The One Critical Thing Nobody Ever Told You About Content Marketing
Do you struggle with how to profitably incorporate content writing into your client programs? If so, you are not alone. With the battle cry of “content is king!” nearly every resource online and elsewhere tells us “more is better,” or at least “better is better.”
But then they never tell you HOW. How can you possibly create all that content everyone seems to think is so important? How do you fit it into an already ambitious marketing program without breaking everyone’s resolve and/or budget? And how do you ensure that it’s good content, the kind of content that actually delivers sales, conversions, SEO, and all the other golden benefits?
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just flip a switch and turn on a content marketing machine that creates profit for your client and your own agency, without eating up any more of your precious time and resources?
I’ve spent years pondering this question. When I founded Scopcity at the beginning of this past July, it was because I had finally discovered the answer. Today I’m going to share it with you, this one thing nobody’s ever told you about content, so you can reap the benefits too. Whether you’re focused on strategic marketing plans, website development, or complete inbound marketing programs, here is your no-hassle plug-and-play guide to gaining the benefits of content marketing, without all the headaches.
The Essential Problem With Strategic Marketing Plans
Problem: You’ve put your heart and skills into developing a high-level strategic marketing plan for a client, and you want to see it succeed. Several months later, the client simply has not kept up with the content portion of the plan, and so they never see the expected results. All your hard work feels wasted.
Solution: Build a relationship with a high quality content agency. Once you know what content elements your client’s strategic plan will include, ask your content partner to provide these things:
- A flat-fee, comprehensive agency fee (this is the price your agency will pay them) for delivery of each content element
- A recommended retail price for the delivery (this is the price they expect you will charge your client, and should be a market-tested price that includes a comfortable margin to your organization)
- Written copy to be incorporated directly into the implementation plan you’ll deliver to your client.
Here are a few places a good content partner can bring significant value:
- Branding: Crafting key marketing messages, tag lines, and names for product or service lines.
- Website Re-branding: When launching a strategically re-branded website, choose a strategically minded content provider to lead this portion of the project. Getting the messaging and structure of the site is important—design and technical aspects can be created around the strategic message.
- Email and Direct Mail: These heavy hitters often complement or replace traditional marketing in a company’s new digital plan. Having the right implementation partner for these elements is critical.
- Social Media: When engaging with the market via social media takes a leading role in a marketing plan, be sure to hire social media practitioners who understand the importance of quality content in building an audience.
Result: When approached this way, content provides an additional stream of revenue to your organization while simultaneously supporting profitable and sustainable implementations for your client.
How Not to Create Crappy Websites
Problem: You’ve poured your skills and expertise into creating a beautiful design and user optimized site—and you want it to shine. Unfortunately, poorly written content often undermines your work, and the result is, well, maybe not crap exactly but… maybe crap. Other times, a project is delayed indefinitely due to the difficulty of dragging copy out of company principals. Crap.
Solution: Again, a high quality content partner is the key here–along with a few magic words that will transform your website proposals into additional revenue. You don’t even have to come up with those words yourself–we’ve got them right here for you. Just copy and paste into your proposal:
For greatest effectiveness, match your outstanding web design with compelling written content. Our content partner focuses on the needs and drivers of your high-quality prospects to create hooks that bring them deeper into your site and ultimately move them to take action. Having the right content can significantly improve ROI on your total website project.
Starting at $2400 [Scopcity’s standard recommended retail rate as of this writing–obviously, you’ll replace this with the correct retail pricing based on your content agency’s model] for up to 8 pages of original content plus re-purposing of existing materials, adding content to your package is a great deal and makes the project truly all-inclusive. All you have to do is show up for planning sessions.
Of course, this only works if you’ve got your content partner lined up and ready to go, and if you know exactly what they’re going to charge for the service. In addition to expertise and a history of successful implementations, expect your content folks to provide:
- A comprehensive, flat-fee agency price (this is the amount they will bill you).
- A comprehensive, flat-fee recommended retail price (this is the amount they expect you will bill the client, and should be based on solid market research and a comfortable margin for you).
- Clear scope (that is, defined boundaries for what their quote does and does not include).
Result: Smooth, seamless website implementations, strong ROI for the client, an additional stream of revenue to you, and a final project that looks terrific in your portfolio.
Why We Love Inbound Marketers and The Biggest Content Obstacle They Face
Problem: Inbound marketing generally requires copious quantities of great quality content. That’s why we love them. Fully custom content creates greater value and ROI for the end client than syndicated content from HubSpot or similar services, and can represent an additional revenue stream for the agency–but it is time consuming, and clients are rarely very good about providing it themselves, even when they are good writers. They simply don’t have the time.
Solution: Surprise! The solution is… drum roll, please… a great content partner! And, of course, just the right words to demonstrate the value to your client during the proposal process. Once again, here is exactly what you need. Copy and paste, filling in details where necessary:
Fresh, original, targeted content is an integral part of your inbound marketing effort. Many clients set out to provide this content themselves, but we have found that the time commitment is rarely a good use of resources for key employees. We recommend letting our content partner take the work out of content production for you.
(List elements of the proposal in bullet points, with pricing provided by your content partner. For instance:)
* Three original blog entries per month to support your social media and email marketing efforts, add $900/month [Scopcity’s recommended retail price as of this writing.]
* Quarterly ebooks to support SEO and email opt-in campaigns, add $370/month [Scopcity’s recommended retail price as of this writing.]
Here are a few services that inbound marketing agencies often find especially valuable:
- Blogging. A great content partner will map each blog entry to personas, keyword searches, and the company’s unique value proposition, creating incredible traction for your client. Push each entry out through social media and email channels, and you’ve got an instant powerhouse—plus valuable material that is readily re-purposed as resource pages, expertise articles, and even ebooks. At Scopcity, we have a client currently whose IT-related blogging has turned into regular articles in a local magazine, gaining extraordinary additional exposure for the company.
- Email Campaigns. Email marketing, as you know, is still a big hitter despite frequent claims of its demise. Increase qualified open rates and conversions by providing content that recipients find valuable. Ask your content partner to include alternate subject headings and calls to action for A/B testing.
- Downloads. Ebooks, white papers, and other valuable content make great hooks to get people opting into email lists. A good content partner will help you coordinate sticky topics with your client, and then take it from there. Researched, fully custom, valuable pieces that can be used again and again.
A great content provider will make this process super straightforward for you by providing a rate sheet and/or custom quotes, including both agency and recommended retail pricing. Many content providers will consult with you during the proposal process to answer any questions and contribute their expertise to the process, at no additional cost.
What have you got to lose?
When you’ve got a great content partner, selling a content package represents a clean, tidy profit to your organization, plus huge ROI for the client, simply for dropping a little extra copy into your plan or proposal. The client still gets to choose, and you look like the hero.
If you’ve got questions about how to find this great content partner, check out this guide to hiring a copywriter, ask around for recommendations, or contact us to learn how we do it.
Of course, there are many other types of marketing packages and approaches, and many ways to integrate content into them. Contact us with your specific questions and to find out just how painless we can make this for you. We’re here to support you.
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Fen Druadìn Head (formerly Heather Head) is an author, as well as the founder of Scopcity. When she is not writing, running the business, or chasing down bad guys on Twitter, she enjoys hiking, snuggling with her husband and three boys, and avoiding the kitchen.