Marketing in the 21st century takes a lot of effort. Sure, it looks easy. Anyone can start a blog, post on Twitter or throw up a website, right? Yes, but doing it well is another matter. You have to craft good content, put it up and then have the savvy to make sure people actually see it. And with online and print options everywhere, it often feels like an arms race to see who can put out the content, but you don’t have to put out the most content, you just have to put out the best content. That’s where having an expert on hand helps.
An outside consultant can help you set up and post to that new blog, run effective social media accounts, create new website content or put together a credibility-boosting white paper, among other things. Specifically, outside experts help in three key ways:
1. They save you time and money: Hiring an outside writer allows you more time to work on other parts of your operation. An outside contract writer can also save money by saving you the expense (and headache) of hiring another full-time employee. For those organizations with sporadic or light needs, contract work can be scaled up or down as needed. By hiring your writing work to an outside expert, you free up the bandwidth and resources to take on larger organizational challenges. Consultants can be hired to focus on one project (for example, an annual report), letting you work on others.
2. They (mostly) provide quality work: The purpose of hiring an outside writer is to get high-quality content. Contract writers tend to be experts in language use, strategic messaging and different communications platforms. This expertise today often extends to search engine optimization (SEO), key to ensuring your work is found in online search engines, and social media. Today, every organization should be on social media in some fashion. Facebook, Twitter and the rest are where your customers and donors hang out online, and it’s imperative that you operate visibly in that space.
Also, communications and writing consultants can (and arguably should) empower you, the client, to become more comfortable creating your own blog or social media posts so that you don’t have to rely on others forever. With the help of outside experts, you can become more comfortable with your own voice and start taking your first steps toward communicating directly with customers or stakeholders.
3. They provide a diversity of ideas: A thoughtful outside communications specialist can also provide a fresh outside perspective. Often, those working on a project are too close to it, and their judgment becomes clouded. You can get tunnel vision, and sometimes someone outside the project can provide the fresh perspective necessary for success.
There are other benefits of hiring an outside consultant, but these, I think, are the most impactful. It’s a crowded media landscape, and to stand out, an outside expert is often needed. So how do you find this expert? Well, for starters, you can email me … but you can also try searching online. Many talented consultants have online websites and portfolios to attract new clients. You should also ask around. Chances are someone you know has a friend or a friend-of-a-friend who does this kind of work. Interview them, ask for writing samples, call their former clients. Not everyone who bills themselves as a contract writer is an expert, and those who provide shoddy work give the rest a bad name. But a good consultant can make your life a great deal easier. It’s well worth the search.