Anyone can write a blog post. It’s not hard. You simply pick a topic, sit down and start composing something. Anything really. I mean, what are you going to write about for your business and brand? Some people who are passionate about their niche, have no problem writing about their products or services. But that’s not content marketing.
Other people who are passionate about their business, have no clue what to write about. And they have tried a few times to do it themselves. Particularly small and medium-sized businesses that have bootstrapped themselves through start-up to high growth. Everyone, at some point, tries their hand at DIY creative content.
That type of person, professional, and business owner is my favorite kind of client. The reason is that through trial and error, they realize that there is a lot more to content marketing than simply copywriting. And the business owner or manager has typically gone through a variety of low-budget alternatives, from Fiverr entry-level writers to offshore providers.
Hey, I’m a businesswoman too! I love exploring cost-saving alternatives. But only if they provide the same value to my business. Paying less for something that doesn’t work as well? That makes no sense.
Why is content marketing so expensive? Because you are not just paying a copywriter to sit at a keyboard and compose. You are paying for experience. Intuition. Internet search psychology and a toolbox of talents that can help get your brand more customers.
What is a Copywriter?
Every good Content Marketing Manager starts as a copywriter. As for me? In 2008 I started grind writing content articles. The internet was new but growing quickly back then. And content marketing was very different. Basically, you could put any content on a website, and search engines didn’t care. YAY! You are adding a lot of content! We’re going to boost you higher on the search rankings.
It’s kind of funny to think back to those early days. I wanted to make a part-time gig income. I needed the extra money in addition to my non-profit full-time job in compliance, and event management. So, I cut my teeth on $5 for 500-word articles. On every topic imaginable from pet care to pediatric health, trucking, heavy equipment cranes and more. And I wrote so much content for websites about Viagra that I still have PTSD from it.
As a copywriter, I was provided with the following directions:
- Article title
- Target keywords
- Keyword density
- Link to website where the guest content would be published to gauge readership and audience type and determine content style.
So, basically as a copywriter, I was fed all the details I needed. And then my creativity was the element that fulfilled that order. I didn’t have to think about the strategy. Or frankly, the results of the content, or other aspects. Was the content accurate? Structurally sound? Interesting to read? Yep!
Learning Content Marketing Strategies by Being an Underpaid Grinder
I learned to get very fast with my content production. Because the pay as a copywriter wasn’t great. But then again, it was entry-level. I didn’t have to apply my years of marketing education and corporate experience. I just fulfilled the orders.
Over time, I started to learn the strategies of consultants that were making $200k+ per year working with large brands. While I was the ghostwriter churning the content they provided to their corporate clients. The framework of the strategies or “the recipe” for success in different product or service categories began to emerge.
Paying for Quality Original Content Marketing Your Audience Will Love
In the beginning, I was paid .01c per word. Twelve years later, my average rate is .15c per word. For technical or highly researched content, which requires citations et al, the rate is more like .25c per word. Still reasonable.
Many writers charge much more. I prefer to retain long-term clients by providing value at a reasonable price. My highest paid piece of content to date was a series of articles for a lawyer submitting to the Yale Law Review. Every article got accepted with minor edit requests.
I was well rewarded at a rate of over $400 per article, for six (6) sequential pieces. It took me about two days to complete all six articles. But don’t tell the lawyer. I just work really fast, particularly when it is a topic that intrigues me or one that I have extensive experience writing about. Once I write a project or for years on a specific niche, it sticks with me.
I can write in authority now, on over twenty (20) niches. That comes from my time in the trenches and producing creative content almost every day (not kidding) since 2008. I understand the audiences for those niches. And I am able to write content that converts on those authority niche topics or categories.
Paying for the Science of Optimization and Content That Search Engines Love
Sometimes I cringe with empathy for the world’s largest search engine and greatest supercomputer. Google. I am talking about Google. Because the way that human beings search for information on the internet is not in complete sentences. And sometimes the search terms are a little out there.
- Dog kennel small dog
- Inside dog kennel create small dog
- No pee dog crate
It almost sounds like you are communicating with a kindergarten kid by text. Search engine optimization is understanding how people search for the product or service that you provide. And then incorporating those search terms into your content. All your content. From your blogs to your website landing page content. And even your social media posts. Yep, those are indexed too.
Watch this video because it does the best job of explaining what search terms really look like to Google, daily. I recommend watching the full series “If Google Was a Guy”.
(Warning explicit language).
The NSA guy popping up cracks me up every time. Not sure why? Try Googling “green socks” five days in a row. And sit back and watch the ads for green socks come flying at you. Also, special green socks offer in your mailbox.
What Should You Get When You Hire a Content Marketing Manager?
Now imagine for a moment that a Content Marketing expert (someone who actually went to school for marketing, not an ‘enthusiast’ or self-proclaimed ninja) speaks that language. Combine that with a thorough understanding of your brand, your business, the locality (global or regional aspects), and creativity. BOOM! You have a really amazing secret weapon in the digital marketing arms race.
When you hire an experienced, and legitimate Content Marketing Manager, you are paying for expertise. The educational foundation in marketing and branding. In my case, over thirteen years of experience creating content every day for international businesses.
This year I broke a new content marketing record. One of my articles gained over 100,000 unique ORGANIC views in a thirty-day period. That means no advertising. No PPC push. No content syndication. Simply customers finding the information they were looking for through a search engine. By preparing the information and experience that consumers want, I can guide them straight to my client’s website.
That acumen was developed after six years of post-second education in marketing and brand management. Years of person-to-person event and tradeshow management. Working with international and regional brands. Helping businesses from the United Kingdom, Canada, the United States, Australia, India, and Singapore.
Deep diving into your business and brand culture, I create stories. Not content that all your competitors are churning out. I create new stories that help build a relationship between your target market and your business. One that nudges your customer toward a sales conversion.
Negotiating a Trial Project to Test a Content Marketing Manager
Finding the right Content Marketing expert to work with your business is critical. They must understand your business but also have a passion for your industry. In my experience, it is the brands and services that I find intriguing that I enjoy most. Creating content for something you like is fun.
You can’t be sure about the quality of work from a Content Marketing Manager, until you see what they can produce. I am recommending hiring one on a one-month trial. That allows the Content Marketing Manager to develop a strategy, a content calendar and start producing content so that you can start to see results.
Content Marketing is not an overnight fix. It is a slow and tedious process. But when you are doing the right things in every aspect of your digital marketing, from social to refreshing website landing pages, and great social, it pays off. And a content expert will also review those results monthly with you and pivot to try new things, to get even better results.
That’s why the average Content Marketing Manager with over ten years of experience makes over $55 per hour. You can hire a copywriter. Or you can hire a brand strategist that knows how to use every content optimization opportunity to increase your website traffic.
Like LL Cool J, “don’t call it a ‘come back’, we’ve been here for years. And we get the results that only talent, creativity, SEO chops, and experience can provide.