6 things to look for in a content marketing agency

July 3, 2014

 

magnifying glass, 6 things to look for in a content marketing agency

Before you even go down this road, the first question you should ask yourself is, “Do I really need to outsource content marketing?” From Moz to HubSpot, there are plenty of useful tools and platforms to accommodate in-house marketing teams in publishing and promoting content. But remember, quality is king when it comes to content.

According to a report by the Content Marketing Institute, the biggest challenges b2b marketers face are lack of time and producing enough content. Combine that with the fact that most in-house teams are more focused on strategy and project management than writing, and outsourcing may seem like the ideal solution, given you find the right fit. Here’s what to look for in a content marketing agency:

  1. Writing skills - this often-overlooked specialty is first on the list because content has to be of the highest quality. If it’s garbage, no one will read it, share it or return to your blog for more content. And just because a firm specializes in writing websites doesn’t mean those same skills automatically translate to lengthier forms of copy, like blogs or white papers. Look for content writing skills, not just ad and web copywriting experience.

  1. Comprehensive capabilities - think outsource, not outsources. Does the agency in question have the skill set to do more than just blog? Chances are if you don’t have time to blog, you also don’t have time to email blast, post to social media or draft case studies. Find a partner that you can turn to for multiple tactics.

  1. Big-picture, strategic thinking - there’s a time and place for quick execution of exactly what you asked for, but you should expect a whole lot more from a content marketing firm. This agency should be a strategic partner, one who thinks about your content beyond the agreed-upon scope of work because the team has taken the time to understand your business inside and out.

  1. Related experience - marketing legal specialties (the American Bar Association hates that word) services is more complex than selling Cheerios. Does the prospective agency have the research chops required to effectively speak your prospects’ language? Does it have other (happy) clients in your industry or those like it?

  1. Bandwidth - writing and publishing one blog post a week may not seem like much at first, but when the subject is complex, other deadlines are looming and the subject-matter expert is too busy to interview, you need team to quickly fill in the gaps with fresh and relevant content.

  1. Self-promotion - is this agency going to take your business to new heights when its own website looks old enough to drink? Your content agency should be actively and passionately executing the same tactics it is preaching to you about.

If a content marketing firm passes all the above, you should still do a little more research before committing. You want this to be a beneficial relationship, so do your homework and don’t just pick the agency with the lowest rates or one that promises snake-oil-like results.

  • Request client references

  • View examples of previous campaigns

  • Subscribe to the firm’s own blog and its clients’ blogs to sample the goods

  • Ask a lot of questions about the agency’s process and expectations of clients

To learn more about sizing up prospective content marketing firms, contact me at heather@rep-ink.com.

 
 
 

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About the Author
Heather Kingry

Heather Kingry is a versatile writer with nearly a decade of experience in writing across all media. Blogs, websites and tweets have become second nature. Whether it’s b2b or b2c, she’s strictly business when it comes to generating results for her clients.

Read my full bio.

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