Outsourcing your marketing can be a scary idea to take in. What if you don’t have full control? What if the content produced isn’t written in your voice? What if something is posted to your social media account that doesn’t represent your brand?
These are all reasonable fears, however, if outsourcing is done correctly, these fears should be calmed. Below you will find 3 effective ways to outsource your marketing in a systematic way.
Define your strategy
Without strategy, how do you know who to target? What resources they read online? What your competitors are saying? This should be the first step in any marketing plan, regardless if you are interested in outsourcing or not. These key elements should be common knowledge for every single person in your organization. When you outsource, they should also be included in the education phase of the conversation. Hopefully, you understand the importance, so how can you outsource these elements of strategy?
Whenever Duct Tape Marketing works with clients, regardless the type of engagement, we start with conducting client interviews for our clients. We pick 10-15 of their absolute best clients, and we try to learn as much information as possible during a phone call with each client. Questions ranging from what resources do they read online to where do they do their research when considering a purchase to what types of words would they type into Google to find our clients in search. This is a great element to outsource to an outside company because it is a lot easier to pick up on themes with an outside perspective vs when you are living and breathing in the company on a daily basis.
Knowing what your competitors are saying, what they are excelling with, where they are online – are all essential elements of a strategy. Without this, how will you set your company apart from your competitors? How will you have a true core difference? This is another really great strategy element to outsource. You could spend hours and hours looking at each of your competitors websites, social media profiles, ebooks, newsletters the list goes on. Where you should always keep tabs on what your competitors are doing with your own eyes, there are also a ton of great competitive research tools that can drastically speed up the process. One of my favorites is RivalIQ as it saves me hours of research and also slide creation.
Create your content calendar
You have a blog, a newsletter and 2 eBooks. All set right? Not exactly. One of the most important elements in content creation is having a system in place. Creating a content calendar based on keyword research that your ideal clients are actually searching for is the first step in the process. Taking the keywords and creating monthly themes is the next piece of the puzzle. After that, you will want to make a list of all the types of content you would like to create, and how many pieces on each theme. Finally, coming up with a game plan for repurposing content focused on your monthly themes. Once you have this element created, you can then look at outsourcing some of the content in your plan.
You have to do your research on this one. There are several companies out there today that offer content creation. However, not all of them live up to standards unfortunately. A couple of our favorites are Blogmutt and Express Writes. When you decide on a company you would like to outsource to, the more information you can provide the better. Submitting your strategy elements such as your ideal client research and competitive research, and also your content calendar elements such as keywords and monthly themes, is a great starting point. I would even suggest going as far as including voice, branding guidelines, and an outline for the first few posts. This will help get everyone on the same page from the start. Once you receive the post back, it should never be a simple copy/paste. Regardless if you are using the content or posting for a client, you should do a final review and edit every single time.
Build your Online Presence
Time to think outside your perfectly crafted website. It’s time to make connections, find valuable information, and work for those important links back to your website. There are several elements included in online presence, however, the one I want to focus on today is Social Media. It can be intimidating setting up your Twitter account for the first time with zero followers. On the other end, it can be very time consuming finding relevant information to share with your 1000s of fans. Below is one of my favorite tools for taking a little bit of the social media work off your plate.
Outsource your Social Media
I would never recommend you completely hand off social media to an outside company. Your profiles, interactions, connections, should all have a piece of you or your actual staff at some level. However, finding valuable content to share can be very time-consuming and overwhelming. Emphatic is one of my absolute favorite tools to take a lot of the content research off your plate. They provide custom social updates based on information you input into your profile – ideal client, core different, influencers, people to follow, etc. Same concept here as for content production, you want to provide as much information on the front end as possible and make sure to review every single update before pushing live.
I would love to hear from you in the comments below. What tools do you love to use when outsourcing marketing?
Sara Jantsch is the Vice President of Operations at Duct Tape Marketing. She oversees day-to-day operations to support the growth of Duct Tape Marketing and the Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network. Sara is also a Duct Tape Marketing Consultant and has a very strong passion for working with small business owners that started back at the dinner table as a child. Connect with Sara on twitter.