If there’s one thing we can pretty much all agree on it’s the fact that expert-led businesses need to produce written content. Blogging may have been around for years, but it’s still an incredibly powerful tool in your marketing kit.
There are endless studies and stats to back this up. For example, Hubspot reports that marketers who prioritise blogging see three times the return on investment (ROI) of those that don’t. And according to DemandMetric, companies with blogs produce an average of 67% more leads monthly than companies that don’t blog.
What isn’t always clear to marketing teams is whether a blog should – or can – be outsourced, or whether it’s best written in house. There are naturally arguments both for and against. Let’s look at some of the benefits of outsourcing your blog first.
1) From sporadic to consistent
A lack of time is one of the key issues many of our clients have. Which means blogging – if it happens at all – is sporadic. As a result, the channel never really gains traction, those who write or promote the posts become discouraged and, at worst, blogging is abandoned because it “doesn’t work”.
Using a professional blogging partner brings that additional level of resource needed to keep things moving consistently. There’s also a degree of accountability in having to attend diarised briefing sessions, not to mention strategy support, reporting and general encouragement to keep going.
2) An honest outside perspective
One regular piece of feedback we get from clients is how much they appreciate having an outside perspective. Subject matter experts are often so close to their own knowledge that they struggle to see the wood for the trees.
What we bring during the strategy and briefing stages of a blogging project is a fresh perspective and the important “So what?” pushback that is often needed. And being outsiders, we usually find that the experts pay that little bit more attention to our direction than they might to their internal marketing manager, making us that manager’s secret weapon!
“By bouncing ideas around – especially with an outside party who bring a different set of expertise (in this case marketing) – our clients often find they join the dots in new ways.”
3) A strategic approach to blogging
Subject matter experts fall into two camps. Either they have no idea what to write about or they’re buzzing with ideas. The problem is, even when they have ideas, they aren’t always ones that will deliver results. It’s important to think from the reader’s perspective, which can be hard to do when you’ve got a business agenda or even just loads of personal passion.
A good copywriter will be able to put themselves in your audience’s shoes and understand what adds the most value. We look at everything from the persona a blog is targeting to where that person is likely to be on their buyer journey – not to mention how the blog fits into the wider marketing strategy – to ensure there’s a return on the investment.
4) The benefit of more than one brain
Writing can be a lonely venture. Whereas a briefing with a copywriter can – and should – be a collaborative affair. The interview-style briefing method we use, which is designed to draw out the right knowledge from those subject matter experts, isn’t just a way to ensure that the reader gets what they want. It’s also an opportunity to deep dive into a subject and create something that is greater than one person alone might produce.
Two heads, as they say, are better than one. And by bouncing ideas around – especially with an outside party who bring a different set of expertise (in this case marketing) – our clients often find they join the dots in new ways. Blogging, when done properly, doesn’t just showcase expertise, it builds it.
5) Consistently great quality writing that engages
Knowing how to write is one thing. Being able to write in a way that captures busy people’s attention, engages them throughout, and gets them to think or act differently by the end is quite another.
While many of our clients are perfectly capable of writing an articulate email, they come to us for something that goes a little bit further. A good copywriter will be able to consistently produce the kind of targeted writing that gets a blog to actually deliver results.
3 signs you should write your blog in-house
Having listed all the benefits of outsourcing your blog, there are some circumstances in which trying to work with a copywriter or copywriting agency just isn’t going to work.
1) If you can’t let go of control: It’s understandable. You’re the expert. Perhaps it’s even your business. You want to make sure every last word, phrase, comma and full stop is exactly where you think it should be. But if you can’t step back and allow your copywriter to do their part of the job, you’re going to struggle with outsourcing your blog.
2) You don’t have the budget*: You’ve heard the saying that you can’t have good, cheap and fast at the same time. Working with a decent copywriter or copywriting agency is an investment. We’ve had clients come to us after trying marketplaces such as Fiverr and finding out the hard way that unrealistic budgets won’t get quality results.
*We’re absolutely not criticising businesses with small budgets here. Everyone starts somewhere! But be realistic about what that budget can achieve. If you haven’t got money to spend, you’re probably better off going down a DIY or ‘done with you’ route.
3) You’re not committed to the process: Blogging isn’t an overnight miracle cure. It takes time and consistent effort to get real results – usually at least 6 months. It will also take a degree of input from you, even if you’re outsourcing. Attending a briefing without having done any prep is a surefire way to ensure your copywriter fails to deliver the goods. If you’re not going to stick to the plan, there’s no point throwing money at it.
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Journalist turned copywriter Rin Hamburgh (formerly Rin Simpson) is the founder of RH&Co, a Bristol-based strategic brand copywriting agency working with expert-led businesses across the South West, UK and Europe.