Keeping your entire marketing strategy in-house can be a difficult task and a drain on your resources. Between engaging customers on social media, creating and implementing e-mail campaigns and maintaining your SEO projects, there might be too much going on for your current team to effectively manage. That’s why 73% of major organizations outsource the management of their content marketing strategy.
Not every content marketing agency is created the same, though, and you need to make sure that you select one that fully meets your company’s present and future needs before you decide to buy content writing services. Here are a few questions to ask a prospective copywriting agency while doing your research on who to start a business relationship with.
What is your experience with our industry?
If you’re part of the marketing team for a law firm, the tone that you want to present to your potential audience is much different than what’s needed for a hotel chain. While specific industry knowledge isn’t essential, it can be useful if content writers have background knowledge on specific aspects of your business and what types of content writing and different types of blog posts will be compelling to your unique visitors.
If the copywriting agency you’re speaking with hasn’t worked in your particular field, be sure to ask for direct insights on:
- How they plan on getting up to speed on your business’s ins and outs
- What kind of research will be conducted to ensure proper keyword generation
- What is the plan to create content that distinguishes you from your competitors
What metrics do you use for success?
Engaging in content marketing is definitely playing the long game. If a content marketing agency is trying to sell you on fast results within days or weeks, you should probably hang up the phone.
That being said, you still need to see some results to justify the expenses incurred. So what should you look for? There are a few basic key performance indicators (KPIs) that should hopefully start to show an upward trend that you can point to as proof that the content writing services you paid for are starting to gain traction.
- Unique page visits
- Longer visit durations
- More interactions (likes, shares, comments, etc.)
These are just a few examples of ground-level KPIs, and not every business has the same needs and goals. Be sure to think about what success would look like for you, and communicate what you’re aiming for to your prospective copywriting agency, so you can work together to select metrics that accurately measure what you want to achieve. Picking the right KPIs can help justify the decision to buy content writing services.
Who is creating the content?
Some firms that sell content writing services rely solely on in-house writers, while others use a mix of in-house and freelance writers. Both have advantages, and there is no right or wrong answer here.
An in-house content writer can provide:
- A consistent tone and voice to match your brand’s identity
- Standardized training to meet certain standards of quality and professionalism
- Institutional knowledge of your brand that, over time, can lead to better content
- A single point of contact that allows you to communicate more effectively
A content marketing agency that chooses to hire bloggers and freelancers can offer:
- Faster ramp-up times to get your project started sooner
- Scaling to meet rush periods, such as back to school or Black Friday
- Lower overhead, which can translate to lower costs
There are clear benefits and drawbacks to choosing to do business with a content development agency that either hires freelancers or relies solely on in-house content writer talent. Depending on your company’s needs, either option could be the better choice, so you should be aware of both approaches and how each would fit into your plans.
What tools will be used to gather data?
Programs for monitoring web, SEO and social media analytics, automation software and blogging and SMS tools can all be part of a successful marketing toolbox. There’s a huge range of options available, so as long as the answer isn’t “We aren’t using any analytics tools at all”, there shouldn’t be a single magical answer that you’re looking for here.
Here are a few popular marketing tools and what they’re commonly used for:
- HubSpot: Developer of software products for social media marketing, content management, SEO optimization and web analytics.
- LeadLander: Simple way to identify website visitors to help turn anonymous lurkers into actionable leads for your sales team.
- Moz: SEO tracking and research toolkit
- SEMRush: Keyword tracker for both your campaign and those of your competitors
Using these tools can help determine which of your pages are the most popular, what keywords are driving traffic and where you’re ranking in your keyword lists.
Do you have any case studies to show us?
Seeing how a content marketing agency has run previous digital marketing campaigns can help provide insight on how they’ll run yours. Case studies offer the content development agency a way to tell a story that showcases how they successfully overcame a problem. If you find yourself nodding along or smiling as you watch the video or read the post, then it worked!
Case studies are an easy way for content marketing agencies to:
- Establish authority by showing how their content writing services were used to effectively address clients’ pain points
- Indirectly endorse their brand by showing it being used successfully
- Add a personalized feel by putting a name and face to statistics
Your brand is your baby, and it can be difficult to put it in the hands of someone else. The wrong partner can leave you with weak content writing that undermines the rest of your marketing efforts. Asking a potential content marketing agency a few questions can help make sure your concerns are addressed before any papers are signed. If you’d like a few more tips on what you should be looking for in a content marketing agency, check out our free ebook for more questions to ask when you’re deciding to outsource content creation.