The other day I was speaking to an agency owner who was proud to announce he didn’t write any website copy for his website development projects. I also see agencies who continue to outsource content to freelancers and services like Writer Access or Zerys. It seems like more and more agencies are recognizing the challenges associated with content creation and simply punting the task to someone else.
It’s hard to argue the economics associated with punting content to someone else. Clients are constantly changing their minds, over editing, rewriting their own edits, pivoting their entire marketing strategy in the middle of content creation and simply being overly picky. Not being responsible for content also does wonders for lowering your monthly investment requirements too and being very competitive on website projects.
Writing a search engine optimized, social media relevant blog article should probably cost your clients close to $1,000 if you did it correctly. If you’re doing four blogs a month, that’s $4,000 in blogging alone. A website project without copy could be $15,000 less than one with copy depending on the number of pages and offers.
So the virtues of being out of the content business are pretty clear, but I think there are more good reasons stay in the content deliver game than to get out.
Here’s why I think it’s a mistake to leave content to someone else.
Loss Of Control Means Loss Of Control Of Results
Having given up different elements of our inbound marketing program to different parties over the past 13 years, one thing I’ve learned is that this makes it more difficult to produce results for clients and in the end, that’s what they care about.
Give up website copy creation to the client and the site goes live three months late because the client took their time writing the copy. Now the program takes three months longer to produce results. The only outcome of this scenario is a client disappointed in their results.
If you’re going to be accountable to your clients for results, you’re going to want to control every aspect of the engagement.
Content Touches Every Other Element Of An Inbound Program
The reason I’m so obsessed with control is because inbound tactics are so interconnected that removing one as important as content makes almost every other tactic less effective. For example, you need website content to help the site get found. If your client is writing it how are you going to ensure its SEO optimized content?
Here’s another one. You need website copy to help convert visitors into leads. You have to be a professional copy writer to write copy that is designed to drive conversion, as opposed to simply writing copy for your website. In these two simple examples, content touches conversion and search engine optimization.
If it was only that simple. Content impacts social media, email marketing, lead nurturing, off-site SEO, influencer marketing and almost all of our ongoing optimization efforts. How could we possibly give this critical responsibility to anyone else?
Ok, now you’re saying you don’t really give it to someone else, because you over see it and manage it. Also a solid idea. But how efficient is this continual back and forth. Worse, you’re actually training someone else’s team with your knowledge and expertise and they’re actually taking your knowledge and sharing it with every other agency they work with.
In essence, you’re helping everyone who uses that freelancer or content creation company. You're actually diminishing any differentiation or competitive advantage you had from your experience and learning. Perhaps this isn’t something you originally contemplated or expected, but its true none the less.
Everything Is Your Fault, Even When Its Actually NOT Your Fault
No matter who did what, who said what, who promised what the client will inevitably consider it your fault if the program fails to perform. Arguing about who caused the situation is pointless. We never blame the client, even when it’s the client’s fault.
Given our posture, you can see how wanting to be in control of the entire program would be a prime directive for us. If we’re going to be accountable to our clients for results and we are accountable, we want to be 100% responsible for the execution necessary to produce results. Sharing that with anyone else introduces an element of risk that makes us uncomfortable.
We’ll succeed on our own or we’ll fail on our own, but we’ll do it on our own and as a team.
More And More Clients Are Coming To Us Looking For ONLY Content
If you’re looking to swim upstream into bigger businesses and you should be. Then content is often one of the first elements bigger businesses realize they can’t produce on their own. They know how to email, they have a web design shop (or internal resources), they have a social media manager and even a designer. But they don’t know how, don’t have the people, nor do they have the desire to crank out content at the pace they see is required to generate leads.
More and more clients are looking for this “bolt on” to their already existing inbound marketing effort. If you don’t do that, outsource it or use a service, where’s the value. They might as well do that themselves and many will attempt to do it this way first. It makes sense to you, it’s going to make sense to them too. But like most of us, they’ll quickly realize this is more difficult than it looks on paper and they’ll want a professional content marketing firm.
You’re going to want to be there for them when they need you and that’s going to open new doors for new opportunities when they need help with tactics they don’t even know they need yet. Tactics like marketing automation, CRM integration, complex lead nurturing and workflows, conversion optimization and more.
It’s the Fuel That Feeds The Lead Gen Engine
It’s nice to be the car manufacturer, but its nicer to be the fuel company who makes gas that the car needs to run. You can buy a car, but if you don’t put fuel in it, you get literally no value from the product. Inbound marketing is actually very similar.
You can build a beautiful website, create stunning email nurture campaigns and make sure everyone finds your new website but if you don’t feed the machine with new, creative, educational content on a regular basis—you’re going to come up dramatically short on your lead goal projections.
The faster you feed the beast, the more leads it’s going to generate. If your client can’t keep up, if your freelancers can’t keep up, if your writing outsourced service can’t keep up—you’ll have a sports car that sits in the driveway because it’s out of fuel.
Start Today Tip – To content or not to content. That’s the question. Regardless of which direction you choose, go into this with your eyes open and with a clear understanding of the risks and rewards. Just because we do it, doesn’t mean you should do it. It might make total sense for you to push content to other sources. Evaluate your long term plans. What kind of an inbound marketing agency do you want? Once you
know, stick to your plans and push past any challenges associated with creating content so you attain your goal of generating leads and results for all your clients.
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