Rich and engaging content should be at the heart of virtually every marketing campaign in 2018, especially digital marketing. Gone are the days of just putting your name out there and hoping for the best — today, it is all about your content strategy. The way to stand out is to produce excellent content that can help you stand out as an authority, drive traffic to your website and ultimately grow your business.
In the age of the solopreneur, it can be tough to have time to create all of your content strategy in-house. Not only this, it can be tough to learn exactly what works and how to implement content marketing strategies effectively on your own or as part of a small team. The alternative is to go to a content marketing agency and utilise their services. These agencies will be able to save you time and also improve your chances of success with content creation. A well-implemented content marketing strategy can be immensely influential, especially in the age of ‘going viral’.
Not all content marketing agencies are at the same level. Though it is quite a specialist business to be able to run, it has a very low barrier to entry. Almost anyone can put up a website and claim to be a content marketing specialist, but they may not have the expertise needed. How do you avoid the beginners and wannabes out there and make sure you choose a reliable agency which is likely to get results?
Look for Testimonials and Case Studies
These are important in most businesses, but especially so when you are looking for an agency to represent your brand and to work with long term. The best-case scenario is to find a business with a proven track record of driving successful results — and testimonials to back it up.
You may have to do some digging here. Anyone can get their friends to leave a testimonial or make up a company, but reliable testimonials will come from real, functioning companies. Hopefully, the testimonials will have a link to the source, and you can see not only that it is a real company, but you can start to delve into the work being done on the content front, from blog posts to video production to tweets and social media.
The best scenario is to be able to see a case study. You may have to ask for one or it may be information available via the company’s website. Being able to see the actual steps implemented and the results is a big plus point and allows you to see if the campaigns they can offer are right for your needs. Case studies also go further in terms of giving the social proof that a company has actually got a good track record and are happy to be transparent in showing it.
Consider Niches and Specialisms
Most content marketing agencies will be more than happy to field your inquiry, whatever industry you are working within, but just looking for a generic agency may not be your best approach. Some content marketers have a far better track record or a specific specialism in one niche. Let's say you are in the sports niche, it may well be the case that you can find an agency specialising in this if you are happy to do a bit of searching and asking around.
Some niche specialists might cost a little more, depending on the industry. In certain industries, where the marketing techniques are quite specific (healthcare, for instance), it can be worth paying a little extra and finding a reliable company with experience in your niche.
Specialist abilities also expand to the type of high-quality content you want to be produced. Some content marketing agencies have specific strengths such as being able to produce engaging content for social media, incredible blog posts which rank in google and appeal to customers or even video content. Think about the types of content you are having created and check that this is something the agency you have in mind can handle.
Ask for a Proposal
This can be a great way to spark up a conversation between your brand and the agency in question and will also teach you more about what sort of company you are dealing with. The best agencies should be more than happy to take a look at what you are looking to promote and put together some form of a proposal. By asking for one, you can be sure that they have given some thought to your brand and are actually willing to go the extra mile to get your business.
The proposal can also be the perfect first communication as it will show you if you are on the same page as the agency. Hopefully, you find a company straight away that understand your brand or are willing to learn what is necessary to make an impact. If you ask for a proposal and their thoughts are a distance away from your own, it might be time to look elsewhere. Getting a couple of proposals can be a good way to compare what is on offer from different agencies, and also give a good yardstick to monitor how much they feel can be achieved, giving you a performance indicator for later on should you choose to go with their services.
Check their Content
This seems remarkably obvious but is often overlooked. A good content marketing agency should definitely have good content, of course! Check their social media, their blog, their YouTube channel and start to scour for good content; you can even use tools online to analyse their website and the engagement on their social media. Why trust a company that can’t produce great content for themselves to do the job for you?
Farming out your content marketing to experienced content marketers is a big decision. There are plenty of companies who will take your money and provide some high-quality content creation but finding those which are actually willing to learn about your brand and go the extra mile can propel your business to the next level with the very best content marketing strategy for your business.