Nearly six years have passed, but I can still vividly remember that day. It was my first story review at the University of Missouri School of Journalism — the top ranked journalism school in the country. A couple students could be seen sobbing after their story presentations were cut to shreds, and I could feel the smug satisfaction coming from my professor. That day, she instilled an important lesson upon a group of young, aspiring writers: BS doesn’t cut it in “the real world.”
Why am I telling you this story? Because that’s the kind of intense scrutiny journalistic writers have to survive each day. And as marketing moves away from flowery buzzwords, catchy jingles and BS, you need one of those writers — a hard-nosed researcher who creates meaty content instead of fluff. The good news is, if you work with the right agency, that’s exactly the writer you’ll get.
The modern breed of copywriter
Marketing is no longer defined by the traditional model of interruptive advertising, but instead by a customer’s ability to independently research purchasing decisions. According to a comprehensive study conducted by CEB and Google, 57 percent of the B2B purchasing process is completed before customers reach out to a salesperson. While gathering information, your customer is searching, often online, to learn about business problems and possible solutions before contacting companies. To reach your customer before your competitors do, you need to be the one educating them while they’re researching. Yes, you still need to communicate the value you deliver and ask for the sale. But a big part of modern marketing is publishing targeted, informative content on your website — and making that content show up in Google when your customers search for it.
The smartest marketing agencies are helping brands make the transition to educational, online marketing. In the process, they’re hiring research-oriented brand journalists who aren’t afraid to dive into technical white papers, read industry publications and interview subject matter experts. The modern b2b copywriter can not only write punchy headlines but also quickly get up to speed on an industry. The resulting content is authoritative, long-form and technically accurate.
Agencies provide professional writers and a dedicated team
When you hire a content marketing agency, you’ll likely work with one writer who is assigned to your account and a handful of other accounts. Your writer will be a professional with a four-year degree who has written hundreds or even thousands of articles for publications and client websites. He or she will continually learn about your industry and eventually become an expert on your company. Along with a writer, you’ll get a team of strategists, project managers, creative directors and account coordinators who ensure all content is on-brand, on-voice and on-strategy.
Why using an agency writer is better than doing it yourself
It’s one thing to have a writer who’s competent enough to write about your industry. But what about one who has the marketing expertise to deliver results? Agency writers are skilled in creating content that supports a variety of marketing goals. Your writer should understand the intricacies of writing for the web, have experience in content strategy and know how to measure content marketing results.
Generating traffic through SEO
Good agency writers know how to target keywords throughout an article to help you achieve SEO results and draw qualified traffic to your website. That includes writing for user intent, so that when your article ranks in search results and your potential customers click on it, they get the information they want.
Converting visitors into leads
Quality agency writers are trained specifically in lead generation. By writing quality, targeted content, your writer engages your site visitors. And with audience-specific, persuasive copy, your writer gets visitors to sign up for your newsletter, start that product demo or reach out to you for a consultation.
Nurturing leads into customers
Email marketing helps you nurture leads into customers by keeping you top of mind throughout long sales cycles. For email marketing to be effective, you need quality content and analytical results tracking. This involves detailed collaboration between writer and strategist — a specialty of agencies. And it takes a versatile writer who can both create engaging, long-form content and craft compelling e-blasts that get clicks.
Sticking to your content calendar
Even for companies that have the web-marketing expertise to create quality content, staying on a consistent publishing schedule is a big challenge. One that’s not usually overcome, especially in companies where senior buy-in is not a given. Hiring out your writing to an agency ensures you stick to your content calendar and work toward your marketing goals.