Content marketing is a business strategy that’s rapidly becoming one of the most often used methods of promoting a brand.
Naturally, it has also spread to eCommerce businesses, and since it’s a relatively new way of handling marketing, it’s understandable why many business owners don’t know how to pick the right agency for the job.
In this article, we will clear the air a bit, and create a helpful guide for those interested in working with an agency, but unsure about how to choose one.
The Deal Breakers Associated with Choosing the Best Content Marketing Agency
First of all, let’s cover the things that a content marketing agency must have. If any of these things are missing, then it’s not even worth to consider hiring them. Not everyone takes their job seriously, and if they don’t, why should you do it for them?
1. A blog and some social media accounts are the most basic requirements
Being a content marketing agency without those is like being a taxi driver without a driver’s license.
Talent doesn’t even come into discussion at this point. No amount of talent or experience will make a blog out of thin air.
Even if the agency is at its start, they should have created the blog before talking to you.
If they don’t even have that, you should just walk away.A digital agency that doesn't have an active blog is like a taxi driver without a driver's… Click To Tweet
2. An understanding that content marketing isn’t just text
This is another important matter even though it’s not as obvious as the first. Otherwise, it would’ve been called just “content”.
Although most content is written, it can also be images or videos or audio files. I’m not saying that you’ll necessarily need those in your campaign, but it’s important to keep an open mind.
There are different strokes for different folks, and that also applies to businesses.
An agency that doesn’t know that is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know the city he’s working in.
3. Writing skills are a must
I know I just said that writing isn’t everything, but it’s still going to, most likely, be the bulk of the campaign.
There are a lot of aspiring writers out there, but you can’t bet the success of your business on an agency that has high school level writers.
An agency without good writers is like a taxi driver who doesn’t know how to drive.
4. Applied search engine optimization (SEO) knowledge is the last thing to be on the lookout for
An agency that doesn’t take care of SEO is pretty shady by today’s standards. Maybe they are in a partnership with some SEO software, but if they don’t take care of this at all, it generally means they’re unprepared.
An agency that doesn’t use SEO software is like a taxi driver without a car. He can still work, but you can’t really count on them.
4 Questions you should ask Content Marketing Agencies before you start working with them
Now that we’re past time wasters and, hopefully, taxi drivers, we can focus on ways to help you better decide which agency is best for you. When talking with them, these are a few good questions you can ask to really understand what they’re all about:
1. How much experience do they have?
This is a question that anybody should ask when thinking about hiring someone. The problem is that they might not give you a 100% sincere answer, but the question, as basic as it is, can give you a lot of insight.
I’m not saying that you shouldn’t hire an agency that’s just starting out. What I’m trying to say is that the agency should have a satisfying answer to such an easy and predictable answer.
2. How have they helped other clients?
This question is similar to the first one, so I won’t get into too much detail. The idea is that experience doesn’t necessarily mean success.
If they’re serious, they should be able to prove their competence and show the results they’ve had in the past.
You should ask to see some case studies.
3. How will they nurture leads?
The goal of marketing is to bring in more clients. Find out how they’ll do that. This question is great because you find out two important things.
The first is if they understand your business well enough to produce content for it.
The second is if they have a clear and structured strategy for bringing in leads.
In my opinion, if the answer to any of these two points is “No”, then you should move on. Don’t expect every agency to be on point with what your business needs.
4. How will they promote the content?
Producing content is only half the battle. Promoting it is the other half.
Make sure that they can get people to see the content they make. Then, they also must have strong calls to action to bring people to you.
If the agency can’t do that, then it can’t help you either. Make sure that they are competent when it comes to promoting content, and that they work out a plan that would be effective for your business.
Getting a feel of what’s important
You want to work with an agency because they should know how to handle the job. That means that they shouldn’t be afraid to tell you when the ideas you propose aren’t good.
If the agency you’re working with just goes with everything you say and does exactly what you tell them to do, they’re probably just trying to please you rather than getting the results you need. They are the experts, so let them tell you what their vision is for your marketing strategy.
A glaring issue with very many eCommerce businesses is that they don’t think about anything other than offering products.
If you know that you’re not the only one who can provide that kind of product or service, you have to find a way to stand out.
Otherwise, your website is just another seller instead of the witty, unique and insightful vendor you can be.
Original content doesn’t go just on blogs and in social media posts.
If you’re selling the same thing as the competition, the difference will be decided by which one presents it better. Dry and boring nine-word descriptions just won’t cut it.
Content marketing agencies can help you spice it up.
I’ll be more specific.
If you’re selling jewelry, for example, have someone write an original description for it, not what everyone else is saying. If you provide clowns for parties, maybe have a bio for each. Pokey the Balloonmancer sounds much better than Clown #5.
At the end of the day, remember that the agency has to feel right for you. If you think that they’re the right fit, I say go for it. Also, remember that the content you want to provide is meant to be interesting and enjoyable. Don’t turn away a good pun just to seem more professional.
I hope that you now feel more prepared to choose an agency and that the taxi driver comparisons weren’t too unbearable. To find out what Squirrly, bring to the table, take a look here.