More and more small business owners are outsourcing their content marketing needs; rather than do it all in-house, they’re enlisting the time and talents of professional content gurus. We believe this is highly advantageous—but then, you probably knew that already.

What you might not know is how best to work with your content marketing firm. How do you make sure you’re getting the kind of messaging you want without hindering the process? How do you relinquish control of your business baby and let the marketers work their magic? How can you make sure you’re involved and invested in the process without it taking up too much of your time?

How do you make sure your content marketers get results?

A few tips come to mind.

  • First and foremost, talk to them. Make communication with your content marketing team a major priority. Speak with them regularly, and not just via e-mail. Phone conferences are significant. If nothing else, insist on a kick-off call and some meetings to go over possible content angles, and simply make sure you feel comfortable talking with your content marketing professional. Some tips on preparing for your initial consultation can be found here.
  • Communicate your goals. In order for your marketing team to get results, they’ll need to know what kind of results you’re looking for—increased website traffic, a more visible Facebook presence, thought leadership, more conversions, a better educated clientele… the possibilities are endless. Decide what you want, and communicate it clearly.
  • In addition, set deadlines. Talk with your content marketing team about a reasonable timeframe, and then make sure your expectations are aligned.
  • Send examples. Do you have a competitor or peer who does content marketing very well, or who strikes a tone or a style that you’d like to emulate? Send those examples to your marketing professional. It will help!
  • Try your best to respond to e-mails and phone calls promptly. If your marketing team is trying to reach you for approval about a particular piece of content, it is likely somewhat time-sensitive. The quicker you can respond, the better your content campaign will go.
  • Listen to your content marketers. They’re going to bring creative ideas to the table, ones you may not have thought about. You don’t necessarily have to go along with all of them, but at least listen to them and give them their due weight.
  • And finally, respect your content marketing team. Let them do their job—and remember that, while you know your business better than anyone, your content marketers know their field just as well, and can get you the results you’re looking for.