoted to maintain visibility within search engines, improve search engine ranking and establish the company as premier experts in their industry. To accomplish both objectives requires a steady stream of new content created. Business owners start to look at more affordable and scalable solutions upon the realization that the costs for a web presence are not one-time, but ongoing in nature.
Tempesta Media has created a managed services platform for digital agencies, website developers and PR firms who lack the in-house expertise required to generate high-quality, expert content on behalf of their clients at scale.
If you have a content marketing program, or are planning one, download our ebook: 100 mistakes businesses make when starting, optimizing and scaling content marketing programs. Learn from the mistakes of hundreds of other companies. 100 mistakes walks you through common and uncommon challenges that they faced with their content marketing programs.