Small businesses face a lot of challenges when it comes to marketing. There is always a balance between costs and returns. Costs are not just money or price. They include time, energy, labor, and other resources.
There is a multitude of marketing tactics available for small businesses, including SEO or search engine optimization, social media marketing, pay-per-click advertising, video marketing, email marketing, display advertising, retargeting, geofencing and geotargeting, etc. Content marketing encompasses a lot of these, but builds a strategy around the tactics that help build the business's authority (helps them to stand out from their competition).
When about using a Content Marketing strategy for your business, there are three primary models:
- Do it yourself, aka DIY (in-house by yourself or with your existing employees)
- Done with you, aka DWY (working with an expert or agency, splitting the work strategically)
- Done for you, aka DFY (hiring an expert or agency to handle everything with little work on your end)
How do you decide which is best for your business?
First, you have to understand that content marketing is important. It shouldn't be an option, meaning you really must do it. For small businesses, it can be a secret weapon, as your competition often won't commit to a solid content marketing strategy. Content marketing helps you stand out and become the “go-to” expert or resource in your industry or market.
Next, you must decide which costs you are willing to commit to it. Will you spend money, time, energy, effort, or other resources? If so, what ratio of each?
If you just want to spend money, but don't have the time, energy, or other resources available, then option 3, the DFY model is the best choice. It is usually the most expensive.
If you have lots of time, but no money, then the DIY option (option 1) is likely your only viable choice. It won't cost as much money upfront, but will likely cost you time and results because you won't have an expert helping you. You will need to spend most of your time learning and keeping up with content marketing knowledge.
If you want the best possible results, typically the DWY option (option 2) is the best way to maximize the effectiveness of a content marketing strategy. This allows you to do the front-facing content, while your partner agency or expert creates the strategy, plan, processes, schedule, channels, topics, audiences, and messaging (all the behind-the-scenes details that require content marketing expertise and experience).
Once you decide on the model, it's time to choose a content marketing agency…
Choosing a Content Marketing Agency for Your Small Business
There are many things to consider when researching top content marketing agencies or experts. First, you have to decide the model that's best for your business from the above 3 options.
You want to meet with at least 3 and find one that you like and trust more than the others. You should go through their discovery or strategy sessions to determine which one seems to best match your vision.
Once you narrow it down, you then need to consider the price. Content marketing is an investment. There isn't always an immediate return on your investment (ROI) as it takes time to be effective. The good news is everything you do is additive and over time, it becomes powerful. So how much are you willing to invest monthly, knowing that it may not yield an ROI for months?
You have to then compare what's included in the packages. Specifically, look at how much interaction you will be able to have with the company. You want a company that engages with you regularly. They need to know and understand your business and your audience (customers and prospects). They need to always be updating the strategy and tweaking things based on results.
Ultimately, this will be a relationship you want to nurture. The better the relationship, the better the results, so make sure you do your due diligence and pick a solid company you like.
If you would like to speak to one of our content marketing experts at Reputation Local, feel free to call or fill out our contact form and we can discuss your needs.