So you’ve decided to start a blog to showcase your company’s expertise and insights. Congratulations! With the right content, a blog can be an excellent way to drive relevant traffic to your website and keep current and potential customers engaged. There’s just one problem: Who is going to write all that content?
There are two main approaches to writing and managing the content creation process:
- Create and manage content in-house
- Hire a content creation agency to manage the entire process
This week’s post will focus on approaches to finding writers while keeping the blog content creation process in-house. This option is less expensive, but does require a bigger time investment for your team than outsourcing the whole process.
Your internal marketing team
Pros: You likely already have talented writers in your organization as part of your marketing team. These writers are well-versed in your products and services, and know the ins and outs of your company. Because they are already vetted and are working for you, they don’t need time to get up-to-speed on your offerings. This can be the fastest and least expensive way to get your content rolling.
Cons: In many organizations, the marketing team lacks the bandwidth to take on additional work. And while the team may have many talented writers, their experience and expertise tends to be more in writing product and service descriptions, organizational updates and announcements, and email marketing copy. A successful blog writer needs a deep understanding of the needs of your potential audience and deliver content that is valuable to them. Ironically, your own marketing team may know too much about your industry to think like an outsider or may struggle to remove their marketing hat to create truly useful content and not just a plug for your business.
Upshot: Ask your marketing team if they have enough bandwidth to take on blog content creation. If they do, look for people who have experience in blogging, journalism, or other digital content creation; those are the writers who are most likely to be able to deliver the content you need.
Internal Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)
Pros: Your organization probably has lots of people with deep knowledge and expertise in the field, knowledge that can offer readers the kind of added value that drives relevant traffic to your website.
Cons: Most SMEs got to where they are because of their laser-focus on a narrow field and a deep passion for what they do. Those abilities make them standouts in their field, but don’t always translate to a strong ability to write in a way that provides clear, simple, user-friendly insights.
Upshot: If your organization is lucky enough to have a SME who is also a gifted at writing for a general audience and has the time to do so, go for it! Your marketing team may not have the bandwidth for creating content from scratch, but they may be able to edit blog drafts from your SMEs. Otherwise, partner your SMEs with external writers who can interview your SMEs, distill their ideas, and create accessible content based on their insights.
Expand your internal team
Of course, you can always expand your team by hiring writing talent. In many cases, though, it will be easier and more affordable to hire a freelance writer who collaborates with your team as needed.
Pros: Freelance writers can be a valuable extension of your internal team. When you hire a freelance writer, you avoid burdening your busy marketing team with content creation. You also have the flexibility to scale up and down based on your budget and needs, and the availability of your internal team.
In addition, a freelance writer brings an outsider’s perspective, which can be invaluable when it comes to translating your company’s in-house knowledge into relevant user content. Often, your employees know too much to truly see the content gaps that need to be bridged.
Cons: Bringing in a freelance writer won’t save as much time as you think, at least initially. Hiring a high-quality freelance blog writer who is a good fit for your company takes time, especially if this type of hiring is not something you do regularly. You need to get and follow up on leads, evaluate writing samples, and interview candidates. Once onboard, the writer will need time to learn about your industry, products, and services—and what value-added content you're looking to offer. All of this requires time and slows down the process of getting started.
Once your writer is up-to-speed and generating content, the payoff will be much larger. However, it’s important realize that your existing team will still need to manage the content creation process, which may include brainstorming story ideas, reviewing pitches from writers, maintaining an editorial calendar, assigning stories, editing stories, and having regular conversations with writers to ensure that everyone remains on the same page.
Upshot: Hiring freelance writers can make sense if your existing team lacks the time or skills to go it alone, but does have the time and skills to manage the content creation process. If finding skilled writers and managing the content creation process seems like too much, stay tuned for part 2 of this series next week, where we’ll discuss how to select a content agency to help with both content management and content creation.