The Content Marketing Institute (CMI) was founded by Joe Pulizzi way back in 2007. That was long before “content marketing” became part of every marketer’s lexicon. While Pulizzi stepped down from the organization he founded in 2018, the company is still doing strong. In addition to providing information on content creation and marketing best practices, the company does research in the field to help content marketers know what’s working, what’s not, and where others may be investing their time and effort.
While content marketing already represented a significant percentage of both business-to-business (B2B) and business-to-consumer (B2C) budgets, when the pandemic hit in 2020, even more dollars began to be channeled into the digital environment—including content marketing.
In fact, CMI’s research indicates that the big buckets of investments for marketers in 2021 will be website enhancements (67%) and content creation (66%). Demand is high—and growing higher. To meet that demand, organizations and their marketing staff members are eager to seek ways to keep the content pipeline full of up-to-date, relevant, and engaging content.
Fortunately, they have a number of options to help them do that! Here we take a look at “5 Ways to Invest in Content Creation.”
1) The In-House Approach
Many companies have staff in-house to help carry the load when it comes to content creation. This can be a good source of content because of the expertise a company’s own FTEs may have about the company, its brand, and its voice. When you really need deep knowledge of the products and services you offer that only those with the inside track are likely to have, the in-house approach may be the best one for you.
Other situations that tip the scale in favor of in-house content creation are when confidentiality is critical or competition is high. If protecting your intellectual capital is a must-do, in-house talent is likely right for you.
2) The Agency Approach
There are literally millions of agencies that content marketers can turn to for help with creating content, from small boutique firms to large multi-national organizations with a global presence. Whether you’re looking to outsource all of your content creation operations or just specific elements of creativity—e.g., help with branding, PR, video creation, podcast development, event management, etc.—there is a wide range of agencies with varying capabilities to help.
In today’s increasingly virtual environment, it’s also possible to partner with agencies that may not be in your own backyard but literally anywhere around the world.
The process of selecting an agency generally involves a Request for Proposal (RFP). You’ll pose a number of questions and ask the agencies you’re considering to provide their responses and proposal; then, you’ll consider which agencies might be at the top of the list to bring in for a face-to-face, or in these socially distanced times, virtual interview.
Some important questions to consider:
- What experience does the agency have in your industry and with the target audiences you are hoping to reach?
- Have they, or do they, work with any of your competitors?
- Who, specifically, will be working on your account?
- What is the communication and approval process like? What steps are involved, when will reviews take place, what kind of turnaround can you expect, etc.?
- Will they provide you with the names of clients you can speak with to gather additional information?
Finding the right agency partner can be a big boon for organizations and their marketing departments. Still, it’s important to take the time to thoroughly vet the agencies you’re considering to make sure they’re the right fit for you.
3) AI-Based Options
You may be shocked to know that some of the content you may be consuming online has been written by bots rather than people! Artificial intelligence (AI) is providing opportunities unheard of just a few years ago. For certain types of content—like sports scores, financial news, weather, etc.—AI-based options can work. In fact, the Associated Press (AP) uses “robot journalists” for some of their content creation.
In “Can Robots Write Stories?” Daniel Kehlmann shares his experience coauthoring copy with an algorithm, outlining both the opportunities this technology may hold and some potential pitfalls. His efforts were more focused on the fiction end of the writing spectrum, where AI may bump up against the subjectivity of that type of content creation.
In the B2B environment, though, there may be some very relevant and appropriate opportunities to augment your content creation efforts with the help of these robotic apps, especially for “plug and play” types of content creation—like responding to common customer inquiries, writing product descriptions with clearly defined content elements, etc.
4) Fiverr.com, Guru.com, Upwork.com, and The Like
There are plenty of inexpensive sources of online talent channels available: Fiverr.com, Guru.com, and Upwork.com are a couple of popular examples. For many types of businesses and marketing needs, these freelancer networks can work quite well. They’re especially useful for those looking for low costs, quick turnaround, and a wide range of talent to choose from.
Fiverr.com, Guru.com, and Upwork.com are just three examples of many similar types of sites that are emerging all of the time.
Another great source of talent from a well-established source is LinkedIn. There you can conduct a search for the type of talent you’re looking for based on specific skills, geography, etc.
nDash represents a higher-end option to connect with content creators than some of the sites previously mentioned. It’s a freelancer’s platform, enabling more transparency and higher rates than its competitors and allowing it to attract some of the world’s best content creation talent. That, in turn, attracts the world’s best brands making it a win-win solution for many content creation needs.
Working with a firm like nDash eases the burden of continual content creation and provides solid bench strength in terms of content planning, creation, editing, and distribution.
As you can see, regardless of your needs or your budget, there is a wide range of options available to provide you with the expertise and people power to fuel your content creation efforts.
The best advice for businesses of any kind when it comes to seeking assistance from other sources applies equally here: focus on what you do best; let the experts do the rest. Successful content creation isn’t easy, but it can be much easier when you choose the right solutions for your needs.