Content Marketing Requires More Project Management Time Than People Realize

To reap the rewards of content marketing, companies must invest serious time, often without seeing significant return on investment (ROI) until the next fiscal year. Still, the payoff is worth the wait, whether a company seeks to acquire new customers, increase brand awareness, improve its reputation, increase traffic to its website or achieve some combination of those goals.
A quality content marketing program requires time, resources and someone to manage it efficiently. Statistics are improving, but still only 42% of marketers say their company does content marketing well. Pushing content marketing management onto an employee who’s already got other full-time responsibilities won’t do.
A successful content marketing program requires talent and organization at every phase of creation and implementation. The tasks involved include:

Determining how you’ll create a content strategy

In order to be most prepared, figure out an estimated time and the positions that may be needed to successfully implement your content strategy. This includes what will be incorporated in the strategy, how much time the strategy will take to develop and who will need to be involved in the strategy development.
Positions that may be needed include content strategist, managing editor and data analyst.
Great content marketing programs aim to:

  • Give the audience information that helps accomplish their goals.
  • Help their audience solve problems.
  • Contribute meaningfully to the conversation.
  • Demonstrate they care about the audience.

Essentially, the company is creating the “why” behind its content. That requires good customer data about what they want, what makes them tick and what motivates them. The research required to answer those questions is ongoing, so the strategy can and should change quickly to accommodate audience needs. That requires at least one person consistently focused on strategy.

Implementing the strategy

Estimated time: At least two FTEs
Positions that may be needed: content writers/producers, SEO/SEM specialists, social media specialists, email marketing specialists and bloggers.
Implementing a content strategy involves:

  • Selecting the types of content to create.
  • Developing content.
  • Evaluating content for relevance and timeliness.
  • Reviewing and editing content for accuracy.
  • Distributing content via a website, social media, email, etc.

The average blog post takes about one to two hours to write. Every minute of video footage can take up to two hours to edit. Keyword research also takes significant time. Add in time for reviews, approvals and distribution, and the time for those tasks quickly adds up.

Coordinating creation and implementation of a content strategy requires stellar project management

With the right tools and people, a great content marketing program is within reach. But, it doesn’t require a big brand to make it happen. Follow these tips to make your content marketing strategy as successful as possible:
Automate as much as possible. Use a social media scheduling tool or content marketing platform that integrates with WordPress to save time and energy.
Develop a content marketing calendar. This serves as a home base for all content marketing efforts and helps the company distribute content more effectively.
Consider hiring a full-time content marketing position. At least one person dedicated to the cause full-time can help drive the strategy forward and get what’s needed from the team.
Consider outsourcing. Another economical choice is to outsource the job to a capable company that can help create and implement a content marketing strategy from start to finish. TempestaMedia provides an all-inclusive managed service that delivers quality content while helping customers save time. Call today to learn more.

Smart delegation of tasks is key to maximizing profit

The capacity for great leadership is within everyone’s grasp, whether heading a corporation, small company or staff of 10 people. One essential to becoming a dynamic leader is learning to delegate effectively. For some leaders, this is a difficult concept to grasp. As a business grows, so too does its daily onslaught of tasks. Therefore, leadership teams must entrust certain assignments to outside experts.
Generating highly effective content is one task that most leadership teams desire to improve. However, a lingering question that often stands in the way of making a decision is who will do the work? Highly effective business leaders realize that they have little time to write content. Additionally, they may be uncertain what to write about or are not achieving desired results from current content. These leaders have little time to train or leverage existing staff. And this existing staff also may not have time to create engaging and targeted content for the company. Outsourcing content is an effective and efficient solution for companies. The Content Marketing Institute identified that 44 percent of B2B marketers now outsource content creation, and 57 percent of B2B technology marketers outsource content.

Issues around using employees to produce content

Some companies are still unsure of the long-lasting benefits of outsourcing content marketing. Company leaders may feel a staff member is capable of writing website copy, posting to social media, creating a company-wide brand message or writing a blog or e-newsletter. However, writing is a skill that takes time to cultivate. Although a staff member may be a good writer, few are outstanding writers. Outstanding writers can regularly generate leads, increase customer loyalty and solidify a company’s reputation as a top-of-mind resource. Also, many in-house writers are not knowledgeable in all areas of content generation. They may understand search engine optimization (SEO) but not the use of keywords. They may also be less diverse in their writing style or unsure about what is most important to communicate.

The benefits of outsourced content

It’s true that in-house staff may have industry experience and a good grasp of company policy and products. However, the cost and time to train and manage a staff writer may not be worth the effort. After all, a great writer will have up-to-date results in keyword targeting, SEO, proper formatting and calls to action. Other benefits of using outsourced content include:

  • Account management By outsourcing talent to a content marketing firm, companies reap the benefits of account managers who train, give feedback, edit and manage a team of skilled writers. This saves company leaders time, allowing them to focus on other business at hand.
  • With experience comes speed – In-house writers may know the product, service and industry; however, to formulate copy that is SEO- and keyword-rich takes training. Outsourcing content, particularly extensive or time-consuming projects or promotions, can save companies valuable time. The leadership provides direction and the outsourced professionals create informative and engaging content, targeting to a company’s audience.
  • Outsourced content providers know what works Many in-house writers are biased, which can lead to content becoming too promotional and salesy. Outsourced content providers provide a broad knowledge base and skilled writing for specific markets. By distributing content consistently, they can provide targeted content that drives a higher level of engagement. They also understand the need for fresh content that is relevant and boosts search rankings.
  • Specialty writers While an in-house writer may not have a grasp of SEO or calls to actions, content providers usually have access to a network of specialty writers with expertise in all content creation.
  • Quality is essential– Excellent writing skills are learned over time. Companies don’t always have the time or resources to train in-house writers. Content writers create content that communicates a desired benefit, frames a big idea, entertains or educates. Professional writers’ years of experience can make useful content readable, engaging, persuasive or technical.
  • Content that is too narrow-minded– Many companies, and tech company owners in particular, often produce content that is far too esoteric. It is true that they know the inner-workings of their company far better than an outsider. However, this often leads them to create content that is narrow in scope or difficult to read. Outsourcing content ensures tech companies’ material is straightforward and clear as well as interesting to their audience and potential customers.

Why increasing content can boost ROI

Generally known goals for most companies include generating sales, improving operating efficiencies, creating brand awareness and acquiring leads. However, senior management may be unsure how increasing content can actually boost return on investment. A good place to start may be looking at the competition and what they are doing regarding content creation.
According to HubSpot, business-to-business (B2B) companies that posted 11 or more company blog entries per month had almost three times more traffic than companies who published less than one monthly blog item. Of course, the amount of content a company distributes may depend on objectives and goals but companies that post new and fresh content see increased leads and traffic to their websites.

Costs of outsourcing content creation

Outsourcing content creation makes sense from a time-management perspective as well as from a financial one. Companies should consider the differences of cost for in-house compared to outsourcing. They must consider in-house costs associated with payroll taxes, benefits, salary, training and what value they place on company leadership’s time.
When outsourcing content providers, companies must analyze outsourced content pricing structures. One question to consider is whether to charge per hour, per article or per word. Companies must also consider the fact that outsourcing content provides other benefits as well. It saves time and money on account management, takes the burden off in-house staff, is always SEO- and keyword-rich, engages the audience, educates and drives traffic to the website.
Content marketing is a full-time job. By partnering with a content marketing team, companies hire skilled and professional writers and up-to-date technology. These features help make publishing and analyzing content easier and less time-consuming.
Tempesta Media delivers expert content, provides a full-service solution that is cost-effective for agencies, companies, tech companies and B2B entities. Tempesta Media values honesty and clarity. They are direct, trustworthy partners and consultants who help businesses grow and prosper by providing expert content marketing and results that matter.

The problems with hiring freelance writers

Today, more traditional channels of marketing are being lost in the clutter of everything consumers see. This is why it is so important for businesses to turn to content marketing. Relevant and quality content targeted specifically for your audience helps convert casual readers into potential customers.
When your business focuses on anything other than content marketing, it can be difficult to keep up with the demands of producing all the content necessary to properly market your company. Deciding to bring in experts to do the job is a great first move. Unfortunately, looking for the perfect writer isn’t always an easy task, especially if you want someone who specializes in your niche.

The challenge

At least one piece of content each day is necessary, say 60 percent of marketers surveyed by eMarketer. That one piece may be a blog post, long-form article, case study, guide or white paper. It can even include infographics, videos or a podcast. Whatever is posted should be consistent, quality work and, hopefully, customized for your audience. In fact, KEYDifferenceMedia says 78 percent of consumers will trust your brand if you create more customized content.
Maybe you have one or two people on staff who create content, but not every writer is best for every piece of content. While one person may write spectacular blog posts, that same writer may not be able to pen formulaic and concise white papers when you need them. Technical writers who may be fantastic at conveying vital information in an e-book could struggle when you need a more feature-driven or biographical piece written.
If your in-house staff is small (or non-existent) and cannot keep up with the demand for cranking out great content, outsourcing these tasks becomes an obvious option. But where should you start the search for those writers?

Freelancers

Hiring individuals to take on your content marketing seems like a no-brainer. That is, until you really start thinking about all the steps necessary to find those writers.

  • Recruiting. Where will you post your ads to gather interested writers? What kind of writers do you need? Where will you go to find experts in your field? Will the number of applicants meet your need for content generation?
  • Vetting. Once you receive resumes and writing samples, there’s the time and energy you have to devote to reading the work and weighing your options. Depending on how many applicants you get, that could be a lot of reading.
  • Hiring and retaining. After narrowing down to a select few candidates, bringing them into your circle may seem easy. Of course, you’ll need to be sure they will write for the fees you’ll pay. Also, you have to see whether they will sign a non-disclosure and/or non-compete terms. It’s a good idea to be sure these writers have you high on their list of projects. Remember, most freelance writers have more than one client. If they don’t find that you provide enough work or there are other difficulties in working together, you may drop from their list. If and when that happens, that leaves you again searching to replace that writer.
  • Fulfilling requirements. Hiring freelancers means staying on top of them. Are they understanding the assignments? Are they meeting deadlines? Are they open to requests to rewrite pieces? What steps do you take when projects are incomplete, don’t meet deadlines or are never sent in at all?

If all these tasks are too much to take on, there is a solution: turning to a content provider.

Content providers

Outsourcing your content needs to a provider is one of the best returns on your investment. In fact, Adweek surveyed 745 marketers and discovered that 76 percent of them believe ROI or brand lift could be increased by as much as two to five times when using an expert team producing high-quality content.
When you team with a content marketing provider such as Tempesta Media, you get professionals who can help you develop your content strategy. They not only help you understand what content you need, but where you may most need it depending on your overall marketing goals.
You will not have to spend time recruiting possible writers because the provider has many writers they can tap. Not only will these experts be vetted for quality and professionalism, but for expertise as well. The provider can align their specialized writers for your exact needs. They will write the content that is specifically relevant to your target audience to order to engage them. Additionally, these experts are skilled in content that works best for marketing, including keywords and information that leads to better SEO.
When you work with a content marketing provider, there is no need to stay on top of writers to make sure they are writing what you need. The provider turns your request into an essentially automated system. You set your requirements and your deadlines. The provider will take care of assigning the work, reviewing the content and making sure the pieces are delivered on deadline. This high-quality content is delivered at rates that meet your budget.

The ‘mental’ life cycle of do-it-yourself content marketing

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

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

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?

Hidden risks

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.

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