The explosion of content marketing within recent years has made many businesses sit up and pay attention to the benefits it can provide and now everyone’s clambering to get a piece of the pie you really need to consider how your content marketing will stand out from the crowd.
Content marketing doesn’t just attract prospects to your site and increase your conversion rates, it can also delight your current customer base too – if done correctly! Although the benefits sound great, you might not have the time to sit down and create regular, optimised, kick ass content for your business.
If you decide to outsource to a content marketing agency you will need to effectively vet your agency and provide them with an in-depth brief to get the best results. What information do they need to know? What questions should you ask them? We know exactly how confusing outsourcing your content marketing can be so we’ve put together our 5 top tips to get the most out of a potential agency.
1) Who should I target?
Okay, you’re probably laughing as you think this is a super obvious question but without this vital piece of information being clarified at the start your content might not be relevant to anyone! Keeping your content relevant to the right audience will keep them engaged and it will hopefully solve their business problems. But where do you start?
Start by asking an agency to help you with your targeting, as well as helping you to decipher your target audience this will reflect how much knowledge an agency has of your business and industry. By asking an agency who you should target it may well unearth how to develop your overall content marketing strategy and ideas. A good agency will likely suggest workshops take a deeper look at your target audience/personas, content ideas and strategy developments.
2) How will the content be published?
Now you understand who the content is targeting, you’ll need to understand where this content is going to be published. This question is still applicable even if your website has the capability to publish your content. You must decide whether you will want to create and publish this via your existing platform (such as WordPress) or will you publish it using external content marketing software platforms such as HubSpot or Pardot. These can be a great support to your content marketing programme, but that’s another story for another blog!
You will need to discuss your budget with your potential content marketing agency to work out the best decision for both you and your content. Where your content will be published is an important point to consider as you must feel comfortable with the platform you utilise. If you do decide to utilise an external software platform, ask the add on question of: will there be training provided?
3) How can you add value?
Please don’t cringe at this question! It might seem like an awkward question to ask, but it is a vital one! Understanding the level of expertise that an agency has to offer you could make or break your decision whether you want to engage in business with them. For example, an agency could specialise within your industry sector and could add lots of value to your content marketing but they are not enthusiastic or interested in what you do. On the other hand, a really enthusiastic agency could be willing to learn all about your industry and could offer you value that way. It’s an essential ask.
Optimising and distributing content via social is also an additional level of adding extra value to your content marketing but you must seek clarification as to whose responsibility this is. Content marketing agencies can often provide you will this added value but why not ask them what other services they provide?
4) How much will this cost?
Although this question might be one you want to get out of the way at the beginning of the conversation, try and save it as one of the last questions you ask a content marketing agency. You need to consider all of your options before you outsource your content marketing and understand exactly how an agency could work for you. By doing so, you’ll be able to not only stay within your ideal budget but also understand how much value an agency can add to your company.
Ask for a proposal as this will provide an overview of the full scope of your content marketing project, as each project is unique and bespoke to each client. The proposal needs to include details on the following:
- Images - who is sourcing these? How many are to be included in one blog post?
- Word count - how many words should your content be? Are your content marketing agency producing long form or short form blogs?
- Search engine optimisation - will this be included in the price? Will an SEO strategy be in place for your content?
- Circulation - who is responsible for this? How often will it be circulated and on what social platforms?
- Rounds of edits or changes - how many of these are included in your budget?
5) How can I measure success and track ROI?
Please don’t overlook this question as it is probably one of the most important questions to ask an agency. Content marketing does take time, but your agency needs to show evidence to suggest that it is indeed working correctly for your business.
By tracking content marketing ROI you will be able to generate better leads for your company and ultimately gain more sales for your business. Understanding the type of content that is favoured by your audience will enable you to tailor your future content marketing strategy to this preferred content and convert your prospects into leads (better, more qualified leads we might add) and generate more sales as you have not only attracted new customers but delighted the existing ones. There are many ways to track your content marketing including:
- Website visitors you’ve received via your content marketing
- Click throughs to other pieces of content
- Number of downloads/registrations or sign ups generated via your content marketing
- Blog post views
- Social media shares
A good content marketing agency should be able to demonstrate growth and success of your content marketing or identify areas for improvement for future campaigns which will ultimately grow the success of your content marketing strategy. If you would like help creating kick ass content that converts, then download our playbook for better content writing.