Expertise isn't in the eye of the beholder, at least when it comes to your content. It's more of an absolute, where you either have it, or you don't. In the B2B world, however, it's not enough to simply have expertise or even experience. Unless you can clearly demonstrate those qualities while providing value with your content and driving conversions for you, then you might as well not have them at all.
Okay, that’s a bit of an overstatement, but you know what we mean. Most customers don't have the time or patience to read a densely-worded dissertation that's more textbook than easily-digested thought leadership piece. But on the other hand, scrimping on insights can turn your funnel into a narrow drinking straw. The trick is to find a balance between the two, delivering valuable information and guidance while crafting content that propels your marketing and sales efforts.
That's exactly why partnering with the right agency might make all the difference in the world, for both you and your customers. Yes, you know your business better than even the best agency ever could, but your content is so much more than delivering insights to your customer base. Stick around for a bit while we explain why it makes sense to find the right agency partner to write your content.
Experience Driving Results with Content Marketing
As we said, no one knows your business better than you. However, is an astrophysicist necessarily the right choice to explain gravity to a large audience? Perhaps not. While the speech would probably be full of fantastic information, there's an excellent chance that learned academic would speak over the audience’s head. And if the primary goal was to pique that audience's interest in science so they would want to learn more, well, there might be some empty STEM classes in the near future.
A better choice for that speech would be someone that not only possessed sufficient knowledge on the topic, but could deliver it in a way that enticed the audience, compelling them to go further down the science rabbit hole. The same premise rings true for your content, where possessing the information is only a single piece – albeit an important one – to the overall puzzle.
Start With the Right Agency
Ideally, you want someone that can convey your expertise while also leveraging that content to drive results for your organization. Granted, given the number of agencies in the marketplace right now, choosing one that possesses the needed skill set isn't necessarily a walk in the park. However, finding the right agency isn't like scaling K2, either. In fact, you happen to be reading the words of just such an agency at this very moment, but we'll expand on that thought later.
A good agency can extract your expertise and experience, coupling it with a content marketing strategy that drives results. Remember, your goal isn't just to deliver digestible and searchable information, but also funnel-focused content that advances the reader closer to the point of conversion.
Naturally, we understand why many organizations view this approach with a bit of skepticism but, at the risk of sounding repetitive, that's why choosing the right agency is such a critical first step. From a strategy and experience perspective, an agency should always know when to ask you, the expert in the field, for additional information. If an agency isn't asking you what topics they should expand on or what points need further explanation within a piece of written content, chances are they're ill-equipped for the job.
Likewise, during those conversations between a subject matter expert (SME) within a company and an agency, the content creators should always look for the inevitable tangents leading to a potentially new piece of content. From our experience, conversations with an SME tend to be somewhat nonlinear, closer to a stream of consciousness than a hyper-focused explanation.
This is another area where an experienced agency adds significant value to your content, using the intangible skills they've honed over hundreds, sometimes thousands of hours of conversations with SMEs to recognize inflection points in the discussion. Running a productive meeting with an SME requires a certain degree of push and pull, knowing the right follow-up questions to advance the dialogue and extract every bit of useful information possible.
Put another way, the right agency can put themselves in the reader's shoes and ask the same questions a customer would ask, steering the discussion with an SME to create something that is both interesting and engaging for their target personas. Not coincidentally, that agency also created those target personas, meaning they have an incredibly thorough and in-depth understanding of your customer base that further helps refine and guide your content.
Optimized for Searchability
Speaking of your customer base, there's another important distinction between merely making content, and agency-driven, finely-tuned content that your audience will actually find and read. Papa Hemingway could write your content and it still wouldn't impact your conversion rate if no one knew it was there in the first place. If your content tree falls in the woods, will it make a sound?
A well-equipped and experienced agency can take their in-depth understanding of your business landscape, competitors, and timely pulse of pertinent topics and titles to make your content more accessible and search-friendly. This requires an especially skilled hand, particularly when it comes to industry shorthand.
The Pitfalls of Proprietary Language
The customer base doesn't necessarily use the same terminology as your company and SME, creating a potential misalignment between your target personas' search keywords and the phrasing used in your content. To answer our previous question, it won't matter if your content tree makes a sound when it falls because, thanks to a gap between search terms and your content, no one was remotely close to that tree in the first place.
That misalignment between search keywords and content grows more common by the day as many companies develop their own terminology or trademarked terms to differentiate themselves from the competition. Now that's all fine and dandy, of course, but if someone is searching Google for a solution just like yours but doesn't know your company from a hole in the wall, that proprietary lingo could very well keep your content from seeing the light of day. With 66% of B2B buyers strongly agreeing that content should be easier to access, your searchability, for lack of a better term, is vital to your content’s success and expected by your customer base.
An agency should keep that thought in mind when creating titles and determining the general direction of your content, weaving common terminology in with that proprietary lingo to allow Google to understand the searcher's intended topic. This is critical for potential customers at the top of the funnel, where their search keywords usually focus on a problem or need, not a specific company or solution. If your organization doesn't have a ton of brand recognition yet, that proprietary language – as impressive as it might look and sound – means you might as well write your content in hieroglyphics or wingdings since the chances of anyone finding it through a search are scant at best.
Time Commitment, Skills & Team Members
At the risk of sounding a bit self-congratulatory, the best agencies make your content look seamless and effortless. As we can attest, though, looks can be deceiving. Given everything involved in the content creation process – strategy, ideation, execution – Creative Cave devotes immense amounts of time and effort to create extremely high-quality content. Between publishing, project management, revisions, and everything else involved, trying to match both that process and the results in an in-house capacity might not be impossible, but certainly challenging.
To accomplish such a task, someone on your team would have to be ready, willing, and able to commit the necessary amount of time. However, even if you had such a person on staff, your content would still be utterly reliant on the skills, energy, and commitment of a single individual. With an agency, your content benefits from a diverse knowledge base and skill set, specific experience in content management, as well as a varied set of backgrounds that all converge to elevate your content.
Furthermore, with an agency driving your content, the person executing your content sits under the same roof as social media, design, and paid media experts, all collaborating to improve your content as well as the overall strategy and goals for your inbound campaign. Now we're not going to sit here and say that it's impossible for you to have a staff member that possesses expertise in all of those capacities but, if you do, you probably need to quadruple their salary because they're about as rare as a bedazzled unicorn.
To drill down just a bit further, let's take a closer look at that unicorn. Sure, they might be really good at generating content ideas, but can they connect your content to your sales funnel? Or write coherent, compelling, grammatically-correct copy that captivates and catalyzes your campaigns? And what about alliteration? Because that's obviously critical.
A Team of Experts
The point is, finding someone that not only writes well, but is also an expert with design, paid media across multiple platforms, HubSpot, and campaign execution is highly unlikely. With an agency, however, team members inform each other to elevate the entire process. A content marketer in an agency, for example, might see a particular content offer performing well, and tell the paid media team to increase the budget or create a LinkedIn ad to better leverage that organic success with additional paid media resources.
An agency also gives you the convenience of interacting with a single contact while realizing the multichannel execution, experience, and strategy born from a team of experts. Assuming you don't have one of those shimmering unicorns we mentioned on staff, replicating what an agency gives you through a single contact is next to impossible. If you're the VP of sales and marketing, do you have the time and patience to find a freelance designer, in-house content person, part-time stay-at-home writer, product designer, and customer success person who probably did paid media for their fashion blog in college, all while hoping to achieve results even close to what an agency provides?
Using an agency for your content combines far greater convenience with far superior results. Just as crucial for your own sanity, you wouldn't have to play project manager across all of those different internal and external groups, or continually pester people in your company for tasks your ragtag group of marketing mercenaries is ill-equipped to handle. Sounds like a pretty straightforward decision when we put it like that, doesn't it?
Design & Branding
Another consideration with that mercenary approach is the consistency of your brand and voice. The full spectrum of your messaging, from long-form content down to social media posts, must be cohesive and on-point at every step. Using a freelance designer in conjunction with a part-time writer doesn't exactly foster communication and collaboration, making your brand, voice, and messaging susceptible to inconsistencies that jeopardize your entire campaign.
Alternatively, a team steeped in both branding experience and content strategy can create visually engaging, professional, and consistent layouts and graphics across your blog. More sophisticated inbound techniques like content offers and pillar pages suddenly add significantly more value for the reader than they would have otherwise, helping your pathways to conversion seem more like wide-open interstates than backcountry roads. When you rely on things like unbranded stock photography and clumsy creative, your content inevitably struggles to match the design and vibe of your blog, website, or both. And that, our friends, is nothing but a big, bold, disconnected no-no.
The Agency Advantage: Speed, Cost & Resources
Finally, the very nature of an agency also provides you with new angles and perspectives that too often get held hostage by a vortex of internal groupthink. Since agencies typically have many clients from different industries, they have a very accurate pulse on trends within the marketplace, always on the lookout for new developments in the space. Marketing is nothing if it isn't dynamic, so the agility to act and react to the latest trends and absorb what's working in other spaces is essential. SEO, for instance, is continually changing from the Google side of the search fence, making it far too easy for you to get left behind if you don't actively keep up with the times.
More Value, Better Returns
An agency also provides you with greater value considering all of the resources you have at your disposal. For what you would pay towards an aggressive inbound marketing retainer, you could likely hire between one and three full-time employees, perhaps a content marketing manager and an entry-level writer. To pick on that hard-working but inexperienced writer for a moment, are they able to keep up with your content demand, including any necessary revisions or rewrites, while also staying in tune with your overall marketing strategy? Even more foreboding, companies that publish at least 16 blog posts every month realize 3.5x greater average traffic than those that post four or less. That’s going to be one busy inexperienced writer on your hands.
Unfortunately, the same is true for your brand-new content marketing manager. Even if they have a mountain of useful experience behind them, they're probably going to be understaffed and stretched thin, making professional development and staying attuned to trends virtually impossible. Throw in the SME calls, content outlines, project design and development, proofreading, and everything else involved in content creation, and they'll need to bring a twin mattress into the office just to get everything done. And that doesn't even reflect the complications of outsourcing an elite graphic designer and developer since the budget has run dry.
Although every scenario is a bit different, partnering with an agency that already contains all of the specialized skills your content deserves will likely be more cost-effective while also delivering higher-quality and faster work. Even if you hired a content marketing manager with world-class multitasking skills, there just isn't enough time in the day to effectively address sales, workflows, and optimizations, all while trying to progress the customers down the funnel with engaging content and sales messaging. Unfortunately, best practices will probably go unpracticed, and it's your content that suffers the consequences. Well, that and your bottom line.
So what are we trying to get at with this voluminous page-turner? Hiring the right agency for your content creation could very well be what your messaging needs for your conversion rate to enter the stratosphere. And while we understand the hesitation in partnering with an outside team to handle your inbound content, we assure you that, in hindsight, you'll see that it's one of the best decisions you ever made. Yes, Creative Cave is that confident in our ability to transform your content into one of your strongest assets. Shoot us a line and we'll show you how.