I’ve worked with businesses of various sizes, from big agency networks to boutique content marketing consulting firms. If you were to ask me what the difference is, I would reply that there is none. A content marketing consultant is ideal if you’re looking for ideas and someone who can get the job done.
The only reason why you would want to collaborate with a bigger network is due to the scale and resources they can deploy. You’d want the content to be fine-tuned to cater to local nuances or translated into other languages, which a larger network can definitely do.
However, before we deep dive into selecting a content marketing consultant or a content marketing consulting firm, let’s review some of the fundamentals for those unfamiliar with the topic.
Who is a Content Marketing Consultant?
A Content Marketing Consultant is a person or team hired to provide professional advice on developing a content strategy that educates and motivates your target audience to take action.
They are usually experts in their field and are well-versed in the marketing strategies to grow engagement and drive leads using content marketing. Businesses can hire content marketing consultants irrespective of whether they are in the early growth or maturity strategy stage to streamline their content marketing operations.
Content marketing typically has a six- to nine-month runway before it begins to produce results. It is usually advised that you begin developing your audience far in advance, even before you need them. Most SaaS companies hire a content marketing consultant after achieving product-market fit. However, establishing your marketing infrastructure ahead of time may help you grow more quickly.
What is the role of a Content Marketing Consultant?
Whether you’re an early growth start-up or an established brand, you should always start with the question do you really need a content marketing strategy? Here are a few questions you should ask yourself before even considering hiring a content marketing expert.
- Do people really understand the product or service you’re selling or do they need to be educated?
- Is your business in a completly new category that people don’t understand?
- Do you’ve have longer sales cycles and multiple decision makers in the sales process?
- Are you in a category which has high competition?
- Does your target audience research online before purchasing the product or service?
- You believe you have a great product or service but user adoption and usage is not growing?
If your answer to the above questions is yes, you must consider content marketing as part of your marketing mix.
Most content marketing consultants help businesses with three different aspects of content marketing operations.
- Content Marketing Strategy: Early planning and fine-tuning of your content marketing strategy is essential. Consultants can help establish the foundation for a plan before you concentrate on executing and scaling it. This included researching buyer personas, keywords, and distribution channels. Early-stage startups may also need to hire a content writers and a marketer.
- Content Marketing Operations: Organizations that currently have a strategy may require assistance with processes and execution to scale their content initiatives. As your organization expands, it is critical to have processes in place to guarantee content marketing flywheel works effectively.
- Content Audit & Analytics: If your organization already has a strong strategy and execution team, you may need a consultant to evaluate your performance, particularly if you are struggling to meet your goals. Content marketing consultants can play a crucial role in identifying gaps in your strategy and execution capabilities.
How do you choose a marketing consutant?
Nearly everyone in the market claims they are an expert in content marketing, but very few individuals can claim they are actually experts. You will always need someone who can deliver what they promise, and the proof is always in the numbers.
But that shouldn’t be the only criteria because, as I mentioned, content marketing efforts need a horizon of 6-9 months before they start delivering results. You need an individual or team that stays the course and executes relentlessly until they start seeing results. Here are few questions that will enable you to choose the right content marketing consultant for your business.
1. Check Background
You need someone who knows your industry and has worked with similar companies. It’s usually good to look into the consultant’s background. In most cases, the consultants themselves would decline to work with you if they don’t see a fit.
2. Assess Portfolio / Writing Samples
Most consultants have a portfolio of completed projects that may be used for assessment. Ask for writing examples to understand how they handle writing assignments if you’re worried about the execution. Ask whether they subcontract work to other freelancers or do all writing tasks themselves.
3. Ask for Client References
Check out their website for case studies and client testimonials to see what they’ve done for others. If you have time, call such companies and ask how their experience was. Most consultants also share client references that you can use to cross-validate their work.
4. Ask for SOP / Approach
If you are working on It is critical to understand a consultant’s standard operating procedures or work style, even more so if you are working against a tight deadline. If you want to hire a consultant for an extended period of time, it is beneficial to execute a service level agreement.
5. Cultural fit
Now, this is difficult to assess with few interactions, but you need someone who can take rejections and bounce back stronger. The very nature of the work requires consultants to keep experimenting and optimizing to make sure they hit the goal.
Hiring a content marketing expert may be the most effective method to kick-start a campaign and create optimized content for outcomes. This enables your business to concentrate its marketing efforts on the channels which will have the most impact on your bottom line.