How to build a cost-saving content team for your company (with real examples and templates)

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content team

You know you need to create more content for your business.

You even tried to write few blog posts per month

But the problem is:

You are not getting the desired result.

You tried to involve your employees to create more content for your company’s blog.

Still, it is not working.

The last option?

You tried to hire writers to create the content for you.

Did it work? Not really.

You keep hiring cheap writers who cannot deliver.

It is not as if you don't want to create more content.

It is because you don't know how to use your employees to create content or how to hire seasoned writers as part of your content team.

You are not alone in this:

The content marketing institute reported in their 2016 b2b content marketing survey that one of the top challenges content marketers are facing is producing content consistently. In fact, 57% are facing that challenge.

content team

 

Nonetheless, you need to create high-quality content to generate tangible results.

Hubspot report on creating content revealed that companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got almost 3.5x more traffic than companies that published between 0-4 month posts.

content team

 

Not only that, they also generate about 4.5x leads more than companies that published between 0-4 monthly posts.

content team

The statistics above showed that companies that blog regularly reap the biggest rewards in terms of website traffic and leads which can also result in sales over time.

So, now that you know the benefits of creating content consistently, how do you go about it?.

There is only one way you can achieve this objective. That is by having a content writing and marketing team for your business.

How do you building a content writing and marketing team?

There are two ways to build a content writing and marketing team. You can either use your employees or hire freelance content writers to constitute your team.

Before you start putting together your content team, you need two strategic documents. These documents will aid you to create the best content and get you the best return on your investment. The two documents are the content strategy and style guide. They are explained below.

1.    Content strategy

Creating a content strategy for your business can be time-consuming or expensive if you plan to outsource it. This is the reason why the content marketing institute 2016 report showed that only 32% of b2b marketers have a documented content strategy.

There is a lot of benefits you get by documenting your content strategy. They are:

  1. It helps you to generate better results from your content marketing tactics.
  2. It helps you to define relevant goals for your business and how to achieve it
  3. It helps you to know what your audience want to read/hear rather than what you want to say or write
  4. It shows you how to use the existing content on your website
  5. It helps you to assign the responsibility for creating content on a consistent basis
  6. It helps you to test and measure the success of your content in relation to visits, leads, sales and brand visibility, etc.

Now that you know the benefits of creating a content strategy, it is time to create one for your business.

Below is a presentation from Convince and convert.  It will show you how to create a content strategy in 7 steps.

 

Below are further readings on content strategy:

How to create a content strategy that actually drives organic traffic

Content Strategy: A Development Guide

2.   Editorial style guide

A style guide helps you to create content that is consistent in style, tone, and voice for your brand. It establishes the rules and guidelines that writers will follow to create outstanding, structured and organized content.

It documents the preferred spelling, grammar, punctuation,  terminology, formatting and content design. It helps all your writers to stay on the same page as established in the style guide.

For instance, a whitepaper can be spelled in different ways, such as "whitepaper, white paper or white-paper". E-commerce can be spelled differently such as  e-commerce, E-commerce, Ecommerce, ecommerce, etc.

Having a style guide will tell the writers the right way to spell the words.

A style guide basically contains:

  1. A summary of your company's mission
  2. Company's choice of words or spelling
  3. Voice and tone of the content
  4. List of company's preferred words
  5. Grammar

To reduce your time in creating the documents, you can download the templates below and tweak it to your taste. I can also help you to develop a winning content marketing strategy for your business.

 

Armed with the two documents, you can proceed to create your content team.

There are two major and cost saving ways to build your content team. They are using your employees and hiring a team of freelance writers.

Building a content team using your Employees

The first way you can build a cost saving content team is by using your employees. That is, if they are willing and up to the task. Using your employees has its own advantages, such as:

  1. The ease of content creation. Employees can create content easily because they are part of the company. They know much about the company's product or service.
  2. Cost saving benefits. You don’t need to pay them for creating content for the company.
  3. The number of employees determines the number of articles produced. For instance, if you have 5-10 employees who are ready to create content on a consistent basis, it will be easy to generate traffic, leads, and sales.
  4. Building the company’s reputation and authority becomes a breeze

Marcus Sheridan in his article on "10 reasons why employees should be required to participate in blogging and content marketing" said, "The greater the number of employees that help produce content, the more success the company has".

It really makes sense. Imagine you run a company with about 100 employees and each employee will write one article per week. You will have 100 blog articles per week. That would be 400 articles in a month. According to the stats on Hubspot above, these 400 posts will generate leads which have the capacity to turn into sales.

How do you start the process?

The best way to kick start the content creation and marketing process in your company is to start with the FAQs. These are frequent questions your customers are asking.

A company did this and recorded massive leads and sales.

The company's name is Ongoing Operations. It is a company that specializes in backup cloud-computing services for the credit union industry.

Kirk Drake, the CEO of Ongoing Operations attended a content marketing conference some time ago. He decided to put what he learned into practice. He had a team of about 12 employees as at the time (they are 13 now).

He used their customers’ questions to create blog posts titles. He assigned the articles to the employees. He stipulated 90 minutes would be spent each day for three days to create answers to the questions.

The employees spent 4 1/2 hours answering these questions using their own words. At the end of the day, they were able to create over 100 blog posts.

The results?

Before the content marketing campaign, the company gets 1-2 leads in a month from the website. After the posts were published, it started getting 1 lead per day. When Kirk saw the amazing results, he decided to create another round of 100 blog posts. He also wrote a book as well within this period.

Let's look at the financial implication of this experiment.

Kirk made between $500,000 and $1,000,000 in the first year.

Can you imagine the whooping ROI?

Can you also get the same results?

Yes, if you are ready to invest in content marketing.

If for one reason or the other, your employees cannot create content for your company, there is still hope.

You can build a team of remote content writer team for your business.

How to build a team of freelance writers your business

If you have been in the marketing industry for long, you will agree with me that finding good content writers can be difficult. But, having worked in the content writing industry for over a decade now, I have garnered some experiences that will enable you to get the best out of your freelance writers.

Let me assure you that building a team of freelance writers is the best option. It is working for different companies

It comes with a lot of benefits, such as:

  1. Producing a wide range of voices, types of contents that will boost your website engagement, traffic, leads, and sales.
  2. It is cost effective than hiring or building a content marketing team.

The processes are highlighted below:

1.      Determine the number and type of writers you need

The content strategy you created above will help you to determine the number and type of writers you need to develop your content. With the content strategy, you already know how many contents you will need to achieve your goals.

The type of writers you hire also matters a lot.

For example, there are copywriters that are good for creating ad copywriting, sales pages etc.

Non-fiction writers (where I fit in), creates long-form research-based content, blog posts, e-book, whitepapers, etc.

Thus, when hiring writers, first ask them the kind of writing they do, so that you can both be on the same page.

2.    Search for the writers

Finding the right writer for your business can be a daunting task. All you need is a little bit of patience and persistence and you will discover them. Getting a good writer for your content will help you to develop your content strategy to its full potential.

This will, in turn, drive traffic to your website, build brand awareness, gets leads, sales and build your authority in the industry.

First a note of warning here: If you need good content that will perform well in terms of generating traffic, building brand awareness and generating leads for your business, stay away from content mills. These are websites where you can get cheap writers. You will get lots of contents that are useless on your website.

Having said that, good places you can source for writers are:

Problogger.com

Inbound.org

Angellist

Linkedin

  1.     The hiring process

As a seasoned content writer, I have worked with several brands and recognized the best way to get good writers for your business. I will be using the example of a big brand /company I worked with recently. The process is:

  1. Post the job description on your preferred job board e.g. problogger,inbound.org, etc.
  2. Give a brief description of your business model, target market and information on your products or services. e.g.

About XXXXX AND ITS BUSINESS MODEL:

xxxxx is a facebook Marketing partner that helps app developers and app marketers acquire users at scale on facebook and Instagram. We have an advanced Saas ad platform that allows app marketers spend thousands and millions on Facebook at scale and acquire users for their games, consumer apps, and mobile stores. XXXX also offers creative services (making those ads), media buying services (buying ads on Facebook and Instagram) and account management of campaigns as part of the extended team.

TARGET MARKET

Our target markets are game marketers, consumer app marketers, ecommerce marketers and fintech app, marketers.

    4. Include your style guide for the writer to peruse

STYLE, TONE, FORMAT REQUIRED

* Content will be around advanced topics of performance marketing

* You will do all the research and content and will work with a gist (200 words summary written for you to develop into a 1500-2000 piece)

* Tone should be professional, yet conversational

* The language should be similar in samples with professional terminology and context written around the lifestyle (as described in target market personas

 *  Must be on point, well-organized with writing principles (open, close, key message, support stories)

* Provide links to content on your blog as writing samples.

SAMPLES OF TYPE OF BLOG POSTS AND CONTENT

4.    Let the writers know what you desire of them.

This is where you specify the instructions regarding the project.  Find an example below:

To be considered for this job, you will write one article on any topic related to the niche. If I like what you write, you will be given the job and if not, you are free to use the content anywhere you like.

  1. Please review the information above
  2. Propose 3 titles (post headlines) that will be of interest to our target audience (prospective customers) and pitch them to me by:

a. Adding a short paragraph with your words why you think this would be a topic of interest (your rationale).

b. Bonus (a short outline for each)

Applicants who were shortlisted from the application process did it. A lot of writers were dropped based on the output. I was shortlisted. The marketing manager then picked one topic out of the three I submitted and asked me to write on it.

She sent the style guide combined with the content strategy to put us on the same page with the company’s brand and voice. I passed the test and was given the job.

For those who did not pass the writing test, you can thank them for their time and give them the freedom to use the article anywhere they wish.

But, you need to be sure that the writers agree to this process before they embark on the journey. This process will help you to weed out unserious writers and leave you with the best.

Managing the team

Managing the content team in your company is a key to getting the best result. The first thing you will need to take care of is the communication system. How will the writers get in touch with you when they have pressing questions to ask? I found out that the most effective means of communication is Skype or Google hangouts. They are faster than emailing.

You can manage and correct the content produced by your writers using Google docs. You don't have to save it in different names like Microsoft word. It allows the content writers to track the corrections and make amendments. You can easily check on the status of work being done by each writer. Best of all, it is easy to use and free.

If you are looking for more sophisticated software/apps, you can use Trello.

Measure the results

As work progresses, you will need to measure the results you are getting from the content team. Although, content marketing is a long process, measuring the result will help you to tweak the process where needed.

You can concentrate on the type of content that is generating more results for your business.

Conclusion:

Above is a very detailed guide on how to build a content team for your business. You can download the Content strategy and style guide templates below:

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