Content Marketing Institute’s B2B Content Marketing research found that nearly 70% of teams expect to do more with the same resources in 2022, which raises the question: How can content marketing teams, especially those with just one or two team members, create more content without any additional budget?
An initial step is to adopt marketing tools that streamline tasks and boost your efficiency, but that will only get you so far. In many cases, outside resources like marketing consultants, freelancers (or “stringers”), or support agencies are an ideal way to offset your growing list of to-dos.
To help you overcome the common challenges of outsourcing B2B content marketing tasks—like finding partners with the right topical expertise and who can understand and empathize with your audience, all in a cost-efficient manner—let’s explore how marketers can find and partner with outside help and why it’s the smart thing to do.
Why Should Marketing Teams Outsource Work?
Hiring external marketing support may seem counterintuitive as a more efficient use of your existing resources. However, outside expertise can provide lesser-known benefits that will drive lasting value for your brand.
The following are just a few reasons why marketing teams should outsource some of their work:
- Outside perspectives inspire innovation. You don’t know what you don’t know. An expert consultant can view your brand and marketing strategy from a neutral perspective, meaning they will likely spot room for improvement. This outside thinking could overcome your team’s mental roadblocks and uncover vital insights that will fast-track your success.
- Access to specialized resources and tools. Many agencies and consultants use tools that your team does not have access to. Instead of licensing a new marketing tool that your team will need only for a few projects, it is smart to partner with an agency or consultant with access to specialized tools.
- Better time management. By providing clear expectations and mutually agreeing on the scope and timeline of work with your marketing support, your team can better coordinate resources to meet your campaign deadlines (especially if you’re in a time crunch).
- Overworked teams lead to burnout and poor results. If your marketing team does not receive some support, they will likely need to work late hours or rush through tasks. This will detract from the quality of their work, despite their best efforts or intentions. Many of us have personally felt this fatigue or seen it happen. Strategic content marketing outsourcing means your team can focus on what matters, where they perform the best, and without the avoidable burnout of juggling too many things at once.
What B2B Content Marketing Tasks Are Smart to Outsource?
Before you race to offload your least favorite work activities, remember that not every content marketing task should be outsourced.
The key to content marketing success is understanding where outside resources are most helpful and cost-efficient, balanced with your internal team’s skills and your business goals. This also involves understanding the best way to approach and manage your content marketing support (which we explore in the next section below).
Start by speaking with your content marketing team. What challenges do they face? Where are they most confident in their work? What skills do they need to develop? And what are the current barriers stopping them from achieving their goals? With this information, you can begin to map your marketing support needs.
As you review your content marketing tasks and the team’s feedback, consider these typical marketing deliverables that are ideal for outside help:
- Content creation: There is a persistent myth that you can’t outsource B2B content creation because no one knows your brand and industry as well as you do. In reality, most B2B marketing content is viable to outsource, including blog posts, ebooks, or white papers. Yes, you may still need to make internal experts available as subject matter experts, but a 30-minute intake call is often a much better use of their time than their spending hours or even days writing content.
- Content strategy: The best content marketing support will partner with you on your content strategy and identify ways to extend the value of your content by repurposing it for other forms.
- Executive thought leadership platform development: Many brands strive to build “thought leadership” in their space, but many are confused about how to become thought leaders. External support can help you build a thought leadership platform and identify the best opportunities to grow your influence. As one example, if speaking opportunities like hybrid or virtual events and webinars are a thought leadership priority for your team, consultants can develop your session pitch, promotional copy, talk track, and even build your presentation deck.
- Graphic design and visual content: Visual content and graphics are beneficial for engaging your audience and providing an alternate (and possibly preferred) way for them to consume your content. Suppose you don’t have a dedicated in-house marketing designer. In that case, you can partner with a freelance graphic designer for design-heavy campaigns and to lend their professional expertise on an ad hoc basis.
- Social media management: There are plenty of incredible agencies and solopreneurs that specialize in social media. These experts are a great option to help audit your existing social media strategy and provide a roadmap for success, or they can handle the day-to-day management of your channels. The key is to give them the necessary brand style guides so they can effectively convey your brand’s identity and tone online.
When to Keep Things In-House
While all of the above activities lend themselves to outsourcing, it’s not always the right time to do so. For example, we do not advise outsourcing these types of projects if:
- Your company is going through a rebrand
- You don’t have documented brand messaging
- There isn’t someone on your team who can own the relationship with your outsourced provider to ensure the project keeps flowing smoothly
- The marketing team does not have clearly defined goals that this outsourced support can help achieve
4 Tips To Maximize Your Marketing Success With Outsourcing
To best outsource content marketing tasks, your team needs to provide the appropriate direction and resources to help your support succeed. Otherwise, they will create content in a vacuum with nothing to work from and no knowledge of your brand (sounds like a recipe for disaster, right?).
At a minimum, provide your brand style guide and examples of the end deliverable. Then, further increase your likelihood of receiving great work by following these tips:
- Be clear about your expectations. Provide as much detail as possible, including background on the project, word count expectations, any visual requirements, the number of revision cycles, etc.
- Detail your invoicing and payment terms. Outline how compensation is based (hourly, retainer, or word count) and payment timelines.
- Create templates to streamline your deliverables. Over time, your team should create templates that include all the necessary details for your everyday content marketing tasks (like we do with our free content planning template).
- Break down internal silos. As Joe Pulizzi shares in his book Content Inc., he has partnered with hundreds of companies that outsourced tasks only to discover that most of the content they sought to create already existed somewhere else in their organization. Hold a monthly meeting with customer-facing teams to discuss their content needs, and detail all content projects in a shared grid.
How To Find Great B2B Content Marketing Support
Now that you have a better understanding of why outsourcing content marketing tasks can be valuable and how to successfully partner with content marketing freelancers or consultants, here’s how to find the best support to fulfill your marketing needs.
Ask a Colleague or Peer
One of the best ways to find content marketing support is to ask your friends and colleagues if they’ve worked with an agency or consultant that they recommend. This first-hand feedback will be your most effective way to gauge the quality of a potential resource. You can ask your friends and colleagues 1:1 or through your social media networks. You can also drop us a note with what you are looking for, so we can include your post in an upcoming edition of our Content Chat Bulletin email newsletter.
Get Specific With Google
Next, conduct a Google search and specify what skills and experience you are looking for in a contractor. You can start with a general “marketing agency” or “marketing freelancer” search, but it will help to be more specific. Use terms such as “executive thought leadership support,” “social media management agency,” or “content creation support” to refine your search.
Visit Marketing Talent Marketplaces
Many talent marketplaces can connect you with freelance content marketing support, too, including Fiverr, Guru, MarketerHire, and Upwork (just to name a few).
Ask to See Content Examples
No matter how you find your potential marketing support, be conscious of finding a partner that can create on-brand and audience-relevant content. You don’t want to choose a partner solely on price and ultimately receive a poorly written SEO farm article. Ask to see content examples and ideally customer case studies before entering into any partnership.
We recommend you first engage your outside help on a project basis, giving them just one or two tasks to test the working relationship. That way, if it’s not a fit at the end of the project, you can simply pay them and part ways.
No More Random Acts of Content
Our team at Erika Heald Marketing Consulting believes that content marketing has the power to build lasting relationships with your ideal customers, but not without a strategy behind it that centers on being helpful to your brand community. We love to partner with B2B companies to help them define and execute a content strategy that delivers on their business goals.
If you have a content marketing need, reach out to us here. Even if we are not the right fit for your project, we have a deep network of experts across the content marketing spectrum that we can connect you with who will be just who you need.