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ContentBudget“Content is king,” – Bill Gates

Content – it’s what your website visitors come to you for, what your social media connections expect from you, and what Google needs to see from you in order to rank your site appropriately. Good content boosts your traction online. Bad content will take you down a peg or two (or more, depending on just how bad that content is). Content is one of the absolute essentials for anyone or any business hoping to make the World Wide Web work for them, but how do you get that content? There are two options here, and you might think that the lower priced of the two is the better bet, but you’d be wrong.

In-House Content Creation

The simplest, fastest way to get content up on your website, blog or social media accounts is to have it created in house. If you’re a multibillion-dollar company with thousands of employees, that’s a simple feat. For other businesses, it’s more challenging. You might not have any actual writing talent working for you. You might have great artists, programmers, tech support operators, administrators and clerical workers, but it’s possible, likely even, that you lack anyone capable of creating good content.

That begs the question, what makes content “good” in the first place? Is it grammatically correct content? Is it engagement? Is it how the content is formatted? Is it moving content that speaks directly to each individual reader? How do you tell good content from bad?

On top of those questions, you’ll have others to answer if you’re going the in-house content creation route. For instance, who double-checks the content created by your “writer”? Does that individual know anything about writing, marketing or grammar? What happens if they don’t know anything or if they only know enough to get into trouble as the old saying goes?

It’s a tough nut to crack, and chances are good that you don’t have the talent in house to complete the task.

Outsourcing Your Content Creation

The most common solution (and best option in most circumstances) is to outsource your content creation. It makes a great deal of sense. When you’re sick, you go to the doctor. You don’t try to cure yourself. If you blow an engine in your car, you head to a trusted mechanic. You work with specialists who know how to do what needs to be done. The same thing is true with content creation, whether you need new website content, ongoing blog posts, an ebook or something else created. You turn to those who excel at stringing words together and evoking a reaction in readers – a writer.

Professionals have the experience, expertise, knowledge and understanding necessary to strike the right tone for your particular content and forge a connection with your readers (well, they SHOULD, but not all writers are created equal). Hiring a writer comes at a cost, and this is where most business owners get into trouble.

The Many Different Types of Content

Complicating the in-house/outsourcing and content creation budgeting process is the growing number of content types used online. Most companies actually use 13 different types of content to reach and engage their audiences, according to Content Marketing Institute. These include:

  • Social media
  • Blog posts
  • Articles on your website
  • Web content (homepage, about us, etc.)
  • Product Descriptions & Category Descriptions
  • Landing pages
  • Newsletters
  • Microsites
  • Ebooks
  • Whitepapers

Each of those types of content requires a different approach in order to be effective. An ebook can’t be written in the same style as a blog post (in most instances, anyway) because they’re designed for different purposes. Whitepapers and articles might seem similar, but they’re actually very different beasts. So, when you choose to outsource your content creation, you need to ensure that you’re working with an expert who knows the ins and outs of the content type you need at that moment.

The Cost Issue

Words are cheap, or at least that seems to be the prevailing wisdom with some business owners. Part of this is natural – it’s the savvy business owner’s drive to ensure they’re saving money while still getting good results. However, the problem is that good content costs money. You really do get what you pay for here. If you’re only willing to pony up a couple of bucks for a 500-word article, you should expect that article to only be worth a couple of bucks.

That begs a question – how much IS your content worth to you? How much is one customer worth over their lifetime, $100, $1,000, $10,000? If one article secures only a single customer for you, how much revenue has that single piece of content generated for your company over the life of the customer? It’s about more than the total cost of the content right now. It’s about how much revenue you’ll generate for the business through each customer that content pulls in to your business. It’s also about how quickly bad content will run off potential customers and clients, costing your business thousands or tens of thousands of dollars in the end.

Setting Your Content Budget

Your content budget is enormously important – it determines just how much content you can purchase, and whom you can purchase that content from in the first place. If you have a low budget, you’ll be tempted to go with low-budget content creators. These outsourcers claim to create content, but it’s generally chock-full of typos, incorrect words, fragments and other issues that will actually drive potential customers away.

Set a realistic content budget that allows you to hire professional writers. Set a content budget that affords you the opportunity to have engaging, original, well-written content created for you that connects with your audience, as well as providing better visibility through search engine results.

In the end, your content budget determines your success. Can you really afford to pinch pennies here? Can you truly afford to pay bottom-dollar prices for bottom-dollar results? Most business owners can’t. It’s simply a bad investment that leads to serious damage in the long term.

Words You Want specializes in making content marketing for small businesses easy. If you don’t have in-house writers and can’t afford $1,000 articles, we can help you create the content you need at an affordable price, without sacrificing quality. We can even help you manage your blogging and social media efforts so you can spend more time serving your customers.