The author’s views are entirely his or her own (excluding hypnotic events that are unlikely to occur) and may not always reflect Moz’s views.
Choosing a content marketing agency is usually a difficult choice, mainly because:
It costs at least $3,000 per month to hire one person. The cost depends on your project scope and agency, so you want a project that won’t waste all your money, but will actually bring a return on investment.
This decision will become an important part of your company’s entire marketing process (and the result of that process).
It involves checking countless content marketing agencies to select only one of them.
To give you some perspective, the popular marketing agency directory Clutch currently has nearly 15,000 content marketing agencies on its platform:
That’s just the clutch. There are many other directories of other content marketing agencies. Therefore, narrowing down can be a real hassle.
When searching, keep in mind that you will encounter two main types of agents:
Ideally, you want to work with an agent as a partner, not an agent as a supplier.
“What is the difference between a partner and a supplier?”
Suppliers will only have software packages and common methods that are not available to all customers, and usually cannot be customized to your goals.
Instead, partners focus on what you want to achieve so that they can (as much as possible) develop a custom strategy for your business. Below are two examples of typical conversations with partners and suppliers.
Example 1: A typical conversation with a supplier
you: “We need to increase traffic for our business. How can you help us?”
Hawker: “We can help you write SEO content that will rank on Google. We have four pricing plans…”
But you might sell to CMOs who are usually on LinkedIn and Twitter. Therefore, LinkedIn should be your main content distribution channel, not SEO.
On the other hand, partners are willing to introduce their prices and packages to you first. They care more about you and your goals, rather than just attracting you to become a new customer.
Example 2: A typical conversation with a partner
you: “We need to increase traffic for our business. How can you help us?”
Partner: “Can you share more information about your business and the audience you want to attract? “
you: “We sell learning management software products. Our target customers are corporate HR and product managers who are seeking to improve the education process for internal employees and customers. “
Partner: “Okay, we just looked around and found that you do have the opportunity to use content and even SEO to attract traffic. For example, we found three keywords that generate a total of 3,000 searches each month, and they are keywords that your customers usually search for. After more research, we can find more keyword opportunities. We have package X…”
Or they can say something else, just to show that they care about getting your results.
The bottom line is: A partner as opposed to a supplier is an agent that does not just exist for money. Before they sign any contract, they want to see that they can indeed help you.
Therefore, when looking for an agent, you want to hire a partner, not just a seller. With this in mind, you need to ask the following seven key questions to ask any agency you want to hire.
1. Do they try to determine suitability first?
Good agencies usually try to determine whether your goals and skills are appropriate. They want to find the right budget, the right culture, the right service and any other suitable methods so that they can do their best.
Therefore, they will first ask you a few questions or make a phone call to make sure they can provide you with results. When talking to them, you will notice that they are actively trying to learn as much as possible about your audience and business.
Jami Oetting, director of editorial strategy at HubSpot, Once shared Some questions that good agents will ask their customers before working with them:
“Why did you change your agency?”
“What makes you want to hire our agency?”
“What is the reason for cooperating/not cooperating with your previous marketing partner?”
“Which type of communication (phone, email, etc.) is best for you?”
“How can my team improve communication with your team?”
Now, the agent you are going to hire does not have to ask the same question. The important thing here is: you shouldn’t be the only one asking questions, and they should be the same. It shows that they are not only for money, but to be your partner.
2. Are they available to everyone?
Since partner agencies are not just for money, they are transparent about what they can or cannot do. For example, suppose you need to use Facebook ads for content distribution, but this is not their specialty. The real partner agency will tell you blank: “Advertising is not our specialty.”
They will not try to force it to increase income. Conversely, if they know another agency or consultant who is advertising, they would rather recommend them.
“Real partners may recommend other products instead of their own products, Or may give you advice or market news that threaten your income, but for your organization, it is the right advice at the right time without ulterior motives. “
3. Considering your unique industry, budget, etc., how will they help your business?
This is a wise choice, but in the process of finding the right agent, you may find yourself forgetting to pay attention to this issue, especially if it is a brand you love and respect.
They may use a common content strategy or framework for their customers, it doesn’t matter. But you need to let them show exactly how to customize the framework for your business.
For example, they usually recommend that their customers create two 1,000-word posts every week. But your business may belong to a different industry. In this industry, most content rankings are quite deep, and you need to write more than 2000 words for each post.
You may also be working in a unique industry, and your content agency must interview experts to create relevant content, so you need to know that they can do that.
Make sure the content marketing agency you plan to work with shows you the strategy they plan to use for your business.
Shana Haynie from Hearst Bay Area Put it this way:
“Seeking some up-front strategic advice gives the agency an opportunity to show you their experience. Based on their response, you can measure their investment in business development, their listening level and their focus on maintaining industry trends The person who makes a broad, general point of view or something completely unrelated to your business is obviously not a company worth hiring. “Everyone” is not an acceptable response.”
4. Do they have proof of driving results (not just working samples)?
If you follow agency founders who have a large number of followers on social media, you might be inclined to believe that their large number of followers equals traffic or attracts potential customers who hire them.
But this is not always the case. Their large number of followers can attract you, but also ask them to achieve results.
When requesting results, don’t just ask to see a sample of its content. You also want to see their content brings success to customers.The result may be driven by traffic, or it may be Potential customers Applicable to previous or current customers. If they can show you any of them, this is one of the biggest criteria you can decide to hire them.
Customer case studies, screenshots of results, customer testimonials, anything they can share to prove their worth, will help your decision to hire (or not hire) them.
“Do they have a customer base and success stories? Can they show you successful campaigns in the past? Do they have customer feedback? Are they willing to provide names and phone numbers for reference?”
5. Do they have experience in your industry?
If so, great! But if not, what is their process of creating content for inexperienced industries?
From the perspective of potential customers, treat your content as the company’s publicist. When your customers are looking for information and talking to them on your behalf, it represents you. They treat every word in your content as coming from you.
Your content agency must have good experience in your industry, otherwise they will not be able to use the customer’s language as you say. This means that your content does more harm than good to your brand-because it will ultimately leave a bad impression on your business in the minds of potential customers.
Therefore, it is important that your content agency has industry expertise. But even if they don’t, they must have a process to work with inexperienced industries, and they must be able to explain the process to you.
For example, as a content agency, whenever we work with clients in inexperienced industries, we will ask them at the beginning: “We will conduct in-depth research to create each content. However, we may sometimes need to (through Slack or email) interview some of your team members to learn from their market experience to create unique content that is relevant to your audience. Is this useful to you?”
If they answered “yes”, that would be appropriate. Because that is the process of cooperating with companies in unfamiliar industries. But if we can’t, then we won’t be able to work with them because we won’t be able to create content that can really help them grow their business.
6. Will your project be managed by ordinary account managers or content marketing experts?
The larger the agent you want to hire, the more important this issue is. You need to know whether the agency will hand over your project to a “account manager” with many years of experience or a true content marketing strategist.
If it’s the former, then you may want to reconsider the decision to hire an agency-unless the account manager is also a content marketing strategist. But in any case, they need to pair you with experienced content marketing strategy experts so that your project can be best taken care of.
In an article, the Nuphoriq team definition A dedicated content manager, as an expert in any agency you hire, can “…be your brand confidant”, tell you which strategy is most effective, fully understand your marketing goals, and are actively working to ensure all your plans All are being implemented and completed to the highest standards. Whether you want to increase website traffic or improve your blog strategy, they will prioritize helping you determine the best way to spend your marketing dollars. “
7. Do they need any third-party products?
Not every content marketing project is the same. Some projects require more technology than others, so you need to prepare for it.
Usually, most agents have their own stack and they pay for it themselves. But depending on your project, they may recommend other products, and you need to understand what they are in order to prepare for it.
They usually provide their own content and project management tools, such as agency Slack or Google Sheet templates. But they may also need other third-party tools.
For example, they may need similar products International Financial Trade Fair -Or Any alternative to it —Integrate some content marketing products. Such things usually not only cost you money, but may also require the support of other teams in the organization. Therefore, you need to know which third-party tools they will need so that you can prepare accordingly.
What’s really important is that, even in addition to the seven questions I mentioned above, make sure that you not only hire a content marketing company, but also hire real partners who care about your content as they do.
It is also important to ensure that they have the expertise to help you achieve your goals. This means you need to take a closer look at the quality of their content samples and the results they have obtained for previous customers.