Editor’s note: We’ve seen a lot of demand for content marketing talent in our portfolio, including the need for freelancers and consultants. The key is to run a tight process and ask the right questions to vet your candidates. We reached out to a veteran content marketing consultant who works exclusively with startups to help.
Startups everywhere are taking advantage of content marketing, but starting out can take a tremendous amount of effort. Founders want to get things going, as content marketing helps with brand awareness and lead generation, but often they don’t have a realistic understanding of how much these marketing efforts cost or just how much effort they really take. (Editor’s note: Here’s another useful article on lead generation from Troops, a NextView-backed company .)
Thankfully, there are tons of content marketing consultants and freelancers out there. On the other hand, hiring a content marketing consultant or freelance writer is different than hiring a marketing person more traditionally. Not only does a founder need to make sure this person can help them out with their particular needs, but they also need to know that the consultant can write in an engaging, compelling way that shows off the startup.
So to make things easier and help you stay organized, I’ve created a short, tactical checklist for founders together with NextView. These are crucial things to spend at least some time thinking about, as they speed up your process and ensure you end with the best possible candidate.
Step n°1 |
Determine Vision, Goals, and How You’ll Measure Them
Nail down a vision for what content marketing can do for your startup. In the ideal world, what will your content generate? Why are you using content as a marketing approach at all? Be able to explain this to a consultant.
Ask yourself why you want to hire a marketing consultant or freelance writer (rather than hire a more traditional marketer or full-time content marketer). What is the goal that they will help you reach? What are the gaps you want this person to fill?
Determine how you will measure your content. You can use pageviews or engagement metrics such as number of social media shares or comments on blog posts (usually a slippery slope), or you can build an initial subscription list even without a product, which can be used to nurture leads, get feedback, or even ask people to spread your message and grow reach. Whatever the case, don’t measure activities — measure results.
It’s hard for consultants to work with founders who are disorganized. Consultants work best if you already have an idea of how you want things to work and how you plan to communicate, assign, check in, and organize workflow.
Come up with some ideas for pieces (such as blog posts, ebooks, or tools) for what you’d ideally like to see produced, as well as some systems for communication (whether it be through Slack, Trello, or another system).