Why does Great Content Come from Marketing Agency’s Not Freelancers?
How Freelance “Writers” Game the System and Hurt Your Website with Google Rankings
By Thomas R. Reich Ph.D
The Basic Truth of Content and the Importance of Uniqueness
Today, Google ranks content very differently than just 2 or 3 years ago and marketing agency’s are more important than ever. The “spiders” or algorithms have become intelligent enough to actually understand whether or not the content of a page matches the main keyword or longtail keyword of a page. These new algorithms, now called Google RankBrain, can also determine if this piece of content fits the overall Keywords and Meta Tags of the website itself.
Now, if your blog or article passes all these hurdles, here is where the Marketing Agency’s resources VS Freelance Writer comes in, the “spiders” are now fast enough and smart enough to compare that post with its unique relevant URL (that’s another story) to all other results on the topic being searched for. If your blog or article is duplicated in any way out there in the vast world of content, if your writer has not done unique research, the search hit goes to the original article on the subject by date posted. If you blog or article comes from the world of marketing agency’s and is both unique and the first to be published by a Google Certified Author, you get the search hit from then on.
Here is the point of all this, uncertified Freelance Writers are likely to charge very low amounts for their work on line, this is because they take an article from a vast database of pre-written blogs or articles and then spin and personalize it for your company. In the past this was ok, today Google will not allow duplicate material and will go with the root or original poster of that blog or article.
With Marketing Agency’s like Cheetah Marketing Group, the article is researched and even thought some research may be quoted and other data may be referred to; used as reference such as the paragraph below, the blogs and articles are unique to the individual client. At Cheetah, our articles are published on your website by Dr. Thomas R. Reich PhD a Certified Google Author and a NYT/About.com author. The name also attracts Google “Spiders” because again, Google loves Google.
According to the 2018 “B2B Content Marketing Benchmarks”, Budgets, and Trends in North America, 53% of respondents to a recent poll said a small or one-person marketing team serves the whole organization internally. Often, that’s not enough and that’s why 56% of them outsource one or more content marketing activities. This is also why a relationship with a Marketing Agency can assist a small or one person in house marketing department much better than outsourcing content. With an agency you have access to video production, advertising, GIFs, White Papers, the opportunities are endless and all from one source.
Content Marketing Strategies or Outsourcing some Content
In today’s high-tech AI savvy world, business could be approached by at least one of several types of AI technology claiming they can produce some form of original written content. Some media companies use them these days to reduce costs and time spent in producing content. This is a big mistake; how can you produce unique original targeted content, relevant to your company, with a program that auto generates an article from an idea or a general category.
In fact, Gartner predicted that by 2019, nearly 20 percent of content will be produced by machines (“AI” Software). The problem is that this material is filler material at best, designed for the old search engine algorithms not the AI savvy “spiders” looking for unique, original, targeted material that fits the general meta description of your website. It is more technical than you want it to be, and more technical that I am going to get into here, but that is why it is an advantage to hire Marketing Agency’s.
Several Ways to Use Outsourcing some Marketing
How to Best Utilize a Marketing Agency’s to Enhance Your Inhouse Marketing Efforts
What Content are You Comfortable Producing Consistently Inhouse and What is Best to Outsource:
Content and content marketing is erroneously considered just the written word, mainly blogs and articles. This could not be farther from reality, with todays search engine demands, a company website and content network needs diverse content. In fact, beyond blog posts, articles, eBooks emails, newsletters and whitepapers there are many other content items that round out good content marketing.
Other expected components of a well-rounded website built out with effective content marketing strategy may include:
- Videos of various types, live action, white board, explainer and testimonial
- Possible Apps or software downloads
- Relevant and plentiful copywrite free pictures
Naturally there are many other types of written and non-written (visual) content that appears on truly great company websites, look around, it is not just blogs any more. Remember 100% of the “content” of your website counts towards your relevance score to the search engine, “filler” is not only un-necessary, it can actually hurt your ranking.
If you actually find a true original writer to outsource a few articles or blogs, then you want to add some pictures and videos, maybe an animated explainer video, where do you go? If you develop a relationship with a Marketing Agency, they take care of all aspects of content marketing seamlessly and advise on which may work best in your particular market.
You may for example do weekly short blog posts inhouse about project updates and new products coming on line, while outsourcing longer articles on the subjects once a month, adding outside help on pictures and video content to really give your website punch. Some variety is good but stick with the consistency of one or 2 inhouse writers and the same one outside writer so the style of the writing on the entire website remains friendly to frequent viewers.
Make a Decision to Follow a Content Marketing Strategy, Set Your Content Targets, Timing and Goals
How deep are you into content marketing on your website? Have you and your staff put together the basics, or do you just have a basic 7-tab here’s our products, contact us website?
To help you better understand your organization’s level of content marketing compliance, you can use this benchmark from organizations who took part in the 2018 B2B “Content Marketing Benchmark, Budgets, and Trends”:
The Content Maturity Level for Your Website and Your Readiness for Outsourced Content can be Judged on the Following Scale:
- First Steps: Doing some aspects of content but have not yet begun to make a consistent effort towards the content marketing a process.
- Young: Growing pains, challenged with creating a cohesive strategy and measurement plan.
- Adolescent: Have developed a business content marketing plan and time table, seeing early success, becoming more sophisticated with measurement and scaling.
- Mature: Finding success yet challenged with integration across the organization.
- Sophisticated: Providing accurate measurement to the business, scaling across the organization.
From the list above, the “sophisticated” organizations are at the most completed level and have the most internal knowledge of content marketing, followed by the “mature” businesses which also probably do not need a content marketing plan made from scratch. We can say that for both, setting content targets or goals are a breeze.
However, if your organization falls into one of the other three categories, you need more general content marketing help, you need the services of a Marketing Agency that can develop a program to serve your overall content needs. You will not find much benefit from a freelance writer handing you a few random blogs or even 1 or 2 well written articles every now and then.
It is Important to ask yourself these questions which may help you determine how to deepen the relationship with your target audience (Potential Customers/Prospects):
- Do we already have unique “share-worthy” content?
- Is what we are saying of interest specifically to our target market?
- Can we measure the impact in terms of visitors/analytics?
- What kind of content should we develop that gives our audience value when visiting our website?
- Have we gone beyond pages of text to include many types of content?
At Cheetah Marketing Group we are happy to perform a Content Audit. This should be done first no matter what you decide to do to expand your company website to make it more effective. A Content Audit will tell you how many people are visiting your website, which pages they visit most, where they are from, and how you compare to your compaction.
A Content Audit will also look for backlinks, meta tags, meta descriptions, keywords, SSL compliance and many other vital statistics that could be holding you content back from search engine distribution.
Next, we develop a plan based on your exact needs and factors that include what you can afford, how fast you want your website to perform at what level and what kind of content we mutually find beneficial to your specific target market. This is something a freelance writer can never do, of course.
For example, if you’re taking your “first steps” in content marketing, your first goals can be brand awareness, then creating and strictly following an editorial calendar to begin to fill out your website with relevant information tailored specifically to your future prospects. If you’re still “young,” your goal can be measuring what’s working and doubling down on that and adding videos or video testimonials or a podcast. And so on.
A free Content Audit from Cheetah Marketing Group can help you decide what stage of content marketing development your organization’s website and social network is in. You can then get a better picture of what may be advantageous for you to outsource, content that will get one step closer to doing content marketing the right way.
Measuring Results or ROI of Content Marketing is a Deep Process; it is not Just Sales or Leads.
If you look up advice on the internet for gauging content marketing ROI or measuring the analytics of content marketing, it can daze and confuse you with technical jargon you really don’t even want to understand.
Also, opinions of success with content marketing, analytic results and measurements are wide and varied. Several “experts” say that “website traffic” is simply a vanity metric, one that is not a barometer of success. Hogwash, every other metric these “experts” mention as “vital and important” are irrelevant if the website has no relevant traffic.
The website metric that is most important, first and foremost is “relevant targeted traffic”. What do we mean by relevant targeted traffic? This is traffic that comes from the area (location) you have aimed your content towards, it is possible to measure specifically where the traffic is coming from, even the interests if the visitor. Also, how long the visitor stays on an article, do they go to a second page, is that page related?
If you are in the “young” or “first steps” stage of content marketing you should pay the most attention to increasing your websites overall traffic to at least 1000 visitors a month before these metrics will begin to have relevance. It is very easy to siphon off the internal traffic (your employees going to your own website) and fake bot traffic (more active than you would think). A good marketing agency can set filters to illuminate this traffic so your traffic count if for real traffic, coming from actual visitors from the outside.
Once the traffic starts to rise over 1000 a week on your analytics report you can begin to keep track of other statistics which are referred to as KPIs (Key Performance Indicators). Some of those factors that a marketing firm would monitor for you to judge the success of a content marketing campaign are:
- Social Media Shares (Shared from the on-page Website Content)
- Brand Awareness (A judgement call based on customer response)
- Website Traffic (You want to see steady growth)
- Onsite Behavior (How long do they stay; do they go to another page?)
- Leads Generated (How many calls from seeing something on the website or social media about you)
- Quality of Leads (Are the live callers or emailers to your firm from the website viable prospects)
- Conversion Rate (Can your sales force convert these viable leads to prospects)
- Actual Sales (Is your sales force closing the viable leads)
These apply to every content marketing level in an organization. For example, an “adolescent” organization may use leads generated to track ROI of their content marketing efforts while a mature or sophisticated organization uses quality of leads in addition to leads generated.
Decide on Marketing Agency or a Writing Freelancer
We have gone over the basics, the drawbacks of each and the advantages, so let’s recap:
With a Freelance writer; if they are very inexpensive the article or blog is probably “spun from an existing article and is not, strictly speaking, “original content”. If the Freelancer is expensive and does their research well producing original content, you can only afford so many original pieces before it gets really expensive. Finally, Freelance Writers do only that, they write articles, they do not select copywrite free pictures to go with them, they do not produce videos, press releases, case studies or any of the other many varied types of content that make up a well-rounded content marketing program.
With a good Marketing Agency; you sit down together develop a content marketing plan involving many types of content besides just writing. Usually the Marketing Agency is also well versed in backlinks, SEO and analytics, all things you will need for a successful content marketing program.
So, if you are just looking for a few articles or blogs to spruce up a dead website, a freelancer may be the way to go, but is it? The internet has changed so drastically don’t you owe it to yourself to at least have a free Content Audit and see how you stack up to your competition?
Call Cheetah Marketing today, right now, you have nothing to lose. The Content Audit is free, the first analytics report to actually see where your website traffic stands and where it is coming from is free, so as they say; what do you have to lose?