If you’ve looked through any of our services pages, then you’ll know that there are a wide range of activities involved in any comprehensive content marketing strategy.
Throughout our website, you may have noticed that we often use the words consistency and regularity. The best way to ensure that your marketing is working effectively is to ensure that your activities are regular and consistent. This is because great marketing requires a continual ‘drip feed’ effect. If you’re a small organisation, you may dream of making an immediate splash and gain lots of new customers, but the reality is that big impact marketing takes money and brand recognition to work. Small organisations need to build their foundations first and take the time to fully implement their marketing strategy to ensure success.
If you don’t have an in-house marketing department then it can be difficult to keep on top of your marketing activities and achieve this regular and consistent approach. This is where finding the right freelance support team can be invaluable. Rather than spending time stressing out about an ever-growing ‘to-do’ list, you can delegate your marketing tasks to an external marketing support team, leaving you to focus on more pressing tasks.
Freelance marketing support can be more flexible than you may think
At Gatekeeper Communications, we can work alongside your in-house team to support your activities and ensure that you are achieving everything you need to. It may surprise you that freelance marketing support is much more flexible than you might think. You simply pay for the services that you require. If you just need support for a project, then you can work with a freelancer or agency on a project basis. Alternatively, you could choose to work on a monthly retained contract (I.e. a set number of days per month) or on a consultancy basis.
How to find the right freelance support for you?
The first thing you need to consider is what services you require. Do you just need copywriting support, or would you prefer more strategic insights into your ongoing strategy? Do you need design support or web development guidance? Are you looking for a social media guru or someone who can coordinate all your event collateral? You may find that you are capable of project managing your plans, you just need someone available to help you carry out the leg work. Alternatively, you may need somebody to manage your marketing activities on your behalf; in which case, you may be looking for a dedicated freelance marketing strategist.
The next question to consider, is how do you find the right freelance support for your business? It can be easy to find cheap support services. Thanks to online sites such as Upwork, Peopleperhour or Fiverr it is easier than ever before to find cost-effective support, but it’s important to remember that when it comes to marketing (the public face of your business) then cheap isn’t always best.
Great marketing and brilliant copywriting are valuable skills. When used effectively, they can completely transform your business. It can change the ways that your audience perceive you and help you to increase sales, boost your public awareness as well as drive traffic to your website.
A basic rule of thumb is that the more impact you expect from your marketing support, the more you should expect to pay.
What should you ask your prospective freelance support?
If you think you’ve found the right external support, then you should do your due diligence first. You need to quantify that they are the right person to support your business needs. Always look at their website and social media channels, and if possible, try to look at some examples of that person’s client work. This will help to inform your decision-making processes.
Below is a list of questions that you should ask when you first contact your external support team;
What type of content do you specialise in?
Writing is a creative skill, and as such, has many variable factors. Your marketing support may require many different facets, and you may find that you need a team of freelance support to ensure that everyone is working towards their strengths. For example, some writers specialise in technical, web-based content. They may be a whizz at SEO techniques and writing for the web but may struggle at writing and placing editorial articles.
If you are clear about what you need, then you can clearly define your requirements to your freelance support.
Do you have experience in my sector?
We believe that great marketing support comes from someone who understands what you do, and the context in which you work. This means your external team needs to understand your business and your sector. Broadly speaking, whilst writing skills are transferable to any sector (as we discussed in our “how to write a great blog” post), technical knowledge is not. If you work in a profession which requires a lot of technical know-how, then don’t be afraid to ask for examples of previous work. You don’t want to waste precious time and money with someone who struggles to understand the basics of what you do – they’ll never be able to write convincingly on your behalf.
Do they know how to fully optimise your content for SEO purposes?
If you’re spending your hard-earned marketing budget on external support, then you need to feel confident that the resulting content will work effectively. If you’re looking for a copywriter to provide blog writing expertise, will they be adapting their blog to suit your SEO requirements? Will they be making clear the relevant H1 and H2 tags? Will they be able to confidently write your meta description and ensure that your chosen keywords are seamlessly and naturally incorporated into the body copy? Will they know which internal pages to link to and which external links to avoid?
Do you need them to provide additional social media support to complement the blog activity? If so, will they provide you with separate content to post onto your individual social media platforms?
Great copywriters should do all this, and much more.
Is their content properly laid-out?
When you see examples of their writing, pay attention to how it is formatted. Clearly, you want to ensure that there are no typos or grammatical errors, but you should also expect to see how the writer visualises the content.
Are there clear headings and subheadings? Are long paragraphs broken down into more digestible chunks? Have they suggested any pull-out quotes which can be repurposed for social media activity or break-away graphics? Is there a strong call to action which leads the reader to what you want them to do?
If the submitted content doesn’t have this, then you’ll have to spend valuable in-house resources making that it’s a finished piece. At Gatekeeper Communications, we believe that these activities aren’t “added extras”; they are part of the writing process and should always be included as part of the standard package.
How do they work?
This may be an important question. Whilst all good freelance marketeers will aim to become an external extension to your business, it’s important to remember that they are not directly employed by your business and as such, may have different working hours. You should establish what their processes are; when they are likely to be available, how they prefer to be contacted and how responsive they can be. For example, if you’re looking for an external press office, then you may wish to avoid using someone who combines freelance work with a full-time job role.
If you want your external marketing support to work cohesively with you, then you should set prior ground rules. For example, pre-determine how many sets of copy amends are included within the basic price (generally you should expect 1-2 sets of revisions) and confirm any payment deadlines.