Content marketing is the most effective way to engage your customers and potential customers right now. However, most professionals working in health and wellness don’t have the time or the personnel to maintain a strong company blog and social media presence in-house. This is where hiring a web content firm comes in.
Doing content marketing the right way requires a lot of time, attention, and effort. Regular blogging plus quality social media posting is the equivalent of writing a book over the course of a year. It’s not just a matter of volume, however. You need good quality content for effective content marketing.
Did you write a good quality book last year? Probably not. You have a job, after all. So, realizing that you don’t actually have the time (or maybe even the skill) to do your own content marketing, you realize that you need to hire a content firm.
There are lots of content firms out there, and unless you’re already familiar with content marketing it’s difficult to know how to choose the right one.
Here’s some information to help you make an informed decision.
Fortunately, hiring a web content firm never means buying a pig in a poke. You can read what they’ve written and see whether their work is good or not. If you’re not sure you can recognize good content when you see it, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Do they make clear points in their writing?
If there is no clear point being made, they are not good writers. Period.
Do they make lots of errors?
Anyone can make a typo, and probably everyone occasionally does if they write thousands of words a week, but you should not see spelling and grammar errors.
(By the way, if you think you see an error, check — we sometimes have clients question us, but when they check the dictionary, they find that we’re correct.)
Is their writing useful, entertaining, and/or thought-provoking?
Every piece should answer a question, provide some useful advice, be a pleasure to read, or otherwise add value to the website where it lives.
Do they understand your industry and audience well enough to provide convincing content?
At Haden Interactive, research is one of our superpowers. We also have a decade of experience writing about and researching health and wellness issues.
Are they able to use different tones and voices as appropriate?
A beauty blog should be a lot frothier than an engineering blog, and a company that stands for tradition and stability shouldn’t sound the same as a company that stands for a work hard/play hard ethos.
In a company like ours, we have more than one writer and can choose the right team member for each job. But versatility is always a plus.
We were startled yesterday in a meeting with a local client when she said that she hadn’t heard of any other local company that actually wrote blogs on schedule as promised.
We hope that’s not true.
Still, make sure you know exactly what the company you work with is going to produce.
- How many e-books does your contract cover?
- If they say they produce articles regularly, what kind of frequency does that include?
- If they’re writing your blog, will they post now and then when you ask them to, or can you rely on getting posts even when you’re too busy to pay attention?
Also make sure that the web content firm you’re considering has a plan to work with the level of oversight that you need. If you need them to take care of everything for you — without your having to provide any oversight — make sure they’re prepared to do so. If you need to have all documents checked by your compliance officer or your lawyer, make sure there’s a plan in place to get that done.
Finding out later that you have to conform to a certain system can be unpleasant if it doesn’t work out for you — and that’s true on the other side, too. Make sure your systems are compatible before you start.
As many website owners who suffered in the Penguin and Panda updates know, content marketing is not simply a matter of having lots of words someplace with your company name on them. Your content firm should be prepared to work with you to develop a content strategy that aligns with your overall marketing strategy to move you toward your business goals.
Here are some situations that could come up for you:
- You buy ads that direct people toward your website. How will your content team support those ads?
- A social media post goes viral. How will your content firm identify these occasions and help you make the most of them?
- You’re invited to create a post or article for a publication in your industry, or you decide to create a video or mobile app. Can your content firm create an appropriate piece of content for this situation?
We believe in starting with a strategy based on research and data-driven decisions. While we offer regular blogging and social media to provide a solid foundation for your marketing campaigns, we also work with you on inbound and paid search strategies and campaigns.
Consider us your strategic partners in your overall marketing plan.
Only when you’re confident that the content firm you’re talking with meets your needs in all the areas listed above should you think about cost. The truth is, there is such a range of pricing in the field of web content that every company can find someone who can work with their budget.
In our experience, those who write a blog post for $15 usually don’t write very well or can write on only a couple of subjects, and they are often the ones who abandon your blog because they’re going to be out of town.
Good web content writers are in demand, and there is no reason for good writers to work for low rates.
On the other hand, if the writers you’re talking with ask for $5.00 a word to write an email newsletter, you can probably find someone who will help you reach your goals just as well for less. As you’re comparing pricing structures, make sure that you’re looking at the same thing.
Most importantly, are you talking with an inbound marketing firm, or with a blogger?
We’re professional writers, but we also have years of training and experience with marketing strategy. This lets us help you align your digital marketing with your business goals. We’ll help make your legacy advertising support your inbound marketing program. The average freelance blogger isn’t offering that, and the cost is bound to be different.
Even if you’re just looking for a blogger — and we can provide that for you, too, at competitive rates — you’ll need to ask some questions to be sure you’re comparing apples to apples, not oranges.
- Will your blogger insist on putting his own name on all his writing, or charge you extra to use a company byline?
- Will you get a Word document which you must then pay someone to implement wherever it needs to go on the web?
- Do you have to pay extra for revisions, or is there a limit to the number of rewrites you can ask for?
- Does the price being charged include images or infographics, and if so, does your content firm have a designer on hand?
- Will your writer accept topic assignments from you — or require a list of topics?
- Will your content be written by educated native speakers of English, or outsourced to offshore writers?
All these factors can affect the price you’re charged.
Working with Haden Interactive
We’re a content firm, with college educated, native English speaking, full time professional writers. We’ve found that regular, frequent posting of content — at least a company blog and daily social media — is required to get good results.
Since we don’t like to work without seeing good results, we don’t usually do bits and pieces of content; we produce fresh, original content on a regular basis. For our regular clients, we’re happy to produce content for additional projects and develop fresh campaigns.
We use analytics and other data to make decisions about content, and we like to work with companies as a strategic partner, working together toward your business goals. We’re comfortable with lots of collaboration and oversight, and we’re also comfortable taking over your content marketing with little input from you — we know you’re busy.
We also believe in continual improvement, so we’re always working to improve our systems and make them better for you. At this writing, we use Edit Flow with most of our clients, but we also prepare monthly editorial calendars for those who prefer that option.
Because we’re more of an artisanal shop than a mass market one, we’re able to be flexible. And one thing you’ll hear from everyone who works with us: we care about our clients and want you to reach your goals.