Content strategy

Should you hire a freelancer or a content agency?

You know content is crucial for building your website, generating traffic, and ranking in SERPs. You might also need writers for just a few projects here and there throughout the year. But how do you get from where you are now to where you want to be, without hiring a staff of full-time writers?

A lot of entrepreneurs, and even larger businesses and corporations, outsource their content to online freelancers. While this seems like a reasonable solution, there are some risks with hiring freelancers directly instead of working with a content agency.

Pros of hiring freelancers

1. Freelancers are cheap

In general, you can hire freelancers directly for a lot less than it will cost you to hire a content agency. However, the old saying “you get what you pay for” rings true here. Freelancers who take a job for less than market value will deliver a product that will probably need some additional work on your end. Freelancers on average make anywhere from $15-$75/hour. The ones at the top end are worth it. Hire them if you need consistent quality content and don’t want to hire an in-house writer.

If you’re looking for somebody to deliver a very good draft that you can drive to completion, then a freelancer could be the route to go. If you want someone to deliver a polished final product and don’t want to hire in-house, then an agency or a top-end freelancer is the way to go.

2. Expertise

Finding someone who can write about niche topics to hire in-house can be difficult, especially if you write about several niche topics. Freelancers have a wide range of expertise, which means you can find expert writers to cover a wide range of topics.

The downsides of freelancers

1. Most freelancers aren’t full-time

Freelance work is a great way to make extra cash when you need it. Most freelancers only write part-time (less than 20 hours per week). Hours can be sporadic. It’s not uncommon for college students to freelance a lot in the summer to save up some spending cash for fall and winter.

The downside for businesses is that you might find a fantastic freelancer only to discover that they’re only available to work during certain times of the year.

2. You aren’t their only client

Freelancers generally work with several clients at a time, which means they aren’t always able to work exactly to your timeline. Depending on the project, you might be OK with getting things turned in a little late. But if your project depends on a specific delivery date, working with a freelancer can be risky.

To make sure you’re at the top of your freelancer’s priority list, pay a good wage and take steps to ensure you’re communicating effectively.

3. They don’t “get” your brand the way someone close to the company can

If you work with a freelancer for a long time and give them consistent work, they’ll start to get to know the company and understand your brand. If you hire freelancers inconsistently, though, they won’t have a chance to really get your brand. In-house writers will understand the nuances of your brand in a way that doesn’t translate outside the company. A content agency will also take the time to meet with you and understand your brand, which they can convey directly to their own in-house team of writers.

Why you should hire a content agency instead

Here at People First Content, we know how freelancing works because we’ve done it. We know that it’s easy to drop a project for a client when something better comes along or when it’s not convenient. We understand the value of good content and know exactly how to find the best writers for specific projects.

Here are some ways a content agency can work better than hiring your own freelancers.

1. An agency will understand your business

When you hire an agency, you get to tell them exactly what you need and how your content fits into your overall business strategy. The agency will take the time to understand your brand, your business, and your people. Your agency will only deliver content that meets your goals. They become your partner and have as much a vested interest in your company as if they were employed there in-house, but without the additional overhead of hiring a whole content team.

2. An agency has a host of tools at their disposal

We intensely understand SEO, and we also know that we need tools to track how our SEO strategies are working. That’s why agencies like People First Content pay for tools to track traffic and determine what content will work best to meet your business goals.

3. Agencies provide a reliable means of getting quality content

Agencies are businesses too, so they run just like your business. Unlike freelancers who might work part-time, this is our full-time gig. We’re committed to delivering quality content on your timeline.

4. An agency is a one-time hire

Hire an agency once and let them take care of the rest. If we need to outsource content to a freelancer, we’ll handle that. If we can handle the writing in-house, we’ll get it done on your timeline. We operate as an extension of your company, but without the hassle of HR. Hire us once and trust us to get the job done.

Does your business need content? Whether you have a one-off project or need a consistent stream of content, we want to work with you! Contact us today to see what we can do for your business.

Content strategy, SEO

How content impacts your business and why it should be your top priority

Too many business owners make the mistake of thinking content is just for the marketing department to worry about. They look at content as a means to an end-a necessary evil to rank higher in Google.

The truth is, in this day and age where Google rankings rule and can make or break you as a company, content just might be the most important aspect of your business. Here’s why:

1. Google isn’t just a numbers game

Google doesn’t favor websites based on the number of words on their site but rather by the quality of the content the site produces. Businesses that focus on generating content for the sake of generating content aren’t providing value for their customers. They aren’t figuring out what their clients (or potential clients) need help with and how they can help solve their problems.

Online readers are savvy. They know when a website is giving them real information and when a company is just trying to rank for a specific keyword query. They’ll bounce once they recognize your content is doing the latter.

2. Everybody looks you up online

Every potential client, customer, or partner looks your business up online before they decide whether or not to contact you. How your business presents itself can make or break you when it comes to getting new clients onboard. If your content is sloppy, poorly written, confusing, or just plain hard to find, people will go elsewhere.

3. Your content promotes your company’s voice

Voice and tone are perhaps the most important aspects writers consider when they generate a piece of content. But a lot of businesses don’t seem to have figured that out. Are you funny? Strict? Governmental? Polished? The voice and tone of your content should be consistent across all of your pages and posts. This is how potential clients decide whether or not they want to work with you.

Are you making content a priority in your business? If not, maybe it’s time to talk to someone who knows how to rank in Google while also providing meaningful content for your audience. We can come up with a content strategy that will boost your SERPs rankings and deliver the quality content your audience needs.



Content strategy, SEO

Why you should care about SEO

Tablet with Google search page showing

The term “SEO” gets thrown around a lot in the world of web content creation, but many business owners don’t know, or care, what it means or how it can impact their business. Too many make the mistake of thinking it only matters for tech companies or e-commerce sites. But the truth is, if you have a website, you should care about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) because that’s the best way to get your website seen, so you can drive traffic to your business.

Here are the basic things you need to know. If you prefer to hire someone to care about SEO for you, let’s chat.

1. It’s all about what’s best for users

The main thing to know about SEO is that content that is useful for users wins. If your website is clear about who you are, what your business does, and why readers should care, you’re ahead in the SEO game. Websites get penalized when their message isn’t clear, particularly if it is intentionally misleading. Give your customers and site visitors the information they need. That’s it.

2. SEO is backwards-looking

Sure, SEO matters when you’re competing for search rankings, but it can only help you decide what to write based on what people have already searched for. If you’re in the business of developing new forms of content, you can use SEO best practices to make sure your content will be seen by the people who are interested in it, but you shouldn’t hesitate to do something new just because a query doesn’t have any search volume.

3. Local searches are hot right now

Local searches are bigger than national searches in Google land right now. What that means for your website is that your location needs to be part of your content.

4. Featured snippets are pretty hot too

Google’s featured snippets show up on high volume queries, and they’re in either a list or paragraph form. (To figure out if the query you’re writing about. For instance, the title of this blog post has a featured snippet from another website). What’s cool about ranking for a featured snippet is that these show up first in search results — if you rank for a featured snippet, chances are people are going to click your URL to read more. So you don’t even need to rank in the first spot to get all that organic traffic to your page.

5. Someone can do SEO for you

Knowing what keywords to use and where, along with how to code it and what to promote, is time-consuming. If you want to use SEO to improve your search rankings but don’t want to do the dirty work, contact us to see how we can help your business rank higher in Google and deliver quality content to your site users.

Content strategy

How to write a blog post

Having a blog for your business is pretty much a must these days. But since every business has one, what can you do to stand out from your competitors?

The key is to understand that the way blogs are read and used today is vastly different than it was 10 or even 5 years ago. Today, people aren’t likely to find your blog and read every. single. post. Instead, they’ll probably find your blog through social media or through an organic search on Google. They’ll spend, on average, 8 seconds deciding whether or not your post is answering their search query or giving them new information that can help them make a decision.

8 seconds.

That’s all.

So, how can you craft a blog post that gets a reader’s attention and keeps them on your page for longer than 8 seconds? Here’s our guide.

How to write a blog post: A 5 step strategy

1. Pick your audience
Very rarely is a blog post a good fit for every type of audience, and a lot of writers and businesses make the mistake of trying to fit a piece of content to suit everyone who might possibly come across it. This is pointless. It’s better to have a smaller, niche audience who will fully engage with your blog post than a wide audience who will bounce from your post before you can reel them in.

2. Get to know your audience
Once you decide what audience you’re targeting, it’s time to get to know them, if you don’t already. As a business owner, you might be targeting certain types of clients, or maybe you’re addressing fellow entrepreneurs. Either way, spend some time researching your audience to see what their needs are and how you can address them.

One way to do this is to spend time crafting audience personas. You can do this by conducting customer development interviews or sending out surveys to your clients to find out what information is most important to them. While this can take longer to research, it is also a more long-term strategy to make sure you’re targeting the right blog topics for your audience.

3. Know your competitors
One way to get to know your audience is to research and understand how your competitors are reaching them. You can do this easily by opening an incognito window and performing a Google search of your query. Then, read through the top results, since these are the resources Google thinks best addresses the problem your reader is trying to solve. Make notes about what they include as well as what unique viewpoint you can add to the conversation to make your post even more relevant and interesting to your audience.

4. Write and edit
See how far down the list writing your blog post is? If you don’t have a writer on your team, you can use your notes/outline from steps 1-3 to pass off to a content agency or freelance writer to take the reins and draft the blog post for you. Expect to go through a few rounds of writing and editing.

Make sure your headline is SEO optimized. Use SEO tools like Google Adwords or to find out the best headline for your blog post. Having an SEO-optimized title will help it rank organically in Google to increase the number of views it gets from organic searches.

5. Publish and track
Finally, you’ve reached the point of publishing your blog post. But don’t expect to hit “publish” and walk away forever. To effectively use content as part of your marketing strategy, you’ll need to track metrics like how many views it gets, how it ranks on Google and how often it’s shared on social media. Tracking metrics of all your blog posts can clue you into the topics that are the best received so you can target your content strategy.

If you aren’t sure how to begin your blog, let’s chat. Contact us for a free half-hour consultation to see how I can help you set up your blog or take it to the next level!