Stepping into the world of inbound marketing requires investment. Investment in website infrastructure designed to capture and guide leads. Investment in planning and strategy. And investment in content creation. Content creation takes time, and I’m guessing that your marketing department, like most, is already stretched thin. So who will create the content needed for successful inbound marketing: blog posts, social media updates, downloadable assets such as ebook and white papers, landing pages and nurturing emails?
When your existing resources aren’t enough, there are basically three choices for finding the people who will create your content: hiring, using freelancers or engaging an agency. Each option comes with pros and cons.
Hiring new staff is sometimes the least expensive route per-hour, if you are bringing people in at a junior level. In-house staff members also have the advantage of committing their entire attention to your company and being available for face-to-face contact.
The cost, however, is in training and managing new writers or designers with limited experience. Writing well requires experience. If you choose to introduce new writers to your staff, consider providing them with resources such as blog post templates to provide a starting point or using a content report card to provide feedback and help them grow into their role and improve their writing. If they can relate to this infographic, they are already a good start.
One other consideration in hiring new staff is whether your department is ready for expansion and the ongoing expense in the salary and benefits provided to employees.
Hiring freelancers gives you access to professionals in a range of skill sets with a short-term commitment. Writers, designers, web builders, videographers and other creative professionals can be found to work on a per-project basis, allowing you to “try and buy” to find the right fit.
Finding that fit, however, can take time, because the quality of work by freelancers can vary widely. Top-notch freelance professionals also understand the value of their work, and so the per-hour cost for hiring them may be greater than the cost of hiring a junior writer or designer. While a 2014 CopyPress survey showed the majority of their respondents receive between $10 and $40 per hour, the Editorial Freelancers Association quotes typical rates as $40-$70 per hour, depending on industry or specialty. (Click to Tweet!)
Using freelancers to fill in the gaps in your content creation personnel also means someone in your company still needs to manage all the moving parts. Using detailed calendars can aid in keeping track of what is being produced. For example, this blog calendar template not only outlines the topic, content details, the publishing date and who is responsible for writing the post, but also identifies keywords, calls-to-action to use with the post and the target persona.
The third option is to work with an established agency or firm such as JONES. While hiring an agency typically involves a long-term contract and commitment, with this alternative you have a single point of contact. The agency has already assembled a team of professionals—writers, graphic artists, market analysts, social media specialists, web designers—with the expertise to carry out your content strategy. A good agency will establish and meet deadlines and targets to keep your strategy on track. (Click to Tweet!)
Another advantage to working with a full-service agency is their understanding of how each piece of content works with the rest of your marketing efforts. This level of complete understanding comes from walking with you through the entire process from branding to content strategy and creation to analyzing results, nurturing and qualifying leads, engaging customers and finding opportunities to upsell and cross-sell additional products and services.
For some, the commitment to a contract with an agency may be intimidating, but inbound marketing and content creation works best when you commit to it, rather than just dabbling here and there. Find out more about what it takes to put together a comprehensive content strategy for your marketing by downloading this ebook.