Making the most of your outsourced content marketing ranks high on the list of challenges of every marketing manager or director.
In this age of lean marketing teams, tight budgets, extremely tight deadlines and multiple campaigns, it’s not uncommon for some marketing initiatives to fall down the wayside at times.
In this post, we will have a look at some practical ways on how you as the Marketing Manager or Director can make the most of your outsourced content marketing efforts and initiatives.
The assumption here is that given your lean marketing team (which means you don’t have enough people do to the job in-house), you have outsourced the content creation to a content marketing agency that knows your business and your industry.
Here are some of the most practical and realistic steps you can take to ensure that you can make the most of your outsourced content marketing efforts.
- Take the lead and set the direction
Given the fact that you’re more likely than not to be managing multiple projects and campaigns at the same time, the best thing that you can do is to take the lead and set the direction for the content marketing agency you’ve outsourced to.
Remember they are there to be an extension of your team. They are there to implement and to make things happen. Your role is to provide the overall high level direction and guidance, which should be dictated by your marketing targets.
- Set deadlines and timelines
It’s one of the realities in the corporate world – unmet deadlines – some projects that over extend and some that seem to keep going on and on. But if you have outsourced your content creation, it is best to set short-term, medium-term and long term deadlines. This will make projects and deliverables more realistic for you and your outsourced team.
Over the years and after working with various clients, what we’ve found out that works well is when we have monthly and quarterly deadlines. It is well and good to have a long-term view (like a 12-month calendar), but realistically, it is easier for everyone to have a monthly and quarterly deadline or a timeline that sets the start and end period of a project.
It’s been said that deadlines refine the mind. It helps you and your team to focus on the work at hand.
“Deadlines aren’t bad. They help you organize your time. They help you set priorities. They make you get going when you might not feel like it.” – Harvey Mackay –
- Start small and scale up
It is a must that you have an overall picture and clear view of your marketing targets. But it is also important to have a good understanding of the numerous small things that need to happen to deliver the big picture.
We have seen a number of companies that laid out grandiose plans – weekly webinars, media announcements every few weeks, eDM campaigns every month, new product announcement every other month, partnership announcements every two months, client events every quarter – only to be distracted, or more realistically, to be forced to focus on the business at hand.
What worked well in most cases is to identify a small number of focus areas or projects to work on. For example, if you want to run an eDM campaign, set a realistic goal of running one for a month. Then review the results afterwards. If it is successful enough to be repeated, then you can schedule another one the next month or a several weeks after.
If you are planning to run a series of webinars for clients or prospective clients, try a series of 2-3 webinars first. This will give you enough time to test your audience response and allow you to make adjustments or improvements if necessary.
The idea here is to test something on a small scale first then scale it up depending on the success of the campaign or a project.
- Use variety of content
In today’s digital world where video is gaining popularity among consumers, it would be wise for you to have a mixture of contents that include articles, video clips, white papers, eDMs and other materials that can be used as lead magnets as well as education and information tools.
Getting your outsourced content marketing agency to produce different forms of content is one sure way of making the most of your content marketing strategy. It will not only introduce variety and diversity on your marketing efforts, but it will also optimise the available technology and infrastructure that’s around in the market these days.
Besides, if your content marketing agency is not producing a variety of content – i.e. combination of print, video and audio materials – it may be time to review their capability and if they still meet your requirements for your business.
- Repurpose, Repurpose, Repurpose
It is a fact that different people use or consume information in different ways. Some people prefer to receive emails about your new product promotions while others would like to be notified via text message. Some people have the patience (and actually enjoy) to read instruction manuals while others would readily go and watch a 5-minute video explaining the whole thing.
Given this reality and the availability of digital platforms for distribution, it is a great idea to repurpose content – i.e. all materials – being produced by your content marketing agency. On its own repurposing of content provides several benefits including:
- Time saving – once a material/content has been produced, it won’t take a long time to repurpose it as it would only need a small amount of time to reformat it for another channel or platform
- Reach a wider audience – by converting a printed material into a video or an audio file for example, will readily give you access to a wider range of audience. Remember some people prefer to listen than to read, so don’t neglect other potential client groups by limiting your content to only one format.
- Optimise available technology – with so many apps, solutions and platforms available in the market these days, it would be a waste not to optimise them for your marketing efforts. When used properly, most of these marketing tools could spell the difference between meeting your marketing goals with flying colours or missing the mark entirely.
These are just some of the most practical and realistic steps that we have seen work with many clients and companies we’ve worked with. Please feel free to share your experience in making the most of your outsourced content marketing efforts. Or give us a call if you want to discuss any of the points we raised in this article. It will be great to chat with you.