In an environment where content is key, the pressure is on for brands to deliver. Getting your B2B content marketing strategy right can lead to increased brand awareness, improved lead generation and general sales success. However, getting it wrong can drain your company’s time and resources, and even damage your brand’s reputation.
B2B companies are outsourcing an average of 68% of their content development and distribution [Starfleet Media, 2014], which begs the question: is content marketing best left to the experts?
Content Expert or Industry Expert
A good content agency can keep your brand innovative by providing access to the latest thinking and industry insights. They can advise on best practice, present initiatives to enhance content and suggest relevant technology platforms. However, an agency is unlikely to know the industry you operate in as well as you do. Your expertise in the sector and knowledge of your customers means the content you produce can provide deeper insight.
Combining marketing content strategy with industry knowledge is vital. An agency excels in the former and in-house the latter, striking the perfect balance is key.
A Question of Time
With the content supplier responsible for the whole process – from generating content to creating schedules and ensuring content delivers – you can sit back and monitor the ROI. This is theory, however in practice the provider may need more support, at least in the beginning. What results is a period of sending notes and corrections to ensure content is suitably in-depth and engaging for your clients and prospects.
You should consider the resources it would take to continuously source and write your own content, as well as the ongoing training and recruitment of staff and weigh up the more time-effective solution for your business.
The biggest advantage to working with an agency is that they are experts in their field and will deliver results. If you want to see these results however, you have to have faith in their abilities. In some cases, the business owner may not agree with specific images, tweets or articles used by the agency but if they can provide convincing rationale for their choices, you should trust their expertise and let them do their job.
This boils down to the individual business owner and how comfortable they are with handing the control of their content creation to the agency they are working with.
The Path of Least Resistance
Hiring a fresh pair of eyes can help bring new energy to your marketing activity, offering deeper insights into your work processes and challenging you to think more creatively. This can however be met by resistance from your existing employees. When taking on an agency, you should use the same criteria that you would to employ someone and ensure they are a cultural fit.
Conflict can present itself in any organization, whether in-house or with external parties. The key here is to communicate with departments, external agencies and stakeholders to ensure everyone is working toward the same end goal.
Whether you outsource or create content in-house is dependent on a number of factors that are specific to each organisation. If you decide to hire an agency, treat it as though you would an in-house marketing department. Regular communication is key and developing an ongoing relationship with your content writer, outsourced or in-house, is necessary to delivering engaging content that your customers love.