- Crystal Bedell
The benefits of hiring freelance writers for B2B tech content marketing
One of the biggest challenges B2B tech marketers face is time. There aren't enough hours in the day to complete the myriad tasks necessary to execute a holistic content marketing strategy. And the most time-consuming task also happens to be the most important: writing content.
Content is the heart of a content marketing strategy. Without quality content, all of your other efforts are moot. That's where freelance content writers come in.
Perform a quick search on any job board and you'll quickly see that content writers are in high demand. However, most companies are looking to hire a full-time, on-site content writer. And the majority of those are looking for a writer with little or no experience, possibly to keep payroll down. But hiring a full-time employee can take weeks, if not months. And training a writer in the B2B tech space can take even longer.
When I went from writing for a weekly community newspaper to editing and writing about information security in my early 20s, it was culture shock. Writing itself wasn't the problem. I quickly learned that readers know when a writer is writing about technology they don't fully understand. The content doesn't deliver any value—it's fluff—and you lose your credibility. I was immersed in the world of information security for a good six months before I started to understand the nuances of the B2B audience and the infosec industry.
When tech marketers hire an experienced B2B tech writer, they get the benefit of skipping a lot of the training that's otherwise necessary when hiring a writer who is new to the industry. I have a solid foundation of tech knowledge and often times only need to understand my client's competitive differentiators and value props. For example, I often work with cloud services providers, so I'm well aware of the benefits of IaaS, SaaS, and PaaS. There's no need to go over the business model and the financial advantages of moving IT assets to the cloud.
A freelance writer is also likely to have experience writing a wide variety of content types. Freelance writers understand the difference between writing a press release on a new product release and a blog post on the same topic. It's unlikely you'll present a writer with anything truly new, but if you do, your freelancer will likely be able to roll with it. It's simply a matter of understanding the target audience and your objectives for the piece.
Because freelance writers don't have to go through traditional on-boarding and training processes, your content marketing projects can get off the ground faster. This is especially true if you have a freelance writer whom you go to repeatedly. The freelance writer will come to better understand your business and solutions and will deliver increasing value over time—without costing you a full-time salary.
Freelance writers also tend to produce deliverables faster than in-house writers. The typical content writer may have any number of responsibilities in addition to producing actual content. These responsibilities may include building and executing a content strategy, collaborating with stakeholders and subject matter experts, and monitoring content performance—to name just a few. Shifting from a tactical or strategic mode of working to a creative mode can be difficult, especially in a fast-paced environment. Writing a 1,200-word white paper becomes a monumental task among various other demands on the writer’s time.
I experienced this first-hand when I moved into a leadership role at TechTarget. I was responsible for planning and maintaining an editorial calendar, managing a staff of editors and freelancers, and developing content at a high level, such as outlining "packages" of content or looking for ways to re-purpose content to stretch my budget. On the occasion that I was expected to write an editorial, I had to purposefully schedule time to do so. And it took valuable time to switch mental gears. I needed that time to slow down and put on my writer's cap.
As a freelance writer, I have the luxury of wearing my writer's cap the majority of my day. Even if I'm not actively writing, the mental processes required to do so are still engaged because I use them more often, and that brings a number of benefits to my clients:
I can switch between modes more easily, which means I'm more productive.
The act of writing requires less effort—and it shows in the quality of writing I deliver.
The creative processes that drive the act of writing translate well to strategy and content development. I can more easily identify out-of-the-box content opportunities.
Finally, an experienced freelance writer will have exposure to other marketing teams, technologies, businesses, and projects. While good freelancers adhere to NDAs, they also provide valuable insights on branding, content strategy, and content marketing that you wouldn't get from a full-time writer operating only in your organization. You get the fresh perspective of an "outsider" while working with someone who understands your business goals and has a vested interest in your success.
The benefits of hiring a freelance B2B tech writer versus hiring a full-time writer include:
Significantly reduced hiring time
Significantly reduced training time
Faster project kick-offs
Faster turnaround times
Access to more experience for less than the cost of a full-time employee
Access to fresh, creative insights