Let’s be honest – writing is hard. If the thought of sitting down and writing a blog post, whitepaper, or other piece of marketing content fills you with dread, you’re not alone. But in today’s online and digital world, writing is essential.
The reason? Content marketing has been shown to generate more leads, drive more traffic to your website, and convert more prospects into sales than other methods of advertising, all at a lower cost. Put simply, it’s one of the best ways to promote your business. Quality content forms the basis of all your other online marketing campaigns, from email marketing and social media to demand generation and sales.
Instead of doing it all yourself, you can partner with a writer on a project basis. Not only is this an excellent way to produce quality content, it’s also less risky and less expensive than hiring a full-time employee. This article will explain when you should look to hire a writer, and how you can get the best results from someone who is not a permanent part of your company.
When should I hire a marketing writer?
1) When you’re not a writer
Writing, especially for marketing, is a skill. And if you don’t have it, that’s OK! Many people simply aren’t strong writers, and those who are don’t necessarily know how to write for the web. Writing strong content means optimizing it not only for the reader, but also for search engines. In these cases, bringing in a writer can make a lot of sense, as they can create content that represents you and your business more effectively than you can alone.
2) When you don’t have the time
Even if you are a strong writer and understand how to write for the web, you probably still have a job to do. In 2017, the average blog post took 3 hours and 20 minutes to write, and the best results seem to come from blogs that take upwards of 6 hours to write. If your role is not primarily writing content, this can quickly distract you from the rest of your work. If this is becoming a problem, a writer can help take the load off so that you can get back to more strategic initiatives.
3) When you need more content
Digital marketing never stops, and the more content you can produce, the more likely it will be found. Companies that publish at least 16 posts a month receive 3.5 times as much traffic as companies that publish less than four. This pace can be very difficult to maintain over time, especially as new projects are kicked off or other day to day activities come up that need to take priority. Remember, content forms the basis of the rest of your marketing, so you need to publish it on a regular basis to be effective.
Want to see more reasons to outsource your marketing? Check out our recent article.
How do I get the most out of a writer?
1) Brainstorm topics together
Before you engage with a writer you should have at least a basic idea of what you’re looking to post. This will help you find a writer with the tone and style you are looking for to reach your audience. Once you’ve selected the person (or people) you want to work with, begin brainstorming together. Develop a content calendar that includes the topics you want to cover, the deadlines for drafts, and when it will be published on your site. The clearer the plan at the start of the project, the easier it will be for you to keep everything on track.
2) Conduct in-person or phone interviews for each topic
You’re the expert in your field, product, customers, and company. Your writer is there to take this expertise and communicate it effectively. One of the best ways to ensure they capture your voice is to participate in short interviews for each blog topic, either over the phone or in person. The writer can provide questions in advance, and together you can come up with any “must have” information as well as the key takeaway for the article. A half hour per topic is usually enough, and it’s often beneficial to record the conversation so that the writer can listen to it again later.
3) Make sure to review drafts quickly
This comes back to the idea of developing a content calendar in advance. Most often, delays or missed deadlines are a result of drafts that get held up in the review process. Your initial review should be about confirming the messaging and accuracy of the blog, especially anything related to your technology or industry trends that are mentioned. Once this is finished, you can start to look more closely at how the blog is written and words or sentences you would change. Either way, establish a clear review process and stick to it, so that you, and your writer, can stay on schedule.
4) Make sure to budget a reasonable amount
Sure, it is possible to get blogs for $5 each. But as the saying goes, you get what you pay for. Often these will still require significant edits and revisions on your end. And, more importantly, how much time can they realistically spend understanding you and your business at such a low price? Recognize that bringing in a writer can be a long-term relationship, and it’s an investment in time and money that can end in a big return down the road. Your marketing content is the face of your digital brand, and it’s how your potential customers will come to know you. If you want them to see quality, well written, and valuable information that drives them toward making a purchase, then you should expect to budget accordingly.
Maintain control even when outsourcing
Working with a writer can present its own unique challenges for sure, but it’s also a highly effective way to produce quality content without hiring a full-time employee or distracting the employees you already have from their work. When you’ve identified the need for a writer, ensure they have the information they need to communicate your expertise. A good writer can become a valuable, long-term part of your team, and when that happens, you can truly start to see the benefits of your content marketing.
Convinced? Check out our writing services and contact us today to brainstorm some ideas for content that promotes your business online.