10 Questions to ask a Content Marketing Agency

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Questions to ask a content marketing agency: We all know that not all content is created equal. That holds true to content marketing agencies as well. There are some big warning signs that can prevent themselves when you’re dealing with a subpar content marketing agency. All you have to do is ask the right questions. If you don’t ask the right questions, you can spend a lot of time and money trying to clean up the mess left by a bad agency.

Likewise, investing in the right agency can save your company money, time and lots of headaches. Not only can you avoid the expense of hiring staff, but you can usually get access to a full team of content creators at a fraction of that cost.

Here are 10 questions to ask a content marketing agency before you sign an agreement:

Do you understand and have experience working in our industry?

It’s important to understand the niche expertise of the content marketing agency with which you choose to work. If you own a tourism business and your agency’s focus is predominantly financial services, it may not be the best fit.

However, industry expertise should not instantly be a deal breaker. Content creation is fairly similar across industries most content marketing agencies hire general subject writers, meaning they’re capable of quickly and accurately writing about almost any industry. It can also be a plus to have someone not directly related to your business creating content. This can weed out any bias that may be interfering.

The best way of determining if an agency is a fit is to compare what they have done with what you want to do.

How long have you been in business?

Experience is key when it comes to creating successful content marketing strategies; however, there are differing schools of thought here. With an experienced, successful content marketing agency, you get access to a full team of content producers who understand your business and, better yet, your customers.

But, a new agency may be highly motivated to make a name for themselves and be willing to go way above and beyond what’s typical in order to make a name for themselves. These agencies are more likely to put 110 percent effort into making sure you’re happy.

Do you have examples of previous work?

Case studies, success stories, similar projects … make sure any content marketing agency you’re considering can show you examples of their work. References are great too. It’s always better to speak with a customer directly rather than trust some fancy marketing brochure. Remember, content marketing agencies are in the business of making businesses look good.

These previous work examples, combined with testimonials, can be extremely valuable and help ensure you don’t make the wrong decision.

What project management tools do you use?

Any agency worth its salt uses a project management tool. It’s important to know what tool the agency you’re considering uses and how it will impact the project. Unless the project is extremely small, odds are there will be multiple people involved, and that requires organization.

Can you describe your content research process?

As long as the agency actually has a documented content research process, you should be safe. Avoid any agency that claims it doesn’t have a research process. It’s OK if an agency tailors its research process to specific customers, just make sure you have an understanding of what the process is.

Here are a few things a content marketing agency should look for in its research process:

  • To understand your company and its products or services
  • To understand your particular goals and objectives
  • To understand your target audience and market
  • To understand your competitors

There’s more, but these four are by far the most important. A good content marketing agency is always honing its research skills and processes in order to stay on top of the game.

What staffing resources do you dedicate to a project?

Depending on the size of your project, you will need to know who your contact points are. Some agencies operate with an account manager position. This position will be your point of contact throughout the entire process, relaying your messages back to the team.

Some agencies will also outsource various aspects of a project in order to ensure unity. Agencies with access to a large pool of freelancers and contractors a better suited for large content creation projects. This is because staffers could be preoccupied with other projects while a contractor will be dedicated to your project.

What’s your professional development policy for your team?

Content marketing – in fact, all digital marketing – is always evolving. It’s important to find an agency that pushes its team to be constantly learning. You wouldn’t buy a cell phone from the 1990s, so why would you hire a marketing agency with outdated expertise?

Whether they send their staff to a conference or provide online learning options, it’s important that your agency always be expanding the knowledge of its staff.

Why do you want to work with us?

Don’t hire an agency that’s not truly interested in working with you and your company. If the agency hasn’t bothered to do a fair amount of research before the introductory call, that’s probably a bad sign. A respectable agency knows when it’s not the right fit for your project and will tell you upfront.

Make sure the agency can smoothly integrate into your overall marketing plan and understands your business as well as or even better than you.

When can we get started?

This is an important question because it helps you set expectations. Some agencies have a long onboarding process during which they perform a significant amount of research into you, your industry, your customers and your competitors.

If the agency you’re interviewing says it can start tomorrow, stop! That’s a red flag. This tells you two things instantly:

  • The agency isn’t busy and therefore may not be good
  • The agency isn’t doing any significant baseline research into your business

You should also avoid any agency that won’t provide you with a solid start date. The inability to set a start date is a sign of instability.

What do your services cost?

You always want to save this question for close to last because you don’t want to miss out on an agency that’s a right fit just because it might be a little more expensive. Obviously, we all have budgets we have to stick to, but it’s important to understand the cost of hiring a bad agency or an agency that isn’t the best fit.

Never let your budget steer your decision because it will usually cost you more in the end. If you think an agency is a perfect fit, but it cost more than others, try to negotiate. Don’t simply give up based on price alone.

With the answers to all these questions in hand, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision and avoid the added costs of making the wrong decision. Remember, these are just a few questions to ask a content marketing agency. The more questions you ask your agency before signing on, the better.

To learn more about the content marketing and digital marketing services we offer, contact us today.

    Jeramy Gordon is the founder and Chief Content Officer at the Lorem Ipsum Company. He has been creating successful content strategies for almost two decades and believes in the power of high-quality content. He lives in Orange County, California, with his wife and two children.

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