Why Outsource The B2B Content Marketing Process?

All the marketing buzz seems to be about content marketing in both B2C and B2B markets. This article discusses the benefits of content marketing and suggests that it may be best to use external B2B marketing support rather than an in-house approach.

So why is content marketing so important? The main reason is a change in the B2B purchasing process over the last 10 years or so. In the past, the B2B target customer’s decision-making team often obtained the information they needed directly from the vendor, perhaps from a hard copy or (somewhat) via the Internet. The process has now changed, and a lot of Internet-based research is done before any kind of engagement with a supplier (especially a new supplier).

The importance of quality content for SEO is secondary, but still vital for all companies using their website as a data center. In particular, Google and other major search engines are now focusing more on quality content and how it is shared and treated. Several major Google algorithm changes during 2012 changed the game significantly, leading to an uproar over content.

Difficulties many companies face when trying to incorporate content into their B2B marketing strategy:

Determining the content to be delivered

Where to find that content

In what format should the content be and who will write it

What is the best way to ensure that the content is read

How the content is delivered and who does the work

Because of these challenges and the significant effort required, many companies use outsourced marketing services to implement their content marketing strategy. The advantage of this approach is that the company can continue to secure sales and delivery of products/services while marketing activities continue in the background. Additionally, a good outsourced B2B marketing agency has a variety of skills from quality writing, SEO, social media, websites, and social media that may not be available in-house.

The disadvantage of outsourced marketing is that the content may lack personality or may contain the personality of the agency, not the business. It’s also important to remember that committing a marketing agency to do work can’t just be hire and forget. The office needs basic content that only a company can provide. This content can be expanded or graphically enhanced, but without the basic content the process will fail.

The first step is to plan (either in-house or with an outsourced marketing partner) what content interests customers, markets and specific market segments. Then check what media clients and especially members of the decision-making team are reading. After this, it is possible to build at least a basic plan of what content to deliver, on what medium and in what schedule.

In many cases, a good outsourced marketing agency will be able to guide this process based on experience with different channels and what works and what doesn’t. An in-house team or individual may initially struggle to learn the best approach, but once the skills are acquired, they will be available to the business on an ongoing basis. A good outsourced agency will train staff as needed, leaving that legacy behind when they’re gone.

A large amount of content already exists in most companies in the form of brochures, fact sheets and white papers. Internal training documents and perhaps quality documents can be converted to provide material that educates customers. There may be information there that can easily be converted into instructions.

Most technical or manufacturing companies operating in the B2B market have multiple in-house experts in manufacturing, testing, and quality. These people can be harnessed to write content (or at least some point that the outsourced marketing agency converts into content) on a regular basis. Either an in-house or an outsourced team can then take the content, publish it across various mediums, including the website, break it down into smaller pieces and republish it to engage customers as needed.

In terms of the fastest results and the best possible overall success, it is best to outsource marketing. However, it is important to choose a marketing agency that the company can work with in the medium term, because without a good working relationship the process will fail. In house gives more personality and if time is spent learning the process, long term resources that are kept in the business.

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