If you arrived here from Google, the chances are you want to get your hands on the latest content marketing news. You have probably consumed more ebooks, blog posts, videos, webcasts and infographics about content marketing over the last couple of years than you ever thought was possible. You are probably an Econsultancy member, participated in at least three workshops where content marketing and social media were deconstructed, reconstructed and then tumble-dried. Not really, but you get the picture. We are bombarded (some may say overloaded) with content marketing information and opinion; naturally this is demand-led.Consumer-led demand
This demand starts at the consumer. According to TMG Custom Media, 58% of consumers trust editorial content and want to interact with brands because of it. In fact, 78% of CMO’s believe custom content is the future of marketing. For B2B the stats are a concrete business case; 91% of B2B businesses use content marketing to generate leads, according to the Content Marketing Institute.The changing role of agencies
A large percentage of marketers do outsource their content marketing (62% according to Mashable). The role of an agency is probably best left to another article but it’s fair to say that becoming accountable and transparent and have a clear niche is vital. Historically, agencies have squirrelled away their secrets and processes but with the huge amount of resources readily available, marketers can freely become content marketing experts with a bit of hard work. So, why would you use an agency if you have all the skills required for your business to become a quality content house?1. You already have a publishing mindset.
Knowing about content marketing and creating a shift in marketing teams to think differently is harder than it might seem. Moving away from a traditional push led approach to a publishing approach takes guts, training and new skill sets. Hiring an editorial director or content director can help; they really should have publishing skills, great outreach & relationship-building and an in-depth knowledge of your audiences. Do you have this person?2. You can produce enough quality content.
If you are already on top of a clear content strategy, have an editorial framework in place and create enough, quality content you probably don’t need to be talking to a content house like us. But, bear in mind, one of the dangers of doing everything in-house means that you aren’t necessarily as open-minded as combining internal know-how with a fresh point of view; being exposed to new ways of thinking and new insights can open up new possibilities and experience from other markets. The most successful content marketers know this and use a combination of skills for optimum content output.3. Google rates you brilliantly.
If you are getting the rankings that you want, then there is no need to change? With many SEO agencies moving towards content creation, you may think that an existing provider can cover content for you. Be aware that many SEO agencies are there to create content purely for Google. A content marketing agency or content creation agency will do more than this. The big difference is that they may be completely focused on your consumer, not Google. In the long run this creates much better quality content that will get shared and found.4. You already have relationships with SEO, brand, digital and PR agencies.
Managing agency and supplier relationships is time consuming. So, it’s a fair enough viewpoint to think that one of your existing suppliers can take on content. As it is the convergence of a few skills, SEO, PR and digital agencies are offering a ‘content marketing’ service. But, are they specialist enough? Using a content creation specialist gives you access to essential publishing skills; story-telling, research-led reporting, visualisers. Not to mention the expertise of running a successful publishing schedule.5. An agency will never understand my brand like I do.
This is invariably true! In B2C and B2B cases, you are a mouth-piece for your organisation; you live and breathe the values, insight and customer experience. You have your finger on the pulse of the reports, analytics and stats that surround your business. However, bringing in people who have content ideation and production running through their veins is an important part in any storytelling. Would you expect to see a Hollywood movie made by anything other than a director; who’s sole focus is to tell the story in the most compelling way? We bet not. Taking that over to the ‘real’ world; brand managers & subject matter experts are the source of the story; they will work much better with the master craftsmen who can shape and deliver that story.
What are your experiences? Do you outsource your content, manage it in-house or use a combination?