Creating Effective Content

According to a recent study by the Content Marketing Institute, 90% of B2C marketers are using content marketing… yet only 34% of them consider themselves effective at it.

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The same study says that less than half of B2B marketers are patting themselves on the back.

Why is that? Well, imagine a typical day in a marketing department — yours perhaps. Unless a trained team of octopi is managing your marketing efforts, there’s every chance that your staff are already working flat out.

Whatever industry you’re in, there are marketing campaigns to research, plan, develop and implement. Before very long, the list of sales and marketing collateral gets longer — from presentations and white papers to brochures, product sheets, newsletters and case studies. And that’s all before you think about the company website, advertising and social media. Pressure mounts for killer content.

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review, The Content Marketing Revolution, highlighted the branded expertise of sites such as the Equinox fitness club’s Q Blog and Shutterstock’s blog for helping the casual web user with fitness tips and design advice, respectively.

So, how do some companies and brands get all this content creation done? Easy. They call in the cavalry.

The Content Marketing Institute study cited above also recognises that writing is the top function most likely to be outsourced by B2C marketers up against a deadline. Freelanced or outsourced talent is readily available these days (and we’re not talking about the CFO’s nephew).

Journalists with stellar credentials, subject matter experts and industry analysts are all identifiable. Depending on the expertise you need for your content requirements, you could be looking at spending from less than 30 pence a word to as much as four times that for the credentialed authority who’s going to make you look really good.

Whatever the price, it’s more cost-effective than recruiting, interviewing and hiring a full-timer, who can’t offer the know-how of a group of individuals with unique, specific skills.

In the best of all possible worlds, you have a go-to team trained up on your style and voice, ready to go when the crunch times hit. A standing army of content creators can know almost as much as your in-house team — at an as-needed price that is most appealing.

Advance planning is the key. If your style guide is 40 pages thick, you are going to sleep better knowing that someone out there has worked with you before and has already been trained up on your firm’s idiosyncrasies.

Start with a roster of writers and throw them small projects that can be used as proof of concept. This way, the usual unexpected events can be, if not avoided, handled with aplomb. Try that and you might join the ranks of those benefiting from content marketing.