In this blog, Rianna Enahoro, Account Executive at The B2B Marketing Lab, highlights five key challanges with outsourcing your B2B content creation.
While most B2B marketers know how important content is in 2019, creating it is no simple task.
From planning a B2B content marketing strategy and doing keyword research, to social media promotion and reporting, content creation can be time-consuming and resource intensive, so much so that many B2B firms outsource their content to external agencies.
According to a report by Sagefrog Marketing Group, almost two-thirds of B2B companies consistently outsource all, or a part of, their marketing to agencies.
But while outsourcing B2B content creation enables companies benefit from agency expertise and focus on managing internal resources, it does come with its own set of challenges…
1. Lack of industry expertise
When you create B2B content in-house, you use staff who have understand of your industry and the needs and motivations of your clients, so they are best placed to create content that resonates.
When you outsource content creation, however, the writers may not have your staff’s knowledge or level of expertise; this can really affect your messaging and the quality of your content. Some agencies work hard to place new clients with specific writers in the agency, however not all are fortunate to have a variety of writers they can use.
2. Communication issues
With a large in-house marketing team, you can deal with issues as they arise. Unhappy with a blog synopsis? Edit it. Article not optimised? Send it to the SEO team. It’s that easy.
In comparison, some agencies will not always be in constant contact. If you brief something in, you might only see the end product rather than various drafts along the way. This can cause issues if you are unsatisfied with the result, and we've heard of it happening times and times again.
This doesn’t happen with every agency, but it’s something to be aware of and something you should ask during the sales stage.
3. Not as much brand knowledge
No one will have a better understanding of your company’s history, vision, goals, messaging and products than your staff, particularly those who have been with you for a while. They will be able to create content that incorporates your company’s tone of voice and mission, and helps potential customers solve problems.
But when you outsource B2B content, controlling your company’s voice becomes a challenge. Any inconsistency in brand messaging and positioning will inhibit the customer experience, so it’s crucial that whoever you outsource to understands your brand.
A great way to manage this is through a strong client on-boarding process. During this process, questions and concerns can be addressed, expectations set and content creators educated on the brand’s messaging and positioning.
4. Potentially longer approvals
With an in-house content team, having physical proximity to them means that briefing tasks (which can often require scheduling meetings) is much faster. This is particularly useful when working on last-minute briefs or tasks with tight deadlines.
When you outsource B2B content creation, you’re sometimes battling to find time in each other’s diary to discuss content deliverables and deadlines.
5. You’re not their only client
It’s important to remember that agencies have other clients. It’s not just you who they provide support to. This means that you might sometimes get a delayed response – but stick with it and they’ll get back to you as soon as they can. Sometimes these delays are as a result of them trying to get things right for you.
On the other hand, for your internal content team your company is the top priority. This means they’ll focus solely on your B2B content creation, and ensure tasks are completed to the highest standard. This is great, as long as they don't get too busy to focus on it!
So… should you outsource B2B content creation or not?
Ultimately your team knows best. They are the face of your brand and the brains behind your strategies.
This does not mean that you should avoid outsourcing – you just need to factor in the time it takes to get external content writers up to speed on the ins and outs of your company, industry and client base. That being said, a good content agency will have a thorough client onboarding process to ensure these bases are covered.
Content is a powerful lead generator and sales driver – but it needs the right people with the right expertise to produce high-quality content on a consistent basis. One way to do so (and reap the benefits of both internal and external B2B content creators) is to build a strong in-house marketing team and rely on the support of an experienced agency for social promotion, SEO and B2B content marketing strategy. It’s an effective, scalable process!