how to choose the best option? – WAU
The production of internal and external content has its advantages and disadvantages. See how to get the best of both worlds by bringing them together!
London entrepreneurs are already realizing something we know well: innovating is essential to survive and evolve. 70% are on the right track and use Content Marketing in the company, according to our 2016 Content Trends survey. Great news! But it’s one thing to decide to invest in Content Marketing, another to put it into practice.
It is natural that several doubts arise when taking the idea off paper, and even when you have already started actions. One is basic, but deserves a lot of attention: is it better to produce content internally or externally?
In other words: is it more worthwhile to mobilize your company’s marketing team for production or to hire an agency? The answer is: it depends.
But calm down! Here at Websites Are Us we serve companies with various needs, and different solutions work for each one. There are several objective aspects of your business that you can (and should) consider in making the right decision.
In this article, I will help you understand the pros and cons of each of these alternatives based on what is best for reaching good resolutions in this scenario: numbers.
Do you already know everything that needs to be done in Content Marketing?
There is no Content Marketing without a strategy. And, like chess, you can’t play unless you know every piece on the board. Before choosing how to produce your content, you need to consider all the processes that will be involved. And remember: they will not always be done one after the other, but simultaneously!
- One of the first things you need to be aware of is the definition of your audience. This is an essential part of the strategy, which requires precise research – after all, you don’t want to attract anyone to your business. At the end of this process, you should have defined personas.
- One more thing that you must define are the platforms on which you will publish your content. Content Trends showed us that the most popular medium in London is social networks (mainly Facebook, Instagram and YouTube), chosen by 81.4% of our interviewees.
Blogs are adopted by 61.7% and photos and illustrations by 50.1%. Understanding your company’s audience will help define which means to use, but already know that the ideal is to use a combination.
Blogs are usually directly linked to your company’s website (where sales can actually be made), and that is one reason why they are a smart bet.
They have already proven that they work: those who use this strategy have a monthly average of visits to the company’s website 3.7 times higher.
- Writing, drawing, filming: content is strategically oriented as well.
The production is guided by what we call the sales funnel: the content is divided between top (more general issues about your market, which will solve more basic doubts), medium (in which the best options are presented to solve your customer’s demand) public) and fund (where your company talks a little more about the service it offers).
This stratification is essential, but only 40% of respondents who adopt Content Marketing say they have a good understanding of it. The entire marketing strategy is compromised by this ignorance.
- And, of course, you want your content to be seen. This is due to the good practices of SEO (Search Engine Optimization), which will put your blog at the top of Google searches. Posting strategies on social media, such as boosting paid on Facebook, are equally important.
- All of these processes need to be documented and analyzed so that you can optimize them further and, of course, correct what is going wrong.
Not documenting the strategies is a mistake made by 52.2% of London companies. And more alarming: 17% don’t even have a strategy! You don’t want to be in that group, right? Whoever registers the strategy considers himself 50% more successful!
How is your marketing team?
You already realized the amount of work involved to make Content Marketing work, didn’t you? The result is worth it: companies that adopt the strategy can have up to five times more leads!
Now comes the most challenging part, putting the idea into practice. One of the concerns that arise is precisely who will take care of it all. If it depends on the size of the internal marketing teams of London companies, few people.
The marketing team of 44.4% of the companies we interviewed has only one person. 43.4% of the teams are between two and five – and claim to be more successful in content marketing – and only 12.2% have more than five.
57.1% do not require training or certifications. Those who insist on this type of qualification claim to be 50% more successful.
And who are the people working for? Mainly marketing analysts (34.2%), social network analysts (31.1%), and content managers or producers (30.7%).
SEO analysts, who are very important for the work of the entire team to reach the right audience, account for only 9.7% of professionals.
A team like this can generate some results, but it is far from ideal, which we already explained how it would be in our post “Which professionals are indispensable to run a Content Marketing strategy?”.
What can an in-house team do better?
No one knows your company better than the employees themselves. They are able to speak with propriety about the most complex topics of the job and, in addition, they have direct access to their customers and sales results.
This puts your people in a great position to produce funnel bottom content. This type of content usually speaks in more detail about your market.
If it is a technology company, for example, the internal team will find it easier to explain how certain software works than someone outside the company, probably.
At this stage of production, it is interesting to talk about the company’s success stories. Your most satisfied customers will be happy to share their experience and can become great sources for your articles.
Transparency is also very important. You don’t have to face other companies in your industry just as competitors: share your history and expertise with the market!
When we completed four years of Websites Are Us, we made a point of sharing the story of our successes and stumbles, because we believe that this can inspire other entrepreneurs like us.
Such a story can be much better if it is written by those on your team living the day to day business.
What are the biggest advantages of an external team?
As I have already shown, most of the internal marketing teams of London companies are quite small and the amount of things involved in a good content strategy is large.
The imbalance of these numbers can get in the way of the success of Content Marketing, and this is one of the reasons why betting on external production can be a good choice.
13 or more monthly content on your blog can double organic access traffic. But most companies – exactly 44.7% – publish between one and four pieces per month.
Of course, it is difficult to mobilize a small team to accomplish so many tasks: planning, production, review, management of social networks, calculation of metrics.
One of the great qualities of marketing agencies is to offer this complete service. Here at WAU, for example, we have more than 200 people at the service of this.
One of the fears about external production is the depth that a team of editors who do not work in their industry can achieve in the content. There are a few ways to resolve this situation. I’ll explain to you how we do it here at WAU.
We have a huge base of freelancers, about 8,000 people who can create content on our platforms.
But, of course, not all of them produce for all customers on any subject. We divide these people by affinities and skills on each topic and the best in each topic write about it.
Another strategy we have adopted is the formation of an internal team of journalists, our Editorial Production team, who interview clients before producing the content, and for this reason they are able to speak well on the most technical aspects of any service.
Betting on an external team is the most effective way to make your production scalable, as it will be a more robust team than that of most internal marketing groups.
The best of both worlds: have you thought about combining external and internal production?
You are not at a crossroads! There are not only two possible options to make your Content Marketing work. A third way, which combines the best of the other two choices that I have already presented, can be a very effective decision.
Most companies produce only in-house. But that number is decreasing: in 2015, it was 65%, in our last survey, it went to 60%.
Outsourced production almost tripled, and went from 8% to 22%. Combined production – that is, internal and external parts – also grew, from 16% to 18%.
The interesting thing is that companies that combine domestic and foreign production consider themselves 12% more successful. Now that you know the advantages of each type of content, it’s easy to understand why.
It is important to have a team or even just one person in the company who has at least a generalist notion of Content Marketing and, of course, a deep understanding of the services you offer.
But an internal team, if small, is not able to produce enough content to generate effective results.
Outside production teams are often larger and more complete, and are great for producing top and middle funnel content in high volume.
An interesting combination of the two alternatives would be, for example, delegating to your internal team the production of funnel bottom contents, which touch on more specific points in your industry, and outsourcing the rest.
Another fact that we discovered with our research was the level of maturity in Content Marketing of London companies. More than half – 53.3% – are still at the most basic level. They produce some content, but they don’t have well-defined strategies and processes.
34% are at an intermediate level, where they already show results, but have difficulty integrating the strategy across the organization.
Only 12.7% of our interviewees reached the advanced level and publish content with high frequency, following a well-defined strategy.
In other words, it can be interesting to have an external marketing agency even to help you with the creation of the strategy. Remember that content is not your ultimate goal, but a means to achieve it.
The important thing, in any case, is to study your options carefully, keeping an eye on what might work specifically for your company.
This is precisely one of Websites Are Us’s concerns: educating the market as much as possible. Take a look at our Content Marketing surveys, they can help you make the right decision!