Content Marketing Agency: How To Pick The Best

Content marketing is all the rage these days, and more and more and content marketing agencies are popping up in every corner of the internet.

But what is content marketing and can a content marketing agency? How can they help your company grow? In this blog post, I will answer those questions and more.

What is the focus of a content marketing agency?

As the name suggests, content marketing agencies focus on content marketing. That means that their specialization is in content SEO (search engine optimization).

Lately, content marketing is enjoying increased interest as it is one of the few ways that companies can reach content-savvy millennials.

But not only that. Google is a huge part of the content marketing equation since organic traffic is one of the most lucrative sources of new visitors that there is.

When you focus on content marketing, you are not only writing content for your audience to consume but also trying to make it appear at the top of search engines.

That brings us to the next point.

What can a content marketing agency do?

A content marketing agency can help you build content for your business and also sharpen content that is already up on your website, helping it to rank higher.

Many businesses think that content marketing is just about content like blog posts and social media content.

But content marketing also includes things like videos, infographics, eBooks, and the development of a content strategy to connect your brand with what your audience wants to read about.

A content marketing agency can help you develop all of these types of content.

In addition to this, many content marketing agencies are also ready to promote that content through outreach and link building.

Content marketing is a broad term, and content marketers are expected to do everything from SEO writing to video production in order to create content for their clients and drive traffic back towards them.

More often, the focus is on content writing and link building, which have proven themselves to be pillars of high rankings in search engines.

How does content marketing help companies grow?

Content Marketing helps to create brand awareness and establish a strong company identity through thought leadership in your industry. It also provides support for lead generation efforts with search engine optimization, social media engagement, and blog post writing that converts visitors into leads.

Content marketing is a broad term, and content marketers are expected to do everything from SEO writing to video production in order to create content for their clients and drive traffic back towards them.

As a business, the more content you produce, the better chance there is that potential customers will come across it. Content not only helps to increase awareness of your brand but also strengthens relationships with existing customers by providing them with valuable information

Why do you need a content marketing agency?

You could probably learn the rules of poker on your own, but that doesn’t mean you should.

Similarly, content marketing agencies are experts at content marketing and can save time when it comes to content creation, strategy development, and promotion.

If content marketing is new to you and your company, then content marketing agencies are a great way to reap its benefits and get help with it.

In case you have been around digital marketing for some time, and know-how content marketing works, you also know how time-consuming it is.

Marketing Know-How

Content marketing agencies were specializing in this field of digital marketing for some and made it their main marketing service.

That means that they already have editors, copywriters, creators, outreach specialists,s and project managers.

It is not enough to know what to do, you also need to know how to do it properly, and that comes with time. At content marketing agencies, the team is focused on content production and content distribution.

When you are hiring some of the top content marketing agencies, you are buying this know-how.

Time Saving

If the day would have 48 hours, you could do your main job and also figure out how to do content marketing services yourself, essentially becoming a one-man digital marketing agency.

But the time is limited. Content marketing companies can immediately jump on a project and start creating content and distributing it. All that with best marketing SEO practices in mind.

Even if you already have an internal person who is focusing on content marketing strategy – they can’t do everything on their own (or it would take a lot of time, which you do not have). You need that traffic yesterday, so if content marketing is a priority (as it should be) you need outside help.

Content marketing companies can handle content production and distribution, provide content strategy consulting services or even handle content marketing campaign management.

Efficiency

While building Costofincome.com, I outreached to several thousand leads in digital marketing and SaaS niches. I have a team of several writers and editors, preparing content for my site and future guest posts.

If I decide to make a new guest post campaign today, I can have it already pretty quickly. Because I know what to do and most importantly how to do it.

This is what a serious content marketing specialist or digital marketing agency should bring to the table.

You can read on backlinks, content marketing, social media marketing on many blogs and websites. But the knowledge of how to do it:

  • How to pitch the guest posts topics?
  • How to find sites to which you will outreach?
  • Where to get emails of the right people?
  • How should you backlink profile look like?
  • What mix of anchors to use?
  • What type of content should you create?
  • …and many more

…comes only with experience.

You do not want to spend a year of your life (or a yearly marketing services budget) just to discover that you were running in the wrong direction.

Content Marketing Companies Services

Let’s break down some of the key services that should be included in your content marketing strategy.

Content Strategy

This is where the rubber meets the road. A content marketing strategy will outline what type of content should be created, how often it needs to appear on your site or blog for maximum effectiveness and includes a content calendar that tracks when each piece of content was published.

It also allows you to identify gaps in content that may need filling by seeking. This would include keyword research, content auditing, content mapping, competitor analysis, and analyzing content gaps.

Content Creation

You can’t have content without content creation. For search engine optimization purposes this usually focuses on copywriting.

In order to rank, you need to write a lot of content around a topic that you focus on. Each post would be around 2000 words, and you need to publish as many as possible. 100 000 words a year is a lower benchmark (roughly 1 post a week).

Top content marketing agencies have writers and editors who are ready to source this content. They are knowledgeable on the topic that they are writing for and can make sure that the post is SEO.

Content Marketing

There are tens of millions of new posts created every day (maybe even more). How do you make sure that your audience and Google pay attention to the ones you created?

That is where content marketing comes in. It is a content strategy that helps companies tell their story, build trust with potential customers and lead them to take the desired action.

Mostly this will be referred to as outreach. The service content marketing agency that you pick should have a big database of contact to which it can outreach and promote the content they created for you.

How do you find top content marketing agencies?

Find a content marketing agency is not that hard. If it is hard to find…well then it is not a really good agency.

Chances are that if you put in the keyword “content marketing agency” in your city, local digital marketing agencies will pop up.

But, for a full-service content marketing agency, there is no reason to be in the city that your company is in. Sure, you need a team that understands your market. So if you are located in New York or the United Kingdom, it would not make sense to pick an agency from Singapore (though even there there are some great exceptions).

There is a big range of various lists and rankings of top content marketing agencies, but the most important part is how to pick the right agency for you.

How to pick the right content marketing agency for you?

Below are some of the main tips to keep in mind when deciding on your content marketing services provider.

Case Studies

Does not have to be anything academic, a project that they are proud of will do. In my case, I present Costofincome.com, which has experienced tremendous growth, and just say that I can do the same for you.

If a digital marketing agency is claiming that they can do proper content marketing, their own content marketing should be in order. They should know how to work with the search engines to get more traffic from them.

So when having them on a call, as them about their last project. Or just let them explain the project that they are proud of.

Social Proof

They should have it both for you to read through and see the brands they worked with, and also because is shows that they know that inbound marketing is a lot about references.

Which brands did they work with? What did they do for them? How long have they worked with them? Where did they start and what results have they brought?

On my page, I have just a few of the teams that I worked with. I show the contact person and their position within the company – as it enormously helps to build rapport.

They should be able to explain what they did in detail, and for how long. If content marketers haven’t done any work before, ask why? This does not necessarily mean that they are bad, they are just starting out.

Check Their Content

I do content marketing for a living, so I have to make sure that the content is top-notch. Check if they are actually doing content or just offering content services – this is important.

There is no problem in outsourcing to writers, but there has to be somebody who manages content marketing and content creation.

I work predominantly for SaaS clients. So when content is going through me, I make sure to add there that special sprinkle of 10+ years of digital marketing experience that I have.

Ask your inbound marketing agency for samples of their guests’ posts that they did. You will have a chance to see where they are published, how the text sounds, and how the links are used.

I have some samples of my work right in my My Life section, and many more that I can send over to the clients if needed.

Payment structure

Usually, you would be paying a monthly retainer. In some cases, the content marketing company might be paid per link placed, per article, or on a project basis.

You have to thread the balance between keeping the agency engaged but still keeping pressure on them. If you will squeeze the agency too hard they might give better links to other clients.

Collaboration structure

This may make or break your digital marketing results. Decide in advance if you want to be hands-on and micromanage content or step back and allow the content marketing agency to drive towards their own goals.

You might have a content manager on staff, but it is not necessary for every company – sometimes outsourcing this part of your digital strategy will let you focus more time on other parts of your business.

Do not just agree to a retainer and wait for miracles to happen. Have a clear list of marketing services that you will be getting. A number of links, blog posts, search engine optimization services, social media marketing assistance. A simple email is enough.

Communication is key here and having a clear list of tasks for months one, two, and three will help to prevent any misunderstandings.

A good option is to clearly outline the first months. For example in outreach, the first month you will see no links, it takes time to have them placed. If the agency is on a retainer ask them to pull their best content marketing ideas together and make a couple of posts for your website (even if they will mostly focus on email marketing and lead generation for outreach/guest posting).

False promises

No reputable SEO agency will guarantee you results. They can guarantee the number of posts that they write, maybe even guarantee a number of guests posts and links that their email marketing strategy will generate.

But nobody can guarantee your positions in search engines. So if a content marketing agency guarantees that they will give you good rankings in search engines or guarantee a number of visitors to your website – beware! They might be pitching something which is illegal (and risky!) with Google’s guidelines.

Or..they just do not know what they are talking about.

Internal Content Marketing Mindset

Working with a full-service content marketing team is not “set and forget” but it is also important to properly manage your own expectations.

This is not PPC, where you can get ads in front of your target audience and make data-driven tweaks every day.

Quality content and branded content takes time to rank. Do not expect to see any significant results after a couple of weeks. Usually, it takes 6-12 months before you start seeing your great content climbing the ladder and adding to the bottom line of your business.

Set your expectations of marketing campaigns closer to reality and rather be nicely surprised than vice versa.

How are content marketing agencies structured?

Content marketing agencies are structured in many ways. The content creation is usually done by freelancers, while the content promotion and management of social media channels might be outsourced to local experts or a PR agency for example.

If the top digital marketing agencies are more robust, so they have everything in-house or at least under their own brand.

You will be communicating with a project manager who will communicate the strategy internally.

The team working on your project may include:

  • Project Manager
  • Editor
  • Copywriter
  • SEO Specialist
  • Outreach Specialist
  • Social Media Specialist
  • Graphic Designer

As you can see you are paying for a big team, so you can and should expect big things.

Big Content Marketing Agency Vs Content Marketing Specialist

If you are a big company that needs, email marketing, web design, and web development, graphics for your content, content writing, outreach, SEO audits, monitoring of your SERP positions and other services – a big content marketing agency, or even a full-stack digital marketing agency is for you.

You want a lot and be prepared to pay a lot too. This is usually a pick for companies who want to outsource everything and have a lot of resources to spend.

On the other hand, you have content marketing specialists (like me). Sure, I do not have 15 people that will be working on your project, but I also won’t charge $xx,xxx per month to run it.

Rather, I will tell you to focus on what really matters in content marketing – content creation and link budiling. These two disciplines will bring you the most results. “Specialist agencies”, if I can call myself and similar freelancers like that – focus on one thing and they do it really well.

Conclusion

Content marketing agencies can be a valuable resource for your company. They may have the skills and knowledge that you need to execute on an effective content strategy, or they might just know of someone who does!

Either way, it’s worth reaching out to see how one could help grow your business online with their expertise in digital media.

If you are interested in learning more about what I do and what I can do for you, we do at our agency, reach out and let us show you how we can improve your ROI through solid content marketing strategies.

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