No question, the voracious demands of online marketing for content development – already considerable – have escalated sharply over the past year or so.  Up until then, you only had to worry about…

  • your website – which of course has to have substantial amounts of rich and engaging content to meet the requirements of both human and robotic searchers
  • your email newsletter – minimally, a single series on a weekly or biweekly basis;  ideally, different email streams for distinct market segments or buying-cycle stages
  • white papers – probably at least three, to sufficiently demonstrate thought leadership and serve as prospect conversion magnets

That load was perhaps just barely manageable with internal resources.  But now, with the undeniable rise in importance of social media, there’s much more.

  • your corporate blog – also needing at least weekly posting to maintain a loyal following;  some of its content can be reworkings of your email newsletter articles, but probably not all
  • a Facebook page, and subsequent social interactions
  • enough tweets and re-tweets of market-relevant info to establish a Twitter following …and here also, responding appropriately to the interactions that result
  • a LinkedIn presence worthy of your company (you really can’t just leave this to your former employees, which is what will happen absent your input), and perhaps initiating and driving one or more groups or roundtables of relevance to your market

…and that’s not necessarily the end, either.

Furthermore, you can’t get by with just any old writing;  online writing needs to be concise, structured for scanning, engaging, and keyword-rich (to support SEO).

You have several alternatives for dealing with this explosion of content development:

  • You can continue piling the work onto your (probably already overworked) staff.  The problem with that approach?  Whether you see it coming or not, there is a hard physical limit, imposed by productivity limits and “x” hours in the day.  Early warning signs include lowered morale, more important tasks sliding out in time, and/or everything seeming to take longer.  (Left unremedied, consequences may include losing some people you’d rather not lose …even in a poor job market.)
  • You could simply put full-time writers on the payroll, although your company needs to be of a certain size for this to be at all feasible.  Plus some would argue that payroll writers end up drinking the company Kool-Aid, to the extent that they start using internal-only jargon and stop challenging poorly-thought-out formulations of things like competitive differentiators or value propositions …to the obvious detriment of the firm’s communications to its market.
  • Or you can choose what many have found to be the optimal solution:  outsourcing a meaningful portion of your online content development to your Web marketing/design firm, your online-oriented marcomm firm, or directly to one or more individuals selected from the increasingly robust online freelance-writing marketplace.  Aside from the obvious benefits of not adding to fixed headcount and not burning out your own staff, this approach brings a measure of objectivity that can avoid the “Kool-Aid” trap, along with a level of online writing proficiency that usually surpasses that of internal resources.  And any writer that works with your company consistently over a reasonable period of time will develop an understanding of your business that’s all but indistinguishable from that of your own staff.

If this latter alternative makes sense to you, ask your peers to recommend a freelance writer, or check with your Web marketing consultants;  they may well be able to provide the online content-development services you need.