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Content Marketing: From Trend to Cornerstone Strategy

Content Marketing: From Trend to Cornerstone Strategy

The 2010s witnessed significant trends that left lasting impressions on popular culture, from the rise of the Marvel and DC cinematic universes to the ubiquity of social media. Much of this transformation can be traced back to Google's Zero Moment of Truth study, which revealed that 88% of consumers research products and services before making a purchase. 

This finding amplified the need for enhanced search engine optimization (SEO) across brands of all sizes and, consequently, a greater demand for content to fuel these SEO efforts. As we delve deeper into the implications of these trends and how they shape the digital marketing landscape, discover actionable insights and strategies to leverage this paradigm shift effectively. Keep reading to unlock the full potential of your content marketing efforts.

In-House Content Creation vs. Outsourcing: Weighing the Options

The evolving content marketing landscape has prompted reevaluating how teams are structured, particularly in the marketing space, where budgets are closely scrutinized for return on investment (ROI). To lower marketing overhead, many companies adopt a "jack-of-all-trades" approach to hiring, which can result in a talent gap for specialized roles, such as content creation.

The Case for In-House Content Production

Savvy marketers appreciate the unparalleled control in-house content production offers overall process stages. In-house teams benefit from:

  • In-depth training on products and solutions
  • Regular updates as products evolve
  • A deeper and more consistent understanding of the brand voice
  • Embeddedness in company culture, allowing for rapid shifts alongside business goals

However, these in-house teams come with high salaries, benefits, and other costs that many businesses are reluctant to shoulder in today's economic climate. Furthermore, in-house resources are relatively static and often limited to the skills available within the team, making it challenging to adapt to specialized content needs or new content formats.

The Advantages of Outsourcing Content Production

Moving to an outsourced approach opens up fresh opportunities, such as:

  • Finding expert writers for articles on niche technologies
  • Hiring specialized designers for infographics in specific styles
  • Engaging video creators for a series of sales enablement videos

Outsourcing content production liberates internal marketing resources, enabling them to concentrate on other growth initiatives while ensuring consistent content delivery. It empowers brands to adjust content creation levels according to demand and diversify content types without inflating fixed costs. This adaptability simplifies the support of all marketing initiatives reliant on content.

Addressing Concerns and Objections to Outsourcing

Despite the advantages of outsourcing, B2B marketing executives often express concerns when the topic is raised by management. Common objections include:

  • "Industry experts" who haven't undergone proper vetting
  • Unreliable freelancers who disappear without notice, requiring immediate replacement
  • Time and focus wasted on editing and rewriting subpar content
  • Poor collaboration between the in-house team and outsourced resources

However, securing executive buy-in is critical to the success of any marketing program, making it essential to explore the cost-benefits of outsourcing. Let's delve into the core benefits of outsourcing content production to a reliable partner.

Finding the Ideal Approach: Contracting vs. Partnering

Depending on your internal team structure, there are multiple effective ways to approach outsourcing. We can split these into two main categories:

  1. Hiring external creative talent to be managed by your in-house team.
  2. Collaborating with a content creation agency or a managed production solution.

1. Hiring Contractors: Time Investment Considerations

Hiring one-off resources is where most internal content marketing professionals begin. Consider the time investment required for tasks such as:

  • Sourcing and onboarding talent: 8 hours
  • Developing ideas and briefings: 6 hours
  • Overseeing content production: 4 hours
  • Managing the CMS: 1.5 hours
  • Handling invoices and payments: 1.5 hours
  • Editing, revisions, and coaching writers: 10 hours
  • Replacing freelancers who leave: 2 hours

*These estimates are based on producing an average of 10 blogs per month.

These tasks are similar to those managed by a full-time content team.

2. Partnering with a Managed Content Creation Solution: Key Questions to Ask

Content creation agencies vary widely. Some highlight their expert content creators and efficient workflows, while others emphasize their content creation platforms or affordable solutions.

The key is to ensure that most of your content budget is dedicated to producing high-quality content.

Here is a quick list of questions to consider when evaluating potential outsourcing partners:

  1. Can they align with our content strategy?
  2. Do they understand our industry, audience, and their pain points?
  3. What is their process for vetting and onboarding content creators?
  4. How do they ensure and measure content quality?
  5. Can they scale their resources according to our needs?
  6. What communication tools do they use for seamless collaboration?
  7. What is their process for handling revisions and feedback?
  8. What is the average turnaround time for various types of content?
  9. How do they structure their pricing?
  10. Do they utilize technology-driven content creation tools, such as AI?
  11. Does their portfolio meet our expectations?
  12. Who retains the rights to the produced content?
  13. Do they provide reports on content performance, and which metrics do they cover?
  14. Can they provide customer stories or references?
  15. Do they offer additional services or expertise that would enhance our content marketing?

The Bottom Line: Aligning Your Content Production Strategy with Your Goals

The content marketing landscape is constantly changing, necessitating adjustments to your content production strategy.

In-house teams provide deep brand knowledge and control, but these advantages often come with high costs and reduced flexibility. On the other hand, outsourcing offers substantial benefits – such as scalability and diverse content creation – at a lower price than maintaining an in-house team.

Ultimately, finding an approach that aligns with your goals and ensures consistent, high-quality content without diverting attention from other marketing and business priorities is crucial. By carefully assessing your options and choosing a content production partner that understands your needs, you can leverage outsourcing to enhance your content marketing efforts and achieve significant results for your organization.

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