How a content marketing consultant can lead you to success

How a content marketing consultant can lead you to success

7 minute read

How a content marketing consultant can lead you to success

7 minute read

How a content marketing consultant can lead you to success

Nia Gyant

GatherContent Contributor, Writer

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43% of content marketers rate their content marketing as just good enough to be effective. Not awful but not fantastic either. So it’s not a stretch to say that there’s big money being left on the table. Countless companies are missing out on opportunities to improve their ROI from content.

The question: is yours one of them? If so, a content marketing consultant may be able to help.

What is a content marketing consultant?

Content marketing consultants advise companies and organizations on their content marketing strategies. In years past, that was the extent of the role—giving in-house teams strategic guidance on messaging and content marketing. And it still is for many solo freelance content marketing consultants.

But consultants are now becoming more involved in the execution side of things. Many now have teams they rely on for content writing, distribution, link building, and the like.  

6 core content marketing consultant responsibilities

On a more specific level, what are some of the top things content consultants are responsible for?

Content Marketing Consultant Responsibilities
The top responsibilities of content consultants

1. Research

Before anything else, they need to understand the ins and outs of an organization—not just its current marketing efforts. So it’s essential to:  

  • Ask a ton of questions
  • Review marketing and sales materials
  • Review the organization’s online presence
  • Dig into analytics data to understand current marketing performance
  • Do competitor research
  • Look over existing content marketing plans

From there, they can move on to thinking about goals.

2. Assessing objectives

Are an organization’s existing content marketing goals specific enough? Are they realistic? Are they focused on the right things? For example, many teams focus on improving rankings and driving organic traffic. But they put less emphasis on the more valuable outcomes those things should lead to. Don’t believe me?

According to one study, only 27% of content marketing teams have content goals tied to revenue. 53% admitted outright that their goals aren’t linked to making money. A good consultant will ensure you’re focusing on what matters.

3. Strategy development

The role of strategist is an important one when it comes to content marketing consulting. So, your consultant will create a content marketing plan to reach your marketing and business goals. Based on in-depth research and after readjusting objectives if needed, of course. And unlike many lopsided DIY strategies that focus almost entirely on content creation, the consultant's strategy will also cover distribution.

4. Reinforcing the content marketing team

A consultant may also be responsible for lining up resources to execute the strategy. Dan Barrett, CEO of Social Vantage, commented on this.

Dan, who has experience in this role, said:

“In most instances, I find that companies don’t have a multi-role content marketing team yet. So, building one for my clients is the most important responsibility of this role. This means making recommendations on what roles must be added, and the skills and qualifications needed for each.”

5. Facilitating collaboration and communication

According to Dan, another core responsibility is creating workflows and communication flows. This is to bridge the gap between marketing and other business functions. (Especially sales, product development, and customer service.)

“In most companies, I find that these functions are siloed, which means there isn’t effective communication taking place across the organization. My role is to ensure that communication flows freely between the content marketing team and other essential departments so that efforts on all sides are streamlined.”

6. Supporting the content marketing team

Whether there’s an existing in-house team or the content consultant builds one out from scratch, being there to support them is critical. The consultant may need to advise them on how to execute the content strategy or approach specific marketing campaigns. Or as Dan said, “teach [them] to measure and tweak their efforts to improve results.” That includes showing “how to justify expenditures to management so that budgetary requirements can be approved without too much back and forth.”

Whew, that’s a lot of work, isn’t it? And this isn’t even an exhaustive list of responsibilities. For instance, some consultants may also get their hands dirty. They may do content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), content distribution, and data analysis in tools like Google Analytics. It just depends on who you hire and what they offer.

When is it time to hire a content marketing consultant?

How can you know when it’s time to consider making this hire? Here are four of several common signs.

When to Hire a Content Marketing Consultant
4 signs it may be time to hire a marketing expert to consult on your strategy

When you’re low on resources

Know your content marketing strategy could use work but never have time to refresh it? Perpetually trying to squeeze content marketing into a tight schedule? Can't build a full-time digital marketing team or hire a full-service content marketing agency?

A content consultant can pick up the slack when you don’t have the marketing resources you need.    

When in a time of transition

Tom Leighton, COO of Sofary, explained the value of bringing in a consultant as your company or organization evolves.

Tom, who has hired a content marketing consultant, said: “I knew my company was growing and changing in ways that would require the restructuring of our content marketing strategies, goals, budgets, and roles. We needed someone who could come in and help us with this restructuring process so that we could do it quickly and as effectively as possible.”

Planning to expand into new markets, update your offerings or make other changes? Having a consultant by your side can make the transition smoother.

When you’re not getting the results you want

If you've been falling short of your content marketing goals, you need an outside opinion. Sometimes it takes an unbiased marketing expert to pinpoint what you could be doing better.

That could mean revisiting buyer personas, distribution channels, or any number of other things. Whatever the case, if you’re not sure how to get on the right course, this hire will be a good investment.

When you’ve tasted success

It’s smart to bring in a content marketing expert when you’re disappointed with your content marketing metrics. But Pratik Jain, Founder and Director of Aspect Creative Solutions highlighted that it can also help when you’re happy with them.  

"My company was starting to see a lot of success with our content marketing and I wanted to capitalize on that. We needed someone who could help us take things to the next level, and I believed a content marketing consultant could do just that."
Pratik Jain
Founder and Director, Aspect Creative Solutions

Did they?

Pratik continued, “As a direct result of this hire, we've seen a significant increase in website traffic, social media engagement, and overall brand awareness. This has translated into more leads and sales for our business, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”  

So don't count content consultants out if you're already seeing good results from content marketing.

5 questions to ask before hiring a content marketing consultant

Once you’ve decided to pull the trigger on hiring, how can you know which consultant is the right fit? There are several questions you should ask.

  1. Do you work with similar clients? It’s not an automatic disqualifier if they haven’t but relevant experience can come in handy. Especially in industries with complex marketing challenges. So, ask for an example of how they think about or tackle the challenges unique to your industry or business type.
  2. How do you keep up with or stay ahead of marketing industry trends? The industry is always changing and it’s changing fast. You don’t want a content consultant who'll happily recommend tactics from 2012. So seeking intelligent, specific answers to this question can help you weed them out.  
  3. What’s the typical scope of services you provide? At the very least, consultants study a business or organization to make strategic recommendations. But some offer more extensive services. Things like the creation of new content, distribution, reporting, and analysis. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know what you’ll be getting.
  4. What’s your process? For example, it's a red flag if their process doesn't begin with lots of questions and digging deep into business info. Any good consultant will be able to tell you how they work and why that process is effective.
  5. What do you like about what we do? The skilled consultant that’s interested in what you do will have an edge over the skilled consultant that just wants their next paycheck. So make sure the person you hire believes in what you do and is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Content Marketing Consultant
5 questions to help you find a capable consultant

And don’t forget to request testimonials and case studies. These can give you a clearer picture of the experience you can expect.

Skills and qualities to look for in a content marketing consultant

As you chat with your potential consultant, keep an eye out for these “green flag” skills and qualities.

Skills and Qualities of a Content Marketing Consultant
5 things to look for in a content consultant

Sincerity

Marketers sometimes get a bad rap for being disingenuous. For example, promising fantabulous (but wildly unrealistic) results to unsuspecting clients.

You want someone who you can tell cares about your success. And who sets and maintains realistic expectations.

Attention to detail

Even the simplest content or inbound marketing strategy has tons of living, breathing details to keep up with. Audience descriptions, the goals of the business owners, marketing challenges, and more. Forgetting about or misinterpreting any of them can negatively impact lead generation efforts, conversion rates, and so on.  

So, a consultant doesn’t just have to notice and keep up with the evolution of those details. They also need to have the know-how to act on that information.

Consistency

According to Mike Porter of PMC Content Services,

"An irreplaceable content marketing consultant maintains a consistent presence with their clients. They understand the client’s business and are always checking on progress, updating and revising plans, and suggesting topics or strategies that will benefit the clients."
Mike Porter
PMC Content Services

Flexibility

Things won’t always go to plan. So, you want someone who’s adaptable and not easily rattled by challenges and setbacks.

So, besides the questions above, it doesn’t hurt to ask about a time your potential consultant had to be flexible. This will show how they’ll respond if unexpected situations arise during your partnership.

Creativity

It’s not enough to be able to analyze competitors and come up with a “good” content strategy that’s more or less the same. You want a consultant who’ll help you zig when they zag. One who will help you not to shy away from the kind of experimentation and differentiation that lead to truly great content.  

Getting (and keeping) your content marketing under wraps

A great content consultant can help your organization in just about any circumstance. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling with content marketing or doing well and looking to kick it up a notch. Whether you’re a startup trying to get your footing or an established business looking to pivot.

They can put together strategies and line up resources to make you successful. Among the resources they may recommend is GatherContent for managing content marketing workflows. One feature that helps a ton is shareable links. With them, you can share content with stakeholders (or your content consultant) to get the feedback and signoffs you need.

Good to Know: This is just one feature that simplifies marketing content planning, creation, and management. So take GatherContent for a free 14-day test run!

43% of content marketers rate their content marketing as just good enough to be effective. Not awful but not fantastic either. So it’s not a stretch to say that there’s big money being left on the table. Countless companies are missing out on opportunities to improve their ROI from content.

The question: is yours one of them? If so, a content marketing consultant may be able to help.

What is a content marketing consultant?

Content marketing consultants advise companies and organizations on their content marketing strategies. In years past, that was the extent of the role—giving in-house teams strategic guidance on messaging and content marketing. And it still is for many solo freelance content marketing consultants.

But consultants are now becoming more involved in the execution side of things. Many now have teams they rely on for content writing, distribution, link building, and the like.  

6 core content marketing consultant responsibilities

On a more specific level, what are some of the top things content consultants are responsible for?

Content Marketing Consultant Responsibilities
The top responsibilities of content consultants

1. Research

Before anything else, they need to understand the ins and outs of an organization—not just its current marketing efforts. So it’s essential to:  

  • Ask a ton of questions
  • Review marketing and sales materials
  • Review the organization’s online presence
  • Dig into analytics data to understand current marketing performance
  • Do competitor research
  • Look over existing content marketing plans

From there, they can move on to thinking about goals.

2. Assessing objectives

Are an organization’s existing content marketing goals specific enough? Are they realistic? Are they focused on the right things? For example, many teams focus on improving rankings and driving organic traffic. But they put less emphasis on the more valuable outcomes those things should lead to. Don’t believe me?

According to one study, only 27% of content marketing teams have content goals tied to revenue. 53% admitted outright that their goals aren’t linked to making money. A good consultant will ensure you’re focusing on what matters.

3. Strategy development

The role of strategist is an important one when it comes to content marketing consulting. So, your consultant will create a content marketing plan to reach your marketing and business goals. Based on in-depth research and after readjusting objectives if needed, of course. And unlike many lopsided DIY strategies that focus almost entirely on content creation, the consultant's strategy will also cover distribution.

4. Reinforcing the content marketing team

A consultant may also be responsible for lining up resources to execute the strategy. Dan Barrett, CEO of Social Vantage, commented on this.

Dan, who has experience in this role, said:

“In most instances, I find that companies don’t have a multi-role content marketing team yet. So, building one for my clients is the most important responsibility of this role. This means making recommendations on what roles must be added, and the skills and qualifications needed for each.”

5. Facilitating collaboration and communication

According to Dan, another core responsibility is creating workflows and communication flows. This is to bridge the gap between marketing and other business functions. (Especially sales, product development, and customer service.)

“In most companies, I find that these functions are siloed, which means there isn’t effective communication taking place across the organization. My role is to ensure that communication flows freely between the content marketing team and other essential departments so that efforts on all sides are streamlined.”

6. Supporting the content marketing team

Whether there’s an existing in-house team or the content consultant builds one out from scratch, being there to support them is critical. The consultant may need to advise them on how to execute the content strategy or approach specific marketing campaigns. Or as Dan said, “teach [them] to measure and tweak their efforts to improve results.” That includes showing “how to justify expenditures to management so that budgetary requirements can be approved without too much back and forth.”

Whew, that’s a lot of work, isn’t it? And this isn’t even an exhaustive list of responsibilities. For instance, some consultants may also get their hands dirty. They may do content creation, search engine optimization (SEO), content distribution, and data analysis in tools like Google Analytics. It just depends on who you hire and what they offer.

When is it time to hire a content marketing consultant?

How can you know when it’s time to consider making this hire? Here are four of several common signs.

When to Hire a Content Marketing Consultant
4 signs it may be time to hire a marketing expert to consult on your strategy

When you’re low on resources

Know your content marketing strategy could use work but never have time to refresh it? Perpetually trying to squeeze content marketing into a tight schedule? Can't build a full-time digital marketing team or hire a full-service content marketing agency?

A content consultant can pick up the slack when you don’t have the marketing resources you need.    

When in a time of transition

Tom Leighton, COO of Sofary, explained the value of bringing in a consultant as your company or organization evolves.

Tom, who has hired a content marketing consultant, said: “I knew my company was growing and changing in ways that would require the restructuring of our content marketing strategies, goals, budgets, and roles. We needed someone who could come in and help us with this restructuring process so that we could do it quickly and as effectively as possible.”

Planning to expand into new markets, update your offerings or make other changes? Having a consultant by your side can make the transition smoother.

When you’re not getting the results you want

If you've been falling short of your content marketing goals, you need an outside opinion. Sometimes it takes an unbiased marketing expert to pinpoint what you could be doing better.

That could mean revisiting buyer personas, distribution channels, or any number of other things. Whatever the case, if you’re not sure how to get on the right course, this hire will be a good investment.

When you’ve tasted success

It’s smart to bring in a content marketing expert when you’re disappointed with your content marketing metrics. But Pratik Jain, Founder and Director of Aspect Creative Solutions highlighted that it can also help when you’re happy with them.  

"My company was starting to see a lot of success with our content marketing and I wanted to capitalize on that. We needed someone who could help us take things to the next level, and I believed a content marketing consultant could do just that."
Pratik Jain
Founder and Director, Aspect Creative Solutions

Did they?

Pratik continued, “As a direct result of this hire, we've seen a significant increase in website traffic, social media engagement, and overall brand awareness. This has translated into more leads and sales for our business, which is exactly what we were hoping for.”  

So don't count content consultants out if you're already seeing good results from content marketing.

5 questions to ask before hiring a content marketing consultant

Once you’ve decided to pull the trigger on hiring, how can you know which consultant is the right fit? There are several questions you should ask.

  1. Do you work with similar clients? It’s not an automatic disqualifier if they haven’t but relevant experience can come in handy. Especially in industries with complex marketing challenges. So, ask for an example of how they think about or tackle the challenges unique to your industry or business type.
  2. How do you keep up with or stay ahead of marketing industry trends? The industry is always changing and it’s changing fast. You don’t want a content consultant who'll happily recommend tactics from 2012. So seeking intelligent, specific answers to this question can help you weed them out.  
  3. What’s the typical scope of services you provide? At the very least, consultants study a business or organization to make strategic recommendations. But some offer more extensive services. Things like the creation of new content, distribution, reporting, and analysis. Before you sign on the dotted line, make sure you know what you’ll be getting.
  4. What’s your process? For example, it's a red flag if their process doesn't begin with lots of questions and digging deep into business info. Any good consultant will be able to tell you how they work and why that process is effective.
  5. What do you like about what we do? The skilled consultant that’s interested in what you do will have an edge over the skilled consultant that just wants their next paycheck. So make sure the person you hire believes in what you do and is genuinely interested in seeing you succeed.
Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Content Marketing Consultant
5 questions to help you find a capable consultant

And don’t forget to request testimonials and case studies. These can give you a clearer picture of the experience you can expect.

Skills and qualities to look for in a content marketing consultant

As you chat with your potential consultant, keep an eye out for these “green flag” skills and qualities.

Skills and Qualities of a Content Marketing Consultant
5 things to look for in a content consultant

Sincerity

Marketers sometimes get a bad rap for being disingenuous. For example, promising fantabulous (but wildly unrealistic) results to unsuspecting clients.

You want someone who you can tell cares about your success. And who sets and maintains realistic expectations.

Attention to detail

Even the simplest content or inbound marketing strategy has tons of living, breathing details to keep up with. Audience descriptions, the goals of the business owners, marketing challenges, and more. Forgetting about or misinterpreting any of them can negatively impact lead generation efforts, conversion rates, and so on.  

So, a consultant doesn’t just have to notice and keep up with the evolution of those details. They also need to have the know-how to act on that information.

Consistency

According to Mike Porter of PMC Content Services,

"An irreplaceable content marketing consultant maintains a consistent presence with their clients. They understand the client’s business and are always checking on progress, updating and revising plans, and suggesting topics or strategies that will benefit the clients."
Mike Porter
PMC Content Services

Flexibility

Things won’t always go to plan. So, you want someone who’s adaptable and not easily rattled by challenges and setbacks.

So, besides the questions above, it doesn’t hurt to ask about a time your potential consultant had to be flexible. This will show how they’ll respond if unexpected situations arise during your partnership.

Creativity

It’s not enough to be able to analyze competitors and come up with a “good” content strategy that’s more or less the same. You want a consultant who’ll help you zig when they zag. One who will help you not to shy away from the kind of experimentation and differentiation that lead to truly great content.  

Getting (and keeping) your content marketing under wraps

A great content consultant can help your organization in just about any circumstance. It doesn’t matter if you’re struggling with content marketing or doing well and looking to kick it up a notch. Whether you’re a startup trying to get your footing or an established business looking to pivot.

They can put together strategies and line up resources to make you successful. Among the resources they may recommend is GatherContent for managing content marketing workflows. One feature that helps a ton is shareable links. With them, you can share content with stakeholders (or your content consultant) to get the feedback and signoffs you need.

Good to Know: This is just one feature that simplifies marketing content planning, creation, and management. So take GatherContent for a free 14-day test run!

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