Most B2B companies need no convincing: blogging is good for business.
On average, companies with blogs see 67% more leads per month.
And it’s not just about having a certain number of blog posts. It’s about having good blog posts that will capture the attention of prospects and lead to new business. So how will you achieve this – and who will write your blogs?
First, some key stats. Blogs are good for your bottom line. They attract readers to your website and position your business as a thought leader, which has a direct and positive impact on sales.
Blogs that are well-targeted and optimized for SEO will also drive more traffic – and more qualified traffic – to your website, where they can be further nurtured for conversion.
Consider the following blogging statistics as reported by DemandSage.
55% of brands gain new clients due to blogging
Writing a blog gets 94% more links to your website
Marketers that prioritize blogging experience 13x more ROI
It's the last point here that you'll want to think about when considering WHO should write your blogs. Is blogging a business priority? Are you looking to get your feet wet -- or to establish a blog program that adds value to your business over time? Read on to see how these factors will help you weigh your decision.
Before answering this, let’s address one important distinction.
Blog writers and blog subject matter experts (SMEs) are not necessarily one and the same. That's why most blogs are ghostwritten, a strategy that combines the expertise of thought leaders within your company with writers who specialize in the nuances of content marketing.
Blog writers, then, should inherently be skilled interviewers who can work with SMEs on gathering the information needed to write a meaningful and engaging blog.
With that in mind, let’s revisit the question: who should be writing your blogs?
If you already have an in-house marketing team with resources who are well-versed in all aspects of content marketing, then great! You are in a good position to achieve your blogging goals without outsourcing.
But if you're short on internal resources and looking to adopt (or accelerate) a blogging program, your options probably boil down to the following: hiring a freelancer or partnering with a content marketing agency.
Freelancer writers are independently employed and will work directly with your company on content creation. Generally speaking, freelancers can be a flexible and cost-effective option, even if your business is not fully committed to regular blog production. Benefits include the following.
Freelancers may have their own pricing structure, or they may agree to a flat fee for blogs that are an agreed-upon length. Others may charge per word or according to an hourly rate. (The average blog takes anywhere between 4-6 hours to write.) Whatever the case, the pricing and scope of work are relatively straightforward and the "pay-as-you-go" model helps clients feel like they have a tight level of control over their marketing dollars.
Don't miss related article, How Much Does It Cost to Outsource Your Marketing?
Flexibility in blogging cadence
With a freelancer, you may have the flexibility to produce content on an ad-hoc basis, however regularly (or irregularly) you need. Maybe regular blog creation is low on the priority list. Or perhaps you have limited internal resources to oversee blogging efforts on a weekly or monthly basis. In these cases, freelancers are often flexible when it comes to accommodating ad-hoc needs with long pauses in between work.
A quick solution with less ramp-up
Hiring an in-house resource takes considerable time and effort. The same can be true when finding the best-fit marketing agency: as with any lasting relationship, careful consideration should be given upfront to make the initial time investment worth it. Freelancers, on the other hand, who are often hired for a very specific purpose (like blog writing) often require less of a time investment upfront with little onboarding.
Outsourcing blog writing to a freelancer may be best suited for:
Start-up companies with a limited marketing budget
Businesses aiming to produce relatively small-scale volumes of content
Companies with in-house marketing resources who can guide and manage content
While the freelancer option has benefits, there are some drawbacks as well. Finding a skilled writer is just one piece of the larger content marketing strategy. It may be difficult to find all of the skills needed in one individual.
You may miss out on content strategy
A well-written blog does not always mean a high-performing blog. Content strategy plays a critical role in blog effectiveness. Blogs that show up at the top of SERPs are not there accidentally; there is considerable legwork (before ANY writing occurs) to make this happen.
Under the umbrella of content strategy are factors like keyword research, a documented editorial plan, an SEO/competitor analysis, a CTA/linking strategy, and a promotional plan, just to name a few. Then after a blog is published, there are just as many strategies to apply.
The bottom line: with freelancers, you run the risk of treating blogs as a one-and-done project versus a long-term play that continues to add value over time.
Content creation happens in a silo
Using an independent resource could lead to disconnects between your business and your blog. For example, is your sales team conveying a different message than your written content? (Keep in mind, sales and marketing alignment is critical to your ROI!) Will your brand messaging be cohesive with other marketing materials? And finally, is your content created piecemeal -- or collectively used as a vehicle to help your company meet its larger business goals? A freelancer may lack the much-needed big-picture view, whereas an agency will typically establish and track toward your larger business goals.
Time spent on managing
Depending on how much content you produce, the freelancer option requires a substantial amount of work from an in-house resource. Initially, expect to spend some time on vetting and securing the right resource. (LinkedIn and Upwork are popular platforms for this task, but you'll need an account.)
Once you're off and running, the blog process requires quite a bit of coordination between SMEs and writers, blog reviewers, and other stakeholders. An internal resource will need to be available to project manage the process and ensure quality assurance along the way.
Blogging is a core service for any content marketing agency. When comparing this option to outsourcing to a freelancer or staying in-house, here are some benefits to an agency partnership.
Better return on your content investment
Not all B2B companies realize that blogs are just one piece of a much larger picture. On their own, blogs will not deliver the ROI results you're looking for. To truly be effective, a blog strategy should be part of an integrated marketing approach. A (good) agency will see the big picture and apply strategies to ensure your content investment is tracking toward your desired return.
Expert guidance beyond writing
Once blogs are written and published, then what? How can you maximize their value? With social media? A paid strategy? A lead-nurturing email campaign? A marketing agency gives you access to an account team that's specialized in each one of these areas. You benefit from deep multi-channel expertise -- plus access to the technologies that accompany each facet of marketing.
Time savings that add value
Outsourcing blogs to a freelancer frees up time spent on research and writing blogs, but requires substantial management from an in-house resource. A marketing agency requires involvement as well, but good account managers take great care to use your time strategically, pulling you in to align on big ideas while managing the minutia. That frees up your internal resources to focus on other more important aspects of the business.
With an agency, you are well-poised to scale up and down as your business needs change. A freelancer can do this to an extent -- but an individual resource may not be able to handle sudden influxes of work, nor will they have the technologies to support certain initiatives. An agency may also be able to recommend and "test drive" new marketing strategies that your evolving business requires.
If your blogging needs are few and far between, and you prefer to "pay as you go" on an infrequent basis, a freelancer is likely to cost less. When comparing costs, just be sure to factor in the time your internal resource will spend managing the blog-writing process.
Are you committed to investing in your marketing? Or just experimenting with a few blogs? Outsourcing to an agency is not like handing off a baton. Instead, it is a partnership that requires some level of commitment from your leadership team. This is especially important in the onboarding phase, and can lessen over time if you desire -- but the more the two parties collaborate, the more the agency relationship will thrive!
Outsourcing to a content marketing agency may be best for:
In conclusion, there is a lot more to creating an effective blog than just writing words down. Blogs should not be viewed as a stand-alone strategy -- you want to be sure you're seeing the big picture when questioning "who should write my blogs?"
If you decide outsourcing to an agency is something you want to explore, PMG has a team of experts at the ready -- and we're happy to answer any questions you might have!
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Allison Woodbury has been a Content Marketer for PMG since 2016. She’s a content marketing, writing, social media and branding guru who spends her writing time alternating between getting in the shoes of her readers and scrutinizing super-niche industries. She loves to see what her readers like – so tell her what you want, what you really, really want (to read more of)!