So, you have decided to outsource your content marketing strategy, congratulations! Now, how do you decide who and what is best for your business?
A successful B2B content marketing strategy relies on developing relevant and insightful content that engages your audience. For many companies in the technology sector, creating that content without detracting from operations can be a challenge. You no doubt have an amazing team of talented people working on the day-to-day of your business, but in many cases, tech companies do not have dedicated writers on staff. You would not let an untrained employee do maintenance on a critical machine, so you shouldn’t have someone without extensive experience in content marketing creating and fulfilling your company’s marking strategy – but some companies do take this approach.
So, the question is, how do you recognise the right agency for your content marketing strategy needs? Below are a few ideas to consider before embarking on the journey of hiring your new team.
Understand your needs and your budget
When you set out to find the right content marketing agency, it is important that you go into your interviews with a thorough idea of what it is you need as a company. What it is you are looking to accomplish? And how much are you willing to spend to achieve these goals?
Are you looking to gather more leads, increase website traffic, extend your social media reach or start an email marketing campaign? Once you hire your content marketing agency you will need to align these goals with key performance indicators (KPIs) – do not worry, your agency with help you with all of that. However, it is good to have an idea of what your particular needs and goals are before you begin the process of seeking new team members.
As far as budgeting goes, according to the CMO survey:
- For B2B product firms, marketing budgets are 10.4% of total company budget
- For B2B services, marketing is 12.6% of total company budget
This is just one figure out there, but it will give you a rough idea of what other companies are putting into their marketing efforts. Your spend will depend on how quickly you are trying to reach your goals.
One more thing to consider in this area, is making sure you have an understanding of how much involvement you want in the process of strategy development and content creation and what your availability is to work with your new team. In conjunction with this, decide how much communication you need with your team and be clear about that as well. Make sure these parameters are set up in advance.
Determine if a small or large agency is right for you
Small or large agency – this is a personal choice and a difficult one to make – you need to choose a team that fits with your attitude and ideals. It can be beneficial to choose an agency that has worked with your size company in the past. If you are a small business, ensure the agency you are considering has done this type of work, in addition to their larger clients. It is great to see big names on a company’s roster, but if you are not one of the bigger companies in your industry, you want to make sure they can also service smaller companies.
Large agencies may come with some assurances, after all they did not get that big without a good amount of success for their clients. However, these agencies tend to come with a bigger price tag but that does not guarantee more experience or expertise. It is likely that the bulk of your account work will be handled by junior staff and account managers, before being approved by seasoned executives.
Smaller does not mean less output or manpower! There are some real benefits to working with a small agency. Small agencies have more power to:
- Think outside of the box
- Adapt and change quickly
- Maintain agility and flexibility
- Innovate – small agencies thrive on creativity
- Truly get to know you and your company – because every client is a big client
When you are determining what size agency is right for you, make sure to do some research to dig deeper into the benefits of working with a close knit team.
Learn what services the content marketing agency provides
Knowledge is power – so ask questions. Asking the right questions during the interviewing process is critical to finding a good fit your brand. Some things you may want to inquire about include:
- Company strategies
- The company’s thoughts about your market
- Do they provide all of the services you are looking for?
- Are they willing to incorporate your needs if they do not already provide the services you need?
- Do they understand your niche (which leads me to my next point)?
Determine if they are subject matter experts
This is one point that we cannot stress enough. The growth of your business depends on reaching potential customers with a message that contains great answers to their pain points. The goal of content marketing is to educate and enlighten potential customers. Does the agency you are considering understand your brand’s industry? Ask for their client list, and examples of how they have helped those clients. Follow the agencies you are considering on Twitter and LinkedIn to get a feel for their style and see who they are representing.
Expertise is important. If you are looking for experts in the B2B tech field, for example – our team has worked in the field for a combined total of 25+ years. We know the ins and outs of the industry and can create powerful marketing to reach a new customer base. Your current customers know and trust your brand but it can be tricky to translate the more technical aspects of your work into accessible writing that will reach new customers.
This holds true for any industry. No matter what your company offers, make sure you research thoroughly and find a company that has as much experience in that niche as we do in ours.
Seek out testimonials and case studies
Word of mouth is one of the best ways to draw customers to your company – people trust the opinions and experiences of those they already know. And the same goes for when you head out there to hire your marketing partner. Does the agency you are considering have a good track record? Are their clients happy to provide their opinions or their experiences with the agency? Looking for testimonials is a great way to get a feel for how other companies feel about working with a particular agency.
Case studies are another great way to get to know an agency. This content, published by a company, outlines the agencies clients’ problem, what solution the agency implemented and the results of that campaign. It shows their success or effectiveness in dealing with that problem. These materials can be a testament to the credibility of a business and validity of its messaging. If the agency cannot provide any, that could be a red flag.
Demand full transparency
Part of a good working relationship is providing honest feedback. Look for a team that values this as much as you do – it’s not all about taking your clients’ side, sometimes we need to push back. Ask questions about the prospective agencies views through conversations during the interview. Is the agency generous with ideas, counsel and insight? Chances are, they will be the same during their engagement with you moving forward. Transparency is important for both parties, and will foster trust and a sense of real partnership for a long and beneficial relationship.
Well there you have it, an overview of how to recognise the right agency for your content marketing strategy. If you have any questions about the process or want some more in-depth information on any of the points covered above, please feel free to get in touch, we love to share our knowledge and insight. Email us at [email protected]