The digital, online age has brought about countless changes to the way companies do business – and one of the most important shifts is the immense power that is now in the hands of customers.
Regardless of industry, whether your business is B2B or B2C, consumers of all stripes now have the ability to do in depth research before they make a buying decision. They can check out your competitors, read reviews from third parties, check out what people are saying about you on social media… And so much more.
One of the best ways to make sure they’re finding the information you want them to have is through content marketing.
Why Content Marketing?
It’s pretty safe to assume that your prospects – no matter where they’re coming from – are going to be diligent in their research, so the wise thing to do (and a huge trend among marketers) is to offer up as much information as you can. You can do this in a couple of ways, and it all counts as “content marketing.”
First, the specs of your product or service should be readily available on your website. That’s a no-brainer. Of course your customers should be able to come straight to the source for any technical, pricing, or implementation questions… So, what about all the other types of content? What’s it good for, anyway?
This is the biggest part of content marketing – and really, a great way to showcase your industry expertise, authority, and highlight all of the problems your product or service can resolve. Outside of raw info, you’ve got a whole universe of industry experience you can share with your potential customers. They’re going to be researching anyway, so why not provide the information they’re looking for?
This kind of content includes blogs, white papers, special reports, participation in industry forms, Quora posts, American Express Open Forum, and anywhere else you can think of to share details about your industry, how products/services like yours can best be used, potential pitfalls, and so on…
The whole point is to be THE source (or at least one of the best ones) for information about your industry or offer – or any other topic that relates directly to your business. Even if people aren’t looking for your company specifically, you can (and should) have articles and other content in place that answers their questions. Not only does this help introduce them to your specific offer, it also establishes your company as a trustworthy source of expert information.
Providing informative content is also a great opportunity to capture leads with tools like “sign up for more info” web forms or exchanging a white paper for signing up for your email list. It’s also a way to get people sharing your content on social media, talking about it with their friends, and sending more traffic to your website.
The better information you can offer, the more people will come seeking it out – making them prime candidates for developing a relationship with your business, well on their way to becoming paying customers.
This is about as straightforward as it gets… Search engine algorithms like new content, so adding new blogs/articles to your website in an ongoing way is going to help you show up higher and higher in the results. When your fresh content is about your industry, with keywords and terminology that your potential customers will be searching for, even better!
You effectively kill two birds with one stone… You boost your search rankings with updated, relevant content while also providing valuable information for people searching for your product or service – or, more likely, exploring solutions to the problem your offer resolves.
Ok, so these are just a few of the good reasons you should be looking into content marketing – and you may have a boatload of ideas for blog posts, white papers, charts, and all kinds of goodies to educate your prospective clientele… But there’s something of a catch…
Somebody has to actually write and post all of this content.
Fortunately, you don’t have to do it all yourself! As an entrepreneur or business owner, you likely have more than enough on your plate over the course of any given day, and the idea of dedicating time to crafting blogs and other content marketing probably sounds like too much of a time sink.
…And even more importantly, the writing needs to be good. Not everyone has the right skillset to craft informative or persuasive content, so why not reach out to the people who do?
Drafting takes time, there’s no way around it… So does proofing/editing, adding links, finding images, posting, and all of the other details that come with generating and sharing content. If you’re already wearing multiple hats for your business, outsourcing is a great way to both lean on the experience and expertise of others, and avoid wasting time that could be better spent elsewhere.
Just as it’s your job to operate your business and oversee the whole show, an outsourced writer is focused on doing just that: writing. Instead of trying to squeeze in time for blog drafting among all the other responsibilities of business ownership, an outsourced writer will be able to dedicate the necessary time and effort to give you great content on a regular basis.
No more sitting on a list of topics, wishing you could find the time to turn them into full-fledged posts. Pass the necessary info off to your hired gun of choice, and you’ll be well on your way to developing consistent content that educates your audience and earns you new business.
Armed with the right tools, a professional writer can be the ticket to adding content to your site (and around the web, if you so desire) without having to take on the responsibility yourself.
What You Need to Know…
Outsourcing content marketing isn’t that tough. Any professional writer, virtual assistant service (that offers content creation… like us!), content service, etc. should know the basics when it comes to formatting, structure, general tone, and the like. They will, however, need some important details from you to really hit the ground running.
Like outsourcing other projects, having some key pieces in place from the start will ensure better results for everyone involved. While every project (and every business) will be a little bit different, there are a few things you’ll need to provide from the outset of the process:
Is your business casual and fun, or straightlaced and professional? Both are perfectly valid – you just have to know what kind of image you want to present to your potential audience. Depending on your industry (and your personality), you may fall anywhere on the spectrum from goofy to stone-serious…
Your writer will need to know what approach to take before they start putting words on the page.
While part of being a writer for the web is being an adept researcher, the more you can provide up front, the more prepared your outsourced content creator will be to deliver exactly what your prospects need. That means product info, of course, but also other industry resources, best practices you follow, competitors to glean tips from (and/or avoid referencing), industry-specific terminology, and anything else that will help them present YOUR expertise as a company.
A knowledgeable writer can help you make decisions, but the way your content looks and feels is ultimately up to you. It may take some testing to find the just the right approach for your business, but before you outsource, consider what kinds of content you expect, how you want it to look, and how often you plan to put new content out on the web.
Are you into short, bullet-point oriented blog posts or long, detailed writeups? Do you want to put together short reports for prospects to download or a comprehensive white paper that you will use as “evergreen” content? Whatever you’re planning, spend a little time brainstorming the details… It’ll make things smoother for everyone.
Like graphics or web design, content writing is a particular skill that people go to great lengths to develop. If you want content that resonates with your audience, provides a meaningful message, and most importantly, is well written and easy to understand, it only makes sense to hire a professional. Your prospective customers are going to be reading up on your company anyway – so why not be the primary source of information?