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Who's Going To Write The Content for our Ecommerce Website?

Published by Charles Brodeur

Most ecommerce business owners today understand, content is critical for a solid marketing strategy. The importance of content in today’s marketing landscape is a big part of the reason that 90% of organizations employ content marketing. Unfortunately, the rush to adopt content marketing also means that many marketers are having trouble finding the time to create their own content. Even a basic set of product descriptions can take hours of time to plan, edit, revise, and distribute effectively; that’s without considering more sophisticated forms of content such as videos or technical details. To combat the challenge that adopting a content marketing strategy can present, inventive marketers have come up with ways to help them do more with less time. When it comes to effective content curation and creation today, there are four commonly-accepted strategies that most companies engage in: 1. hiring a marketing agency 2. using self-serve content platforms 3. working with a freelancer 4. bringing staff on board to deal with the challenge of content creation. Each approach has its own pros and cons; what works for one marketer may not be suitable for the next one. The key to succeeding with your content curation and creation strategy is to learn about the benefits and drawbacks of each different type and then make a decision about which one is best for your needs.

Hiring a Marketing agency

The huge rise in popularity of digital marketing has brought with it a corresponding rise in the growth of digital marketing agencies. These are companies that focus on offering a full suite of services to their clients, from product descriptions to social media strategy to paid advertisements to general content creation. In some cases, agencies can also specialize on just content creation. The biggest advantage of working with an agency is how comprehensive they are. Hiring an agency is often a one-shot solution to a company’s marketing challenges, since they are able to provide a wide variety of services, depending on what their particular offerings look like. Even hiring an agency that focuses only on content marketing and strategy can be a big weight off of the shoulders of a harried marketer who may feel like they need to be in multiple places at the same time. Another excellent benefit of hiring an agency is that you are retaining the services of qualified professionals. Many of the marketing professionals who work at these agencies are highly-trained, highly-experienced marketing experts who have the skills and knowledge needed to achieve great success in marketing. One of the disadvantages of hiring a marketing agency is cost. Because of the high-level services that many of these agencies provide, their service packages are priced accordingly, which can be an issue smaller companies or startups with a limited budget to work with.

Self Serve Content Platforms

Another kind of content creation model that has risen to prominence since the beginning of the content marketing rush is the self-serve content platform. These agencies or organizations act as a type of content broker, connecting those that need content created with content writers, usually working independently or part-time. Popular self-serivce content platforms include Newscred and Skyword. The big benefit of this platform is that companies can get great content easily without paying a high price. Depending on the kind of content platform or agency that a marketer is working with, good quality content can be had for a relatively low investment of money. Also, most of these content platforms are designed to make selecting great content and connecting with great creators as easy as possible for companies which are in need of content. If there is a problem with the content or it does not turn out the way that a marketer needs, they are under no obligation to pay for content that they are not satisfied with. One of the challenges of using these kinds of platforms is that marketers are often relegated to outsourcing their content creation needs to those whose first language is not English, or those who might not be as capable of meeting their needs as they would like. Even though users of these sites are not obligated to pay for this content, they still lose out on the time and energy that it takes to create an assignment brief, send it to the site, review a writer’s content, and so on. However, for companies that are looking for a low-cost solution to content curation and creation, and don’t mind spending the time it takes to sift through several different writers and pieces of content, marketing platforms can fill a substantial hole in a content marketing campaign.

Working with Freelancers

Clients that are seeking all kinds of creative services usually have the option of working with a freelancer in their desired field. These professionals often run their entire business by themselves, which gives them a much more thorough understanding of their field. Content is no different. There are lots of freelance writers and content specialists who focus on generating quality content for clients on a timely basis. These freelancers sometimes work as subcontractors for advertising agencies, but they frequently have direct relationships with their own clients. Why would you choose to go with a freelancer when it would seem that an agency has more resources with which to provide very similar services? First, a single freelancer can often be much more agile than a content agency. Many freelancers are very willing to go outside of the scope of what they usually do, or turn something around on very short notice; these are two things that some marketing and content agencies struggle with. Also, working with a freelancer allows a company to establish a more personal relationship with the person responsible for generating their marketing content. Even if your company has a great relationship with an executive or high-level manager at a marketing or content agency, they probably aren’t the ones who are handling your content. In fact, the person in charge of creating your content may change frequently. When you work with a freelancer, you know who they are and what they can do. When you decide to hire a freelancer multiple times, you also know that they have a pre-existing understanding and knowledge of what your content needs are. This is not always the case when working with an agency or through a content platform. As for the disadvantages of working with a freelancer, cost can be another hurdle for those seeking content to overcome. The best and most reputable freelancers in the field can charge relatively high prices, since there are plenty of large companies with an equally large budget for content that are willing to pay these prices. Also, some freelancers can be unreliable, which is why it is important to know who you are working with and check their previous track record of success before you commit to hiring them for content services.

Inhouse Content Specialist

Of all the options available for creating content, hiring someone in-house is the one that provides the largest guarantee of getting content that is in line with the philosophy and goals of the organization. When you hire someone to create content, you are totally assimilating them into your business. Unlike working with an agency or freelancer, creating content for your business is the only professional responsibility they have. If you choose the right person, you can get a content specialist who knows your company and knows how to create effective content, which will be a huge asset to your content strategy. The big drawback of hiring someone in-house for your content creation is the cost. Not only do you have to consider the annual salary and benefits of the person you wish to hire, there are also training costs and costs that you face if they fall ill or take time away from the office. There is also the hiring process to consider, which takes time away from managers and other company leadership. Hiring someone in-house is best for a company that has the budget to bring on another person and anticipates having a long-term need for quality content tailored around their specific organizational needs.

Which way is right for you?

The obvious question to consider after learning about these different methods of meeting content creation and curation goals is, “Which one do I choose?” Self-serve platforms can provide excellent results at a low cost, but they do require a significant investment of time and personal writing skills. Freelance writers can provide you with excellent work that truly speaks to your content needs, but they are often expensive and difficult to deal with. Hiring in-house is the way to get the most branded content that is the most aligned with your goals, but it is also the most expensive solution to content creation. finally, hiring an agency can occasionally be somewhat expensive, but it is a great all-around approach to getting content and other forms of marketing done well and that serves its purpose well. 

If you are looking for a quality agency, the gang here at BigTurns would love to find out more about your project. BigTurns has managed content marketing and social media programs for many ecommerce  businesses since our launch in 2008.  We supply platform design and creation, account management, weekly content creation and social media publishing at an affordable monthly subscription rate that makes sense financially for small businesses. The bottom line? Be sure that you do as much research as possible and look into all of the available agencies, content platforms, and content writers, so that you can get the best solution for both your needs and your budget.

Charles Brodeur
eCommerce Consultant
BigTurns Professional Services Ltd 
Vancouver, BC V6E 4R1

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