The hunt for top quality content – How do you get yours?

OK, no excuses today for a bit of shameless self promotion.  It’s thought provoking, helpful and has a solution, but wait, isn’t that what a blog should be?…

Where does good quality content come from? If you run a big business or Blue Chip it’s a no-brainer. It makes sense if you’re someone like M&S, with thousands of products and a vast site in need of constant updating, to hire a pro or two to sit at a desk and generate great copy for you.

What do the big boys do?

The big boys have entire departments of writers, editors, content managers and content strategists on the payroll. Some work closely with SEO agencies who in turn employ their own in-house and freelance teams. Others create a blend of the two, writing some content in-house and complementing internal resources with freelance writers.

Which is all very well if you’re loaded. But what about small businesses?

Smaller companies rarely have the cash to take on full time copywriters. Good people don’t come cheap and if you run a business with a core portfolio of just a handful of products or services, your employee might end up twiddling their thumbs for most of the week.

Handing over to your existing marketer

You could hand over content creation to your marketing bod, if you have one, but there’s no correlation between marketing and writing skills and no real reason why your marketer will suddenly be able to turn out immaculate, top class content.

Hiring a freelance writer yourself

You could always hire a freelance writer off your own bat. But how do you find a good one and do you have the time to manage them? Will they be there when you need them or let you down at a critical stage? In all probability you’ll work together remotely – they might just disappear on you. Worst of all, 2012’s content revolution means there’s masses of work out there for fledgling writers and a disturbing number of instant experts offering seriously sub-standard wares.

Taking on a small traditional agency

You could take on an agency, provided you can find a small outfit dedicated to fellow small businesses. One advantage of working with a small agency is that you have access to a wealth of collective talent. Better still, you free yourself from administrative hell because they manage the practical side of things for you. And because content marketing is a relatively new innovation, a nimble agency is well placed to keep their finger on the pulse on your behalf.

Cutting edge collaborative agencies

Some smaller agencies are actually professional collaborations between several freelancers, who work together seamlessly as well as functioning independently. This is a great idea because it means employment costs don’t come into it and there are no premises to pay for – the fixed costs are much less than a regular agency. Because the core agency person knows exactly what quality content looks like, they’ve already chosen a top writer whose skills reflect well on their business, doing the due diligence bit for you.

Do you need a specialist writer who understands your industry or sector inside out? No. Good freelancers write about a wide range of subjects. They’re adept at picking out your USPs and using them to your advantage. They’re experts at researching what they don’t know and learning enough to communicate ideas, propositions and information clearly and elegantly.

My inbound marketing agency, PML Media, is a collaborative organisation consisting of a bunch of freelance experts and respected, successful small business partners. With us you get the best of both worlds: a seasoned inbound marketer at the helm supported by a wealth of clever types who bring their expertise into play for people like you. My team all enjoy success outside of PML, everyone’s lean, fresh and hungry and we come together as and when you need us to provide the best of everything in one place, including top quality content. Perfect for getting your ROI in better shape.

Who writes your content at the moment?

Who do you get your content from right now? Is it good enough? Does it cost you an arm and a leg and is your provider reliable? I’d love to know how and what you do. This feedback helps us be a better supplier to companies such as yours

Mike is CEO of PML Media Limited, a virtual agency staffed by 14 independent marketing professionals, copywriters and technical geniuses. PML helps authors build and manage their Author Platforms, social media channels, build email lists and create ongoing strategies to help boost their brand, get noticed and sell more books.

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