There are many people out there purporting to be a content marketer. As traditional marketing is changing, advertising agencies and digital agencies who used to be able to build websites and make TV commercials have seen their profit margins plunge.
In the past, the cost to deploy a website was upwards of $10,000. Now a small business can deploy a WordPress website for under $1000. Fewer people are making TV commercials, or they’re making videos for YouTube and Facebook instead. Many of those agencies are now turning to content marketing.
What you need to look for is somebody that has the skills to engage an audience. They need to be marketers. They need to have somebody in their team that understands the marketing strategy. The key to success is delivering quality content, so they need to be able to produce quality content.
Interestingly, they don’t need to understand your business or your industry. Let me explain.
Do you need a content marketer who is an expert in your field?
The short answer is, no. You’ll find that quite often the best experts are the worst people to produce content. Firstly, because as an expert, they are caught up in the detail of a subject. Often they can’t see the forest for the trees.
And secondly, because it’s vitally important that YOU be the expert. You want to be seen as the thought leader. If you set someone else up as an expert, and celebrate and promote them, then you are at their mercy. They can leave your organization, or change their mind, and you’re back at square one with your marketing.
The skills you need in a content marketer
A great content marketer needs a combination of skills. They need to understand marketing, including buyer personas and how a marketing program works. They also need to know how to produce great content.
That’s the advantage a content marketing agency brings. Often those are two very different skill sets, two different personality types, and you need a team of people to be able to deliver that.
Having a look back at their pedigree and where the people that are producing the content worked before. Have they worked in traditional media? Were they successful? Have they been able to produce media channels and platforms that grew audiences?
Then ask yourself if the person with the marketing skills been able to demonstrate that they’ve had successes in helping other companies grow their businesses through content marketing.
Finding the skills
Whether you’re hiring a content writer or engaging an agency, the questions you should ask should be the same.
Ask for case studies, ask for examples, or ask them to show you a blog you’ve created. See if they have any Google reviews when you Google their name. Ask them to show a social channel created for another client. Looking at their current work and how it has performed. If you can ask them for references where you can ring another client and have a chat with them.
If they can’t supply these things?
Don’t go there.