The reason you chose to outsource your content marketing to a digital agency is most likely that you don’t have the time to be writing content, devising strategies and just need to get on with running your business. Many SMEs lack the internal resources or skill set to make a success of content marketing. The benefits of using an agency are of course that they are experts in all aspects of content marketing; they have tried and tested strategies and will hit the floor running with experience and knowledge of implementation. They (should) have their finger on the pulse of every aspect of digital marketing.
However, whatever your sector, you will need to work with your agency to keep them in the loop with business developments, opportunities, events and any other activities that can be worked into the overall strategy. All strategy plans need to be flexible to a point to enable unforeseen developments to be adjusted into the implementation and delivery.
Set Clear Goals
You need to be clear from the outset what it is that you want to achieve and in which specific areas of your business. Just to say to your agency that you want ‘more sales’ is not enough, you will need to work with them to be very specific about the areas which will drive the most revenue. They will also need to be aware of all of your other marketing campaigns, so that there is clear messaging; the same messaging coming from every channel.
This is an interesting one, as it is often not as clear cut as you may think. There are often many different ‘types’ of people who may be interested in your product or service. These demographics need to be researched, tested and defined clearly so that content for each group can be devised effectively. Then within each group, content will need to be created for each marketing channel so that it fits the media. There is no sense in just writing blogs and pushing them out across all your social media channels for example, a planned social media strategy also needs to be actioned.
Messaging and Brand
Whatever the size of your business, there needs to be a clear voice and tone across all content, whether it is offline or online. Consistency is key – your guidelines and restrictions on messaging will need to be very clear for your agency from the start. It needs to be appropriate for your brand and for your audience. If you don’t have these things already worked out, your agency can help you to get it right.
You know your business and sector better than anyone, but this needs to be married up with the expertise of the agency to ensure the best results. Neither side wants to be flying blind, wondering what the other is doing. The best results are always gained where there is a good long term relationship built between yourselves and the agency. Regular communication with your agency is the key to the success so that they can really get to know your business inside out and will be sure to promote you more effectively. Here are some examples of important things to communicate to your agency:
- Trade shows you may be attending
- Big contract wins
- Big project completions
- New staff/recruitment drives
- Industry developments
- Current news stories that affect your sector
- Events or PR opportunities
- Any issues with your products
- Awards you attend/enter
Don’t forget to back up the communication with suitable materials, such as links and pictures your agency could include in their content.
Planning is another important factor for success when working with and getting the most from your agency. The planning process needs to be taken seriously with ideas from both sides. Whilst a plan can be created and put into action, there needs to be flexibility to allow for changes, unforeseen issues or opportunities. Planning will incorporate all the items mentioned above.
Don’t hold up the process with your agency by not signing content off efficiently. You need to set aside time to do this and also keep feeding into the process. If you avoid their calls and emails and always put this to the bottom of your ‘to do’ pile, you will only be damaging the chances of success. As your relationship grows with your agency, the mutual trust that grows will make these processes easier as time goes on.
Keep an Open Mind
Content marketing strategies are evolving very quickly – let your agency use their expertise without restricting them on what they can do. A common mistake for a company in a competitive space is to look at competitors and be afraid to try anything new that others are not doing. Trust your agency that they will guide you through the pitfalls and advise you on new, inventive ways to reach your audience. Some of their content generation ideas may seem a little too far outside your comfort zone, but be brave and give it a go. A good agency would never suggest a strategy that would be detrimental to your brand.
Monitor and Review
Monthly contact with your agency to review campaign results is essential. There are so many aspects of content marketing that come into play throughout a campaign – small changes and adjustments can add so much value and make a huge difference to the bottom line.
Can we help?
We are an experienced agency with a multi-talented team. We cover all aspects of digital marketing and have years of experience with content marketing in particular. If you are looking to partner with an agency who will become an extension of your business and want to build a long term relationship with a team that care, give us a call on 01285 50 55 50.