A topic that I keep seeing, hearing about, and am frequently asked about is: “As a marketing manager, should I sub my content to another company or should we onboard someone who can generate content for us?” That question is a hot topic and is definitely one that needs to be addressed.
Push Your Existing Team — to a Point
When I first started On Target thirteen years ago, we were solely SEO. That was my gift. I have this English degree — what can I do with it? Well, I can write content and help influence search engines through content marketing. So that’s what I did. That’s what we hung our hat on. Over the years we got better at telling stories and crafting content for our clients, but here is one fundamental problem about that — every single time I landed a new client, I found myself with a deficiency in terms of writers. You can only push so much on your existing team. I would have to keep finding and hiring writers that fit our culture, ones who were fluent in multiple topics and in multiple areas. It became a real pain in the ass. Managing writers is like herding cats. I love them, don’t get me wrong; I am a writer myself. But, efficiency, speed, and scalability really became a problem.
Search For a Strong Base of Freelancers
I had the great fortune of speaking at an event called FL Blog Con, which is held annually at Full Sail University. This is obviously geared toward bloggers. I had been invited a few times to speak. One time I remember speaking at Full Sail University looking out into this auditorium filled with eager faces waiting to hear from me (which in and of itself is scary) and I had this lightbulb come on in my head — this “ah ha” moment. I looked out to the crowd and saw all of my writers and bloggers. They were all from the US and passionate about writing within certain topics: health, wellness, finance, education, and even mommy bloggers. I was like “Holy crap — there are all my writers!” So I made it a quest to go out, vet, and then onboard as many writers as I could. Now we are sitting on over 500 writers at our disposal. We have expert writers in telecom, the cable industry, faith, private schools, you name it! We’ve got it.
What’s awesome about that system is if a writer is not pulling their weight, we can pull the plug and go find another one. We’ve been doing that, and it’s been tremendous. It has helped On Target’s growth, as well as our writers’. We love the relationship we have with our writers. We challenge them; we try to build them up. It’s so important to us that they stay on top of what’s happening in their space.
If you are a marketing director and you are questioning whether or not to do content, the answer is YES. You should have been doing content years ago. At this realization, you may ask, “Do I pull somebody in, train them, supervise them, and show them what I want to be created?” I am going to be bold and self-serving and say no. Because it’s not really a scalable model. You need people who can create multiple species of content: infographics, audio content, video, and certainly ongoing content.
Do Writers Get Writer’s Block? Absolutely They Do.
You are a marketing director and you go out and hire the best writer on the planet. But can they produce whatever you point at them? The answer is probably “No.” My fear is that you wouldn’t get the scalability or the amount of content that you need out of that person.
I would encourage marketers that are in this position to look outside, to look for a company that potentially has a strong base of freelancers. Obviously, you want them to know about your industry. I know how important that is, and it can be a pain, in the beginning, to get the tone right.
Get Writers Who Understand You and Your Goals
One of the things we found as a company is to create editorial calendars in conjunction with your marketing team. This way we are on the same page. Then we create what we call “The Origin Story” that makes sure we are speaking your language and that we understand your space and your objectives. We know where you’ve been and where you want to go. Once we determine that, we hit the ground running. We crank out content for some clients on a regular basis — some quarterly, some get four pieces per month, some get even more. My team does whatever it takes. We pride ourselves on being the extension of your marketing department. I am not saying this to get your business. I am just telling you this from experience. It is very difficult to onboard writers that are reliable, dependable, and able to create in multiple fields. If you had somebody to direct other freelancers and content creators it would make sense. But unless you are a real gigantor company, to hire all the writers in-house would be a real challenge. Look for a smart, reliable content marketing company to help.
On Target is an Orlando based Digital Marketing Agency that helps brands stand out and rise above the noise. Through great storytelling, On Target turns companies into thought leaders. Founded in 2005 as a search engine marketing (SEO) firm, we’ve evolved into Orlando’s only agency that specializes in creating remarkable online content. If you’re looking to refresh your marketing strategy, contact us today.
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About the Author:
Tom is the Chief coffee brewer, CEO, digital marketing strategist, and kickass content creator for brands across the globe at On Target. He loves nothing more than helping small to medium-sized businesses find their online voice and growing their leads, prospects, and sales.