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Content Marketing: Creating content through outsourcing or writing in-house?

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If I were to list 5 must-haves to run a successful business in 2016, be it internet-based or otherwise, garnering a thriving online presence will certainly be on it.

How do you build a solid online presence? Content marketing.

A Forbes article says that 88% of B2B marketers currently use content marketing as part of their marketing strategy.

If you are not already on the content marketing bandwagon, what are you waiting for? Hop on!

Be sure, though, to know that you are in for a lot of strategic thinking and decision making.

Content Creation

The most mind-boggling question when you first step into the content marketing is – should you outsource your content marketing or do it in-house?

Predictably, there is no one-size-fits-all answer to this question, you must do your due diligence and determine what the best answer for your business.

Here are a few questions you need to ask yourself to arrive at the best answer for your business:

1. How fat is your budget?

It is very important that you carefully figure out how much to budget for content marketing early on.

That said, if you don’t have a fat budget for content marketing, outsourcing may not be the best option after all.

So, what do you do when the budget is not fat? You self-learn content marketing by reading blogs, listening to podcasts/webinars – and then hire a freelance writer. Once you see some results and are in a good position to scale up, you can move on to hiring a full-time professional writer, and a full-scale agency further down the line.

The point is – get started no matter what! The best thing about content marketing is – even the tiniest of efforts can bring a reasonable amount of results.

If you do have enough budget, start working with a specialized agency. Build an in-house team only when you have a clear understanding of what works best for Business Storytelling.

2. Do you want to do go niche?

Although most content marketers have great writing skills, it just might not be enough to market your business to a niche audience. If the aim is to do niche content marketing, you need someone who’s an expert in the discipline.

For example, a Tech startup can generate more leads by predicting trends rather than doing regular listicles or how-to posts.

If you have the budget for it, hiring a full-time niche writer is certainly a good idea here. One, they have expertise, and two, when a single person handles all of your content, there is consistency in writing style and presentation.

You can also outsource it to a medium-to-large agency because these agencies usually have many writers who are experts in different fields. Hence, you can trust that your content will be handled by an industry expert.

Freelance writers and small agencies are not a very good bet if you are looking for domain expertise as most of them are generalists and not niche writers.

Although there are a few niche freelancers, it is still not an assuring bet.

3. What is the weight of content marketing in your overall marketing efforts?

First of all, did you work to determine which type of marketing will maximize your profits? If so, then how much weight does content marketing carry?

You should determine how much of an emphasis you must put on content marketing to increase your profits. For example, for some businesses, outdoor hoardings might get them all the customers they need, and the blog is not a lead generation avenue – these guys need not spend much on content marketing.

If you think that content marketing is not your major cashpoint, don’t spend too much on it. Pick the cheapest option for you in terms of time and money.

For example, if you think that in-sourcing content will consume too much of your time and energy and that it’s not worth that – hire a small agency and produce an average amount of content; but if you think you need to do prime-time content marketing – hire a full-time 

4. How keen are you about building a consistent brand?

I’d like to start by bursting a bubble: Not everyone needs to build a solid brand. What if you’re a small company with a small marketing budget where every dollar counts and every mistake is felt deep? Branding – well, not so much!

If you decide that outsourcing is the best way to go about your content marketing game, wait! You haven’t asked the most important question yet: Can the freelancer or the agency, capture the essence of your business in their writing? Because if not, your story will not be good enough to generate profits.

Before outsourcing, you must have a detailed talk with the agency of what your expectations are; what kind of content you want to publish; what writing style represents you; and your business philosophy and more.

You must look to see if the agency is receptive to your requests and ideas. Instead of staying out of the picture completely, you must monitor the work produced by the agency and they have to be comfortable with your nose.

Hire someone who confirms to your requirements and is willing to work towards getting to know your company. Hire someone who’s passionate about what they write – passionate writing is still the best way to reel in more readers.

Generic and out-of-the-place content isn’t going to cut it. The content must represent your business, and everything that you stand for.

If you don’t find an agency like that, taking in an employee and grooming them would be a better choice.

Re-capturing all of the above:

Small budget: go in-house, or hire a generalist freelancer.

Fat budget: hire a specialized agency, and build a team when you understand what works.

Niche marketing: either an in-house expert or an agency which can offer specialized writing services. Freelancers and small agencies not a good bet.

Content marketing a lead generator: either an in-house senior expert who builds a team, or a specialized agency.

Not a lead generator: hire a generalist freelancer, or work with a small agency.

High on keeping a consistent brand image: a specialized agency with personalized and tailored services, or a senior in-house expert.

Not very keen about a consistent brand image: hire a generalist freelancer or a junior marketer.

Over to you:

  • Anything else that businesses should consider while deciding whether to go in-house or outsource?
  • Can everyone really do content marketing on their own?

Niraj is the founder of Hiver, an app that turns Gmail into a powerful customer support and collaboration tool.

Blogging

4 Common Blogger Time Wasters

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I wrote an eBook on how NOT to waste time online.

Buy it here:

How to NOT Waste Time Online

Full time employees, busy moms and college students working part time often find blogging difficult, for there seems to be no time to blog. But there is time to blog the split second you stop wasting time on these incessant things, for minutes or even hours daily.

1: Phones

I do not buy minutes for my phone. At times, my wife buys minutes when she….just chooses to. I am not a doctor; nobody will die if they do not contact me via phone. I can read a map. I can speak to people offline. My phone is a time waster so I rarely use it. Guess what? Some people believe I am an elite level blogger….and I do not use my phone, barring using it at home, with an internet connection. Doesn’t that suggest you can succeed in blogging even if you do not have a phone with minutes? Turn off your phone or trash it or delete minutes for a few weeks. Observe your fear-attachment to technology and being connected. Save 1, 2 or 10 hours of time of needless phone checking and chatting, over a month.

2: Email

Email. The ultimate time waster for most bloggers who check email 10 to 20 times daily or more. Unless you are a doctor or in emergency services, your blog is not a life and death business. Clients can wait. Really, they can. But most bloggers are so filled with fear, and too desperately attached to clients, that they check email 10 or 20 times daily, wasting time better spent writing a guest post or blog post. I check email 1-5 times daily. No more. My life reads like a movie because I am creating and connecting versus desperately checking my email, fearing loss.

3: Stat Checking

Oh my goodness; stat checking. Who signed up today? How many courses did I sell? How many eBooks did I sell? What are my metrics? Some bloggers check stats hourly. This is madness, because blogging is a year to year, not an hour to hour, endeavor. Nobody blogs well over an hour to hour basis, so why would you check stats hourly, or even, daily? I have blogged for 20,000 hours. AFTER 20,000 hours, some people believe I am one of the best bloggers on earth. Not because I stopped every hour to SEE IF I WAS DOING GOOD, DOING WELL. Successful blogging is like running a 26 mile marathon, enjoying the journey, and finishing. Failed blogging is like running a marathon and stopping every 200 feet to see if you finished, or, how you are doing. Insanity, and a huge time waster, too.

4: Perfectionism

You will never get it perfect. Sorry. So stop wasting time on your 45th draft and just publish the post. We will love it. I promise. Perfectionism robs joy, steals happiness and snatches freedom from every blogger. Be at peace with publishing content. Edit a bit, but go live. Go public. Stop wasting time trying to make something perfect or flawless because critics find fault with anything, and, fans see past your imperfections.

There you have it, guys. Make sure you buy my eBook on the way out.

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Blogging

Blog Content or Promotion?

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Freaking both!!!

I just scanned a tweet. Someone noted how a well-read blog stressed promotion over creating content, going so far to say that blog traffic does not come from publishing great content. 100% of the time, this statement is not true. Why? If you do not publish valuable, helpful, great content, you could promote it in 1 billion places and nobody will care. Nobody will read it. You will not get traffic. Nobody will buy your stuff. You will not boost profits. I know top bloggers mean well, but sometimes they get so analytical that they blind themselves from truths, and advise bloggers inaccurately.

Blog content needs to rock, for people to share it, and for people to buy what you offer, or for people to hire you. But blog promotion needs to be top shelf too, or else you blog in a cyber cave. Nobody will know who you are or what you offer unless you promote your blog effectively through guest posting, through genuine blog commenting and by building your blogger friend network. No way around that one. Like I say in my course for getting featured on top blogs, you want to write your butt off and bond with niche leaders. This means plenty of creating, and plenty of connecting. Or, content and promotion.

But never get promotion twisted, guys. I received a few common emails this morning; strangers asked me if they could submit a guest post to me. I have no idea who they are, what they offer or heck, anything about them. But strangers who never earned my trust want to promote themselves and their blogs on my blog? Nope. I ignore these emails or alert them to buying my eBook so they can learn how to guest post on popular blogs. Promoting your blog is not about promoting YOUR blog. Promoting your blog is about building friendships with bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. Allow friendships to form. As bonds form, blogging buddies promote your blog freely, expanding your reach and increasing your traffic and profits.

Of course, you need to practice your writing regularly to create skillful content showing off your expertise. Readers only gobble up and enjoy content created by skilled writers. Skilled writers practice writing daily, either online or offline. Nobody becomes skilled unless they write a bunch. But skilled writers do lay the foundation for a prolific, successful blogging campaign because folks freely share good content published by experienced, expert bloggers.

Both Content and Promotion

Focus both on creating helpful content and building bonds leading to cross-promotion. Think of promotion being an indirect thing. You will not promote your blog in 1000 places daily by copying and pasting links. But you will make friends with top bloggers by helping them and asking for nothing. These friends promote your blog in many spots; indirect but powerful, and effective, in spreading your blogging word around the clock.

Keep helping people through your content and through assisting other bloggers freely, asking for nothing. Content, and promotion, both create a dazzling blogging campaign. Beware about getting caught up in either/or; focus too much on content and you lose your blogger friend network, along with massive indirect promotion. Focus too much on promotion by building your network, and you have no quality content for them to share. Easy does it. Balance between each aspect of blogging and you will become a successful blogger.

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Blogging

Does Blog Content Make You Money?

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Nope.

My eBook:

How My Wildest Travel Experiences Can Help You Become a Successful Blogger

starts off with a Bali Bang. I slammed into the ground during a wicked motorbike accident. Pain followed. Big time pain. Excruciating pain. What was my life and blogging lesson? Never take your eyes off of the road. I looked at a dog for a split second who’d been hit by a car or motorbike. Shaking my head at his injured paw, I missed the oil slick ahead. Ouch. 2 seconds later, I felt like 40,000 monkeys stabbed me in the back and lungs, after hitting pavement, Superman-style.

Blogging is similar. You will be punished if you take your eyes off of the proven, straight and narrow road of blogging fundamentals. One such fundamental is knowing YOU, not your blog, and not your content, makes money. Sometimes, we say blogs or content makes money because we speak in casual terms to help people see importance in creating and connecting. But getting clear, and helping you understand this simple concept, behooves me to stress how your generous practice, your creations and your connections make you money through your blog. Never, ever is it the other way around because blogs are inanimate objects. Content is an inanimate object too; it cannot do anything, or be anything,

You are the one, the blogger, the being, that puts everything into motion. This involves your generous effort, your willingness to learn a skill and your daily practice, creating and connecting for years, to make your content pop. Sure I sell stuff THROUGH my content but it was me, and my generous effort, and not the content itself, that did the selling. The content is not anything. Content cannot do anything. Content is worthless unless bloggers inject worth into it; see what I mean? The blogger makes it pop, or, makes content a dud, and that pop-dud outcome bases itself solely on a blogger’s generous effort and full commitment to learning their craft, day after day, for years of their lives.

You can and will succeed. You can do it. Really. But you need to understand how you are the center of it all. Everything moves according to your focus, practice and generosity. Content is a tool; like a hammer, if by itself, totally useless. Hammers need humans to work, and hammers need skilled carpenters to really sing. Content needs skilled, generous bloggers to make it sing, too, and the skills increase as your focus and generous practice, and service, increases.

Does blog content make you money? Nope, not at all. Put in the time and energy to helping folks for free. Improve your skills. Increase your exposure. In time, slowly add multiple streams of income to your blogging campaign. Allow cash to flow to you as people see you in all types of spots, making a serious impact where you show up, because of your blogging skills. Everything gets easier if you commit 100% to honing your skills blogging-wise because the content genuinely sings when you get the job done, with your prodigious, polished blogging skills.

Content makes zero dollars.

You, through your practice and generous service, develop the skills through which you make your content top notch. Profits follow.

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