What Home Improvement Taught Me about B2B Content Marketing

What Home Improvement Taught Me about B2B Content Marketing
Michele Linn - Tue Oct 19, 2010 @ 04:00AM
Comments: 32

What Home Improvement Taught Me About B2B Content MarketingMy husband and I have a 1940s bungalow, and, like most homeowners, we have a long list of home improvement projects. After our daughter was born and our schedules became more packed, the list only grew longer (and more ignored). This year, we decided to get serious and start knocking things off the list one-by-one.

Working through this process of what to do and who to hire, I was struck at how similar this is to the process a marketer goes through when deciding which projects to tackle, how to get help (insource or outsource?) and how to find the right person.  Lots to do, but where do you start? And, how do you get it all done?

Make a master list and prioritize

First, we got out a pen and paper and made the master list of things we wanted to do. After we brainstormed, we had to decide what to tackle first. Of course, we couldn’t do everything immediately – nor should we have jumped into every project, either.

We decided to only work on a couple of projects at a time as to not get overwhelmed (our trying-to-get-everything-done-at-one approach was obviously not working for us as we were doing a lot of talking, but not accomplishing much of anything). Just chipping away at the list in this fashion really helped us make a dent.

For us, we prioritized two kinds of projects:

  • Small projects that are relatively quick and inexpensive (like growing grass in our backyard)
  • Larger projects that help us avoid bigger issues (such as replacing our roof before water starts leaking)

Takeaway:

  • Keep a master list of all projects you want to do, but prioritize a couple at a time.
  • Think about what you can knock off quickly (not only are these fast, but they also give you a sense of accomplishment).
  • Prioritize projects that are basic to the focundation of your marketing. For instance, before investing in a social media or other program that will drive people to your website, make sure your website is in order first.

Decide if you need help

For some projects, getting help was an obvious choice as we didn’t have the tools or skills to manage them. For instance, we needed help putting on a new roof or re-pouring our driveway.

However, we decided to get help with most of our home improvement projects. Our schedules are busy and we’re not exceptionally handy people (oh, the stories we could tell).  And, some projects had been on our list for years, and we never quite found the time, so we if we were serious about getthing things done, hiring out was our best option.

Takeaway:

Be realistic of what you can accomplish in-house vs what you may be able to outsource. While some projects are obvious fits for outsouring,look at everything on your list. Maybe you have an eBook to write or you want to try video. If these types of projects are always on your list but never make it to the top, consider hiring out.

Find the right person to help

Of course, finding the right person to help can be a time-consuming endeavor in itself. While we talk to friends and family to get recommendations, we also rely on a service called Angie’s List that has proven to be an invaluable source of great help.

Takeaway:
Just like you look for someone to work on your home, there are good ways to find help for your marketing programs:

  • Ask your peers who they use.
  • If you have worked with other marketing consultants or firms ask them for recommendations. Even if it is outside of their scope of knowledge, most consultants know others and are happy to provide referrals.
  • Find a good service to help match you with the right person. For instance, I recently recommended that a friend try out Junta42 to find a writer, and proved to be helpful for her (full disclosure: I work with Joe Pulizzi who founded Junta42).

Compare vendors

Once you find people, you need to vet them. While we typically get multiple quotes, for some smaller jobs, we've only talked to one person. While this may seem less-than-thorough, when we find a person who had great reviews whose price was quite reasonable, we made a quicker decision.  Taking a lot of time to compare a lot of people for a small, low-cost job doesn't always make sense.

However, we typically get multiple quotes for a job. For instance, when we had our driveway re-poured, we talked to three companies. Not only did we feel confident that we were paying a fair price, but we also learned three different yet similar approaches for handling our issue so we could decide what made the most sense for us.

Takeaway:
While there is a lot to consider when hiring someone, here are a couple of lessons we’ve learned that apply to hiring someone for marketing:

  • Is this person responsive to your phone calls and emails? If not, be wary.
  • Will you like working with this person? If it’s a job that will require interaction, will you be happy spending time with this person on the phone or in meetings? A personality fit counts for something.
  • Does this person specialize in what you need to do? And, does this matter for your job?

If you are looking for a marketing writer, I really like this eBook from John White called 10 Questions to Ask When Hiring Your Marketing Communications Writer.

What other ideas do you have to help marketers chip away at their to-do list and find the right person to help when needed?

Related posts:

About the author: Michele is the Chief Content Officer of the Content Marketing Institute where where she works with a fabulous group of contributors who know a lot about content marketing. She's also a B2B content marketing consultant who has a passion for helping companies use content to connect with their ideal buyers. You can follow her onTwitter @michelelinn or read more of her posts on Savvy B2B.

Comments: 32

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1. John Bottom  |  my website   |   Tue Oct 19, 2010 @ 05:48AM

This is all so familiar. Trouble is that my wife believes in outsourcing everything to me..

2. Michele Linn   |   Tue Oct 19, 2010 @ 06:01AM

John - Ha! That's what we tried for awhile, too, but it just didn't work :) Seriously, nothing got done as life always got in the way.

3. John White  |  my website   |   Wed Oct 20, 2010 @ 05:04AM

@John: You just don't have the right wife. Try mine; she doesn't need to outsource to anyone.

>Taking a lot of time to compare a lot of people for a small, low-cost job doesn't always make sense.

That's what I thought, but the vendor's idea of low-cost doesn't always match the customer's. Hence my surprise at a a 3.5-hr serial interview for a two-month writing engagement for one local client. I've gotten bigger projects on a phone call and a send-me-a-sample, but some customers are more careful than others.

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