“We have made a decision and although it was an extremely hard one, we’ve decided to go with a different agency. This was based purely on cost and what made the decision even more difficult was the fact your content was in actual fact slightly better,” - a recent prospect.
Sometimes prospects ask for sample content when they are looking for a long-term relationship with us as a content marketing agency. We typically steer clear of these requests because the amount of ramp up time required to create quality content is just too much to deliver for free. But, if they want to pay for spec work, we often oblige.
Unfortunately, we have never won a contract this way. Most marketers shopping for content want just that – 50 blog posts a month, 100 articles next week or a “quick eBook” they can add to their site. They lose site of the fact that putting words on a page is just one small part of what makes up quality content.
Important Elements of Quality Content
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of a copywriter is $55,420 per year, or $26.64/hour. Let’s say an experience writer can knock out a blog post in 2 hours. At the rate of 5 blog posts a week, you’re looking at about $1,000/month for this service.
If your buyer personas are complete, your keyword strategy is solid, you have someone to add images, format and post the blog, someone to create social media content and distribute it throughout the day, the capability to easily review stats and see how each blog post improves ROI – oh, and you have engaging landing pages and lead generating content to include as CTAs…then maybe you would get good value from this cost. (wheew!)
However, if any of those elements are missing, you’re better off focusing on two good blog posts/week that incorporate these other steps and give you more value. Quality content is not just about filling a page on a document with a bunch of words. It should tie back to specific business goals and be created with a purpose. When you are able to connect the dots between an excellent piece of content and a sale, the value shines through.
Why Pay More?
I find it ironic that writing is the top function B2B marketers outsource (54%) and producing the kind of content that engages is one of their top challenges (47%), according to research by the Content Marketing Institute. Yet, marketers have a hard time tying together the quality of the writing they pay for with overcoming their engagement challenge.
It’s like going to McDonald’s and ordering 10 burgers for $10, but expecting your guests to be as excited about that meal as if you served them organic, grass-fed steak topped with French truffles and Veuve Clicquot.
Can we create a blog post for $10? Honestly, no. Why? Because we believe content marketing is serious business that delivers real results, and your brand deserves better.
If you are considering using content for any of these goals, quality content and experience are worth the cost:
- Driving web traffic
- Converting leads
- Building brand awareness
- Engaging with clients or prospects
- Improving customer loyalty
From our experience, quality content yields much better results than high volume noise when you’re trying to get in front of buyers and gain the attention of search engines. However, if you aren’t concerned about your brand’s reputation (believe it or not, this rings true for some marketers), or have all the tools to manage the full cycle of content strategy, creation, editing, optimization and distribution in-house, then you might be able to go with a lower cost content option. But remember, just like that burger, you usually get what you pay for.