Branded content is an amazing marketing tool any business can leverage, and consumers are more willing than ever to embrace it. In order to compete in today’s market, being a publisher of your own content is vital, but knowing where to start can be difficult.

Whether it’s hiring a full-time content creator, using your existing marketing team, seeking out freelancers, or partnering with other publishers, there are many different ways to create quality content that fits your brand’s needs. Here are some ideas on how to get your content marketing machine up and running.

Utilize Existing Resources

Your employees know your brand better than anyone. If you have a great marketing team, it’s possible they’re also great writers, so don’t be afraid to utilize them for content creation. However, if you’re going to source content from multiple employees, establishing one common brand voice to use throughout your marketing is absolutely crucial. A strong and consistent brand voice will make for the most effective and trustworthy content. In addition to long-form content, social media is a super simple, yet critical form of content marketing.

If you don’t have a dedicated social media team, or your company’s decision makers aren’t enthusiastic about investing in it, delegating the responsibility among a group of savvy employees can be a good option. Social media has increasingly become a customer’s first point of contact with your brand. Companies without a social media presence can be seen as less reputable and out of touch.

Hiring Freelance Bloggers

Hiring freelance writers is a great way to get varied points of view from people with different backgrounds. It’s also less expensive than hiring someone full-time; the price of a freelance article can range anywhere from $25-$150 depending on the amount of research and time required to write it.

However, things can get tricky when trying to establish a consistent voice and editorial style. Setting up a set of strict editorial guidelines and establishing them early on is very important. Having a designated editor with experience can help your content stay focused and uniform. In addition to looking for freelancers, reaching out to industry experts and asking them to write guest posts is an extremely effective way to create quality content people want to read.

Hiring for Full-time Positions

Job postings for “content marketing specialists” are popping up all over as businesses are catching on to this trend. If you decide to hire full-time content creators, there are a couple big things to look for.

To state the obvious, new hires need to be great writers, but that takes more than having flawless grammar. They need to be able to create buzz, cover interesting topics, and perhaps even stir up some controversy. If the candidate is a subject matter expert in your field, that’s undoubtedly a major plus. However, with enough research, a good writer should be able to effectively write about anything.

Look for someone with a diverse portfolio and solid experience writing for businesses. Hiring someone full-time is a more expensive option, and can cost anywhere from $50,000 to $80,000 a year per employee.

Producing Sponsored Content

The Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, and Gawker Media are publishers that have opened their doors to brands to publish content on their platforms. Brands and publishers often work alongside each other to develop content that is relevant to the brand’s message — while staying consistent with the publisher’s voice. It’s an easy way to create brand awareness on heavily trafficked sites and attracts a lot of eyeballs.

In the example above from Buzzfeed, a celebrity gossip site called Wetpaint posted an article as “Featured Partner,” seamlessly integrated with Buzzfeed’s own content. General Electric also partnered with Buzzfeed to create an extensive line of branded content that resulted in a 138 percent brand lift.

Have you begun building your branded content dream team? Feel free to share your experiences and tips in the comments below.

[Image credits: WerkheimVinnie Lauria, Mackenzie Kosut, Wagner Fontoura]