DIY or professionally-produced marketing content – Marketing Magic Tips

Screenshot of video presenter

DIY or professionally-produced marketing content – Marketing Magic Tips

In today’s digital age, they say content is king. Businesses need content in the form of photographs, videos and text for social media, your website, blogs advertising and more. It should come as no surprise that many businesses struggle to decide whether to produce content for their marketing campaigns by themselves (Do-It-Yourself/DIY content) or whether to commission professionals to develop their content. In the early days when the budget is likely to be tight, many start-ups produce their marketing content in-house. As time goes on and business grows, many companies outsource the production of their marketing content outside professionals.

It is human nature to believe that everyone wants to see only polished content from our company; that potential clients will only be attracted to and engage with glossy content. Read on to discover why this is not always the case and why DIY content is often just as effective as professional content.

Getting a handle on business marketing

Given the importance of your marketing to the survival and prosperity of your enterprise you should take a strategic approach to ensure that you are doing all of the right things to get the best results from your marketing efforts. All of your marketing should aim to contribute towards achieving your business goals. Businesses typically set out to get brand and product awareness. Over time, marketing seeks to generate leads – in other words, attract and engage people who are interested in buying your products and services. Your sales process/team will usually be responsible for closing the sale and getting the client to buy. Marketing can be part of the after sales process that seeks to get clients to become loyal customers and repeat buyers who will typically be advocates for your brand and encourage their network and others to buy from you.

It is essential to choose the right marketing methods to reach your target audience. It is not enough to decide whether to use online or traditional marketing methods alone as most businesses get the best results from the right mix of methods. A mixed approach takes into consideration the reality that not all of your market is in any one place. Equally important is choosing from the many techniques within each category. Take choosing social media as a method that could work for your business as an example. You could want to spend your budget on Youtube ads, Facebook advertising or LinkedIn ads? Are your clients spending their time on Instagram or Pinterest? Businesses can choose from more than 200 social media platforms that exist today. Let’s not forget that you will have to decide whether to produce videos or invest in graphics design for your social media marketing and all of the options that open up. Your marketing methods should attract and engage your target audience and get them interested in your brand.

It is easy to continue doing marketing activities that you enjoy. Beware that unless you measure the performance of your marketing activities, you cannot objectively and accurately evaluate whether what you are doing is achieving the desired outcomes for your company. While some marketers choose to measure the success of their marketing by focusing on engagement with marketing content (likes, shares and comments, for example), I recommend paying more attention to increasing potential clients and increase in sales that marketing brings to your company. For this, you need a defined process and metrics to establish whether you are getting value for money from your marketing spend.

Collecting performance data from your marketing efforts is only useful in keeping you on track if you link to a process for looking and using performance information to make judgements to guide future marketing efforts. You should use the marketing review process to assess what worked in the previous period, what didn’t work and what you need to do differently going forward. The sound output from a proper review should be an updated marketing plan to achieve better results in the period ahead.

Content in the form of videos, images and text-based blogs underpin every stage of a business’ marketing efforts. Companies get the best results from their marketing when they get the right targeting, content and message combination. What are your content production options?

 

DIY content

It is easy to see producing content in-house as a reasonable approach for your company because you save the costs that you would spend on commissioning an agency or professional. You can add the potential advantages of building the expertise to create content in the company in future, developing a brand voice/style and marketers who are intimately familiar with your brand as the significant advantages of doing your creating content within your business.

We live in an age when advancements in technology have made acquiring the tools that professionals use affordable to any business. Take the example of video and photography cameras that were until a few years ago, the exclusive domain of professional videographers and photographers. Fast-forward to today, and there are cameras on mobile phones that offer up to 50x optical zoom that give crystal clear images, portable lighting and quality microphones to produce better than average results.

Furthermore, where editing and retouching skills were previously expertise that only trained creatives possessed, anyone with a computer can now purchase editing software that enables us to create effects on videos an images, even if we only possess moderate skills.

I have a few clients who insist on posting only glossy stock images on their social media platforms. Admittedly, you cannot find fault with the photos on a technical level. However, these content rarely get the enormous engagement that businesses assume they will. Whereas more often than not, people engage in with images and videos that show the real people in a company in their everyday activities. I firmly believe that the critical decision that you base the decision about whether to outsource your content production on whether you possess the expertise and time to produce the materials you need to a ‘good enough’ standard in most cases. I would go as far as to propose that your potential clients value seeing authentic content from your business because it helps them to know that they can relate to you, know, like and trust you which leads to doing business.

One of the pitfalls of professionally-produced content is that in many cases they either look staged or are stock content which people see through and know are not genuine. As it turns out, cheesy stock photos can be a huge turnoff to your readers because they’re impersonal.

Few people are fooled by stock content because they have probably already seen the format /content somewhere else. Take note from a Marketing Experiments study, which compared conversions from a stock image to conversions from a photo of a company founder. Almost 35 percent more visitors signed up when they could connect to a real person.

example of stock photo

Blogs

The imperative to produce authentic content is very pronounced in blog posts. Every business should be developing blog content to give value to their fans and potential clients. I see many companies who are scared stiff to have a blog section on their website because they believe they do not have any information of value to impart to others. In reality, most fear writing what they think must be several thousands-words articles. Consequently, some will outsource their content writing to external agencies and copywriters.

While I have no objections to outsourcing copy production, I believe businesses may be missing out on the potential value that producing your custom-made blogs in-house can bring. Let’s re-conceptualise blogs from long articles to ‘content that provides useful information to your target audience and helps them to solve problems’. The fact is that no one knows as much about what you do and how you do it than the people in your business. So while a content writer can produce a piece from research, general knowledge and information that others have written, they can rarely give the genuine first-hand insight only you possess – your fans and potential clients will value the real and genuine ideas from you. All too often, the result of copywriters is bland blog posts that are devoid of practical insights that solve people’s issues. Many people easily recognise this type of content as curated.

Professionally-produced content

There is a place for hiring professionals to produce some of your marketing content. Experts can help create a detailed marketing plan, determine the marketing message, and identify the appropriate content to get your message out.

One area where I would recommend getting professionals is the creation of videos, photographs and graphic designs for advertising campaigns. Whether it is for Youtube Ads, LinkedIn ads or Facebook Ads, you want your images and videos to look the best that they can with perfect lighting, sound, message and composition. Sometimes, professional input can be in the form of advice and assistance with one or more of these elements as opposed to outsourcing the entire creation process.

Businesses outsource their marketing content production for a variety of reasons for which they are willing to pay. Here are some apparent advantages of getting someone outside your company (ideally a marketing expert or professional agency) to take responsibility for your content:

  • Insufficient time and expertise in-house to create the content to get results you want.
  • You want to enter new/different markets.
  • To use new/different techniques.
  • To provide advice and guidance
  • Perform content production without the costs of hiring in-house personnel.

 

Bringing it all together

There is no right or wrong answer to the question about whether to make your marketing collateral in-house or to outsource content production to outside experts. By outsourcing, you will be among the 42% of UK businesses don’t handle their marketing in-house. The challenge is to make sure you make your decision on the expertise you require you achieve your business objectives. Whatever choice you make for your business marketing, put a rigorous process in place to carry out the necessary tasks and give your business the best chance of achieving, and even exceeding, your marketing objectives.

 

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We’d love to have your feedback and suggestions about this post. How do you get content for your business marketing? What is your experience of producing content for your business? How do professionally-produced content work for your business? Please leave your comments in the Comments Section below.

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