An employee recently shared some insights with me about her time as a content director at a Fortune 500 company. She said that her team was made up of many people contracted from content marketing agencies, which left her feeling like her own company didn’t value content. After all, they dedicated very few of their own employees to producing it.
But she realized she was wrong.
In fact, the company did value content. That’s why they outsourced it.
As a content agency in Utah, we’re surrounded by the large tech companies of the Silicon Slopes and other industry leaders who recognize the value of content but also recognize that their corporation isn’t designed to produce it. Most businesses aren’t. Instead, they are designed to buy and sell or provide services.
These organizations look to outsource their content not because it isn’t important, but because they want experts behind it. They want someone who knows exactly what they’re doing to develop and execute their content strategies. When managers have confidence that quality content creation can happen without them, they can focus on building their business.
Here are 5 essential elements to look for as you search for the right content marketing agency:
Content marketing is more than just creating content and hoping for the best. At the Stoke group, we know that effective content starts with strategy.
Great content marketing agencies use a combination of data and emotion to craft strategic approaches to every campaign, focusing on the customer’s journey and your business goals.
When an agency is pitching to you, ask to hear their strategy for the content — the reasons proposed content pieces have been chosen and planned — alongside the nuts and bolts ideas for each blog, image, and video.
An agency should be an extension of your team, willing to attend meetings, participate in communication, and make the learning investment needed to really provide value.
You’re looking to grow your business. Your content agency should have the ability to grow with you.
For example, you could initially invest with an agency that specializes in advertorial design, but when you are ready to expand to written content, videos, and social strategy, you’ll have to start the process of finding a good fit all over again.
On the other hand, a full-service agency can best serve you as you expand your strategy to new forms of content.
At Stoke, our teams are designed to scale up and down with your needs, allowing us to continually provide quality content at competitive prices. We also have a global network of content experts ready to dive deep into complex subjects as needed.
And let’s not forget one of the most important aspects of scalability — process. You don’t want to have to recreate the wheel for each new project. Choose an agency that has a reliable process in place with systems that move you smoothly from start to finish. This includes using the latest technologies to test and measure content performance so that each piece you create is stronger than the last.
Your content is all about you! So, your content marketing agency should be committed to learning all they can about your business, your customers, and your brand. Ask for examples of work they have done in your particular industry.
Do your potential partners know your name? Do they remember personal details you have shared? In the digital age, there’s still no replacement for a human touch. Your agency should give you good vibes and friendly faces.
You deserve to know what you’re getting, how you’re getting it, who you’re getting it from, and how much it is going to cost. The right agency will be able to give you those answers.
Ask to see case studies of the agency’s work. They’ll be happy to share their success stories — along with what didn’t go according to plan in the process and how they overcame challenges to create a positive result.
Get to know the agency’s processes and team members. Ask who you will be working with, about their backgrounds, and most importantly, who will be your main point of contact. Understand upfront how the agency will report results.
Transparency is ultimately achieved through communication. From the first time you speak with an agency, you can get a feel for how they communicate. Are they listening to you? Are they just saying what you want to hear, or are they bringing a unique perspective to the table?
At the end of the day, the relationship between your business and your content marketing agency is a partnership, and good partnerships require cooperation, trust, and commitment.
Be prepared to give constructive feedback. Your agency should receive it well and apply it to future projects. Remember that an initial investment of your time to answer questions and provide clarification will result in a better piece of content and make your job easier in the long run.
One of the best ways to gauge an agency’s commitment is to look at their long-term clients. If a client has stuck around for a long time, it means good things are happening.
So, as you vet a potential content marketing agency ask yourself:
- Is the agency offering me strategic content?
- Can this agency scale up with my business?
- Does this agency deliver me a personalized experience?
- Is this agency transparent in their communication?
- Will this agency cooperate with me and be a true partner?
When you find that all the answers are yes, you’ve found your agency.
Your search for a content marketing agency ends here. Let Stoke give you a free consultation. We’d love to strategize and execute quality content for your business. Chat with us today.