Even savvy marketers fear the implications of looking outside their company for execution support on some or all of their marketing strategy. What does it say about your skills or your team’s performance? The reality: It doesn’t matter.
It’s 2016, and most marketers are working harder than ever. If you have an opportunity to work smarter, you need to take it — especially when it comes to content marketing. According to the Content Marketing Institute, 88% of B2B companies are using content marketing as a part of their strategy. However, in the same report, only 30% of B2B marketers rated their content marketing strategy as “effective.”
This begs the question: Should you be outsourcing components of your content marketing strategy? If you’re unsure, consider the four questions below. They’ll either give you peace of mind to keep doing what you’re doing or support your decision to outsource your content creation or strategy. It’s a win-win, so read on!
Question #1: Is your team spending too much time creating content in-house?
On the time side of the equation, the comparison becomes easy. Most outside firms can write and design an end-to-end content piece in a matter of weeks — sometimes faster. Consider how fast your content team can crank out a single project. Can they work on multiple projects at once? If you start to see content projects lasting more than two months, it’s time to consider a content partner.
Question #2: Are you using your content marketing budget wisely?
Your monetary investments are equally important. Consider the hard costs of creating content in-house: hourly wages or salaries of dedicated employees, production costs, software and technology licenses … the list is long and expensive. Additionally, there are “soft” costs associated with keeping content creation in-house. The primary example of which is the opportunity cost of everything else your team could be working on. Make a list of all the other content marketing activities and strategies that need your team’s attention: strategy development, lead processes, new technology assessments, etc. If there are higher-priority projects that would yield better business results for your content marketing team, make the shift.
Question #3: Are your content pieces filled with unique insights that tell a compelling story?
It happens with even the best content team members. They work in a specific industry for so long that they become the expert. The team generates exactly the kind of insights that need to be incorporated into thought-leadership content. However, content pieces authored or even managed by the same individual(s) can unknowingly morph into the same story. Content agencies can provide outside writers who have the same industry expertise but add a fresh perspective, which is extremely valuable in the long run. New insights and story ideas could arguably be the primary reason to seek out a content agency. If they aren’t going to bring anything new to the table, there’s no reason to work with an outside firm.
Question #4: Are your content projects on the cutting edge?
In-house content teams with a bias toward one or two content formats (eBooks, white papers, etc.) can end up skewing their content library. The team plugs away with what they know works great and not enough of what they’re afraid to try (that might work even better!). What you end up with is a resource center with no variety and no ability to reach the various buyer personas you’re trying to engage. Do a quick content audit focusing on asset type. If you’ve got too much of the same content formats, it’s time to enlist some outside support. A content agency brings with them the expertise of working with hundreds of other B2B companies. They’ve seen content formats thrive and fail in a variety of circumstances; capitalize on that experience.
BONUS: Content firms are also able to secure agency licenses to some of the latest marketing technology platforms. Avoid making an investment mistake, and work with a content agency to test a new content technology or interactive format — e.g., interactive infographics, flipbooks or custom assessments. If you like the results, you can always purchase your own license. The difference is that you will know the format works and is worthwhile before you make the purchase.
The decision to outsource content creation is never straightforward. The single most important reality to accept is that it’s never all or nothing. Keep your agency on its toes by creating your own content every so often — they can certainly learn from your success and expertise. On the flip side, in-house teams can and should consider outsourcing content to get new ideas and support when they are at full capacity.
If your interest in content outsourcing is piqued or you’re simply eager for new content ideas, check out the Content4Demand Resource Library. And be sure to share your thoughts and tips for outsourcing content in the comments section below!