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The Content Marketing Marathon for Agencies

 

There’s a race for marketers to meet the demand for content services. To deliver the quality, volume and value that drives ROI for your clients, it takes the right writers, tools, and price points to make these services profitable for your business.

Agencies also need the bandwidth to create content that can scale with their business, built on long-term relationships with a strong network of writers.

The solution is leveraging talent, technology and efficiencies, to build an effective outsourced team.

While market conditions may have driven down the cost of content, that doesn’t mean you can sacrifice the quality needed for optimized, original content that will drive results.

Having worked with thousands of writers over the past decade, and watching in astonishment as the market rates have dropped dramatically, I found the key to making this work is by creating efficiencies through technology and processes: 

  • Efficiencies that make writers jobs simpler in acquiring business, crafting posts, and managing their work.
  • Efficiencies for marketing agencies in managing the business processes, sharing and editing documents and posting to online platforms.
  • And efficiencies for companies working with agencies in locating, sampling and nurturing writing talent that works for their business

All while keeping content affordable and accessible to your clients that need it most.

The Sprint to Outsourced Content

Many agencies and companies alike go full speed into content services, and if it doesn’t work right away, they quickly give up. Content marketing is a marathon, which requires agencies to develop – and continually refine – pricing, processes and talent.

Your competitive advantage lies in the ability to effectively establish and manage an outsourced content team.

I feel there are seven keys to building an effective outsourced content team, including: 

  1. Spending time upfront to select and learn a project management platform designed specifically for content projects, and establish processes that achieve efficiencies.
  2. Taking time to sample a wide variety of different writers to identify which ones deliver the quality you need at the price you can afford.
  3. Considering each piece you get back from writers as a rough draft that may require a few minutes of editing.
  4. Using a white-labeled portal feature (like the one built-in to Zerys for Agencies) to require your clients to provide quick feedback at every major milestone during the content creation process.
  5. Building long-term relationships with writers to make them an extension of your agency, and trusted partners in your business.
  6. Reward your writers by treating them as partners, and offering tips and bonuses when they go above and beyond your expectations.
  7. Let your clients help build your team through their thoughts, feedback and recommendations on key writers. 

Taking The Lead

It’s no question that quality reigns supreme in content marketing. It’s what propels your agency and clients to the leadership position you seek. The challenge comes with the ongoing studies that show that quantity is just as close in importance for driving results. HubSpot has published clear data to show that companies that blog more often, get more traffic and leads. See: New Marketing Data Shows More Content Means More Leads.

As a writer myself, I know the frustrations of market conditions driving down prices. However, most businesses can't afford to pay anywhere close to $500 for a blog post, especially if they want to create enough content to compete. At this rate, publishing a blog post twice per week would run upward of $4,000 month plus potential management expenses.

The motivation behind the development of Zerys was to support a free-market approach, making content accessible to businesses of all sizes. Otherwise, content and inbound marketing as whole would be an elite practice reserved for only big companies with the largest budgets.

As with any industry, there will always be talented people who choose to offer their service at a reduced price in order to get a higher volume of business.

We always try to educate buyers that the more you are willing to pay, the more likely you will get higher quality content. However, people are surprised at the level of quality writers they can find, at the lower price ranges they need. 

My experience is that most agencies, and their clients, want to pay the writers a value-based rate they can agree to, but that remains affordable to offer scale. However, it takes time to sample writers to create your perfect team, and edit content to the specific needs of your clients.

What Are Your Hurdles?

In the end, content marketing is a race worth entering, for the benefit of your agency and clients. Interact Media strives to drive innovations and evolve services to meet your changing needs, and we’re always open to new ideas.

What challenges have you experienced in building content capabilities for your agency? What have you learned along the way?

Steve Lazuka is the founder of Interact Media and the Zerys Content Marketplace.
Follow Steve on Twitter: 
@SteveLazuka.

Photo Credit: BoJay

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