The other week we ran a post about hiring an SEO consultant and whether or not it was worth it for your business. Well, this week we are doing the same thing for those thinking about hiring a content marketer.
No matter what type of content you are creating (video, photo, word), the prime objective is to garner an audience and then convert them to customers. Realizing the immense potential that content has on conversions and SEO, businesses often rush to produce a massive amount of content. The problem is that quality tends to dip. So to combat this, companies began hiring dedicated content marketers. The trend continues and in 2017, 39% of B2B and B2C marketers increased their content marketing budget.
When you are able to create high quality content that is informative, easy to read, and reaches your targeted audience than you’ll see conversions. The problem is, this can be quite difficult when you are a small business owner attempting to manage content marketing on top of everything else.
Is Creating High-Quality Content Really That Difficult?
Like anything else in life, difficulty really depends on your proficiency and time dedicated to it. If you are a professional writer than you’ll be able to write high-quality content easily. A photographer is going to have an easy time producing high-quality photos. But what if you aren’t trained in either? Producing the same quality content is going to be difficult for you. In 2016, Content Marketing Institute found that producing engaging content is the number one challenge businesses face. But there are other factors that make it hard for you to produce your own content as well.
It can be tough to discuss your business when you are so far entrenched in it. You know things on such a technical level that it can be difficult to write to an audience that doesn’t intimately know your business. It’s like having the extremely intelligent professor in college who knows the material in and out, but can’t reach his students. For this reason alone, many businesses hire a content marketing consultant.
A consultant is able to work closely with your business, understand it to a proficient degree, but then write about it with a different perspective. Not to mention, if it takes ten thousand hours to master something it’s probably best to hire a consultant that can make such a claim. You’re the expert in your market and the consultant in theirs. When the two meet, the consultant is able to produce content that reaches your exact target audience.
What to Look for in a Content Marketer:
Before you rush off to hire a content marketer and spend money in the process, make sure the consultant you are going after is worth your time. Your search for a proficient and professional content marketer will be made a lot easier if you know what to look for. The following skills are standard, but if you need something more personal you can always ask.
The Ability to Actually Write Grammatically Sound Copy:
This seems like it is a given when you are hiring someone to write your website’s copy, but errors happen all the time. While it’s normal for a mistake to crop up here and there, your website content should be mistake free and competent.
Before you think about hiring a content marketing consultant, read their previous work. Their website should be a good indicator of someone’s ability to write. If their website’s copy is filled with errors than you know you can expect the same on your own website.
To be taken seriously and considered an authority in your field, spelling and grammar is a must. Otherwise your business and marketing strategy will fall flat.
Nevertheless, writing well isn’t the only skill that the consultant should be capable of. As we mentioned earlier, the content marketer should be able to emulate expertise in your field. They can have perfect prose without any mistakes but if their content doesn’t convey authority then you have a new problem on your hands.
The Ability to Create Engaging Content:
If your writing is emotionless, devoid of personality, or filled with industry jargon, your content won’t make for an engaging read. Content marketing professionals spend years of their lives developing creative and emotionally impactful copy skills. Word choice, tone, and brand awareness is vital in converting customers.
Your content marketer should be able to provide the following:
- Compelling titles, headlines, and call to actions that drive traffic
- Readers tend to skim articles for bullet points, headings, and subheadings that capture their attention. If your content isn’t grabbing their attention than they are going elsewhere. It’s so bad that The Atlantic published an article asking “Is Google Making Us Stupid?“
- You probably noticed that in all of our blog posts we continue to target you, the reader, directly. It’s because the words “you” and “your” engage the reader on a personal level. Your content marketer needs to be able to gain the trust of your reader if they are going to become clients or customers.
- Knowing what to write about is severely underrated in content marketing. If your content marketer isn’t also proficient in search engine optimization, how do you expect them to know what keywords and phrases to target? Moreover, they must also be able to cover the same topic over and over again from fresh angles.
The Ability to Research Information:
We’ve been producing content for a successful medical blog for years now and it wouldn’t have been possible without extensive research. The kind of research where we are able to speak with the authority of the doctors we represent. I’m going to let you in on a little secret though. Before I started working on their blog, I never even heard of their specialization or treatments. But that didn’t stop us from reading as much information as possible and writing content that still produces traffic.
For about three months I spent everyday reading as many journals, blogs, and press releases I could on various medical topics. Just to make sure that I am up to date on new studies and treatments, I continue to read them weekly. Your content marketer should be capable of doing the same.
Every tidbit of information that your content marketer makes on your website should be backed by some sort of reputable source. The goal is to create premium content that gets the reader on your site, is engaging enough that the reader continues reading, and informative enough that they become your customer. If any of the above are missing from the equation than you are going to struggle to convert.
Researching the content they are writing about isn’t the only thing your consultant should be able to identify. Your content marketing professional should also know how to
- Research customer interests, pain points, and demographics.
- Identify online competitors, their strengths, and their weaknesses so you can capitalize.
Final Thoughts on Hiring A Content Marketer:
A skilled content marketing specialist will be flexible to your needs, produce consistently strong content, and remain in research mode throughout the whole process. Building a content marketing strategy is a global issue that needs constant attention and your content marketer should adjust when necessary.
There is no one correct way of writing or researching content, so keep that in mind during the hiring process. Not every consultant is going to produce content the same way, but they should all be able to produce content to your satisfaction. Now that you know what skills to look for in a content marketer, make sure you do your research. Or you could always hire us since we’ve shown you what to look for.