To hire or not to hire?
This is the question that often plagues business owners when it comes to content creation. Some business owners decide that it is more cost-effective to build an in-house team. Others decide to hire a third party or freelancers.
Content marketing is a major endeavor. Even businesses with in-house teams find that they cannot keep up with the demands of the ever-changing digital landscape. Moreover, most business owners simply do not realize that content marketing is about a lot more than creating content. Good content marketing involves strategic planning, web design, analytics and other key services.
So, what services and benefits can an outside third party bring to the table?
Content strategy planning
A full-service content marketing agency will provide marketing strategists. These strategists will analyze the target audience to determine the kind of content that is most likely to convert prospects into paying customers.
Content strategy planning incorporates tracking data about how the audience reacts to different types of content to create predictive models. For example, a strategist for a skateboard brand with a target audience of young Millennials may learn that this group does not respond well to content that takes more than a few minutes to consume. Therefore, the strategist may recommend shorter posts with a heavy use of images, videos and gifs.
Putting the right content on the right platform helps drive visitors to a website and achieve conversions.
When content marketing was still in its infancy a decade ago, search engine optimization (SEO) was about using as many popular keywords as possible, which is known as “keyword stuffing.” However, Google has released multiple algorithms that punish this practice.
Content marketing agencies have now turned the SEO game into a technical showcase for building strong content.
A good agency can offer comprehensive keyword research. This means finding relevant and popular keywords along with keywords competitors to a business are using to drive traffic to their websites.
A content marketing agency can also provide untapped keywords. These can help a company rank easily and avoid topics with a lot of competition.
Content is not always delivered in the form of an article. It also includes e-books, white papers, infographics, videos, podcasts, webinars, case studies, product descriptions, FAQs, and the “about us” section on a website.
In other words, content covers a lot of territory. Content creation is about finding the right way to communicate with the audience.
Blog articles that are highly specific to a niche within an industry remain the most effective way to draw the interest of the target audience.
Good blog articles have two things in common:
- Informative: Good articles inform readers about the subject matter, so they feel they have received an answer to a question.
- Problem-solving: Good articles focus on a problem the readers have.
Remember that the most important question readers ask in relation to content is this: “What’s in it for me?
There lies the true value of hiring a content marketing agency. It has the experience and resources to understand the goal of content, the audience at which the content must be targeted, and the likelihood that the content will boost awareness and drive more visitors to a website.
Creating outstanding content for a website will not suffice to boost its bottom line.
A content marketing agency can also determine where the target audience of a company hangs out.
Some social media platforms have become vibrant places for direct interaction between businesses and consumers. After a business engages consumers on social media, it can drive them to its website and promote its products and services.
Nobody can promote content on all platforms because social media strategies are not one-size-fits-all. Legal firms would likely benefit from a professional social media network such as LinkedIn as opposed to Instagram or Snapchat. The latter two skew much younger and are driven by short, image- and video-driven content.
However, content promotion does not only happen on social media. Content marketing agencies also create effective email marketing campaigns. They can help a company reach its target audience through informative and entertaining newsletters that compel readers to explore its website.
Email marketing requires patience and commitment because the list of prospects has to be built. Then, marketers must determine how often to contact prospects. They also must determine what offers, discounts and freebies are most likely to engage their interest and result in conversions.
Another service that a content marketing agency can provide is a website review.
Regardless of how much care and time a business puts into a website’s design and layout, there is always room for improvement.
Content marketing agencies often create a website review checklist that includes:
- Headlines: Are the headlines on the landing pages compelling and informative? Are they relevant to the content on that page?
- Call-To-Action (CTA): Does the website use bold, clear CTAs? A weak CTA will not compel a visitor to click and opt in to further action.
- User experience: Is the website easy to navigate? Can users intuitively understand how to go from one page to another? Are menu buttons easy to spot? Does the website structure the content so that readers can skip the parts that do not interest them and quickly find the information they are looking for?
- Responsiveness: Is the website optimized for use on devices other than a desktop computer? More than 50 percent of Internet users now consume their content on mobile devices. If a website does not adapt automatically to different screen sizes, it will lose the opportunity to engage prospects who are often on the move.
Why businesses need a one-stop marketing agency
Should a business hire a one-stop shop or piece out its marketing to specialists?
An answer to that question should consider the benefits of a full-service agency, which include:
- Scaling: Smaller digital agencies that specialize in one marketing strategy do not have the ability to scale up as a business grows. A full-size agency can assign more professionals to the team in charge of a growing company. If a company hires an agency that specializes in SEO strategies for small businesses, what will happen when it becomes a mid-sized business? It is going to have to vet and hire another company, which will cost time and money.
- Team management: What happens when a company hires one agency for SEO, a different agency for conversions, and a third agency to manage social media campaigns? It will have three different agencies and three different work models. These will require three different types of software to manage marketing projects. Since SEO and conversions are related, those two agencies, which may or may not have the same marketing philosophies, have to communicate and coordinate their efforts. This will not be a problem with a single agency because each team is in constant communication and working toward the same goal.
- Flexible Pricing Plans: Full-size marketing agencies are more likely to offer flexible pricing plans based on a company’s specific needs. Smaller agencies may charge a flat-rate price even if they are not always working on its campaigns. A full-size agency can offer a business pricing plans based on flat rates, hourly rates, or even project-specific rates.
- Shared Expertise: A one-stop digital agency is filled with experts in various marketing strategies, which means that it has a level of collective expertise that a small agency cannot match. When an agency is developing a marketing plan, they can draw on the experience and resources that each specialist brings to the table. They do not have to outsource any services or seek consultation from anyone else because everything they need is in-house.
Another factor to consider is that a one-stop digital marketing agency will be able to maintain a consistent branding message across campaigns. This is one of the keys to growing brand equity. From a website’s design to social media posts, every strategy should have a common goal and be in line with the brand identity. This will eliminate clashing elements and inconsistencies that can confuse the target audience.
Take advantage of content marketing services
Content marketing is about much more than just creating copy. This comprehensive marketing strategy brands a business, draws more visitors to a website and converts those visitors into paying customers.
Implementing an effective content marketing strategy requires a great deal of expertise. Therefore, many business owners hire one digital marketing agency to handle all their content needs. If you decide to go this route, you now understand the advantage of a one-stop shop. You will now be more prepared to maintain a vigilant watch over their activities and set clear goals and expectations.
To learn more about content marketing, please contact us today.