best online marketing for contractors
Apr 20

The Blogging Guide Every Start-Up Contractor Business Needs

Content Marketing

Why start a contractor business blog? What elements does your blog need to be effective? How can you capitalize most effectively on the marketing opportunities a blog creates?

We’ll answer all of these questions in our relatively brief but comprehensive content marketing and business blogging guide for start-ups below. You’ll learn some of the most important markers of quality for an effective blog, how to develop a content marketing strategy that translates blog traffic into real leads, and what factors promote your search ranking (SEO) success.

So, without further ado, let’s get started!

1. Why Bother With a Business Blog for Your Start-Up?

contractor marketing tips

Simply put: a contractor business blog is an effective tool for achieving all of your most important marketing goals. It can:

  • Augment your other marketing efforts
  • Warm people up to your brand
  • Generate awareness for your startup
  • Work people into the start of your marketing funnel
  • Help you develop relationships with loyal visitors
  • Much more!

Creating a blog differs from traditional advertising techniques in that you expect the leads to come to you. This approach is referred to as “inbound marketing,” and it’s incredibly effective in an era where most of us are straight up burnt out on ads.

According to the Content Marketing Institute, small businesses that have a blog earn 126% more lead growth compared to businesses without one. A blog can also convince 61% of surveyed U.S. online consumers to make an eventual purchase. On top of that, HubSpot notes that blogs can earn your business 97% more inbound links, effectively multiplying your site’s traffic potential.

Since a start-up needs as much attention, awareness and clicks as possible, content marketing through a contractor business blog seems like a no brainer!

So where should you start when planning your future blog? By planning and forming a strategy with your audience firmly in mind.

2. Conducting Audience Research

Your blog is first and foremost for your audience. If they hate or don’t care about what you’re writing (the second one’s actually worse!), then you won’t accomplish any of your contractor business goals.

Search engine algorithms have also been refined over the past decade to provide results they think the audience will like. Things that hurt the audience experience, like writing misleading headlines or ripping off articles verbatim from other websites, therefore also tend to hurt your search engine ranking.

Writing for your audience is therefore essential to get the results you want from your blog.

There are a few research methods that can help you understand your audience better:

  1. Common traits within your current prospecting list and lead opportunities (you can even survey them!)
  2. Social mentions of your brand through social listening tools
  3. Existing reviews and press coverage of your brand
  4. Profiles of your competitors’ current client/customer list; these can also help you determine the subtle variations between their audiences and yours!
  5. Research of audience traits on forums, popular industry blogs, and trending social topics related to your core business

There are many other ways of conducting market research to define your audience — including hiring a firm to do it for you outright — but your own customers and experience within your industry can often be your best resource.

3. Developing an Audience-Focused Blog Strategy Through Personas

contractor business leads

Once you have a good view of your audience, separate them into a few key segments. Your segments should encompass all the shades within your audience’s buying tendencies, especially if different segments buy different products.

For example, maybe computer repair stores are ideal targets for the regular tier of your workbench and job ticketing software, but enterprise-employed IT heads are targets for your top-tier.

Using your segments, create buyer personas. These distill each of your segments into a single, imaginary person.

Now, write content for your personas! Pay close attention to the things your personas care about most and the type of content they seem to read most voraciously. Helpful topic prompts include questions they may have about your industry and “how to…” articles for alleviating related pain points.

Note that no piece of content will likely cover 100% of your buyer personas, and that’s ok! Just be sure to cover each equally (or in proportion to their priority) and provide a little something to encourage each one to read if they see your latest posts.

4. Have a Sensible, Effective Keyword Strategy Based Around Persona Intent

Your keyword strategy should be an extension of the things that motivate your buyer personas. After all, keywords are intended to serve as signals for search engines related to queries, and they also send signals to human brains that “this is relevant to me and worth clicking.”

A good practice is to use a keyword generator tool to come up with a list of keywords related to your current website, your competitors’, or a generic subject prompt. Then, plan how each keyword would relate to your segment.

For instance, searching “IT ticket software” on the free tool keywordtool.io generates many related results, including “trouble ticket software open source.”

Using our two generalized buyer personas above, let’s imagine how two different segments might use this query:

  • General Manager of a Small Computer Repair Workshop
      • Searches “trouble ticket software open source” because they want a free tool and likely don’t have much of a budget
      • Motivation: get a free piece of software
      • Suggested content suited to intent: “8 Best Open Source Trouble Ticket Software Products”
      • Possible CTA: “…many open source tools are limited in their functions, though. See why going free could actually cost you by downloading our ‘5 Factors That Hurt Computer Repair Store Profitability’ now!”
  • Head of IT for a Medium to Large Corporation
      • Searches “trouble ticket software open source” because they are curious what is out there and want to weigh their options
      • Motivation: make the best choice for their organization, including both money spent and end results
      • Suggested content suited to intent: “Advantages and Disadvantages of Using Open Source Trouble Ticket Software”
      • Possible CTA: “…but our product offers several advantages over open source, even when considering cost. Watch our brief video to see the advantages XYZ Product offers!”

From this exercise, you can see that keywords can guide a lot more than just where you stuff things in your content. In fact, don’t keyword stuff at all, but instead, use intuitive keyword groups and variations on your focus keyword to get the best results.

18% of top-ranking results for high-volume keywords don’t even have an exact match keyword anywhere in the body text!

So let keywords be a launching pad for playing into the search intent of keyword use, and segment your content ideas based on what motivates your buyers’ personas.

5. Make a Few Important Business Decisions

contractor marketing plan

Knowing your audiences and the keywords they use as important intent signals are the most important foundational steps to starting your start-up’s blog.

After getting oriented, you can make a number of decisions with the end goal of satisfying your audience personas:

  • Will my blog be branded differently than my main site? Separating your blog with its own brand can help win your audience’s trust, but it adds complexity to your strategy. Consider the pros and cons as you research well-branded blogs like Adobe’s CMO.
  • How often will I publish? Your publication schedule is dictated by A) Your bandwidth, and B) The typical amount of news coverage in your industry. Also keep in mind your capacity to do “theme days,” such as posting a video every Friday recapping one of your most popular blogs.
  • Who can I network with to promote my content? Email and social will be effective channels for content promotion, but getting amplified by someone with a lot of traffic/followers is even better! Identify blogs that allow for syndicated content or submissions, and identify micro-influencers in your niche so you can write content they’d be likely to share. (Hint: it never hurts to quote that person and tag them when you share your blog!)
  • How will my blog lead to the next stage of my marketing funnel? Every blog concludes with a call to action (CTA). Strong CTAs command the reader with an action verb to perform a simple task that provides a concrete benefit. Tailor your CTAs to your segment and their approximate buyer stage. As a general rule of thumb:
  • If they are further away from a purchase, invite them to sign up to your mailing list to download premium content pieces.
  • If they are closer, invite them to get a quote, schedule a demo, or take a direct look at your product information.

6. Monitor, Measure, Analyze, and Optimize

Your blog will be an evolving creature that adapts to the signals your audience sends you.

Pay close attention to the data you get from readers, both on your website and with any promotional announcement, such as a social media post. Your data will reveal things like which headlines get the most clicks, which articles get the most shares, which CTAs convert most effectively, and overall which types of content people prefer.

Use this data to revisit your content strategy and tweak it to find better success over time.

Should You Outsource Your Start-Up Contractor Business Blog to a Writer or Content Agency?

Performing all of the above steps yourself can help you understand what your content needs to find success. But even then, you may wish for better performance, a more efficient process, or for someone to take the task of writing, publishing and promoting completely off your hands.

If this is the case, working with a content marketing agency could be the answer for you. They can use your research, branding, and guidelines to develop content suited to your unique flavor. Weigh your options, and then decide what will ultimately be best for your business and especially your audience.

 

best online marketing for contractors
Apr 13

Contractors: Are You Making These 7 Mistakes When Writing Blogs?

Uncategorized

Blog writing can be an incredibly effective digital marketing strategy when the creator pays close attention to all the markers of quality. These markers include both technical and artistic elements as well as the context your blog plays within your overall marketing funnel.

Ignoring any part of this equation will leave you with a less-than-satisfactory result. Your audience will either disregard your content outright or any audiences you successfully build will fail to enter your marketing funnel as intended.

Luckily, plenty of companies out there are doing it right. 78% of B2C companies using content marketing say they are “moderately” to “extremely” successful with their content marketing efforts. 2 out of every 3 also say that their performance is better now than a year ago.

So what are they getting right? Most likely, they are avoiding the following seven common business blog mistakes that can hurt performance. Read the list below to ensure that you can find success and avoid the common pitfalls that hold content performance back.

Using Outdated SEO Techniques That Hurt Readability

internet marketing & seo for contractors

If you find yourself demanding that your blogs include exact match keywords listed within a certain saturation limit, take a step back and look at the data.

According to the Google themselves, keyword stuffing is strongly discouraged. Instead, include keywords naturally within the text, and don’t be afraid to vary how they are used or arranged. Google emphasizes that keywords should match up with user intent, giving the example that a long-time soccer fan will know to refer to important world matches under the “FIFA” acronym, while less-knowledgeable viewers may search for “football playoffs” instead.

Having your keywords appear naturally is key! Google recommends that you avoid “inserting numerous unnecessary keywords aimed at search engines but are annoying or nonsensical to users.” Try to write your content in a style that could get published on a popular industry blog instead, where any bizarre keyword use would be distracting and likely cause an editor to send your piece back.

If you find it hard to let go of bad keyword habits, recognize that search engine algorithm tendencies have changed. According to an extensive study and comparison-based research from SEMrush, 18% of domains that rank for high-volume keywords don’t even have an exact match keyword appear anywhere in the body of the text!

You can therefore rank without having to desperately overuse keywords. Instead, create keyword groups centered around your concept. You can use the AdWords keyword planner for suggestions. Your audience — and the search engines — will thank you!

Not Picking Topics That Have Value or Interest for Your Audience

Your company blog is not another place for ads! People will visit it only if it provides the same quality of content they would expect to find on a publication site. If they see that your “article” is actually a glorified pitch for a product, they will most likely hit the back button.

Ensure that your topics could meet the interest of a casual reader. Your own website visitor data can tell you this by revealing which articles get the most views and lead to the most time spent on site. You can also look to industry publications, mentions of your market niche in mass media, or your own competitors’ blog views for guidance.

Social listening is another useful tool. Social media can be your best source of new blog ideas, in fact. Looking for terms like “can I get a recommendation for…?” and other questions related to your product/service area is a great start. You can also source common questions your sales reps and customer service employees field.

Missing Out on Opportunities to Engage

If you have a comment on your blog or someone sharing it with their added input, recognize that this is an opportunity! Someone who was interested enough to comment or share took time and effort to interact with your materials. Continue the conversation, address their thoughts, and at the very least offer a “thank you!” for their effort.

This tactic is especially important if your typical engagement rate is slim. If you regularly get comments and other feedback on your posts, then choose 3-4 of the most interesting or valuable takes to interact with.

Responding to comments rewards these interactions, but ignoring them can feel like a punishment! People may eventually stop responding or even reading, but you have the power to encourage engagement instead. People love attention online, even if it’s just a brief nod from a brand they care about.

Being Too Scattered With Your Topic Choices

contractor advertising online

News moves fast these days, and we are often inspired in the moment to cover a certain topic on our blogs. However, you should balance out these improvisationally chosen subjects with a regular body of ongoing themed, evergreen content.

For example, does your blog have a “101” series for your industry? If you are a lawyer, for instance, does your blog take the time to cover the basics of your area of practice? Then, does it answer common questions people have regarding a typical case?

Articles like these have evergreen appeal, meaning they can continue getting traffic long after their publish date. You can also link to this content within your other pieces, building strength for your SEO and domain authority. Using the lawyer example, a law blog can highlight the word “negligence” the first time it is used in each related blog and link that term to a “What Is Negligence?” intro post.

You can also structure your foundational knowledge posts into a useful section of your website. Intuitive navigation encourages additional page views per visit, and it can strengthen your domain authority to help you rank higher, according to Google.

Not Planning Out Careful Customer Journeys

Every blog you write should not only cover a relevant, interesting topic but also lead the reader to a logical next step — or a choice of next steps.

A strong example of a bad way to do this is writing an article that tells someone everything they need to know about your profession. Let’s say you are a pool maintenance company, and you exhaustively list every chemical test and piece of equipment you use in a comprehensive blog.

This article will no doubt get a lot of views, but then what would they need your company for? Instead, the company can give an example of pool treatments and note that “every pool is different” or that “doing it yourself is time consuming and can lead to mistakes!” That way, the audience knows that even though they could DIY, they’ll get better results from you.

You never want to shoot your own value proposition in the foot, so to speak.

Similarly, guide the reader intuitively from their content view to the next step in their journey. That could be to “download our guide to winterizing your pool” by submitting their email, which gets them on your marketing list. Or, you can encourage them to “get a free estimate and assessment for what we can do to your pool” as a wrap-up call to action (CTA).

Steps in between your journey should be tempting and effortless to take. Keep your audience needs and expectations in mind, and when in doubt A/B test to find the most effective conversion methods.

Writing a Boring Headline

Your audience won’t want to click if your blog’s headline is too uninteresting or confusing. Focus a lot of your writing efforts on your headline, and regularly review data on article performance to see which headlines draw the most clicks.

You can also reference guides to writing better headlines, such as this data from Buzz Sumo and this recommended process from Moz’s Rand Fishkin.

Not Publishing Consistently

contractor marketing strategy

If people show up to a restaurant that’s randomly closed, they may stop trying to show up at all. Similarly, if your blog stagnates for months at a time, you are going to eventually turn off your readers altogether.

Make a point to post to your business blog a bare minimum of several times a month. 1-2 times weekly would be ideal. Having a set content theme for certain days can also work well at drawing regular audiences.

A consistent posting schedule will help you build audiences while rewarding regular readers with a steady stream of new content. Also, don’t neglect to promote your new blogs on social!

Getting Everything Right and Avoiding Business Blog Mistakes

The bottom line with all of these recommendations is to consider your audience. When you can write for real people from the perspective of something they would enjoy reading, you will reap the rewards of better content marketing performance.

social media marketing for contractors
Apr 06

Social Media And Content Marketing Trends Every Contractor Should be Using

Social Media

As competing for user attention with content and social media marketing gets more challenging, keeping up with the latest trends is essential for achieving ROI on your campaigns.

According to a recent survey of 344 social media managers, almost 80% of businesses use social media to post original content. Yet, just a little over half (52%) say that they achieve revenue growth through their social efforts.

What is this half doing right? They pay close attention not just to social’s role in their marketing funnel strategy, but they also track emerging trends to stay on the cusp of social relevance. By reading the signs of the times, they can adjust their strategy to keep their social media marketing effective and achieving consistent positive ROI.

To help your contractor business stay on top, here are four social content marketing trends you can keep track of to make your social activities a lucrative component of your overall marketing mix.

Social Listening More Important for Guiding Strategy, Finding Lead Gen Opportunities

best marketing strategies for contractors

Social listening has been used in the past for two main things: establishing the current conversation surrounding a brand’s reputation and finding moments to surprise and delight consumers.

As more of our society’s most important conversations move to social media, social listening has evolved to become more akin to market research. Rather than just gathering brand sentiment data or springing marketing speak on random mentions, brands are actively prospecting for leads, gathering critical feedback data, and developing whole campaigns around becoming a part of social conversations.

A study from Clutch shows that 1 in 4 businesses use social listening to improve their products and service. 42% try to improve customer relationships, while 86% monitor ongoing customer requests, issues, questions and concerns.

Social listening has also spread from the typical confines of Facebook and Twitter to Instagram, YouTube and even Reddit.

When employing social listening for your own purposes, make sure the data you gather is shared across your entire operation. Make note of ongoing complaints regarding your brands, and also look for opportunities within subjects related to the pain points your product solves. Build your social media brand awareness and lead generation campaigns around this data for maximum effectiveness.

For example, Kleenex monitored social media for posts about someone declaring they were fighting an illness. A representative then contacted friends and family members of the person to coordinate a “Kleenex Kit” surprise package filled with get-well items.

The campaign not only helped create social buzz and generate positive conversations, but Kleenex was also able to gather data on how people cope with illness as well as rates of sickness reported through social.

Snapchat, Instagram Stories and Other Ephemeral Content Come to Center Stage

digital marketing for contractors

More brands are embracing the use of ephemeral content in their marketing strategy. “Ephemeral content” refers to social media posts that disappear after a limited time. For instance, Snapchat posts sent directly to followers disappear quickly after being viewed. Snapchat Story and Instagram Story posts disappear after 24 hours of being posted.

Many brands considered these platforms and temporary content types impractical or difficult to get a hang of. But, they have a strong motivation to rethink this impression, especially if they have a sizeable market within younger demographics.

Pew Research reveals that 78% of 18-24 year olds use Snapchat every single day. 71% of these users visit the platform multiple times daily! Similarly, Instagram has enjoyed an increase in daily users from 51% to 60% since introducing their “Stories” feature.

Why do younger demographics like this type of content so much? “Much of Snapchat's value comes from its support of mundane, everyday conversation among close friends,” concludes a recent study conducted at Cornell.

Ephemeral content users value the authenticity and intimacy that comes from having impermanent conversations. Instead of people broadcasting a highly polished, idealized version of themselves that will be enshrined forever on a server, they can feel like they are casually chatting with friends.

Contractors wanting to use the platforms should keep this feeling in mind when they share ephemeral content. Try to only share distinctly human moments or genuinely exciting temporary offers to your followers. For more standard promotions, you can post to your Story, which allows people to opt-in with viewing rather than being force-fed messages.

What kind of ephemeral content works best?

  • Promotional discounts or events that end after the post disappears
  • Special offers personalized towards a specific follower group
  • “Slice of life” moments during your operations, such as a hearty “good morning” or a picture of a butterfly landing on your windowsill
  • Geofilter marketing, which can be used to create gamified promotions

More Companies Looking to Partner with Micro-Influencers in Their Niche

Social media is becoming a launchpad for product discovery. Since popular accounts in communities have the most followers and therefore the most exposure potential, product recommendations from these accounts can quickly catapult awareness and demand.

Nearly 40% of Twitter users claim they have bought a product after a recommendation from someone they follow. That’s likely why 56% of brands say that influencer marketing can improve how people see them, and 48% plan on increasing their influencer marketing budgets in 2018.

However, not just any influencer collaboration will work. Look for accounts that hold attention and sway from their followers but that aren’t full-blown social celebrities. These “micro-influencers” typically have less than a million followers and much higher engagement rates from their audience.

Also, look to data from your audiences and who they tend to look to for content in their specific community. “It really depends on individual brands’ target audiences, and who those audiences trust,” explains one apparel brand CEO.

Make sure to use social listening to look out for influencer opportunities that can land in your lap. As an example, professional artist Matt Cummings began posting adorable drawings made with Posca paint pens, and other artists like PaperBeatsScissors took up the medium with fantastic results.

Now, Posca Markers are a trending topic, with users saying things like “I feel like my entire twitter feed this week has been an elaborate conspiracy to get me to buy those posca paint markers.” Yet, the brand Uni has so far failed to take notice of the traction they are getting nor recognize an opportunity with Cummings for collaboration.

Millennial Demographics Mature, Demanding More Nuanced Segmentation Strategies

contractor internet marketing

“Those darn millennials” — as some of your relatives may be fond of calling them — are officially growing up. Millennial parents are now responsible for 80% of the U.S.’s annual 4 million births, for instance.

What this all means is that lumping your 25-34 year old demographic into a few standard categories is no longer going to cut it. Instead, you must recognize the differing interests, values, and subsequent purchase motivators that drive your audience behaviors.

For instance, instead of just creating a fun, youthful campaign with pop art or a “green” campaign using nature imagery, research what specific types of art or environmental causes your millennial audiences care about most.

Gathering social data on your audiences’ demographics and interest categories can help you create more accurate segments that mirror actual traits, not generational stereotypes. Then, you can build out personas based on these segments to target each piece of social content to a real category within your customer base.

“If you’re creating a campaign for a brand or product, it’s imperative to know who you’re speaking to, which users will be most engaged, and the users who will drive the success of this campaign,” urges Yuval Ben-Itzhak, CEO of Socialbakers. “In the past, this was done by guesswork or agency studies, but today it’s almost happening in real time.”

New Social Media Marketing Trends Mean Expanding Your Purview and Closely Monitoring Your Unique Datasets

If there is one persistent theme within all of these emerging social media marketing and content trends for 2018, it’s that brands are trying new things and not taking their strategy for granted.

By branching out and using your own data as a divining rod, you can guide your marketing strategy towards developing true relationships and inspiring behaviors among your audiences. That is the best way to achieve social media marketing success in the current times.

contractor marketing magazine
Mar 30

Should Contractors Outsource Content Writing, Develop Talent In-House, or Both?

Content Marketing

Quality content is quickly becoming a brand differentiator for businesses trying to compete for online visibility. Companies able to maintain a steady stream of great content can capture larger online audiences, earn higher search engine results rankings, position themselves as thought leaders and strengthen the overall performance of their marketing funnel.

The question for contractors, then, isn’t whether they need a content writer but rather how they should go about working with one. Hiring a full-time writer (or a stable of writers) as part of your in-house marketing team is one option while outsourcing the work to various creative agencies or freelancers is another option. Some businesses also choose a mixture between the two.

Deciding which route to go for your own content marketing needs depends completely on your unique goals, how you want to portray your brand online, and how those requirements might shift as time goes on.

To help you come to a conclusion, consider the following pros and cons of outsourced content writing compared to developing your own in-house team. The information can provide food for thought as you develop your own content writing strategy and whose shoulders the responsibility will ultimately fall upon.

Pros of Hiring an In-House Content Writer or Writing Team

contractor marketing materials

Having your own writer or writing team as part of your staff provides you with embedded talent that is always available to fulfill your needs. You can have them oversee and contribute to many different project types, and you can also use their expertise in a consulting capacity to review any copy created by anyone else.

Think of it as having someone who is intimately familiar with your brand and your processes on retainer. Rather than worrying about billing costs or scheduling for each individual project, they can take on as much as their bandwidth can carry.

Developing talent in-house also ensures that you have total ownership over your brand voice. A freelancer you develop a great relationship could cut and run, leaving you struggling to find a replacement.

Some brands go even so far as to have an entire department dedicated to content writing, copywriting, PR and similar projects. Cisco embraces this approach as a type of corporate newsroom, where brand-focused journalism is always available on tap and content is produced in substantial volumes on a consistent basis.

Cons of Onboarding a Full-Time Content Marketing Writer

Despite the convenience of having someone in the office handle all your writing needs, there are also many limitations.

The most obvious limiting factor is money. Not only do you have to pay a writer a 30k – 60k or more salary, but you must also pay for their worker’s comp insurance and their employment taxes as well as any benefits you offer. They will likely get sick days, annual leave, family insurance coverage and other add-on overhead that ends up not directly translating to work performed.

Speaking of work, even the most productive full-time writers only have so much time in the day. If you have a huge project coming up, you may need to onboard even more talent or resort to outsourcing to other freelance writers and agencies.

On the reverse side, if you have a lack of writing-heavy projects on the calendar, your employee still gets their regular salary.

In addition to the problem of fixed capacity, in-house talent can sometimes end up getting overexposed to brand messaging. Their approach may end up sounding biased or too salesy. By comparison, a freelancer will share your projects with many other diverse client projects, helping keep them objective and focused on their audience, not just your brand.

Finally, some companies have difficulty retaining writers. They end up investing time and money onboarding and then developing them only to have them jump ship later on.

Pros of Using a Content Freelancer or Marketing Agency

contractor marketing services

Outsourcing content marketing allows you to have predictable costs on a fixed per-project or ongoing package basis. You also gain access to content production capabilities at scale — presuming, of course, that multiple writers are capable of producing the level of quality you need.

Flexible capacity also means that you can have a highly variable workload. If you outsource a large project to a content team, then you don’t have to worry about them twiddling their thumbs when the project ends. You can also decide to skip your regular content output for a period without having a sunk employee cost associated.

Another benefit to outsourcing is convenience. You don’t have to add to the complexity of your organization with new departments, managers and case loads for HR to handle. Instead, you have one source of billing, one line of correspondence for content needs, and a relationship with a cohesive group rather than individual employees.

Ultimately, outsourcing content marketing provides flexibility, convenience, and the ability to adapt the type of content you produce as your company grows and changes.

Cons of Outsourcing Content Marketing to Others

The biggest risk with using an outside writer for your content needs is that they can end up controlling your brand voice. Unless you offer strict guidelines on voice, formatting, and the overall writing approach to your content, then each writing task will leave a lot open to interpretation.

Problems arise not just when someone comes up with a bad interpretation but also a really good one. Suddenly, you are dependent on someone not within your organization for your digital marketing success.

Even if your content quality isn’t beholden to one person, both freelancers and agencies contract on an at-will basis. They can suddenly decide they don’t have the capacity to work on your projects or demand a higher rate. You must then weigh your options, which can be nearly as time-consuming and costly as onboarding an actual employee.

All that said, most of these risks are completely hypothetical. If you are able to locate a good outside content writing source and develop a relationship with them, then you can receive all of the benefits described above with none of the associated drawbacks.

A Hybrid Approach — The Best of Both Worlds?

contractor online marketing

An alternative to a 100% in-house or 100% outsourced content writing solution is to share duties between the two.

For example, you can have a copywriting and content production team that occasionally outsources projects when they hit their capacity or want to embark on a large project.

Or, you can have someone in a marketing leadership position who happens to be a talented writer. They can perform small projects and lend their writing expertise to any tasks they share with others.

When it comes time to outsource, you have someone with experience and craft knowledge to shape the requirements of your content projects. They can also edit the projects as they come in to ensure they match your brand voice.

In both situations, your team has ownership and control over the quality and aesthetics of the content you create. They can have a strong say when it comes to vetting and selecting an outsource partner.

At the same time, you have the capability to scale the quantity of content created on a flexible basis. Essentially, it’s a win-win.

Ultimately, the decision for how to arrange your content writing responsibilities rests on your own shoulders. By taking your current needs into account, predicting your future needs and weighing the pros and cons of your options, you can arrive at a smart decision.

contractor marketing
Mar 23

6 Huge Advantages a Content Writing Agency Can Offer Your Contractor Business

Content Marketing

When weighing your options for creating content marketing pieces, don’t overlook the significant benefits outsourcing your workload to an agency can have. While onboarding content writing staff or working directly with a freelancer can both be viable options, they barely scratch the surface of what a content marketing agency can offer.

When working with an agency, you have the ability to dramatically upscale the quality, quantity and overall reach of the content created for your digital marketing campaigns.

For instance, a content writing services provider can give you a set cost for creating a high-quality asset like an eBook that includes all the services you need like graphics and a paid social media promotion budget. When managing such a campaign in-house, each of these services and the tools required to make it happen are an individual cost.

Working with a content writing company therefore upgrades your capabilities while helping you achieve efficiency and streamline your content creation processes. Even if you have your own talent in-house, outsourcing even just a portion of content creation and content promotion to an agency can cut your costs and help you achieve far better campaign performance.

To help you understand what an asset a content marketing agency can be for your contractor business, consider the following six biggest benefits below.

High Quality Professional Work With Writing Expertise

marketing for contractors

The most immediate benefit to using a dedicated digital marketing agency to write your content is a high standard of quality. Professionals who write full time have familiarity, expertise and a high level of comfortability with their craft.

In other words, they can create highly polished and engaging pieces with far less effort than your staff ever could. Professional writers have also learned hard lessons over time, such as how to insert stronger action verbs or how to structure sentences that have crystal clear meanings.

An agency-level expertise also applies to more than just the writing of the pieces themselves. They also understand long-term content strategy. Their knowledge can encompass the timing of publication, for instance, or the best way to format your pieces for optimal presentation. They may also be able to provide advice on how to select or mold topics so that your pieces always provide value and satisfy an established audience need.

Outsourcing your work can therefore significantly improve overall quality and performance compared to what can be produced in-house.

Quicker Output Potential and Scalability

In addition to quality, content writing services provided by an agency give you access to scalability. You can potentially go from a regular content load of four blogs per month, for example, to six blogs plus a premium white paper at the drop of a hat.

Because content agencies have access to a stable of qualified writers who dedicate their schedules to writing, they almost always have the capacity to take on more work. Making a dramatic content project change, such as the one illustrated above, can be accomplished quickly.

You also don’t need to develop permanent resources that you won’t have use for later. For instance, you won’t have to hire three employee writers for a special project who then have nothing to do once the project is complete.

Stop Paying Opportunity Costs, and Reclaim More of Your Labor Hours

marketing for contractors business

No matter how talented you or your employees may be at writing, getting your content writing done still requires a time commitment. Employee hours that could go to things like researching business opportunities or measuring your overall marketing performance is instead spent writing and editing.

If you’re currently handling a lot of writing duties yourself, you understand just how time consuming it could be. Other projects and things that need your attention get put on the backburner, and the tasks you do get to receive a smaller portion of your time.

Outsourcing content creation frees up the time for your staff, enabling you to accomplish more and focus on activities that help your contractor business grow.

A Content Writing Agency Can Augment Your Capabilities at a Fixed Cost

Content agencies bring a lot to the table. They often have their own tools for managing content publication, monitoring content marketing performance, or jazzing up the content itself.

For example, a content marketing agency will typically have a subscription for a stock photo service as part of their budget. Rather than you having to spend $40 to $400 or more a month on just using a few photos, you can have them built into your budget.

Likewise, a content marketing team assigned to your account will be able to help you track more campaigns and stay organized better than your in-house employees could manage on their own.

In a sense, they become a peripheral part of your staff that is highly experienced and knowledgeable. It’s kind of like having a superhero squad at your disposal. Kind of.

Create Targeted Content That Appeals to Your Audiences, Not Just Your Business Goals

contractor business marketing

Contractors that create their own content can run into one surprising and unexpected flaw: they care too much about their brand to think like a typical reader.

Because of this limitation, even the most talented in-house staff may end up writing copy that sounds more like a commercial than a blog. Over-promotion indicates bias, which breeds mistrust in audiences and can cause them to lose interest in what you have to say.

Someone embedded in an organization can also tend to forget what sorts of concepts need to be explained or kept in mind when speaking to a non-expert audience.

Content writers bring objectivity and a razor-sharp focus on audience needs with them. They are often familiar with multiple subject matters and countless styles of writing. Being well-versed helps them share expertise and explain concepts to a layperson while sounding like one of them, not some overeager marketing person.

An experienced writer can also bring with them outside perspectives a contractor may not have considered, such as a handy metaphor or a relevant resource they stumbled upon during another project.

At the end of the day, a seasoned content writer wants to meet the needs of their audiences above all else, which helps propel business goals without sabotaging performance by being over-eager.

Reduce Risks of Full-Time Employees

The final aspect contractors should consider when outsourcing is the sheer amount of overhead and risk full-time employees bring. Onboarding and training take a significant amount of time and a hefty financial investment. If the employee doesn’t work out — or they decide to leave their job within a few years — the business may not have fully recouped its investment in talent development.

There’s also complicating factors like additional HR overhead, benefits, employee taxes, the need for management and countless other things. Working with an agency streamlines all of this into one fixed, predictable cost that you can adjust practically at-will.

In the end, you get the work you need done more efficiently, more flexibly, and with a higher level of polish when outsourcing to a content writing services provider. Because of all the advantages they offer, their services are indispensable for businesses of all sizes no matter how many great writers they do — or don’t — have on staff.

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