If content marketing isn't already a top priority, it should be. As most businesses are well aware, personalized, interactive marketing is critical to boosting web traffic and reaching customers. The big question marketers face in 2014 is not whether to include content marketing in their strategy, but whether to outsource or handle it internally.
Outsourcing content marketing has been a popular option in the past, but research shows businesses are bringing their efforts back in house. According to a 2011 Mashable study, 62 percent of companies outsourced marketing efforts to an agency at the time. However, a recent B2B Marketing Report revealed only 1 in 3 companies relied on external firms and freelancers to create content in 2013.
The greatest challenge many B2Bs face as they consider moving efforts in house is a lack of resources? Not having access to the time and talent needed to produce the breadth of content required to gain the competitive edge.
However, many companies will attest to the value of using internal resources and hiring designated, full-time staff members to be responsible for generating compelling, informative content. Take it from Momentum Telecom (my company) -- we recently cut ties with all outside marketing firms and taken the lead on our own successful digital marketing campaign.
Keeping content marketing efforts on-site may be the best decision you make for your marketing strategy in 2014. I'd like to share the top four secrets we've learned from first-hand experience.
1. Quality trumps quantity
With Google's recent algorithm updates, not all content is created equal. Outsourcing content marketing to a team that cranks out poorly-written articles and syndicates fluff pieces to spam websites will get you nowhere. Publishing low-quality content with faulty links can actually hurt your other marketing efforts.
As high-quality writing replaces volume as the lead driver in page ranking, relevant, well-written content shared on reputable sites will be key to greater visibility in search engine results. Don't risk putting something out there that doesn't support your brand values!
2. You're the expert!
No matter how well-established a content marketing firm might be, no one knows your industry like you do. Because audience relevance is the #1 most important element of effective content, understanding this is more critical than ever.
Hiring and training communications professionals to specialize in your industry will better serve the needs of your marketing programs long-term. Targeted audience outreach and engagement strategies, such as connecting with key influencers for guest blog posts, will come naturally to marketers working side-by-side with their best sources for great, customized content.
3. The novice vs. the know-it-all
The self-proclaimed SEO professionals, digital sherpas, and social media gurus of the Internet marketing world can seem appealing to businesses seeking instant results. The danger is that in managing heavy client loads, many of these "experts" operate on a one-campaign-fits-all strategy.
Tricks that drive results for Company A may fail for Company B. What works today may not work tomorrow. Inbound marketing tactics vary by vertical and are always changing. Having an in-house content marketing strategy for 2014 will ensure that you have someone regularly monitoring the trends and fully invested in your campaign versus someone who thinks they have mastered it once and for all.
4. Boost your budget
Partnering with a skilled content marketing firm costs big bucks. There's no way around it. Some have yearly campaign fees, while others will nickel and dime you for any outside help you obtain.
On average, one-third of B2B marketing budgets are now allocated to content marketing, according to the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs' 2013 annual research study. Finding a way to achieve more with less can have a significant impact on the department's overall bottom line.
Eliminating the expense of firms alone yielded nearly 15 percent savings for Momentum. By leveraging reporting tools and marketing automation platforms, you can continually track the success of your campaign and easily find ways to further streamline your budget. You can see Momentum's content marketing in action here.
What is your content marketing strategy for 2014? Where do you stand on the in-house vs. outsourced debate?