Do you handle content, social media, and influencer marketing in house? If your results are below your expectations, it’s time to optimize your team.
An in-house team may give you more control over your content and influencer marketing programs. Also, your team can help reflect your values more accurately. However, it can be hard for internal teams to generate growth over the long-term. In fact, common issues with using in-house teams include high costs and a low ROI (return on investment). Some teams struggle with producing sufficient content at a pace that matches their goals.
But you can optimize your marketing programs. Whether you focus on content, social media or influencer marketing, auditing and optimizing your program can make a big difference.
- Common issue: You don’t actively manage existing content.
- Common issue: You don’t keep up with your competitors and their marketing strategies.
- Red flag: The team develops content separate from market research.
- Solution: Conduct a thorough analysis of existing content, competitors and audiences. This will provide your internal team with a solid foundation that will inform their decisions in the future.
Overall, developing a content, social media or influencer marketing strategy helps your team leverage what they do well and prioritize areas that need improvement.
Start by auditing and analyzing existing content. Is it still aligned with your goals, messaging and tone? Do you have a lot of evergreen content?
Are there any pieces that feel outdated? How does the content create value for your audience? Are there any niches your content overlooks?
Review the content beyond single pieces and audit your customer acquisition funnels. Also, identify the common paths users take when consuming content. Is there an efficient flow between the levels of your funnels? Are you lacking top-, middle- or bottom-funnel content?
Explore what works for your competitors. Then use your findings as inspiration for your program.
You can look for gaps in your competitors’ strategies. For example, you can uncover a niche they’re overlooking or a channel they’re not using. These are areas you could focus on to gain a competitive edge.
Additionally, analyze how your competitors’ content ranks in search results. What structure do they use for their pages and funnels? How thorough is their content? Do they prioritize a Q&A format or another strategy?
Of course, if your competitors are doing well with a specific topic, you’ve found your next move. Here, use the skyscraper technique to reverse-engineer a great piece of content that leverages their sources and structure.
Quality market research helps you understand your audience’s pain points and expectations. Indeed, it’s crucial for creating content that addresses their needs, developing a social media campaign they can relate to or choosing the right partners for your influencer marketing program.
While you can use existing research on your market segment, it’s best to conduct your own research. Notably, surveys, interviews and case studies are strategies you can use.
When researching your target audience, ask yourself:
- What pain points do they want to solve?
- Which expectations do they have for your brand?
- What is a desirable outcome for them?
- Which values are they willing to support?
- What are the channels they prefer?
- What constitutes a positive experience for them?
- Are there potential arguments against choosing your brand?
Then use these findings to develop buyer personas. Specifically, your buyer personas should reflect the different models behind the purchasing decisions your customers make. As a result, they can help your marketing team develop content with a specific profile in mind.
Now that you know more about existing content, competitors and your audience, it’s time to put it all together and develop a new content plan. Ultimately, this plan will act as a roadmap that outlines items like your publication frequency, the type of content you need in order to address gaps in your funnels and a way forward to grow your online presence.
- Common issue: Your team always falls short of its objectives.
- Red flag: Your team doesn’t follow up and assess whether they have reached an objective.
- Solution: Create a roadmap with larger goals broken into specific tasks and deliverables. Make sure the goals tie into your company’s strategic objectives and your overall content or influencer marketing program. Additionally, focus on measurable and actionable goals, and look into implementing a content management solution for tracking tasks.
Your marketing team needs a roadmap for two reasons. It’s a document or system that establishes long-term objectives, and it’s a go-to resource to manage their daily tasks.
Breaking it down
In essence, your roadmap should align marketing goals with the overall strategic objectives of your organization. Here are some examples of marketing goals you can adopt:
- Increase sales.
- Improve brand awareness.
- Get your customer satisfaction rate up.
- Acquire more customers.
- Upsell existing customers.
- Improve your customer retention rate.
- Get better results with loyalty and word-of-mouth marketing.
Once you’ve identified an area that you want to improve, turn it into a marketing goal that you can measure. Also, pick a deadline when it should be achieved. For instance, a goal like increasing sales transforms into increasing sales by 15% by the end of the next quarter.
Similarly, a marketing goal like improving brand awareness becomes a series of steps. Example steps include creating a survey to measure awareness and a list of tasks. Then to articulate the marketing goal, you would establish: 10% more respondents recognize your company’s brand when you send out the survey again next month (over last month’s number).
Again, break down goals into smaller actionable tasks and assign each to team members. Additionally, encourage your marketing team to establish goals for the pieces that they create and think about how each one fits into the overall program’s objectives.
This is where you can use a content management platform to make a significant difference. A sophisticated platform can help you track goals, assign tasks and meet marketing goal deadlines.
- Common issue: You don’t have enough visibility over content performance after publication.
- Red flag: You focus on vanity metrics and ignore important KPIs.
- Solution: Identify the KPIs that reflect your progress, choose reliable data sources and invest in an analytics solution to generate the reports you need.
Once you have adopted a roadmap with some goals for your marketing team, look into solutions for measuring progress and success. This is where quantifiable metrics can be applied.
Identify the best KPIs to track for each project and the data sources to use. An analytics solution that merges data from different channels can be advantageous, especially if you have an omnichannel strategy.
Here’s a non-exhaustive list of KPIs you can use to track performance:
- Bounce rate. A high bounce rate is often a sign that a page isn’t accomplishing its purpose. There might be a mismatch between the content and the expectations of users who find the page.
- Funnel conversion rate. This rate is the percentage of users who complete step one of the funnel before visiting your goal page. You should optimize your funnels to nurture leads at every step of the journey to improve this rate.
- Total visits. This metric informs you about organic traffic. It reflects how well your SEO efforts are working and whether the content addresses a need.
- Impressions. If you focus on social media or influencer marketing, you can use impressions to assess the outreach of your program.
- Internal costs. Track the costs incurred by your team so you can calculate the ROI of your content or influencer marketing program.
The right team
- Common issue: Your team is too small or ill-equipped to run an integrated program that includes content marketing, social media and influencer marketing.
- Red flag: There is an overlap in the skills your team possesses or some significant skill gaps.
- Solution: Put together a team with complementary skills, consider new hires and look into outsourcing some tasks to access a wider pool of talent.
Ideally, a marketing team should include eight different roles – more if needed. A comprehensive team should have a strategist, writers, editors, social media specialists, SEO experts, influencer specialists, marketing ops and a designer.
Small and mid-sized organizations rarely have the resources needed to hire and maintain a large marketing team. The teams rarely exceed four individuals, and these professionals are usually generalists. Their main strengths are a thorough knowledge of their organization and an understanding of their branding strategies and goals.
Hiring to grow your internal team is an option, but it comes with high overhead costs. You should consider hiring if there is a significant skills gap in your internal team or if the team is too small.
Now is a good time to review your hiring practices. Think about how new hires will fit in with the existing team and look for candidates who can show you measurable results on past projects. Years of experience and education matter for some skills, but you can create a dynamic and diverse team with different levels of expertise.
Look into strategies to attract top talent if you want to grow your internal team. Perks like training can attract professionals, and showcasing what working for your organization is like on social media can draw attention from the right people.
The outsourcing option
For many organizations, outsourcing makes more sense than hiring. It gives your access to different skill sets so that you can fulfill the eight key roles mentioned above with the help of a partner. Current team members are qualified to manage the relationship with vendors thanks to their expertise with your organization, branding and marketing objectives.
Outsourcing a portion of your content, social media or influencer marketing program to a managed services provider like Tempesta Media is an effective alternative to hiring more staff. Doing so keeps your overhead costs low, gives you access to experts and reduces your management demands.
For example, based on your marketing goals, your company may only need an editor for 18 hours a week. So, hiring a full-time editor is unnecessary, but trying to find a part-time editor means having to manage one more person. Neither option makes much sense.
The beauty of hiring a managed services provider is they can put together the right mix of experts and allocate the appropriate number of hours to each person on your project. This means you can achieve significant cost savings over trying to staff a marketing team completely in-house.
- Common issue: Your team is working with too many technology tools.
- Red flag: You’re using outdated tools, or data and tasks are duplicated because of an overlap in functionality between tools.
- Solution: Audit your current tech, assess whether it still meets your needs and look for new solutions. A tech partner can help you identify the right tools for your marketing team.
You need technology tools that create an environment where your team can communicate, collaborate and adopt streamlined workflows. With many businesses relying on multiple tools to run daily business, it’s easy to end up with an overly complex tech ecosystem.
Consider scaling down if you’re losing time because your team has to enter data and track tasks across different tools. Consolidating existing tech tools into a centralized solution can boost productivity.
Some features to look for when choosing a new technology tool include:
- Integration with other solutions you use and multiple data sources.
- Collaboration with other departments and team members who work remotely.
- Capabilities to assign tasks, track projects and meet deadlines.
- Automation for repetitive tasks.
- Communication tools, including email, chat, comment threads, video calls and more.
Define workflows and responsibilities
- Common issue: Team members don’t have a reference that outlines what their workflows are.
- Common issue: Your service level agreements (SLAs) are outdated and not reviewed regularly.
- Red flag: New hires aren’t sure what their responsibilities are.
- Solution: Workflows, service level agreements, responsibilities and expectations are matters you need to document. It’s time to review workflows and SLAs and update these records.
A good starting point for documenting workflows and responsibilities is to brainstorm with your team. Review your current goals, your strategies for measuring results and the KPIs you track to assess your progress.
Schedule regular reviews too. These reviews can be an opportunity to schedule team meetings to make sure everyone is on the same page. Verify that you’re reaching benchmarks and find solutions if you get behind.
KPIs to remember
You can use different KPIs to measure the performance of your content marketing program, including your bounce rate, page views, the time spent on each page, your conversion rate, or numbers like your customer lifetime value or the cost of generating a lead.
For social media marketing, you can track progress with your follow count, impressions, likes, comments, mentions, lead conversion rate, cost per lead, number of customer service issues resolved or share of voice.
Referral traffic, conversions, audience growth and various engagement KPIs are interesting to track for your influencer marketing program as well. Don’t neglect using ROI to identify the top-performing influencers.
Measuring your success with these different KPIs is only the beginning. The next step should be to document your different workflows and review the job description of each team member. Update their responsibilities if needed and set clear performance expectations based on the KPIs mentioned above.
If you outsource content creation or work with influencer marketing, review your SLAs and the expectations outlined in these documents. Update the agreements with measurable goals for your partners and the steps you will take to measure their performance.
Reporting and performance review
- Common issue: Teams neglect reporting and analytics to track trends and optimize programs.
- Red flag: You collect data but don’t use it.
- Solution: Put a new workflow in place to review performance data regularly and develop a culture that relies on data for better decision-making. Consider investing in an analytics solution with a customizable dashboard and reporting tools (like Tempesta Media).
Data and KPIs are useless if you don’t use them. Optimize the performance of your internal marketing team by integrating these insights into the way your team works.
You could adopt monthly reviews where you look at different KPIs to track your goals and use these insights to address areas that are underperforming.
A culture that encourages employees to work with metrics and rewards them for investigating data can make a difference. Things like celebrating with your team when you reach a benchmark can help motivate everyone to adopt data to measure their own performance, set personal goals and make better decisions.
- Common issue: You approach optimization as a set-it-and-forget-it process.
- Red flag: You don’t have a plan for regular performance reviews and no long-term goals for growth and optimization.
- Solution: Rethink your approach to your content and influencer marketing programs and look for new solutions to unlock growth. Embrace continuous change as part of your culture.
The strategies discussed above about setting goals and tracking KPIs will give you access to insights into the performance of your marketing program. You’ll be able to identify the items that work well and the areas where there is room for improvement.
Approach optimizing your internal marketing team’s performance as an ongoing process. Encourage ownership by putting team members in charge of the process and regularly discussing the future of the team.
Collecting feedback from your team can be invaluable. They can bring hands-on experience to the table, identify issues you had overlooked and come up with new ideas.
It’s also important to keep up with new trends. Marketing is a field that evolves quickly, and you need to keep up with new content formats, channels and expectations from your audience.
Implement a testing process to optimize different aspects of your marketing program. Strategies like A/B testing can result in actionable data about the type of content that performs best or the best time to post on social media. If you have an influencer marketing program, A/B testing can help you pinpoint the kind of profile that yields the highest conversion rate.
- Common issue: There is a lack of visibility over how your team works.
- Red flag: It’s unclear who is responsible for assessing the performance of your team.
- Solution: Adopt some best practices for auditing your marketing program and schedule regular audits.
We’ve already discussed the importance of auditing your content, and it’s something you should do regularly to better leverage existing content and refresh it.
You should audit your marketing team as well. The scope of these audits should include the different workflows, the role of each team member, your publication schedule, the different tech tools you use, communication with other departments and training.
You should also review the best practices the team uses, their different marketing activities to reach goals, your content amplification strategy and the channels you use to distribute content.
If you work with vendors, keep an updated list of your different partners, and audit their performance regularly. Make sure you review contracts and costs as well. For influencer marketing programs, you can develop a similar audit process to review the performance of the different influencers you work with.
Regular audits will help you identify issues early and determine whether your activities and workflows still fit your goals.
- Common issue: Your internal team is overburdened because you don’t use third-party resources.
- Red flag: There is a lack of oversight of how third-party resources are selected and how their activities support your team.
- Solution: Develop best practices for identifying the right third-party resources, assess which tasks you should outsource and design a thorough due diligence process to find partners who will help you reach your goals.
Outsourcing to a partner like Tempesta Media reduces the workload of your internal team and can make them more efficient. Particularly, they can then focus on what they do best and prioritize the projects they want to have more control over.
Scalability is another advantage. In fact, you can leverage third-party resources to expand your marketing activities to new channels or publish content more often. Most vendors offer flexible solutions. You can decide to bring in some outside help for a specific project or outsource some activities when you see your sales volume go up.
Many marketing professionals decide to outsource tasks to access a wider talent pool too. Working with third-party vendors can lead to content that looks more professional, and you can get help from experts for matters like vetting influencers for your influencer marketing program.
Before choosing a vendor, make a list of requirements the vendor should meet. Learn more about your options and research the reputation and fees of different vendors. Review the SLA, set some clear expectations and decide on how you will assess the vendor’s performance.
Like optimization, choosing a vendor is not a set-it-and-forget-it process. You need to manage this relationship by reviewing costs and value regularly.
Final thoughts on content, social media and influencer marketing
You can optimize your marketing program by focusing on what your internal team does best and leveraging the help of third-party vendors like Tempesta Media when needed. Ultimately, reviewing your overall strategy, setting realistic goals, finding ways to measure your progress, and working with the right team and tech tools can improve performance.
Even with an optimized process, doing everything in-house isn’t always practical. In fact, it often results in higher costs, excessive workloads and a low ROI with limited room for growth. Instead, auditing your marketing program and performing regular reviews can highlight areas where you could benefit from a third party’s assistance.
A partner like Tempesta Media can improve your marketing team, whether you need a completely outsourced solution or a hybrid model. Specifically, our performance-based content, social media and influencer marketing solutions let you outsource tasks like writing and editing. Additionally, we offer a centralized platform to plan your content schedule and adopt more streamlined workflows to make managing your programs easier.