Braving content marketing alone is a bad move. Needing to consistently generate amazing content that stimulates conversations with customers and drives up leads and sales isn’t easy; it’s a full-time, multi-disciplinary job that calls for consistency, sound strategy and collaboration.
Not seeing the wood for the trees
The biggest problem with going it alone is putting too much emphasis on the ‘content’ and not enough on the ‘marketing’.
Content marketing is not just about generating content; it’s a process, and each piece of content needs to fit into this process to nurture leads and guide them down the funnel, driving up sales and increasing retention.
You need to know what your or your client’s goals are, whom you’re targeting and what sort of content and messaging is going to get you there. And each piece of content needs to be related to a particular persona and a particular stage in the buying cycle, employing targeted calls-to-actions and landing pages to drive conversions on the back of the content.
Losing sight of your clients’ strategy and objectives and getting caught up in aimless content creation is a no-no.
Who made you the expert?
Content marketing requires more than a few blog posts and a white paper or two; it means infographics, first-rate research, webinars, social media smarts, podcasts, planning and writing skills, eBooks, videos… The point is, few agencies have the ability to master all aspects of content marketing so you’ll need to outsource a lot of the talent, whether it’s designers for infographics or copywriters for written content.
Similarly, you’ll need content creation partners who know their stuff and can deliver content that resonates with the audience; you need subject matter experts. Maybe you have some expertise in the hospitality industry, but you’ll have a hard time writing for the customers of your clients in the technology industry.
Having a good handful of content creation partners, each with their own skills and specialisms, makes you much more flexible as an agency, making you and your clients look good.
A fresh pair of eyes
As well as the industry expertise, bringing in a content creation partner also gives you a fresh perspective.
While they should have a good grasp of the industry, they probably won’t know the ins and outs and lingo of the products and services, but neither will your client’s customers.
They can see the product as a new customer, picking out the most important benefits and features and communicating them more effectively. They turn the jargon and hype into persuasive, engaging content.
Hitting ‘publish’ is just the beginning
But handing over the content to the client is not the end of the journey.
Content needs to be social and active. It needs to be promoted, it needs to be spread and it needs to encourage conversation. That means experimenting with different content types and social networks to see what sticks and what doesn’t and re-purposing content – blog posts into an eBook, webinar into a white paper – to increase its reach and shelf life.
You then need to monitor it with analytics tools – what are the most popular topics? Where is it being shared? How many leads and customers has it generated? – to refine your efforts.
Why shouldn’t I take on content marketing alone?
Because it’s time consuming, it’s not as easy as it looks and it demands a smorgasbord of skills.
Content marketing should be a holistic, joined-up strategy involving everything from planning and publishing to web page design and analytics. So to take full advantage of content marketing and deliver the most for your clients you need to collaborate.
You need to work with your clients early in the process, even as they’re developing their personas and strategy, to get a feel for their needs and better determine what can be completed in-house and what should be outsourced to content creation partners.
Taking this sort of collaborative approach from the get-go gives you a flexibility and scope far greater than you’d have alone.
Hat tip to net_efekt for the photo