In a world where content is king, B2B tech companies of all sizes want to know: what does it take for a B2B tech company to rule the search results? The answer is “simple”: consistently write quality blog posts focused around targeted keywords. They will increase brand awareness, website traffic, and even inbound leads.
But, is it really all that simple?
One of the most common questions we are asked is, “How do we consistently fill our content need?” B2B tech companies often struggle with consistency and quality in their content production.Whether you’re a large FinTech company in Raleigh or a start-up cyber security company in Boston, getting one or more blogs up each week — and then also creating larger content offers such as an ebook — can be a struggle. So what can you do to meet your content marketing goals?
Set Realistic Goals
Rule number one of setting content KPIs: set realistic goals! While you may have received advice that it is important to blog every single day — that really isn’t the case anymore. Gone are the days where a blog post is a simple 500-word every day is enough to fill your funnel. Today, both readers and Google’s algorithm expect more from you. Your articles need to be tactful and meaty — offering trends, tactics and examples, backed up by data.
The easiest way to set your big picture goals is to ask yourself: what is the overall goal of the content we produce? For most B2B tech companies, the answer to this question is simple: increase website traffic and leads.
With that in mind, consider the following HubSpot benchmark data: Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that published between 0-4 monthly posts. More traffic often results in more leads. But, that doesn’t mean you need to start blogging 16 times per month right away.
Say for example, right now you’re only blogging 0-1 times per week. Increasing your blog frequency to a steady one post per week will help. Once you have consistently posted one quality blog per week for a couple months, adjust your goal: maybe your new goal is two blogs per week — and so forth.
As a general rule of thumb, you’re better off writing 1-2 quality posts per week consistently instead of churning out five 500-word posts that don’t aid in your search performance.
But therein lies the question: How do you actually get to writing and posting 1-2 (or more) new blogs every week? How do you eventually create richer forms of content, such as pillar pages, eBooks, reports, or white papers? For most B2B tech companies, it takes some combination of in-house and outsourced efforts.
For many companies, outsourcing content production can be a cost-efficient way to growing your blog and resource content without needing to hire a full-time person (or two, or three!)
Outsourcing your efforts likely includes one or more of the following:
- Hiring individual freelancers
- Hiring an agency
- Collaborating with partners
Let’s take a closer look at the pros and cons of each of these options to determine how they can help you meet your content objectives.
Hiring one, or a few, freelancers can be a short-term or long-term solution to your content marketing objectives.
Hiring freelancers can help you quickly increase the number of blogs on your website without bogging down your marketing team. They often pose an affordable solution, with freelancers charging anywhere from $125-$600 per post. Even if you had a freelancer charging you $600 per post for two posts per week, the cost would be less than the average salary of an in-house content marketing manager.
And, if you hire freelancers with expertise in your space, you may find that you learn something along the way, too.
You risk hiring bad writers. You might wonder, How can a freelancer be a bad writer? It happens. In all my years in marketing and communications I have learned on thing: you can’t teach good writing.
Granted, you might find freelancers who are good writers, but just aren’t a good fit for your company. Sometimes writers don’t jibe with your company’s voice or brand. In other cases, they don’t write posts with SEO in mind. This can lead to a lot of work for your in-house team, between reading, proposing edits, re-reading, etc.
In any case, it is important to interview your freelancers as you would a full-time employee, ask for writing samples, references, and even ask them to do a mock writing assignment to get an idea for their quality and style. You don’t have to commit to hiring them forever. Consider small lengths of time until you each hit your stride.
Hire an Agency
When looking to outsource content production, hiring an agency is often the preferred choice of B2B technology companies. B2B technology companies often have complex products and posts may often require technical writing. Additionally, the steep competition in most B2B tech spaces means that hiring someone who can help not only with the blog writing, but also the keyword research and content promotion can bring your efforts full circle.
In terms of outsourcing your content efforts, hiring and agency may be your best bet in terms of both affordability and return on investment. Working with an agency means you won’t just be hiring someone to write the content, but also a group of experienced individuals who can help you brainstorm your topic, do keyword research to identify important keywords you can rank for, write the topic, and then help promote your content via email and social mediums.
Often, you can’t hire an agency solely for writing work. It will likely have to be part of a bigger package or initiative — not because agencies are greedy, but simply because their goal is to help you get the most mileage out of your content, and will want to work with you to optimize it. If you are working with a very small budget, a different solution may be essential.
Collaborate on Content with Partners
The popular marketing book, Brandscaping, author Andrew Davis suggests that partnerships are one of the most effective ways to increase brand awareness and sales, without increasing your workload. While the book draws on examples from big-names like Disney and even Lady Gaga, the book’s key lesson holds true for today’s B2B technology companies: doing content marketing the right way means working with partners.
Increased brand awareness without increasing your effort (too much) certainly sounds like a plus side of working with partners — and it is! Collaborating with partners in your space to produce content can help you generate more, high-quality content pieces that get shared in twice as many places.
As we often quip, teamwork makes the dream work. It may be cheesy, but it’s true.
While you have your goals, your partners have their goals, too — that means that you might end up competing for a prospect’s attention or budget instead of winning it. Although you and you partners are not competing, both of your solutions do cost money — and for businesses with limited budgets, they may have to make the choice as to who to work with. Additionally, your partner might not be staffed any better than your company. This could ultimately slow the project down.
That being said, it is important to discuss the goals of the project with your partner ahead of time. Many of the cons of working with a partner can easily be avoided by coming up with a content strategy from the get-go, and having open communication throughout content initiatives.
Get In-House and Outsourced Content Teams Working Together
When you begin outsourcing content to meet your objectives, it’s important that you align what’s happening externally with what’s happening internally. Whether you are hiring a new team member, one freelancer or a few, investing in agency work, partnering up (or maybe finding another creative solution), your marketing team should be heavily involved in the content production, editing, publishing and promotion process.
In-House Marketing/Content Team Responsibilities
- Host monthly content meetings: This is especially important if you work with freelancers. You should outline your overall marketing goals, keywords, voice, best practices, upcoming topics, etc.
- Assign topics: Depending on the experience of your freelancers (or agency), your marketing team may need to provide guidance, or entire topics, to your out-sourced writers.
- Edit the blogs: Even though we can go from idea to public work from our smartphones in a matter of seconds, the rule from the publishing world still has value and adds polish. Make sure you have three sets of eyes on everything written before it goes public — the writer, an editor, and a QA person. Many publishing houses work with four sets of eyes — writer, big picture (substantive) editor, line editor (clarity), and proof editor. No matter how many hands and brains touch your written output, make sure you have a procedure and calendar in place to keep everyone focused on getting work published in a rhythm. You want your team to have a mutual understanding of deliverables, expectations, and processes.
For many B2B technology companies, outsourcing writing efforts may be essential in order to meet content objectives. It is best that you evaluate your goals, needs and budget, and then evaluate potential writers. If you think an agency is the best route for your company, let us know how we can help! We have a team of talented SEO gurus, writers, and content all-stars who can help you meet your content marketing goals.