Give up the ghost: Invest in experienced B2B content creators

There's a big difference between a ghost writer and an experienced B2B marketer

Have you heard the term ‘content marketing’? Content marketing is the cumulative endeavour of creating relevant and valuable content which will attract and engage a particular audience and ultimately drive profitable behaviour.

In the B2B space, content marketing is highly effective but it’s also resource-consuming. Few in-house teams have the capacity to create and curate the necessary volume and quality of content.

Subsequently, around one-in-two B2B marketers outsource content creation. The demand for content – or, more particularly, the quest to achieve content marketing excellence – has spawned a whole new industry.

In the words of the content marketing queen, Anne Handley, everybody writes.

Or, at least, suddenly everybody’s a writer.

As a client, how do you choose a content marketing partner? How do you know what skill set you need? How do you decide whether to engage someone who has no, some, or substantial experience? Let’s be honest, you’re probably approached daily by budding ghostwriters.

If you’re on the market for content marketing support, there are a few things you should know.

Firstly, all writers are not equal or the same. Some people are great at fiction; others are solid business writers; some are reliable technical writers and so on.

Secondly, all writers are not marketers.

Thirdly, as is the case with any profession, you get what you pay for.

I understand that as a client you’re under pressure to contain your budget. And I agree it makes sense to prioritise pieces or categories of content. This one isn’t important – get somebody cheap to do it. So long as you understand cheap typically means inexperienced, poorly- or unqualified, or even machine-made.

There’s so much more to content marketing than ghostwriting.

A great B2B content marketer is part strategist, part storyteller, part analyst, part publicist, part publisher.

Here’s an example. Recently, my business was engaged by an elite B2B client to do some ghostwriting. Our client’s expectation was that from a two-hour interview with subject matter experts, plus research and writing time, we would produce two quality pieces of content.

The ideas and inspiration generated from the initial interview resulted in five pieces of content and have so far generated six media hits in addition to achieving their stated purpose.

A ghostwriter could not deliver those results.

I’ve said it before, B2B marketing is complicated. The sales cycle is generally long. The buyers are many, are educated, and are well informed. The subject matter is often technical, complex. The stakes are high.

In B2B environments – particularly in the services and intangible product categories where we reside – the creation of high quality, engaging, thought-provoking content takes time.

It takes time to research.

It takes time to consider.

It takes time because it necessitates complex ideas be distilled into plain English or some other digestible form.

Give up the ghost. Invest in experience as it will pay dividends.