Hiring a competent content marketing consultant isn’t an option anymore. As a matter of fact, nearly all the B2B startups that we’ve interviewed admitted to spending close to 30% of their content budget on just one consultant. Furthermore, most of the content creators we interview admitted to noticing a dramatic surge in demand for their services.
Could it be a coincidence that even Uber, a unicorn valued at over $50 billion, hired legendary content creator Arianna Huffington to serve on their board as an adviser? What do the sharks who run this behemoth know that we don’t? Here’s two hints
1. Content is king.
Long gone are the days when sales gurus and marketing mavericks run the wild streets of the internet. You can’t just upload a half-baked product on iTunes and start planning your retirement anymore. Content creators are the new sheriffs in town and all the big players have finally accepted it.
2. Quality content is difficult to produce.
If you think these strategists are asking for too much money why don’t you try and do it yourself? Why don’t you put together a sales copy and create banners with the trial version of photoshop? It will only take you 30 minutes of attempting to put together a press release for you to realize the value of hiring a competent content marketer.
Now that I’ve helped you come to terms with the reality of content creation, let’s set some guidelines that will help you find the perfect strategists or consultant for your business.
Guidelines That Will Help You Find The Perfect Content Marketing Consultant
1. Set a budget.
The best content creators from North America will demand up to $300 for every hour that they bless you with their magic. You can also gamble with the future of your business and hire a freelancer from India for $5 an hour. Alternatively, you can focus on finding someone somewhere in the middle of that price spectrum who will offer the cost effectiveness of the outsourced freelancer and the competency of a college educated American.
Remember to be as honest as you can about your company’s financial position. Don’t go broke trying to impress overrated content divas. An English degree from Harvard is worthless on the internet.
2. Know Your Niche.
Each niche has its own needs and expectations. If your startup is promoting health and wellness don’t bother hiring a strategist who specializes in writing about cars. Make it clear from the onset that you need your consultant to be well versed in the particular industry you serve.
3. Skilled content creators stand out.
Let me use an example to elaborate this point. If you ask five different consultants to develop a sample of a sales copy, three out of the bunch will not have attained the writing skills necessary to create professional content. Their work will be riddled with basic grammatical errors, the tone of the article will be off and you might even notice that one of the consultants learnt English as their second language from their prose. Two of the better consultants will produce high quality content but one will have the slight edge of knowing how to integrate html tags and SEO into your work.
In the end it will be very easy to identify a talented copy writer.
4. Set Expectations
You are the only person who has a clear vision of what you want in the content that is being prepared. You cannot burden a creative to make decisions for you. You must learn how to set realistic expectations.
For instance, if want to hire someone to copy write your SEO content you will need to outline which keywords you want integrated in the copy. You will have to instruct the writer to only adopt SEO techniques that rank well in the search engine and you will need to revise the content over and over until the copy is good enough for your SEO needs.
5. Develop a relationship and learn to communicate.
A freelancer from a country you can barely locate on a map could be a bigger asset than a local consultant if you develop a healthy understanding and build your professional relationship. This the digital age in which we are overburdened with communication channels but nobody seems to know what the other is saying.
Take the time to interview all your potential candidates as this will help you weed out consultants who can’t follow simple instructions. It will also help to get a feel of how well you can work together even over a conference call.
6. Project management is crucial.
A competent content marketing strategist will always produce high quality work in the time allocated for the project. They won’t start putting together the copy at the last minute or call in sick just a few hours before the deadline. This will enable you to move at a steady pace and ultimately have a competitive advantage in the market place.
Trust me, your annual Christmas newsletter will turn out to a huge waste of resources if your content marketing strategists can barely finish the copy before November ends. Nobody wants to be stuck in the office trying to rush content two days before the snow falls.
7. The ability to carry out research is a huge plus.
Content creators with the ability to carry out journalistic-level analysis tend to produce higher quality work. They can take your SEO project into their own hands and find effective keywords on their own. They can put simplify complex analytics into numbers that your customers will understand. They can develop characters and build compelling story-lines for your upcoming novel without much fuss.
Don’t waste your time, make research skills a priority when hiring content creators,
8. Have a backup.
Just like any aspect of your business I would recommend that you have a backup content marketing consultant. This will give you a sense of security and insurance in case something goes wrong. It is also a prudent financial decision as it will cushion you from losses in case your lead consultant calls in sick or they decided to cancel their contract.
9. Measure the results.
You cannot tell whether your business in growing unless you have an effective method to measure your progress. You must identify indicators that will help rate how good your consultant is.
For instance, a good SEO writer should help your website rank higher on the search engines, a good social media influencer should be able to grow your organic traffic consistently and a competent copy writer should improve your sale page’s lead conversion rate.
10. Build a team.
As if finding one competent content creator wasn’t enough you now have to find others and find a way to coordinate the entire team in good time as well as under budget. Fortunately for you there are now multiple tools such as slack which make collaboration easier.
This is a comprehensive guide on what to consider when hiring a content marketing strategist. Hopefully it will enable your small business to reach the heights you have envisioned.
Lorenzo Gutierrez is a Online Marketing Consultant and specializes in content marketing consulting and strategy, get in contact with us today for more information.