These days, your content is your brand, and content marketing is the new marketing. You’re convinced of that – ready to take the plunge and hire a content marketing agency. But making a decision can be tough: Everybody talks a good game.
Here are 10 questions to ask when you’re screening organizations and getting down to the nitty-gritty of which content marketing service provider you’re going to hire and entrust your brand to.
1. Who else have you worked with?
Ask about other brands the agency has worked with. Are those companies similar to yours, or at least within your vertical? Request case studies: Get multiple stories of how the agency has solved content challenges for other brands.
2. Do you use content strategists?
Great content marketing starts with sound research and a solid plan. Your content is only as good – and effective – as the strategy behind it. Are there talented and Google-certified professionals researching your keywords, and developing a personalized content plan and roadmap?
3. What is your documented content process?
Ask for a document explaining the proven content process the agency will use to develop and execute your campaign. They should be able to exhibit a step-by-step flow of the how the work typically proceeds.
4. Is there a statement of work and calendar?
You’ll end up signing an agreement, of course. But insist on a straightforward statement of work and related calendar of deliverables, so there is clear accountability that fits your marketing and content needs.
5. Who will manage the account?
Identify the one person at the agency who will be responsible for managing your account – providing all correspondence and reports, making sure work is delivered on time, and answering your questions. Insist on one resource person.
6. Who will be creating the content?
Ask this: Who will be writing your content? Will it be a freelancer or contractor, maybe even someone in a far-off country? Or will it be an on-staff writer dedicated to your account and who is invested, able and willing to take on your brand’s persona?
7. Will you have direct access to content creation staff (writers)?
As much as one account manager contact is essential, you still need to speak and work directly with those folks actually writing and creating your content. Will the agency let you do that? If not, ask why.
8. How will you receive content?
Ask what mechanism they will use to deliver your content. Cover the editing and commenting process and how that works. Does all this take place in an old-fashioned way (emails?), or the right way (via an automated content management or workflow platform)?
9. What is the reporting process?
Don’t just create content and hope for results. Only trust an agency that wants access to your analytics and provides regular reporting on results – what your content is generating for views, reads and other actions. An agency should help you track the return on your content investment.
10. Is there a guarantee or other assurance you will be satisfied?
Plenty of places will take your money. But will they give it back if you’re not satisfied with your content marketing campaign’s results? It’s worth asking exactly that, and seeing what kind of squirming – or direct answers – you get.
As your brand commits money to content marketing efforts, don’t just take a good story and slick salesmanship at face value. Ask these 10 tough questions and use the answers to direct your decision on which content marketing agency to hire.