As a content marketing and social media management agency, we get asked this question quite often. “How can your company possibly write content about our brand when you are not experts in our field?” I try to contain my urge to assure them that we only hire clairvoyant know-it-alls, and instead I remind them that whether they were hiring a part-time employee to work side-by-side with them, or outsourcing it to an agency, the process of getting to know each other would be the same.
Most companies need help today keeping up with the demands of content marketing and social media management, and many want to outsource it but fear losing that local-flare, unique voice, and personal touch. They need to create great content to start conversations with their online audiences and attract more leads to their websites and social media sites, but they may lack time or skill to write the amount of content that our social-savvy audience is consuming today.
This is a legitimate concern and one that is especially relevant if the social marketing company you are working with is outsourcing their content creation to people in other countries (unless you are targeting an audience in those countries). Correct grammar and context are critical in social media posts, blog content and email marketing messages. Connecting with your audience through the content is one of your main goals and if you don’t have someone who can do that, you can be in trouble.
Here are 7 questions you can ask as you explore different content marketing solutions, to ensure they will be able to create content with your brand’s unique voice:
- Where is your team located?
- How do you source localized content for our blog, pages, and profiles?
- How often do we get to meet with you?
- How do you ensure the content matches our company culture and voice?
- What kind of content will you be writing for our company?
- Do you need us to provide the content or do you create it?
- Where will you get photos that are used in the content?
When we begin working with a client that is not in the same city as one of our offices, we ask for lists of local businesses, vendors, partners and local media outlets to get started. We set up lots of alerts and connect with, subscribe to, and follow community centers, chamber pages, business journals, news and media outlets, and more. We often know about upcoming community events before our clients do! (We try not to gloat but we do love when that happens!)
As for developing and matching the tone of the brand or business, we spend time speaking with the people who work there. Just like any new hire, we write down the lingo, the forbidden word list, and the vibe we pick up when speaking to everyone. Do people say words like, “AWESOME and DUDE?” or are we hearing, “It’s great to speak with you,” and “Mr. Jones is on vacation.” We have a client who uses emojis in almost everything and calls people, “Darling.” These are all cues we pick up on and weave into the written content where appropriate…DUDE!
Photos and fonts are also part of the equation. Photos evoke emotions and even fonts play into describing your brand’s image. It’s important that the team you have working on your marketing understand that emotions and messaging must all match the story your brand is trying to create. This might be an area that I tend to “advise” a little more with our clients. (Crappy images are one of my pet peeves) In our business we see a lot of visual content; good and bad. Photos, videos and graphics are huge influencers in social marketing, and too many people just don’t understand how horrifying some of their images are and the damage they are doing to their brand. (See, “Quit using these crappy images”)
When a client wants us to use stale corporate images that you would find on every other stale website (the perfectly diverse team all giving high-fives in the conference room) I have to offer my two-cents. These images repel not attract. They say “old and irrelevant” not innovative and shareable.
So whether you are hiring a part-time person to work in your office or you are considering outsourcing to a digital marketing agency, keep these pointers in mind and let them guide your conversations in the beginning as you all get to know each other.
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Gina Schreck is the president at SocialKNX (She is the one that gloats the most when she hears how brilliant our team is). Gina is an international speaker and loves helping organizations use today’s tools to connect and build relationships!