The ultimate guide to hiring a content marketing agency

55% of customers now depend more on content for reviewing and making buying choices than they did a year back, says a recent study by Demand Gen Report.

But producing great content takes up a lot of time and effort. And outsourcing allows firms to efficiently incorporate great content into their business plan.

Although outsourcing is more convenient, recruiting a content marketing agency is a big task. It can be intimidating if you are unsure what factors to consider and how to boost your outsourcing ROI.

So in this guide, we’ll cover the essential points to consider while choosing, hiring, and working with a content marketing agency.

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    Why work with a content marketing agency?

    As per a CMI survey, 49% of participants say their organization outsources one or more content marketing tasks.

    This shows that good content quality is not the only reason for teaming up with a content marketing agency.

    In fact, there are many valid points that may make you consider outsourcing content instead of managing it internally.

    Below we’ve listed a few major reasons for hiring and working with a content marketing company.

    Cost-effective content creation

    Since the costs of running and growing a company are very high, 70% of organizations contract out services to decrease total costs.

    Different reasons for which companies outsource

    Image Source: Classic Informatics

    Employing people full-time for writing content, producing videos, planning marketing events, or other activities is more expensive than delegating these services to an agency.

    But when you collaborate with a credible company, it allows you to pay just for the content your business requires. You don’t have to worry about the expense of staff recruitment, coaching, perks, and wages.

    Save time

    Time is of great value. And you must make the best use of it. For example, Andy Crestodina carried out a study to find out the time needed to write a long-form article. While writing an article for himself, he noted the time required to finish each activity.

    He discovered that, with his skill and understanding, it took 7 hours and 35 minutes for him to complete the article. By outsourcing content writing, you can save this time.

    Time breakdown for the creation of a longform blog post

    Image Source: Orbit Media Studios

    In the end, how well you do content marketing is about how much time you’re willing to invest in content creation. When you utilize the expertise of an agency, it allows you to produce a large amount of content in a smaller timeframe.

    Access to resources and talent

    A Clutch survey found that 33% of small businesses are outsourcing to acquire flexible resources.

    Hiring an agency allows you to tap into a larger mix of skilled professionals. If you lack qualified staff at your company to write compelling content, then outsourcing is a great alternative.

    Choosing the right content marketing company

    While there are many content marketing companies to choose from, they can’t all be the right match for your business. To ensure that you’re recruiting the best content marketing agency for your business, take into account the following points.

    Strategic towards your business goals

    Good content marketing companies don’t just provide top-quality videos and SEO-friendly articles. They further assist you in developing clever, data-based tactics that deliver tangible outcomes.

    Preferably, your content marketing company should have the ability to provide personalized content for your different goals.

    And when your goals evolve, your recruited company should collaborate with you to modify your content in order to reach your new objectives instead of producing the same material.

    Also, to provide a successful content plan, your agency should have a basis of analysis and information that is channeled through innovation, expertise, and insight.

    Quality of content

    According to a survey by Semrush, 55% of marketing professionals think content quality improvement is the most successful content strategy tactic.

    Most successful content strategy tactics of 2021

    Image Source: Semrush

    Good writing is absolutely necessary. Regardless of whether you are producing infographics, video clips, or social media posts that don’t require much text-based content, the company you recruit must have the ability to form a narrative with its writing.

    Picking an agency that has the required experience to create significant and fitting content for your target market reduces the hours required to finish the work. And it will enable you to post high-quality content that gets successful results without wasting your time and energy.

    A great content marketing company should be able to communicate its brand's narrative in an engaging manner.

    That includes giving a clear overview of their services and procedure, as well as presenting a few useful case reports and material to aid you in your evaluation and decision-making.

    Clear and flexible processes

    Professional content marketers will have a process to assist you in determining whom to contact, when to contact, as well as the points you need to discuss with them.

    A procedure for content marketing also enables you to go from generating ideas to posting and promoting content with ease.

    But remember: The procedure is just an instrument, not an absolute. It needs to be changed if it makes it difficult for you to fulfill your requirements.

    So it is important to look for an agency that listens to your requirements as well as provides a solution to meet those needs. A great company will give the same importance to your needs as they give to promoting their services.

    Subject matter expertise

    Finding subject matter experts is the biggest obstacle in outsourcing, according to 65% of marketing professionals, says a CMI report.

    Professionals with topical expertise can impact purchasing choices. In fact, there is no other method to succeed at content marketing but to possess a clear understanding of the sector you are creating content for.

    If your content marketing company doesn’t perform well in your sector, then it is not a good fit for your brand. It doesn’t matter how great everything else is.

    A content marketing company can’t create great content if it doesn't know about the challenges your consumers are facing as well as the distinct facets of your field.

    In such a case, you’ll just be spending your cash without getting any results. It can even harm your company’s reputation in the worst-case scenario.

    To better evaluate their expertise, find success stories within your field or their past projects with customers in industries identical to yours.

    An audience-first approach

    A Databox survey shows that analyzing the target market is most useful for content marketing.

    Areas for which audience research is most important

    Image Source: Databox

    Nowadays, consumers are completely in charge of the marketing funnel. So your content should be useful and not just a promo.

    This is especially true for the ToFu stage of marketing, where you want to bring in traffic and develop customers’ confidence in you.

    The customer-focused approach implies that you need to determine the demands of your consumers at each stage of the customer life cycle. And a great content marketing company will be able to help you through it.

    The method we suggest to help you in reviewing whether a company is customer focused is to look at examples of their customer profiles for other clientele.

    The practical usefulness of their customer profiles is a great metric to know how much effort they’ll put into understanding your consumers and ensuring that your content provides a good user experience.

    Familiar with the latest tech

    The speed at which marketing technology is currently developing every aspect of marketing, even content, is quicker than many realize.

    So much so that amongst the top essential attributes to consider in your content marketing company is being knowledgeable in MarTech.

    It’s essential that the content marketing agency assisting you understands this fact. They should be actively utilizing the best tech solutions to enhance their content and performance.

    Because you don't just need superficial metrics & fancy initiatives but also a firm grasp of what is possible in today’s world, how marketing technology is developing, and the future possibilities.

    Pricing

    Determining how much you should spend on a content marketing company can be difficult. You want to get the best value for your money.

    Nevertheless, that doesn't mean you should pick a low-priced option since it will only get you poor results.

    Conversely, only being costly doesn't make an agency the ideal choice for your brand.

    One method is to analyze if your content marketing company creates content that does well on the key data points for generating sales.

    Moreover, request a comprehensive and item-wise summary of pricing that will help you understand what you’re going to be charged for in advance.

    Hiring the content marketing agency

    When you’ve determined your priorities for a content marketing agency, you can start to search for the ideal associate.

    Keep in mind that it is practically impossible for a company to meet all your selection criteria with a five-star rating.

    Nonetheless, if you follow the correct method, you’ll be able to identify a company that fits well with your dream and can assist you in reaching your content marketing objectives. You can begin your search by taking the following measures.

    Research and shortlist choices

    To familiarize yourself with possible agency options, check out their content, find out about their offered solutions, and follow their accounts on social media.

    You can find content marketing companies by using customer feedback platforms such as TopSEOs, G2, or Clutch.co.

    List of content marketing companies on Clutch.co website

    After viewing your options, shortlist two to five companies that are your top choices.

    Start the conversation

    When you recruit a content marketing company that collaborates well, you’ll be thrilled about all the assistance that they can provide you on a daily basis.

    But it goes the other way around as well. When you don’t enjoy collaborating with them, it will affect your work and prevent your marketing spend from realizing its true value.

    So talk to various companies in order to assess their expertise, professionalism, and character.

    Find out which content marketing agency can complete the tasks and fits nicely with your staff.

    Questions to ask while hiring a content marketing agency

    Image Source: Total Product Marketing

    Look for a content marketing agency with proof to support their promises, credentials, and a complete plan for reproducing those outcomes for you.

    Also, raise the following questions:

    • Does the content marketing agency have a customer portfolio and case studies?
    • Will the content marketing agency be able to share its previous content marketing efforts that succeeded?
    • Does the agency have client reviews?
    • Are they willing to provide names and phone numbers for references?
    • Is the agency ready to give their customers’ names and contact for your reference?

    Evaluate strengths and weaknesses

    The right content marketing company can be the deciding factor as to whether your content marketing campaign succeeds or fails to kick off.

    Picking the best company at the beginning itself is the greatest method for cutting expenses and optimizing ROI.

    Start evaluating agencies by writing down the pros and cons of all your main choices, both generally and in terms of how they directly relate to your business.

    Consider using the SWOT analysis method to assess companies. Or you can use this company assessment template that will provide you the foundation to raise queries on the performance and partnership of the company you’re outsourcing to, regardless of the platform or objective you’re aiming for.

    SWOT analysis for evaluating content marketing agencies

    Image Source: The GO! Network

    Lastly, hire the company you wish to collaborate with and start dominating your niche.

    Working with your content marketing company

    So you’ve recruited a content marketing company whose skills and performance you trust. And you anticipate that it will help you make a profit.

    Now you can start collaborating with your content marketing agency by following the steps below.

    Identify tasks to outsource

    Before anything else, get to know which tasks and duties can be delegated to a content marketing agency.

    Maybe all content needs to be delegated. Or perhaps you have specialists on your team that can work on a few of your content pieces.

    The point is, whether it’s specific tasks, social media content, or overall content marketing activities, you need to start by recognizing the activities you wish to assign to a content marketing company.

    There’s no need to waste your marketing funds on a large content marketing crew when you just require help with discovering and analyzing search queries you want to target.

    Conversely, you certainly don’t want to recruit a solo content marketer just to discover that you really required the assistance of a content marketing company.

    Content marketing services that are often outsourced

    Image Source: ReVerb

    In case you are unclear about which tasks you require assistance with, note down every content marketing activity you witness in your team. Then, compare it with this set of activities that are usually assigned to a content marketing agency, such as

    • Proofreading and editing
    • Web and graphic design
    • Social media scheduling on different networks
    • Link building
    • Content production

    This will help you identify gaps that outsourcing can fill for you.

    Consider ROI

    Research data from Ascend2 shows that 48% of marketing professionals believe that monitoring ROI is very crucial for managing content expenditure.

    Importance of measuring ROI for content budget allocation

    Image Source: Ascend2

    The success of any particular, essential objective of your business depends on whether you are making enough sales.

    So when it’s about spending on a content marketing company, ROI must be among the main indicators of victory.

    If you concentrate more on driving sales with your content, you’ll get returns on your investment sooner. In other words, you’ll achieve your desired gains faster.

    Also, determine which aspects of your content marketing initiatives are wasting your company’s time, assets, and funds.

    You can get great value for your money if you make sure that your content marketing campaigns include activities that give great returns on investment.

    Give clear instructions and resources

    If you delegate content production to a content marketing agency, it’s crucial that you provide specific directions regarding your requirements and the objectives that you’re aiming to accomplish.

    When you give vague instructions to your agency, it's possible that they will produce content that is not suitable for your users. So the content writing has to be redone.

    It makes content creation time-consuming and expensive, nullifying the advantages of hiring a content marketing agency to begin with.

    But you can prevent misunderstandings by being specific about your requirements from the beginning.

    Provide your hired content marketing agency with all the data that can help them better understand your business, customers, and the task’s subject matter.

    The more research and other collateral you can provide, the more accurate would be the content delivered by the agency.

    Details covered in a content brief

    Image Source: Zenbrief

    Track progress

    A report by Parse.ly says that the top indicator to monitor the effectiveness of content is page visits. It is followed by email analytics (such as open rate and click rate), social network analytics (such as shares and reactions), and webpage interaction, which can involve the hours users devote to consuming your content.

    You need to track these metrics as it is essential to understand whether the writers in your recruited agency are connecting with your target market.

    The ideal business relationships are cooperative, and you ought to examine them frequently on the basis of the objectives and key performance indicators defined by you.

    In case the agency you hired is unable to help you reach your objectives, you need to make changes or look for another agency.

    As we just mentioned above, you need to monitor growth with data points that show the number of impressions, user engagement, and how much time visitors spend on your websites to consume content.

    This data will allow you to determine if your audience finds your content beneficial, which content ideas are popular, and which aspects you have to enhance.

    Conclusion: hiring a content marketing agency

    When you lack the assets and hours required to create good content, handle a social network, or develop a plan that is in line with your company’s objectives, you need to hire a content marketing agency.

    Delegating your content marketing plan to an agency can be challenging initially. But when you initiate the procedure, you will realize that content is only one more part to fix in your content marketing process.

    So why not start now and gain visitors and potential customers for your company?

    Did we miss anything? Did you try these tips? Do you have any questions or comments? Share your thoughts below in the comments section.

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    Hi, I'm Hitesh Sahni

    My team & I help brands with superior content marketing services, software reviews, and insights to boost traffic and lead generation. Sign up for our free email newsletter and get notified once a week about new blog posts with strategies to turn content into a growth channel for your business.

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