Are you looking for ways to grow your business with content marketing? You’re in good company. The world’s most successful brands use thought-provoking and authoritative content to engage, educate, and influence their audiences.
The good news is, you don’t need a corporate budget to start publishing and seeing the benefits of great content. All you really need is one talented writer. If you don’t have a qualified wordsmith on staff (or the budget to hire one), you’re in luck! There’s more freelance writing talent available to help you than ever before.
Of course, not every situation calls for a professional. But there are times when you should seriously consider enlisting the services of an experienced freelancer. Here are five such occasions.
1) The stakes are high
Experimentation may be the key to marketing success, but let’s be honest: there are times when mistakes can cost you. When the stakes surrounding your written content are high, a qualified writer is your best bet.
Let’s say you’re about to start promoting an event that your organization has been planning for months. Can you say, with absolute certainty, that your team will write promotional copy that’s both compelling and professional?
Perhaps you want to raise the profile of your brand with a thought-leadership piece. Is there someone on your team who can pull together a polished, insightful, and 100% error-free white paper? Would you trust this person to write an article on behalf of your brand for a leading publication in your industry?
When communicating the right message to the right audience is crucial, you may want to consider a professional freelance writer.
2) You're working under tight deadlines
With all due respect to caffeine, scheduling is the key to getting things done. If you have an ambitious marketing team, your schedule probably includes tasks related to any number of projects. Conflicting timelines are inevitable.
Unfortunately, missing a single deadline can send a carefully-constructed marketing plan tumbling faster than an unstable Jenga tower (my apologies to those who don’t remember classic table-top games).
Even if meeting deadlines isn’t an issue, the quality of the content your team produces is bound to be less-than-stellar when its members have a lot on their plates.
If the pressure is starting to mount, you may want to consider hiring a freelancer to pick up the slack. Whether you need a few blogposts to fill out your editorial calendar, a snappy news update for your followers, or a quick (but thorough) update to your website copy, there’s a writer out there who’s ready and willing to do an amazing job.
3) You need an outside perspective
Have you ever looked at a document so many times that you lost sight of what you were trying to say? When you’re feeling stuck, someone else’s point of view may be exactly what you need.
Unfortunately, people who collaborate with one another day after day tend to take on similar viewpoints. Members of small and medium-sized marketing teams will often overlook the same weaknesses of a project when they’re working on it together. The result, in many cases, is lacklustre content that fails to connect with target audiences.
Freelancers have to get to know your product, service, or brand in a short period of time. They’re going to have a first impression of your business - much like your customers do. They can tell you if your messaging is confusing. They can tell you if you aren't articulating value in a compelling way.
Combine this perspective with killer writing ability, and you’ll get content that actually connects with people outside of your business.
4) You need content that adheres to brand values
It’s a myth that only insiders can understand a company well enough to write about it. That said, when it comes to building and maintaining a brand through writing, consistency is key.
Do you know who’s really good at using tone, mood, style, and other elements of writing to consistently convey a particular impression? Any professional writer worth her salt.
In some ways, freelances have it easy. Most of the time, when a writer works with a company, in-house marketers have already laid the groundwork for stellar content. These marketers know which audiences the company wants to reach. They know what messages it wants to convey. They know which characteristics its brand should be associated with.
That said, when it comes time to communicate a message in a precise way, a different skill set is required. Unless you have a seriously talented writer on staff, creating content that consistently affirms brand values is going to be a monumental challenge.
5) There's not a lot of work to be done
We’ve saved the most obvious point for last. The fact is, some businesses just don’t need a dedicated, full-time writer.
What if what you need isn’t a lot of content, but really good content? What if you're just starting out, and all you want is a website and a few key pieces of marketing collateral that clearly convey the benefits of what you're offering? What if your blogging strategy has more to do with building the trust of your audience over time than performing rapid-fire social media experiments? Finally, what if hiring a content writer for the long haul just isn’t in your budget?
All businesses need some form of written content at some point. The wealth of available freelance talent can eliminate or delay the need to hire a full-time writer.
The bottom line
Your online content speaks for your business. Every piece of writing you publish has the power to strengthen or damage your brand’s relationship with its intended audiences.
You know the strengths of your team. If writing isn’t one of them, its members shouldn’t be writing on behalf of your brand (at least, not without significant oversight by a good editor). If your business isn’t quite at the stage where you need to hire a full-time writer, a flexible freelancer can help you bridge the gap.
Feature Image: Luciano Belviso