How to Hire a Content Marketing Consultant
We are in the midst of a digital revolution, which means that if a business is looking to grow or even maintain its customer base, it must focus its marketing strategies online. In addition to this, consumers are looking for meaningful connections to the products they use. They want companies to have ethical mission statements and to share moving stories. As a result, content marketing is extremely important in this digital marketplace. A website is often the first point of connection between a customer and the business, and it needs to work. In this article, we will explore how to hire a content marketing consultant that your business needs.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing uses storytelling and information sharing to increase brand awareness. Ultimately, the goal is to have the reader take an action towards becoming a customer, such as requesting more information, signing up for an email list, or making a purchase. Content marketing is often seen as indirect marketing; by creating trust and a relationship with your customers, they inch closer to increasing your conversation rates. You can find some examples of content marketing experts in our top picks for top social media and/or digital marketing consultants in your area for more information.
Who needs to use content marketing?
The short answer—everyone! As we state later, content marketing has become important through the pandemic; with less personal interaction or brick and mortar sales, people are looking to research information online. Ultimately, it does not matter what type of business you own. If you are looking to maintain trust with existing customers or grow your business, you should invest in good content marketing.
Why should you outsource your content marketing?
Investing in content marketing ensures that you are sending relevant information to your clients, where they gain a better understanding of your values and customer support. This may not directly lead to direct sales, but it will gain you loyal customers who will provide referrals.
Now that you have a good grasp of what content marketing is, you need to decide who to hire to take care of all of that for you. For some, that may mean an in-house team, for others that may mean outsourcing.
Should businesses hire a consultant?
There are benefits to hiring an in-house content marketing team or staff member. As with any position, you can depend on them to be experts on your business, dedicate their time solely to your business needs, adjust messaging immediately, and more easily own your content. However, it can cost a lot of time and money to have a content marketing team, and if that person or group does not work out, it takes even more time and money to find someone who does. If you are not a large corporation with the tools to pay or maintain a content marketer in-house, then a consultant or agency is the way to go.
What are the different types of content?
Content writing technically can be broken down into many categories. According to the Search Engine Journal, there are up to 100 different types of content one can find on websites. However, for purposes of brevity, we will focus on 10 types of content marketing below:
A blog is an informational-style website usually in the style of a diary. New content on a blog is published on the top versus updating the general site. Blogs are a great way to build a customer following. Blogs are usually long-form content, so when a customer reads your posts, they understand your personality, brand and eventually become loyal to you. Blogs are usually informally written, but if you do it properly, it will boost your SEO, increase organic search and grow your web presence.
Videos are becoming the most used content on the web. According to HubSpot research, 54% of audiences want to see videos from brands they support, which is more than any other type of content. Consumers are becoming increasingly impatient to receive information and stories quickly. Instead of reading how to do something, a testimonial or announcement, they prefer to see and hear it. They also want it to be short. If you invest in videos, note that while professional-grade videos are great, they are not always necessary if the content is still clear.
In addition to videos becoming increasingly used, podcasts have blown up in the last several years. In fact, over the last two years, the podcasting world grew from 18.5 million episodes to 30 million. The boom took off from true-crime stories, but podcasts have expanded so much so that any business can either create their own or at least advertise there.
Data can be easier to recognize and understand when presented as an infographic. Infographics can make your product more reputable if there’s hard data involved. They are also fun! They can wake up a marketing strategy with eye-catching content. They’re bright, visually captivating ways to present stats or processes. Plus, they can be easily shared via social media, helping to grow your audience.
A meme is an image matched with text that is then quickly shared. If you can time a meme perfectly, and align it with your marketing strategy and aesthetic, it can be an easy way to increase traffic. Note that memes are great for trends within the moment, so they require understanding culturally relevant topics and when appropriate to share.
User-generated content (UGC) is any form of content created by individual people (not brands) and published to an online channel. The content is usually initiated by the consumer and shared with a larger network. This form of content marketing is great because it gets customers involved and can feel more genuine to new potential customers.
Like user-generated content, testimonials and customer reviews are content pieces generated straight from your audience. If you are looking to stand out from competitors, testimonials give a short synopsis of why your company stands out.
A case study is an in-depth, detailed examination of a particular case within a real-world context. If your product or service has a lot of hard data, then an infographic is great for the visual component, but a case study provides context to potential customers. Case studies are similar to testimonials in that they are focused on one customer, but it is a more in-depth analysis of the customer’s story with your product.
If your product or service can lead to potential “how to” or “how do I” questions, then guides are a must in content marketing. Guides can be PDFs, infographics, or videos. They can also be a simple step-by-step guide or can be a full website academy.
Paid Ad Content
Being genuine and trustworthy is important in today’s market, no matter what service or product you provide. Customers do not always want to hear from the company on how great they are, so they look at reviews, testimonials, what is trending, and then influencers. Paying influencers to share ad content on their social channels can boost your visibility to a much larger network of consumers.
How is Content Marketing different from Digital Marketing?
Digital Marketing is marketing that is focused on online efforts, via websites and social media. Content marketing is one type of digital marketing. For further information on digital marketing and other forms besides content marketing, check out this UpCity article.
Why Content Marketing remains important in 2021
According to Sajjad Ahmad, demand in content marketing has seen a massive surge due to the lockdown era experienced due to COVID-19. The only way to stay connected when stuck at home was through virtual platforms and the digital space. In addition to communicating with each other, consumerism became mostly virtual, which meant that all businesses had to boost their digital marketing efforts.
However, prior to COVID, content marketing already became an increasingly important type of content marketing. Just ask any TikTok star. Here are a few reasons:
Promotes brand loyalty
Creating content on your website or social channels allows you to illustrate how your brand is different from your competitors’. Content marketing is where your story is told to the audience. The more stories you share, whether on a blog or on social media, you eventually understand you more and will become a loyal customer.
Your customers will begin to trust you if you create, maintain, and update your content consistently. If your company wants to remain transparent to your customers, you would provide updates and announcements to your customers via your content. By maintaining your content, your customers will trust that you are honest with them.
Improves your website’s rankings
Websites that have little content on them or become stale, do not do well on website rankings. Search Engine Optimization is closely tied to content marketing, so if your content is not updated or “trendy” in your product space, then your website ranking will go down.
Why You Should Hire a Content Marketing Consultant or Agency
All business owners go through a period where you need an additional hand for your content marketing campaigns. Maybe you want to experiment more in content marketing, or you know that you do not want to have in-house support. Most agencies offer support for the following services:
- Create or consult on strategies
- Identifying key content formats
- Creation of content and copywriting
- Connection to other consultants (e.g., video production companies)
- Assist with budget
- Ongoing training modules and consulting
Depending on the agency that you hire, they may also be a full-stack agency that can support other digital (e.g., SEO) and non-digital marketing (e.g., print ads) needs as well.
Hiring a Content Marketing Specialist
You may have decided that you are ready to hire a content marketing specialist. Now here are some questions and answers that will help guide you with your search:
How Much Does It Cost to Develop a Content Marketing Strategy?
The cost of hiring content marketing depends on the specialty, size, location, and years of experience of the business. However, here is a general breakdown:
Content marketing agency: You can find a content marketer to fit any budget. Whether you hire someone hourly or per project, if you do enough research you will find someone. However, for quality consultants, you can expect the cost to range from $2,000 to $10,000 per month.
Full-service marketing, including SEO and content: This can cost up to $120,000 – $150,000 per year.
Ad-hoc, monthly services: This varies by specialty and location. For considerations of cost, check out this article by Tarek Mohajer.
When comparing the cost of an agency to an in-house team, note that a full-time, in-house team on average costs $261,500 per year.
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How to Implement a Content Marketing Strategy
Before hiring a content marketer, it is necessary to know what your overall strategy is. Your consultant will be able to help you fully develop your strategy and then implement it, but ultimately they need to understand your marketing goals. When vetting potential consultants, keep the following things in mind:
- What kind of content do you want to focus on?
- Which formats do your target customers prefer?
- Define and build your strengths
- Find the gaps in the market
- Don’t be afraid to experiment
Depending on your brand identity, product and consumer personality, your ideal type of content may be different from what your customers prefer to use. For example, you may prefer case studies on your site, but you find that your customers only watch videos. Your consultant will help you to understand which type of content is most useful for your business.
Skills to Look for in a Content Marketing Company
Content marketing is a creative and experienced skill. Unlike SEO or analytic marketing, content is story-based and often more intuitive. As a result, you should be looking for an agency or consultant that is driven by people and storytelling.
Of course, results are important, so when doing your research, take a look at the agency or consultants’ portfolio. Does their previous work align with your aesthetic and values? If not, then they will likely not be the right fit for you.
Questions to Ask When Choosing a Content Marketing Company
Not all marketing agencies are the same. Some specialize in a certain type (e.g., blogs), some may specialize in a certain industry (e.g., travel), and many have different price points and packages (monthly, yearly, ad hoc). Before asking these questions of the agency, go through this exercise yourself:
- What is your specialty?
- Are you a full-service company or do you specialize?
- What is your pricing structure?
- What is your business culture?
- Have you worked with a business like mine before?
- What is your project management style?
Consulting is a large market, so be targeted in your questions so that you can easily weed out those that do not suit your needs and business culture.
After you have vetted and signed with a content marketing consultant, you can expect:
- Conversations around business goals, marketing plans, and objectives, including understanding your target audience.
- Initial work gathering information and data metrics on your existing website, platforms, and analytics.
- Conducting a site audit to identify content writing gaps and opportunities.
- Using this information for content creation and campaigns; build links and visibility.
- Regular metric reports on successes and opportunities for change or growth, as well as campaign maintenance.