How to Find the Right Content Marketing AgencyLast updated on June 10, 2021 at 08:51 AM.
Sooner or later, most companies will face a decision about whether to handle their content marketing themselves or outsource it to a content agency. Both options offer advantages and disadvantages – though outsourcing comes with significantly more opportunities than risks. Here, we give an overview of the advantages of recruiting an external partner and explain what to look for to find the best agency for you.
Outsourcing Your Content Marketing?
Your first challenge is to ascertain which content marketing skills are already present in your organisation. Of course, there is significant temptation to do everything internally. Recruiting an external partner represents a huge leap of faith on your part, as you’re handing over the reins of your content marketing to somebody else.
The benefits of outsourcing tend to outweigh the concessions you’ll need to make. Agencies are usually able to provide a more favourable overall package, since only a tiny minority of companies have the internal skills to handle all areas of content marketing with finesse. In contrast, external partners offer experienced professionals with the ability to efficiently drive your project forward. This often results in even lower costs than if you’d chosen to handle your content marketing in-house, since it usually requires more resources and personnel than originally planned.
Obtain a Market Overview
Begin by obtaining a solid overview of the market situation. Since different content marketing agencies tend to focus on different aspects of the industry, you might find it helpful to concentrate on the core competencies required for your project. The various types of agency include SEO, social media, media, inbound, and PR, all of whom will work to continually expand your company’s content offering.
Be aware: Not every firm that claims to offer content marketing will offer the right content marketing for your firm. It’s vital to sound out exactly which services each agency offers and whether the market provides more suitable alternatives.
Planning, Research, and Content
A successful content marketing strategy always follows a certain pattern. When working with an agency, it’s essential to complete the following steps:
Planning and research: As a first step, you must clarify your wishes and goals for the marketing campaign. As you do so, you should take into account factors such as use cases, success indicators, themes, competitors, and target group. Next, check whether your ideas are practically feasible.
Begin by examining the behaviour of customers on your own website (onpage analysis). You must also factor in your search engine ranking (offpage analysis) and social media analysis, which takes account of the prevalence of your chosen topic in social networks. Competition analysis is a further and equally important consideration in the planning of successful campaigns.
Concept and production: Your content concept defines your targeted buyer personas. Once you have the right theme and suitable formats, the trigger will follow. The preparation you undertake for lead scoring and nurturing determines how efficiently you will filter leads and convert interested parties to paying customers.
Content curation is a cost and time-effective way to produce high-quality content. To take advantage of this, you need to find suitable source material, adapt it for your target group and enhance it with your own content. Whether or not your content reaches the target group will be decided by the channels on which it is seeded.
Your company-owned media channels (owned media) and third-party channels, such as social media (earned media), will convey your content to your potential customers. For items of content that resonate particularly well, it may be worthwhile investing in paid content. Facebook ads can further expand your reach.
The quality of your content is the most important determining factor in the success or failure of your marketing campaign. Look at the agency’s work. Collaboration is only worthwhile if your external partner will provide you with good copywriters, SEO expertise and, where necessary, multi-media specialists. Have sample content produced for your project in order to better assess the level of quality on offer.
Evaluation and Measurement of Success
An agency’s service consists not only of the planning and implementation of a content strategy, but the subsequent evaluation, which is equally as important. Before deciding on an agency, ensure that your potential partner has worked with you to establish measurable success criteria. This is the only way to ensure that the progress of a project can be determined as needed.
Regular, comprehensive, transparent analyses of project progress are essential for monitoring its success. Furthermore, you must agree with an agency on which software will be used – for marketing automation purposes, for example.
Put the Agency Under the Microscope
Gather and evaluate all the information you can find about the agency. This includes their website, social media presence, and testimonials from previous customers. The agency’s Google ranking can also provide insight. If it only appears on page 3 or 4 of the search results, this doesn’t say much for their SEO capabilities.
Talk to the manager and try to answer the following questions: Does the provider make a serious and professional case, or are they just selling you hot air? Do they have time for you? Are they easy to reach? All of this allows you to draw conclusions about the team you will be entrusting with your project. If you have a personal feeling one way or the other, you should listen to your gut.
Taking Time to Consider Pays Off
Content marketing is a holistic strategy requiring resources, planning, specialist knowledge, and patience. Be careful not to trust providers who promise rapid success. In the medium and long term, rush jobs usually prove counterproductive.
With on-site content marketing, it usually takes at least six months for the first clear success stories to emerge. Off-site, it can take as long as 6 to 12 months. Because of this, it’s important to evaluate any prospective agencies carefully before you commit. Only a partner who is a right for your company can make your content marketing a success.
Gerrit Grunert is the founder and CEO of Crispy Content®. In 2019, he published his book "Methodical Content Marketing" published by Springer Gabler, as well as the series of online courses "Making Content." In his free time, Gerrit is a passionate guitar collector, likes reading books by Stefan Zweig, and listening to music from the day before yesterday.