By Jessah May Napura
In the age of content marketing, choosing an agency can be described as a form of art and not science, and it has challenged people to find the right and perfect one. A mentality called ”gold rush,” which means keep coming up with ideas, has been one of the biggest problems around content marketing.
Some social media, SEO firms, ad agencies, and others have proclaimed themselves as content marketing firms to gain a share of the business. This, in fact, could significantly affect marketers at medium-to-large-sized brands to separate the pro from the posers.
This article will give a discussion about helpful suggestions to make it easier to find a more reliable and qualified content marketing agency. Suggestions and discussions were all came from the participants during the #CMWorld Twitter Chat.
Content Marketing Agency: Qualities To Look For
Subject matter expertise must always be put in mind in finding good qualities for agencies. A thorough and profound understanding of your brand’s marketplace is a must. Finding an agency that does not only shows understanding about your marketplace but has also built great connections and relationships with gatekeepers and key thought leaders which you can fully trust your content with. Hence, it has been an important factor in selecting an advertising agency.
An agency can’t produce an ongoing stream of top-notch content marketing initiatives if it does not fully comprehend the obstacles faced by customers, your competitive circumstance, and the constant change in your industry and market. With that being said, the subject matter expert must show such complexity and be even more critical about it.
Do they provide a depth of knowledge about your industry or market? How do they respond in comments and online discussions? Do their responses show that the firm is respected by others in the group? These queries will guide you on how to gauge a reliable subject matter expertise. Looking through agencies like Twitter, LinkedIn, and Google+ is good, especially for starters to pry more about the agency that they are interested in.
Another lens of looking through the reliability of a subject matter expertise is to ask their past clients. You can ask them questions not only about the work the agency had done for them but also about the real depth of their industry knowledge.
Subject matter expertise must have successful content marketing and branding initiatives in place to promote their services and uphold potential clients into sales. Hence, it is an important indicator to maintain competence in content marketing.
Content marketing thought leadership shows several ways to get the attention of prospective clients; thus, it includes: giving presentations, holding webinars, writing articles with an intriguing point of view, and taking part in online forums.
Key Questions To Ask When Interviewing Agencies
Here are some of the questions asked by participants in the #CMWorld Twitter Chat, which can help find the right queries for the interviewing process needed to be considered to grasp the perfect agency fit for your brand.
Ask Them To Tell You About Clients In Similar Industries Or Who Have Faced Similar Challenges
Proof of performance is a big plus in helping you discern if an agency has adequate experience and had worked with similar brands before. Through that, the probability of being able to solve similar content challenges is high. Several ways to guide you find that information directly include:
- Look for relevant case histories.
- Search for keywords that are related to your industry within online forums such as LinkedIn Groups and Google+ Communities.
- Local newspapers, advertising, and publications can help you search for the profiling of the agency.
- Asking peers for recommendations by attending local advertising and marketing association functions.
Ask To See Examples Of Top-notch Strategies They Have Created For Clients
Understanding how the agency thinks and how they have translated that into content is a must to check out for. Be bold to press agency personnel for specifics on their histories – especially related data that can show how much of an impact their content marketing knowledge has made. A holistic agency should be able to illustrate examples of editorial calendars and personas, understanding the customer’s buying process, and discussed how they had developed content along the way.
Ask For A List Of Their Clients You Can Talk To
Presentations are not enough to give you complete information on the whereabouts of the agency. Talking to the agency’s past clients is a necessary part of any brand’s due diligence. This type of initiative can discern you more accurate and complete knowledge on how the agency works – and the results that they have actually done for clients.
After all, it is said, it is important that you and your industry are well-connected with each other to be able to find an agency that likely can produce good and successful results. Hence, learn as long as you can from them and approach the former clients directly to get a first-hand perspective of what really happened. Furthermore, when interviewing agencies, do not ever rush the process. It should be dealt with a good approach in which chemistry can be felt eventually. Muster objective data from the agency, the agency’s former clients, and track record. For the rest, trust your gut. If you don’t feel any connection, chances are, the agency is not a good fit for your brand.
How To Measure The Effectiveness Of Agencies
Agencies can do powerpoint presentations to prove their worth and reliability, case histories posted on websites, and its answers to your questions, are therefore the factors needed to pay attention to. After gathering all the needed information, it is important to analyze and dig deeper into it and prepare for questions you ought to ask.
Here are ways to do it.
- Trust but verify. Do not only seek for good answers but also verify the accuracy of what you hear from its current and former clients.
- Capture all the data you have gathered into a mind map. This will help you organize and find out the conflicting information, which can eventually guide you in making questions.
- Place key agency selection criteria into a spreadsheet. Through this, you may be able to compare and analyze rankings for discussion.
- Interview some previous employees of the agency. Ask former employees or trusted members about the work etiquette, strengths, and weaknesses of that agency to get much deeper knowledge about it.
- Pay attention to the agencies and campaigns that are winning awards. Attend award banquets for local chapter advertising and marketing groups to witness the agency’s first hand work.
Handling Content Marketing In-house Vs. Outsourcing
It is necessary to distinguish what information needs to be taken from in-house or outsourcing for a much easier process.
How To Identify Content Marketing Agencies
by Jessah May Napura
You may start looking through this list on the Content Marketing Institute’s website. Another way to locate agencies is to look for representatives who are sharing their experience and expertise in LinkedIn groups. Lastly, look for authoritative articles about content marketing on major websites, like CMI and MarketingProfs.
Content marketing has several facets that you must be aware of, and not all agencies are equally proficient in them. Hence, you must look for firms that are equipped with skills you need in areas that you are not proficient in. Your goal is to have someone in place to cover all of the critical skills, whether they are internal or external factors. In a nutshell, be inquisitive, muster all the needed sources and references for you to gain better and deeper knowledge about the agency that you want to work with. With that being said, certainty can be seen if all those guidelines and recommendations are to be of consideration.