Content marketing comes in all forms, shapes, and sizes. Particularly, it comes in varying levels of quality. We’ve all seen posts that could’ve used good proofreading before hitting the Internet. And we’ve read the ones where we learned something new through a well-written narrative. The range of content produced by marketers is impressive. But as a company investing in this type of marketing activity, it’s likely you’ll want to be on the better end of the spectrum. That’s where the question of working with a freelance writer or subject matter expert hits the forefront.
Too often, marketers are faced with the dilemma of choosing good writing over choosing an expert on a certain topic. The trend seems to be those good writers are not often experts in any specific subject, and subject matter experts are not good writers. Very rarely does the combination of a knowledgeable writer come along.
The anomaly of the expert writer exists because of a world that puts emphasis on one thing at a time. Good writers are usually a product of lots of practice in different areas. A writer often has to know a little about a lot, whereas an expert needs to know a lot about a little. There is a very small crossover in this Venn diagram.
Marketing writers, unless they are specialized, bounce from subject to subject, learning as they go. This gives almost no time to really learn a topic, as well as what some marketers are looking for. This set of skills is excellent for companies who need to translate their product and service marketing into laymen’s terms. A writer with no prior experience approaches a subject with a fresh perspective, interprets it as a customer would, and then put into eloquent words why it’s important.
On the other hand, if you are looking for more thought leadership and expertise to come through in your content marketing, you might turn to a specialist. Although most experts have probably written about their field extensively, they are probably not accustomed to writing with a marketing tilt. Their writing experience is most likely academic, dense, and even convoluted for the average reader.
Unless you are writing for an audience identical to this expert or an audience with zero prior understanding of your industry, you probably desire a balance between the marketing writer and the subject matter. You need content that is enjoyable to read but reads with authority. This is a difficult thing to fulfill if you don’t know where to source your content.
Best of Both Worlds
Marketers shouldn’t have to settle for one or the other. They should have the option and the freedom to find experts with a voice and style that match their marketing goals. A hybrid model agency can foster this ideal and lead brand marketers to the best writers and experts all in one.
This is the holistic approach to integrating a content community with the focused efforts of an agency. For companies with complex products or services, the hybrid model ensures you are working with writers who fully comprehend and engage with the topic.
The agency has all the connections needed for finding a writer within your industry with a track record of satisfactory writing skills. It should also be the agency’s responsibility to ensure the writing quality is engaging, up to your standards, and in line with your content strategy. This is the area where subject matter experts usually fall short.
Perhaps the best benefit of the hybrid model is the flexibility and price point of freelancers. Going through an agency eliminates the hard work of finding a freelance writer who can write well, is within your budget, and knows your marketing space.
Final Thoughts About Using a Freelance Writer or SME
Regardless if you are looking for a marketing writer or a subject matter expert, you shouldn’t have to sacrifice your content goals.
How do you find content creators that are both engaging and knowledgeable? What difficulties have you found when working with one or the other? Share your experiences on our LinkedIn page!