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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue ScientistMon, Jun 5, 2017 9 min read

Inbound Marketing Best Practices: Produce Content In-House Or Out-Of-House?

If Lead Generation And Revenue Acceleration Is Your Goal, Content Marketing And Content Creation Is Key

Content Marketing AgencyYou might not think where your content gets produced is important, but you’d be wrong. There are a variety of ways to create the fuel for your inbound marketing program. Yes, the content you create, both from a quality and quantity perspective, can either turbocharge your revenue machine or allow it to sputter on the side of the road.

Just so we’re all on the same page, let’s uncover the variety of content marketing strategy configurations you might see.

Option 1 – Youre running your own inbound marketing program and creating all of your own content with your own internal marketing or content team.

Option 2 – You’re running your own inbound marketing program and you’ve outsourced all of your content creation to either an agency or a set of freelance writing resources.

Option 3 – You’re using an agency for your inbound marketing program and the agency creates all of your content in-house with a dedicated set of content creators.

Option 4 – You’re using an agency for your inbound marketing and the agency outsources all of your content requirements to a set of freelance writers.

Before we dig into the differences and help you find the right configuration for your business, I want you to think about how marketing (and specifically website development and design) used to work. You went to your local website design shop and asked them to build you a website. They did and your new website was much prettier than your old website. It probably even worked better, but did you get more leads? Did your business grow? Not usually, but you were happy with your new website, right?

Its similar today. Youre looking for more leads and more revenue, so you engage an inbound marketing agency or you’re running inbound marketing on your own. If the results are below expectations, it could be due to the way your content is created, the sheer amount of content you’re creating or the thinking behind the content (content strategy) being misaligned or missing completely.

Why You Want To Use Professional Writers

Take it from me, I used to write for our clients. You’ve read my work, and I’d like to think I’m a decent writer, but I also know I’m not a professional writer. There is a difference. There’s a difference in the quality, in the context and in the time it takes to produce high-quality marketing content that converts prospects into customers.

How hard is it to write a blog article? I’ve said that myself a few times. But when we moved from marketing people to professional writers producing content for our clients, we saw an immediate improvement in the quality, the conversion and the efficiency associated with producing content. Clients started wondering how we did it. How were we able to write about their business better than they could do it? It was the ultimate compliment. We do it with professional writers.

Why You Want It Done In-House

When I say in-house, I’m referring to having writers on your payroll or on your agency’s payroll. Here’s why this should be important to you and why it’s more about what you do when you freelance vs. what you do when your writers are full time.

We’ve found that to deliver high-quality content that tells a compelling story, fits in with a client’s overall marketing strategy and drives results, you need to immerse a writer into that company completely. Our writers attend half-day kick-off meetings. Our writers attend messaging brainstorming sessions and workshops. Our writers work on search engine optimization because content is a major driver of rankings. Our writers attend website workshops and website design brainstorming sessions. Our writers are focused on creating content that converts and they’re intimate with the data associated with the content they create.

Whether your writers are on your team or your agency’s team, they should be working with you in this way. If they simply complete a project request and deliver four blog articles or one 10-page whitepaper without the context of the full program, their work runs the risk of perpetually underperforming.

Why You Want To Use An Agency

Content Marketing OptimizationOK, so you’re all-in on using professional writers and having them on your team. Now the question is this: Do you use an agency or hire your own team? Bringing an agency in to help you improve the performance of your marketing offers a number of advantages. When it comes to content, the agency should have a proven and tested process for creating, deploying and optimizing content.

For example, we use a proprietary hub-and-spoke system to create content in an effective and efficient manner. The long-form content we create for clients is connected to the short-form blog articles and the micro-format social conversation starters. This system also ensures that the content we create is supporting the overall search engine optimization strategy and the user experience on the website.

When we see inbound marketing programs that are underperforming, one of the major causes is a set of disconnected tactics and a lack of content optimization. This is virtually eliminated when you bring in a team of agency experts who have their own internal writing pros. Content gets created efficiently and in context to all of the other tactics getting executed. In short, your investment goes a longer way in this scenario.

Content is the fuel that drives your inbound marketing and revenue machine. To us, that makes it strategic. NASCAR drivers don’t pull up to Sunoco and fill up before a race; they run proven, tested, proprietary blends of fuel specifically designed for their car and their race goals. It can be the difference between winning and losing. You need to think about your content in the same exact way.

It’s not a commodity to be outsourced to a freelancer. Cheaper isn’t usually better. The ability to tell a story and have that story convince another human being to take action is a strategic skill. That skill set needs to be part of your everyday team. Writers need to be intimate with your business, your industry, your company and your story, and they need to be able to tell that story in a disruptive, emotional and compelling way. Don’t underestimate the importance of having this strategic asset on your team.

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Mike Lieberman, CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist

Mike is the CEO and Chief Revenue Scientist at Square 2. He is passionate about helping people turn their ordinary businesses into businesses people talk about. For more than 25 years, Mike has been working hand-in-hand with CEOs and marketing and sales executives to help them create strategic revenue growth plans, compelling marketing strategies and remarkable sales processes that shorten the sales cycle and increase close rates.

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