You run a tight ship and value the quality that you provide. So how do you deal with it when you boss wants to bring in a cheap contractor to do your marketing work? This article gives you some answers.
Time to read
- Amateur content destroys brands
- Even great writers aren’t great with strategy
- Professional bring a range of skills and experience that your business lacks.
Includes tips on selling the dream, and how you can sustain top results.
Never apologise for only wanting to work with exceptional people
As a professional, you’ve spent years honing your own skills. You know that the best results come from having the right skills on your team to drive your company forward.
Yet, when it comes to content and marketing, your boss wants a cheap contractor or someone on the team to do the work. You know you don’t have the skills to create content for your audience, let alone dig deep into the strategy side. How do you convince the management team to bring in a professional?
“I’m told we need a blog.”
In her article, Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data, Rachel Lovinger said:
‘The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.’
The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. ~ Rachel Lovinger
As an expert yourself, you know the value a true expert brings. Marketing is no different. Yet, because marketing feels like a “soft skill” – the kind anyone with a decent level of intelligence could pick up – many leaders assume anyone can do it.
When the ROI on amateur content shows as less than impressive, leaders question the value of hiring a professional. Why bother, when the method has already proven unsuccessful?
In truth, the lack of a professional voice leads to lacklustre results.
When I first start digging into an organisation’s content strategy, I see content created by a staff member working outside their role. They’ve read a few articles about what a business “needs” for successful marketing, and do the best they can to match the vision to the reality.
What goes out to the market may not reflect the true values of your company, or align with your business goals. You miss the opportunity to engage your audience on a deeper level.
When the #ROI of amateur #content is less than impressive, leaders question the value of professionals. Why bother, when the method is unsuccessful?
Amateur content destroys brands
Aside from low ROI, content produced by an amateur without a solid strategy in place can lead to a disaster. Your content creator may inadvertently create a bad impression, reveal private information, or contradict company values.
Even brands that are built on quality content can have their values compromised when they let something unprofessional slip through the cracks. Look at the débâcle TED faced when they allowed a TEDx talk filled with fake science to be hosted on their platform. Read about that embarrassment in the Harvard Business Review.
Even brands that are built on quality content can have their values compromised when they let something unprofessional slip through the cracks.
The TED name had become associated with bad content, as the chortle‐inducing lineup of TEDxValenciaWomen made clear. People who didn’t even know the specifics of those situations, but had grown to dislike what TED represented, used the occasion to trash the brand — both for its perceived elitism and, somewhat paradoxically, for dumbing down ideas. An angry mob was forming. The dialogue was mean. And, organizationally, it was life threatening because the very premise of TED was being questioned.
- Harvard Business Review
Even great writers struggle with strategy
You may have the next Hemingway in your midst, but without a strategy in place, their efforts become “spray and pray” – publishing random bits and pieces in the hope something sticks.
There’s more to content than great writing – and there’s more to marketing than great content. At Brutal Pixie, our services cover editorial, metadata, content management, channel distribution, and best practice in tone, style, readability and accessibility. We create a strategy that addresses each other these key areas and pull them together in a cohesive whole. We make sure your content has a reason for existing.
Without a watertight strategy in place, even the writing becomes ‘spray and pray’. #content #contentstrategy #vision
Here’s what a professional brings to the table
When you hire a content or marketing professional, you’re getting more than just a writer. A professional strategist will:
- Learn about your business and what needs to improve.
- Audit your current assets and figure out what can be re‐used or updated.
- Provide conceptual thinking for your marketing strategy.
- Create engaging content that meets your firm’s business goals.
- Adopt a collaborative perspective to produce unique, quality content with input from your team.
- Provide high‐end, personalised customer service.
- Give you an unbiased opinion and let you know when you’re off the mark.
- Answer your questions with detailed explanations, instead of “that’s the way it’s done.”
- Obtain top results based on empirical data.
For less than the cost of hiring an in‐house marketing team, you can tap into these professional skills and test the ROI for yourselves. Hiring an outside agency allows you the flexibility to pull in different skills to meet your needs, as and when you require them.
Selling the dream
How do you get the management team to see beyond the immediate cost of hiring an expert? We suggest:
- Appealing to their fiscal sense by pointing out that bringing in an expert for an upcoming campaign costs significantly less than hiring a new in‐house resource. Add up the cost of “fee‐burning” by having members of the team doing the work instead of what they were hired for.
- Appealing to their love of results by demonstrating some of the results from competitors or other service businesses who’ve used a professional.
- Appealing to their desire for control by reminding them about the flexibility of being able to bring in an expert for selected projects or on an ongoing contract.
- Appealing to their egos by reminding them that working with experts elevates the company’s reputation and ensures the experience and knowledge of the strategist matches theirs.
Sustaining top results
You had some early success with your own content efforts. Perhaps an article your team wrote went viral, or a client reported finding you via your comms. This gives your boss a false sense of your abilities.
While it’s definitely possible to get great results from your own team with trial and error, you’re looking for more than a lucky break. For sustained results that keep improving over time, you’re better choosing a professional.
You don’t know what you don’t know
A few years ago, I was brought into an organisation to create basic content for its website. While I was there, I learned about the company and their push marketing tactics. Even though it wasn’t why I was there, I decided to make some suggestions for improvement.
I explained the elements of strategy and pull marketing to their team. I showed them how a single piece of content could be repurposed, so it took less time (and money) to create. I identified potential improvements to curation, workflow, scheduling, and resourcing.
Within a month, these changes started paying off. Clearly defined user paths started to drive traffic to the right pages on the website. Relevant content kept them around, and the right downloads started generating leads. With improved workflows and processes, the company now has visibility over all levels of the customer experience. They started to grow, and now they have in‐house communications experts to do this full‐time.
The owners couldn’t see any of the issues that we found. They needed an independent expert to look at the business through fresh eyes and identify improvements.
Professionals require professional pay
When you bring on a new hire into your company, you pay them a professional wage in line with both their experience and the clients they might be able to bring in.
Your boss might baulk at the price tag of a consultant. Remind them that a content strategist will ask a fair fee for their time and expertise. The time and money they’ll save you and the new business you’ll generate as a result will more than cover what they ask.
If they’re not asking for what they’re worth, then they’re probably not worth your time.
Check out the brilliant Vendor Guide that @brutalpixie pulled together, to help you find the right content marketing agency. http://brutalpixie.com/vendor-guide-content-marketing-agencies/
Exceptional people build exceptional businesses
I understand the resistance management teams have to bringing in an outside marketing expert. Why bother, when your team can handle it?
The truth is, you should never apologise for wanting to work with a professional strategist. They provide the high‐level thinking and direction you need to succeed.
Choose to work with experts who provide an exciting partnership, outstanding quality, and great outcomes over time.
Are you ready to experience the difference of working with a true content professional? Contact Brutal Pixie today.