By now, the power of content marketing is really no great secret. Everyone knows how much revenue a well-trafficked blog can bring to a digital storefront, or how much brand recognition a post that goes viral is capable of garnering.
In addition, there's a huge body of research which hammers home the value of good content - not only does it help consumers make better purchasing decisions, it both costs less and and generates more leads than traditional marketing.
Basically, what I'm trying to say here is that if your business isn't already involved in content marketing, it's long past due to get involved.
"The short and sweet of it is," writes Entrepreneur's Derek Miller, "you should be investing in content marketing."
The problem, of course, is that not everyone necessarily possesses the skills required to craft amazing content. Not every business owner is a great writer or a charismatic radio host; and not every industry expert is able to weave their expertise into an interesting story for the audience. In many cases, it's better for both the brand and its management to hire someone that's able to do the job for them.
That brings us to our next question - how can one tell if they should?
Should You Go It Alone?
Our first task, of course, is to determine when it's acceptable to simply manage content marketing on your own. The only real answer I can give you here is that it depends primarily on three factors: how much time you have, how much talent you have, and how creative you think you can be. We'll simply assume you possess enough knowledge about your industry to talk on it - otherwise, you wouldn't even be considering putting together content.
See, I'm a writer by trade. If I were ever to start my own business, I'd likely try to handle most of the content marketing on my own. After all, I'm no stranger to the process involved in the creation of a well-constructed piece, nor do I find it especially difficult to put words down on a page.
My problem would be time. Having never run a business before, I've no real notion of whether or not I could handle the demands and constraints that would be placed upon me while also maintaining a regular blog. As such, I might eventually have to hire someone on to do the job for me - in spite of my experience.
So, should you manage content marketing on your own?
If you have the time and capability, yes. Chances are, however, that you're lacking in at least one of those departments, in which case it's inarguably better to hire a full-timer to deal with it for you. Trust me - better that you've a well-maintained business that spends a bit of money on great content than a poorly-run organization with an awesome blog.
Making The Right Hiring Decision For Your Content
So, let's say you've decided to hire someone on to write for you. Your next step is to decide what type of content you want to start pumping out. Blog posts aren't the only form of media on the web, after all; nor are they the only content with the capacity to go viral. There's a virtually endless selection of different content types you could potentially work with - and an even larger supply of prospective hires who are experts with each type.
Now, hiring someone who's incompetent, unenthusiastic, or just plain lazy to create content for your brand is worse than not hiring anyone at all. For that reason, you need to be extremely selective with who you bring in - whether you're outsourcing or hiring internally. The best content creators will generally possess the following traits:
- Enthusiasm for and passion about what they do. Don't ever hire a writer or graphic designer who seems like they're only in it for the money.
- Knowledge about the industry they'll be working in - or a willingness to research until they obtain that knowledge.
- A well-established, high-quality portfolio of previous work.
- An awesome attitude - it doesn't matter how good someone is at their job if they're a nightmare to work with on account of their personality.
- If they're part of an organization, that organization is professional, well-established, and has a good reputation.
Outsourcing: Yea or Nay?
There's one final question to take care of before we wrap things up for the day - should you hire an internal team or should you outsource? On the surface, it appears to be primarily a question of cost. A full-time employee costs a great deal more than a contractor, after all. There's actually a bit more to it than that, though.
"Don't sweat it if you cannot devote your in-house resources to content marketing," explains Kristi Hines of the Coworks blog. "There are plenty of great freelance writers that can help develop quality content for your blog and promote it more visibly."
See, because freelancers and firms cost less than an internal team, that means you can actually get more content created for your blog or website through them. Not only that, says Hines, hiring the right freelancer or content marketing firm can both help you to reach an audience you might otherwise never contact, and build up industry authority for your employees.
All in all, sounds like a pretty sweet deal, doesn't it? Of course, outsourcing carries with it its own bevy of risks and challenges. If you don't perform your due diligence - and ensure that your contractors do the same - you could find yourself in trouble. And if you're hiring on excessively cheap writers, just remember that you get what you pay for.