Content marketing is no small undertaking. You need multiple people to orchestrate content tactics for strategy, execution, publishing and distribution. And if you’re tackling this in-house, it requires more time, money and emotional bandwidth to get the right team in place.
So it’s understandable that content writing and design are the two most commonly outsourced content marketing activities. Companies of all shapes and sizes are forking over more dollars to regularly get content placed in front of their audiences. And partnering with a team of experts is an efficient way to grow your online presence.
But before handing over the reins to a content firm, there are a few things you need to know in order to make the relationship — and your investment — worthwhile.
1. Find the Right Fit.
To set the stage for a healthy partnership, you need to do some self-exploration first. Dig deep into your company’s core competencies, and address your strengths and weaknesses so you can identify a firm that complements them.
The firm you hire should have a history of helping companies with similar competencies and a plan for preserving your company’s voice, tone, message and expertise.
2. Set Clear Expectations for Both Parties.
Finding a firm that can execute your content marketing needs is exciting, but too often, marketers move forward without setting clear expectations from the start. After a few months, they realize it’s either not a good fit or the execution plan has a hole or two.
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Instead of diving right in, establish an agreement upfront that clearly communicates your and the firm’s expectations. You need to be on the same page about goals, expectations and deliverables to properly execute your strategy and see results.
3. Communicate Openly and Frequently.
In the outsourcing dynamic, communication is often steady in the beginning. Then, as marketers get comfortable in the relationship, it trails off.
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You don’t need to chat daily, but you should regularly update the firm on what’s going on internally and vice versa. Otherwise, the firm can’t fine-tune your strategy and execution plan to meet your ongoing needs, and you can’t be as responsive to theirs. Schedule regular meetings to discuss any changes in target markets and obstacles, and key wins on both sides.
4. Go the Extra Mile.
Your content firm is essentially an extension of your team; don’t be passive with the relationship. Ask, “What’s going to make me a great client?” and counter that with the question, “What’s going to make me a bad one?” Understanding the difference will help you maximize the relationship and give the firm what it needs to produce results. Expressing genuine interest in making the relationship run smoothly will make the firm want to work harder for your business. While you may be paying someone to do a job, going the extra mile will always yield higher results.
By outsourcing your content marketing, you can continue to focus on what you do best. You also gain access to teams that understand each phase of the content marketing process, which is often much cheaper (and less time intensive) than building your own in-house team.
Although you’re hiring an outside company, you should view your external team as an arm of your marketing team. The more seamless you can make the partnership, the more authentic your content will come across and the more your audience will trust what you have to say.