Welcome to our weekly Buyers Guide series where we share everything you need to know about specific business purchases, including the questions to expect and the questions to ask. Here’s how to choose a content marketing provider for your business.
Content marketing is an effective way to increase inbound leads and drive organic, scalable growth. Because of this more startups are competing for share of voice and ultimate, long-term SEO benefits, and content marketing agencies are becoming more popular options to create high quality content at high volume. Despite all the choices, finding the right content marketing firm that fits your expectations, voice, budget and more is increasingly more difficult.
WHY YOU NEED A CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY
A successful content marketing program demands a consistent regimen of content creation in the form of blogs, thought leadership-driven guest blogs and bylines, whitepapers, ebooks and more. Not only does the content need to be released at a consistent and reliable clip, but it must be high-quality and differentiated to capture readers and keep their attention. A solid content marketing strategy will create a loyal following of readers and also generate new leads by complementing and integrating with organic search, SEM, paid social, and lead capture tactics. While you might have an idea of what your content marketing strategy looks like, you likely don’t have all the resources and manpower to execute. A content marketing agency will collaborate with you to create and execute on an editorial calendar.
WHY YOU NEED A CONTENT MARKETING AGENCY NOW
Your business is likely and hopefully growing quickly, but your content marketing probably isn’t keeping up with that growth. Whether you don’t have the internal resources to devote to content marketing, or your internal resources are entirely tapped, a content marketing agency can immediately help you get back on track with your inbound lead goals. While it’s never too late to start, if you don’t focus ASAP on inbound marketing with a solid content marketing strategy, it will be hard to catch up later on without a good content foundation. After all, content marketing is one of the most affordable ways to increase inbound leads – if an outside firm can handle the tactical content creation for you, you can focus on the distribution and syndication of the content and nurturing those leads. While there are benefits to both approach, it’s very likely that the monthly cost to outsource content marketing will be much less than to hire one content marketing professional. Why put it off any longer?
IMPORTANT CONTENT MARKETING CONSIDERATIONS
Not every content creator will live up to your expectations when it comes to quality, voice, frequency, etc. Typically, it’s up to you to find the content marketing agency that fits your business and budget, but we’ll help you identify the team to move the needle and drive your business.
Here are top considerations throughout the content marketing purchasing decision process:
QUESTIONS TO ASK AN AGENCY:
- Do you have relevant experience with other businesses in my industry?
- Do you work with businesses of my size and stage?
- How do you onboard to truly learn about the content your’e creating?
- Do you work on a monthly retainer or project basis and what do they start at?
- What are typical contract terms and what content services are included?
- Do you charge by the hour, by the word, or are you goals-based?
- Can I expect to be charged any extra fees?
- Who will be writing my content?
- Can I review samples of work and speak with references?
- How do you handle measurement/reporting of content effectiveness and what sort of results can I expect within a certain amount of time?
- Do you allow for review/edit cycles?
- How responsive are you?
- How do you handle measurement and what type or reporting can I expect?
QUESTIONS AN AGENCY WILL ASK YOU:
- How have you handled content marketing to date?
- What are your content marketing goals for the next 3, 6, to 12 months?
- What content types and channels have performed well for you to date or do you expect to perform well?
- Is this a short-term project or long term commitment from your business?
- Do you have a content creator in-house? Will anyone else be creating content?
- Who handles your social marketing and syndication or will this fall on the content marketing agency?
- Is your site designed to convert readers and can you share any existing marketing funnel details or learnings?
- What metrics can the firm access and monitor to gauge content marketing success?
- What is your budget?
- Who is the stakeholder and point of contact the agency will be working with daily?
This depends on the firm. Most agencies have monthly retainer fees that range anywhere from $1,500 – $10,000, depending on the output and types of content. Some content marketers might charge by the hour so you will need to understand their working style and how long it typically takes for them to create one blog, one whitepaper, etc. Some content marketers might charge by the word, which is much more straightforward depending on the typical length of content you need, but should be vetted for quality to ensure the contractor is effectively hitting your messages and points, and not just hitting word count.
As mentioned above, this varies and depends on your content marketing goals. Many firms have minimum contract agreements but are flexible on services terms. Can you adjust the amount of content they create on a weekly or monthly basis? Getting locked into a certain amount of content per month might not match up with the ebbs and flows of your business.
Are they available when you need them? Are they too busy to take on extra work if you need it? When speaking with references, inquire about not only the quality of their writing, but the quality of their support when you require strategic advice and additional services.
Ask for the ability to speak with businesses in similar industries, of similar size, and with similar content needs. While seeing sample writing content is helpful to get an idea of the quality of work to expect, you should also ask past clients for the level of results they’ve experienced, and how the content marketing firm guided them with new ideas and strategy. Inquire about account team structure and how output differs between writers, etc.
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