Successful content marketing can yield amazing benefits for a growing business, creating long-term growth and brand exposure, boosting traffic, and generating leads. Plus, the soft sell of quality content can create a higher rate of conversion than traditional outbound marketing, for less cost.
Sound like the next strategy your business should go after? While content can offer serious ROI, to pull it off you need patience, consistency, and a killer strategy. Content marketing isn’t a short-term tactic; it’s a long-term growth strategy.
But even the best strategy can’t succeed without the right people to help you get it done. Chances are you don’t have all the manpower you need in-house—especially if you want to scale your content marketing over time. Maybe you’ve considered engaging freelancers, but you’re not sure exactly who you need or how to coordinate a distributed team. To get you started, here’s a look at the pros you’ll need for each phase of content creation, plus some tips to find and hire the best talent for you.
1. Strategy First; Talent Second
Before you engage the first freelancer, you need a strategy. We won’t go too far into that here—download Upwork’s free content marketing ebook here for a full how-to—but to get you started on the right path, be sure your strategy
- Aligns with your business goals
- Pinpoints your target audience
- Explains what action you want your audience to take
- Determines how you’ll measure its success
Whether you’re creating content to support your sales team, recover lost traffic, or earn new leads, it should be valuable to your customers—educational, entertaining, or relevant personally.
Who you’ll need: Ensure you’re starting off on the right foot with a seasoned freelance content strategist to help with ideation. An SEO expert can be a valuable player in the ideation phase for researching prime keywords.
2. Figure Out What Content to Write and Secure the Talent to Write It
Now, let’s talk writing talent. Too many marketers don’t see the success they’d like from a content marketing strategy because they don’t have the resources they need to execute it properly—and that means finding the right writers for the content you’re aiming to create.
If you’re writing for a B2B audience, you might want to create thought-leadership articles, ebooks, white papers, or infographics. For a B2C audience, you might look at internal search results or common themes from customer support inquiries, then write articles to proactively address those. Take a look at these types of copywriters to see which might align best with your content strategy:
- Direct response. These copywriters can craft everything from websites to long-form copy to product packaging.
- Technical writing. Technical copywriters write anything from white papers and instruction manuals to sales collateral.
- Business writing. White papers, case studies, ebooks, and more—these are the hallmarks of solid business writers.
- Instructional. As the name suggests, these writers create how-to manuals, tutorials, and web instructions.
- Journalism-style. Brand journalism is in-depth, heavily researched content rooted in an organization’s interests.
- SEO writing
Consider giving potential writers a test project to see how things go before assigning them a bulk of articles.
Also, consider at this point where you’ll publish and house all your content, whether that’s a CMS-powered content hub or third-party syndicates. If your content hub requires some technical setup, now’s a good time to engage a developer to help build your site.
Who you’ll need: Start finding writers with these helpful guides: How to Create an Excellent Content Writer Job Description and How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Content Writer?
3. Gather the Supporting Talent to Polish Content
While writers play a key role in bringing your content strategy to life, the content creation process involves supporting roles too. Once drafts are submitted, they still might need:
- Legal review
- Administrative tasks such as checking to avoid plagiarism and polishing content (e.g., ensuring SEO components, image tags, and working links in CMS posts)
- Editing and proofreading
- SEO optimization
- Illustration and design
Note that each of these supporting roles can be accomplished with freelancers.
4. Engage Talent to Bring Content to Life with Visuals
Start by deciding how you’ll assign featured images to your written content. You might engage a graphic designer or an illustrator to create custom images for each article or go with photographs. Then, consider whether animated videos might make your content even more engaging
Do you have a longer article that would do well as an infographic? Or would your content benefit from highlighting a few quotes by turning them into visuals to pull key points for readers who are skimming? You might even consider engaging a motion-graphics designer to transform a high-performing article into a short motion-graphics video.
Who You’ll Need: Illustrators, Photoshop pros, graphic designers, and web designers all play an important role in polishing content. Get help finding who you need with How to Hire a Graphic Designer and The Perfect Job Description to Find a Web Designer.
5. Coordinate a Content-Flow Process with a Distributed Team
Working with a remote team can seem intimidating if you haven’t done it before. Remote, or distributed, teams consist of freelancers and the employees they’re working with on a specific project, and success depends largely on good communication and the right structure. Make sure you have the right tools and technology to connect your team and use milestones to keep deliverables on track:
[Sample topic and milestones from Upwork’s ebook The Content Marketer’s Sure-Fire Strategy for Success.]
6. Optimize Content for Discovery with SEO
Even if your content is top-notch, you might miss out on the visibility and traffic you’re aiming for without a good SEO strategy to support it. An SEO pro can help you avoid common mistakes that might penalize your rank, optimize your content for better conversions, use off-page SEO tactics, or create curated landing pages to generate even more traffic.
7. Keep an Eye on Analytics for a Future-Ready Content Strategy
Content marketers need to be able to use analytics to not only demonstrate ROI but also make informed decisions about the future of a content strategy. Analytics should constantly be on your radar so that you’re keeping an eye on what’s working and what’s not. This way, you can repeat and iterate on the content that performs well and kill what doesn’t, something that Larry Kim discusses in his webinar Unicorn Marketing: 8 Tips for Content.
“Kim says his personal marketing strategy is to connect with contractors he can quickly partner with. This way, when he identifies a unicorn he can quickly ramp up production of related blog content, graphics, or video.”—Are You Publishing Unicorns or Donkeys? Know the Difference and What to Do About It
Learn more about the tools, techniques, and talent you need in our article Getting Started with Content Marketing Analytics.
Who you’ll need: An analytics specialist can help you make heads or tails of your content’s success with access to your analytics dashboard.
Ready to get started with a content marketing strategy? Be sure to download Upwork’s free ebook The Content Marketer’s Surefire Strategy for Success.