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In January 1996, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates coined the phrase “Content is King.” Fast forward two decades and this key phrase still holds true. While a great web design may have the power to draw traffic to your site, it is content that entices the consumer to stay on your site. It is content that builds engagement with your target audience, and it is content that helps drive sales.
It’s not surprising that content marketing can pull in three times more leads per dollar than paid search and over three times more leads than outbound marketing. Content marketing isn’t just for big businesses. Small businesses can achieve 126 percent more lead growth by maintaining a blog. But, how do you create content that boosts engagement, generates leads, and drives sales? Many businesses are turning to the expertise of content strategists to make this happen.
Image via Flickr by Visual Content
First, it is important to understand what a content strategist does. A content strategist is more than a content writer. Anyone, or any agency, who holds this position must also determine why the content is being written, set goals and a vision for success, understand the organization’s current and prospective audience, identify effective channels for distribution, and track metrics regularly. He or she must have expertise in content writing, SEO practices, marketing, social media, and more.
In basic terms, a content strategist is responsible for the development, distribution, and management of company content. This content may include blogs, social media posts, press releases, website content, landing pages, advertising material, white papers, and e-books. In addition, a content strategist oftentimes is responsible for keyword generation, hashtag creation, and editorial calendar management. He or she also researches a company’s target audience, industry trends, and competition.
Businesses must invest in some degree of content marketing if they want to maintain an online presence. In a crowded marketplace where more than 67,000 Google searches occur and more than 2.5 million emails go out every second, you must create meaningful and effective content if you have any hopes of being seen. Putting a website together and adding some blog posts are not enough to give your company the traction it needs to survive.
What your company needs is a cohesive plan that strategically drafts and utilizes content that tells its story, reinforces your brand message, speaks directly to your target customers, and, most importantly, entices the consumer to act. This is what a content strategist does. Without this position, you risk investing in content that provides no real benefit to your company, and it would be difficult to deliver the results your company desires. You need a team in place to coordinate all the multi-faceted components of a dynamic content marketing strategy.
Understanding the value of hiring a content strategist is the first step, but you also must determine if your company should hire an in-house content strategist or outsource these services to a content marketing agency. You should consider several factors when deciding which option best meets the needs of your company.
A content strategist must be able to wear many hats, such as content writer, marketer, and social media expert. While not impossible, it can be difficult finding a candidate who has all the necessary skills to fulfill the role of a content strategist. It is likely that you will have to form a content strategy team, especially as your business grows and becomes more competitive.
When you work with a content strategy agency, however, you are given instant access to a team of experts, including marketers, designers, writers, editors, and more. Professional agencies offer expertise in all areas pertaining to content strategy.
One of the main benefits of hiring an in-house content strategist is that it allows you to maintain total control over who holds this position, as well as the company’s content. While it’s true that you won’t have control over who works for the agency you partner with, you do have the power to pick and choose who works on your project. For example, if the designer from the agency is not providing the results you want, you can simply ask for a new designer. When you hire in-house, you would have to go through the entire hiring process again.
It is also important to understand that while a content marketing agency will be responsible for the creation, distribution, and management of your company’s content, any professional agency will ensure that your company maintains explicit control of its own content.
You need to consider costs when deciding whether to hire in-house or outsource your content strategist services. When you’re setting a budget, keep in mind the importance and value of content marketing to the growth and future success of your business.
While hiring in-house may seem like the cheaper option, be sure to calculate all the costs, including hiring costs, salary, benefits, office space, and more. Consider that as your business grows, the demand for expanding your content strategy team will also grow. Likewise, be sure to calculate all the fees charged by a content agency, including subscription fees, content fees, and any other fees. Calculating all the costs involved will allow you to compare your two options accurately.
If the goal of your content strategy is to grow your business, then you should expect the demand for content to grow, as well. In order to remain competitive, you must plan for this accordingly. If you are hiring in-house, make sure you employ a content strategist who doesn’t just meet your current needs but who also has the skills necessary to grow with your business.
If you are outsourcing these services, look for a company that works with establishments that are both larger and smaller than your business. This will give you peace of mind knowing that you are working with an agency that is flexible enough to change with your company’s growing demands.
A content strategist can take your business to the next level and provide your company with an online presence that has the power to drive sales. Give your company the attention it deserves by hiring an in-house content strategist or partner with a professional content strategist agency today.