Thousands of companies around the world are doing what you and I call content marketing, inbound marketing, or just plain "blogging." But let's be frank: The majority are frustrated.
Most don't get the real results, the leads, or sales they're looking for — and many are tired of waiting around to see if they'll happen.
If you fall into this category, it likely comes down to one thing: who's owning your content.
Creating content in the form of blog articles, case studies, videos, and more is an incredibly powerful way to grow your business in the digital age. But if you’re outsourcing your content creation to an agency or a freelancer, you're not setting yourself up for success.
Why you need to take content marketing into your own hands
The companies most successful with content marketing are producing several articles each week to rank for multiple keywords and drive traffic to their website. Companies that gain organic traffic and high keyword rankings tend to go on to gather leads and sales — all from their content.
However, in my experience, companies that truly flourish with content marketing take full ownership of their strategy and execution in-house.
Now, why is this?
When you rely on an agency to create your content, in most cases, you will be hindered by the stipulations of your contract. This usually means a limited number of articles and time spent on your company's needs.
Production is often low and slow. You simply won't be able to produce enough content to achieve the results you're looking for.
Plus, those agency writers just don’t know your business the way they need to to create great content.
Don't get me wrong, agency folks are talented, but when it comes to content marketing for your business, what they create will likely be based on research and will rehash what they've made for similar clients. It's unoriginal.
Writers and creators outside your company are also likely not experts in your field. They won't naturally capture your brand's voice or unique company perspectives — at least not as quickly and consistently as you need it to happen.
That's why, if you’re serious about content marketing, you need to get off the sidelines and get in the game yourself.
You need to have a dedicated content owner in-house.
Content marketing needs a leader and a champion in your organization
Bringing your content marketing in-house — with what we call a content manager — enables you to produce high-quality content with greater ease, flexibility, and consistency.
This is because an in-house content manager will make your content marketing their full focus. They will be the leader of your initiatives and the champion for its success.
Easier, flexible production
First off, an in-house content manager is at your disposal for creating content.
It's easier to pivot quickly with someone on your team then it is with someone you had a set contract with.
Since your content manager will solely focused on your company, they should be able write at the three-articles-per-week cadence you need to start making traction in search results, and be readily available for an additional script or email on short notice.
But a content manager won't just write.
They will work with your sales and customer service teams to learn what content is needed and develop your strategy.
An in-house content writer will be engrained in your voice, culture, and processes every day and be better equipped to ensure it is reflected in everything they create.
They'll know what it's actually like working and communicating with someone on your team and create content suited to that experience.
Saving money in the long run
What I hear from business leaders all the time is some version of this same concern: “Marcus, I understand the philosophy behind hiring a content owner, but I need to know that doing so is going to be worth the money. An agency is more affordable.”
As I said above, to really drive major traffic growth with content, you need to be producing at least three articles per week.
Most agencies won't produce anywhere near this output.
Let’s say your inbound agency produces three articles per month. What would it cost to triple production?
If you want to produce a high volume of content, paying an in-house writer is almost always going to be less expensive than hiring someone externally, be that a freelancer or an agency.
What’s more, an in-house writer will be more attuned to the tone and style of your brand. You won’t have to pay for extra revisions if a piece doesn’t sound quite right.
No, you can’t just have someone already on your team do your content
I hear business leaders ask, “Can’t I just have somebody on my team do it?” The answer is yes — as long as you remove all their other responsibilities.
Content management is a full-time job, and if you’re going to take it seriously, it deserves an employee’s full attention.
Adding content to the to-do list of someone who is already on staff means it'll likely get deprioritized.
I have seen this happen at literally hundreds of businesses.
They think they can just give content production to someone who already has a full-time job. You know what happens? They can only produce a small fraction of the content you need, and this even peters out over time. Or that employee burns out and leaves the business.
Either way, your business ends up in a bad situation.
Content management can be taken on internally only if you are willing to consider it a new position to be filled. Otherwise, it won’t work.
I understand the hesitation, but this is a sound investment
As a small business owner myself, I know the hesitation that comes with the thought of hiring for a new position.
You want to make sure that you're making the right choice with your money, hiring the right person, and steering your company in the right direction.
Content is a worthy investment.
The way people buy has changed so drastically that if your website isn’t a teaching tool that helps educate buyers, they will find the information they seek elsewhere — and then begin forming a relationship with whatever source supplied their answers.
If you want to be that source that is trusted and sought out by buyers, you need content on your website — a lot of it. If you want that content to bring in traffic, gather leaders, and help salespeople close deals, you need it to be produced in-house.
To do content marketing right, you need to hire a content manager.