According to the Content Marketing Institute’s report – 2013 B2C Content Marketing Research: Benchmark, Budgets and Trends – a company rarely outsources content completely. In fact, 53% of B2C companies create content in-house. 44% of them use both outsourcing and in-house teams to create content.
So what do you plan to do in 2013? Keep content creation in-house? Is there any value in outsourcing it – partially or completely? Here is the answer – it depends! Frankly, there are no clear answers about outsourcing content. So read on to see why (and when) you should outsource content creation.
Warning: Before you dive deep, please note this blog will not contain words like cost/pricing/cost arbitrage/cheap/economical/expensive/budget etc. I know you are disappointed, but like in any other industry, outsourcing is never about cost alone. It is just another variable that you, and your team, need to factor in and see if it makes sense. If it does, go and create the budget for it.
That said, here are the given variables in front of every business today:
• Content marketing is critical to your business game. It is a game changer, in fact.
• You need a variety of content to feed various content channels
• You need to gather information from teams as disparate as operations, legal, HR, and sales before you can create relevant content
• Finally, you need to keep at it (create relevant, compelling content) again and again
Let’s get the Three reasons not to outsource content creation out of the way first.
1. You are small: Not that there is anything wrong with it! When you are a small company, with less than 10 employees, you can get things done by shouting across the cubicles. Or get information by walking down the aisle. Small means you have the information you need at your fingertips. You know the ins and outs of your business, and that of your competition. While you may not have the time to sit down and do it, frankly it is not worth your time (yet) to train someone at an outsourcing company, feed him or her the information, and have them create content you need
2. You are finicky: I cannot tell you the number of times I have had clients send back a well-researched 400-word blog because it had a comma missing, or a word mis-spelt. I would correct it, save it with track changes on (and one final version with all changes accepted) and send it back to the client. I have no doubt that my clients are busy people, but it also means that their idea of outsourcing is pretty outdated
3. Your notion of outsourcing is outdated: You knew this was coming! Outsourcing no longer means you send the information you think the consultant needs, and expect perfect deliverables. Creating relevant content is a collaborative process. It takes time, commitment, information, and mutual exchange of ideas and thoughts. Unless you are willing to commit your business fully to this idea, please stick to creating the content in-house.
Come back! I am just getting started. Now for Five great reasons why you should outsource content creation.
1. You get perspective: There is a good reason why businesses hire consultants and pay them really hefty fees to tell them what they already know. They do it to get a third-party’s unbiased understanding of the situation. A content outsourcing company has an unbiased perspective on what kind of content works for you. And does not.
2. You get a variety of content resources: Maybe you have a marketing intern who writes well. Or a couple of writers who have successfully created your website content for the last 2 years and know your business inside out. But when you need articles, tradebriefs, case studies, researched blogs, SEO content (does anyone do that anymore?), research for infographics, social conversations – can you get it done in-house? Can you afford to have a team to do a case study here and an infographic there?
3. You get collaboration: A good content creation company knows its strengths. Creating content is certainly the best of them. But what any content company cannot do is effectively execute content marketing strategies on its own. Neither can your business no matter how big it is. But working together, and matching your market knowledge and sales know-how with their strategic tricks and tips will do the job.
4. You get content that works: Think about how many people it takes to create and post a blog for your company. Way more than you can imagine. Marketing, sales, design, content creation, social media, technical – you need inputs from these teams to create a piece of content that is relevant, compelling, and read. A content company will work with your team to gather the necessary basic information and translate them into content via a content calendar, writer management, keyword research, editing and proof-reading, and overall project coordination
5. You get peace of mind: I got to add this. The number one feeling that my client gets when his content lands in his inbox is immense relief. He has a schedule to keep. 4 blogs a week, a tradebrief every Thursday, 2 infographics for the month, 4 tweets daily, a video blog every other week, a 700-word article, and a PR on the new product release. If he can get his content on time, every time, does that not go towards peace of mind?
I am done. You may call me pro- content outsourcing. And that I have my vested interests in writing this. Yup, you bet I do! Don’t we all, when we create a piece of content for marketing?
Image credit: www.guavastudios.com