Why 77% of marketers love content marketing but hate outsourcing

Outsourcing content creation is one of the biggest challenges facing marketers today, a study from BusinessBolts.com has found. The Content Marketing Survey Report, which took into account opinions from 265 marketers and small business owners, found that 77% of respondents were using content marketing to boost their web traffic, but finding a good agency to produce the content was one of their biggest concerns.

“The majority of marketers are not outsourcing the creation of their content, but would like to,” said Lisa Parmley, founder of BusinessBolts.com.

Why is it so hard to find a good agency to write blogs, web pages and social media updates for your brand?

Well, mainly because it’s a personal process – a solution that is perfect for your competitor may not be right for you.

However, it’s not impossible – outsourcing can be an effective model, as long as the right provider is selected for the job. In the words of Doug Kessler, “It’s all about fit … your search shouldn’t be about finding ‘the best’ content marketing agency. It should be about finding the right one for your company at this moment”.

How to find a good content marketing agency?

Here are a few measures you can use to work out whether a particular agency is likely to be a good fit for your brand.

  • Look at case studies
    Any content marketing agency worth their salt will be able to show you examples of their previous work (if they can’t, RUN!). Ask prospective providers whether they’ve worked with companies in your industry before and whether the same writers are available to create good quality content for your brand as well. If you happen to do something so specialist that your prospective agency hasn’t written for your industry before, ask instead whether they are willing to draft a sample of the kind of thing they would write for your blog, website or social media pages. This is a simple way of observing how well they adapt to your brand voice and values.
  • Prioritise promptness
    When making your enquiries, consider how long it takes to receive a response, organise an example or answer any questions. Whilst creativity and flair are important, reliability should be equally essential to their service, so excessive delays with emails or unanswered telephones should ring alarm bells. After all, if they can’t respond to your enquiry on the same day, how are they going to produce your content on time?
  • Don’t compromise on cost
    There are plenty of providers out there who will offer you cheap content but ask yourself what corners they have to cut to sell to you at such a low cost – and then ask if that’s really the kind of content you want going out under your brand name. 
  • Arrange a meeting
    Sometimes the best way to get a feel for an agency’s strengths and weaknesses is to meet with them – it can be anything from a quick coffee date to a formal discussion, but having a face-to-face conversation will allow you give your prospective agency a thorough grilling about who they are and what they can do for you.
  • Work out a process
    Content marketing isn’t a one-off job; it’s a long-term strategy. That’s why you need to choose an agency with a defined process for planning, creating and publishing your content on a regular basis. Preferably this process will keep you involved but won’t eat up your valuable time. Make sure your prospective agency can give good answers to questions such as “how do you schedule my content?”, and “how do I brief you?” 

These are just some of the many steps you could take to find the best content marketing agency for your brand, but there are many other potential criteria. If you’ve outsourced your content creation, please add a comment with your top tips (including what NOT to do!).

Happy outsourcing everyone!