Content Marketing for Technology Companies
As technology marketers, there’s a lot on our plates. From developing and implementing campaigns to managing sales enablement programs, our schedule often does not allow enough time to develop content. We know content is a critical element for effective B2B marketing, yet finding the time and resources is a significant marketing challenge facing technology companies. Bottom line? You need to get content created. Not just once, but regularly and effectively. So should you use your internal resources, or outsource content creation to a technology marketing agency that understands your niche?
To find the right answer for your organization, you need to take into account these factors:
Objective: What objectives are you trying to achieve with your content? E.g. are you trying to establish yourself as a thought leader, generate leads, educate and raise awareness about your company, etc.
Budget: What is your content marketing budget?
Timing: How frequently are you planning on publishing content? Have you created a content calendar to guide your content creation and deployment?
Resources: Do you have resources available inside your organization to support content creation? Is there someone responsible for the overall content strategy?
Internal Content Creation
Using internal marketing or communication resources inside your organization often makes sense. However, while there are benefits to going this route, it’s not always the best approach.
- No incremental budget is required. Since resources are already accounted for, you do not need to allocate additional budget for content creation and marketing.
- Your brand and business objectives are well understood. If internal representatives are creating your content, you do not need to educate any external help with information about your brand and overall business objectives.
- Expertise is on hand. Does your content require a certain amount of technical expertise? Internal resources are knowledgeable about company strategy, products, customers and competitors.
- You can leverage existing resources in your organization. Internally, you’re able to revise, refresh or repurpose your own existing content.
- You have the connections. Internal resources might have easier access to interview employees, clients and executive industry contacts for content creation.
- Increased workload. If no dedicated content creation resources are available, the job of creating content will likely be directed to employees who are already busy and responsible for other deliverables. In this situation, content often falls to the bottom of the priority list.
- Specialized internal resources may not be available. You may have only a sub-set of resources necessary to create content. For example, you may have content writing resources available but not graphic design resources.
Outsource Content Creation
Whether outsourcing to a tech marketing agency or a freelancer, there are definitely some pros and cons of going to an outside source for content creation.
- Quick turnaround. If you require something immediately and don’t have the internal resources, outsourcing to an agency can be a great solution.
- Knowledge of and ability to influence a niche market. If you are changing market strategies or expanding into new markets, it’s possible that agencies or freelancers bring a deep understanding and influence in these markets that your organization can take advantage of to spread your content and further engage with potential customers.
- Availability of specialized skills. Just need a designer or a blog writer? You can easily outsource the specific elements of content you require.
- Organizations can focus on core business activities. This can include developing and managing the content calendar, or managing campaigns.
- May not have deep knowledge of your industry and customers. Does an external content creation agency have expertise on your industry subject matters? If not, this will require additional time and effort on your organization’s part to support your agency.
- May not have a clear understanding of your company’s brand and voice.
- Cost. Additional budget is required to outsource to an agency or freelancer.
- Managing agency relationships can be tricky. Additional meetings are necessary, agency personnel may change, follow up may be required.
Agency or Freelancer?
If you choose to outsource all or part of your content creation you have a couple of additional options: use a technology marketing agency or use a freelancer. A recent Startups Geek article investigated the advantages and disadvantages of using agencies vs freelancers for outsourcing content creation. Here are some factors for you to consider when making your decision:
- Price/Cost – Freelancers tend to be less expensive than agencies, however, the higher price for agencies may be worth it for you if they offer additional value-add services such as strategy and analytics.
- Time – Freelancers may be able to deliver what you are looking for more quickly. Agencies are often vetted internally and undergo an onboarding process that could take weeks or months.
- Flexibility – Although working with an agency requires a term contract agreement that may limit the flexibility they have to adjust to changes in your work or strategy, they bring a pool of resources to the table. Freelancers are typically hired on an “as needed” basis and can fill any work gaps that come up in your organization.
- Breadth of Services – If you require the development of a variety of content types (white papers, infographics, videos, blog posts, etc.) then an agency may be better suited to your needs. Freelancers often excel with a single type of content and may not have the breadth of services you need.
- Reporting – Agencies work with their clients to determine goals and objectives and will make a list of Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track regularly. This will allow you to keep informed of their progress throughout the campaign.
The Best Option Depends on Your Unique Circumstances
In the end, you need to understand your specific business requirements for content and decide on the best approach to support those requirements. A viable option may be to outsource certain functions to augment internal capabilities. For example, you could outsource functions such as taking an inventory of your content, writing blog posts and managing your social channels to an agency or freelancer and retain the content calendar, connecting with internal resources and editing content internally.