How to choose a content marketing agency

So you’ve decided to invest in producing content for your business? Smart move — all the data is definitely on your side! But while hiring a freelance writer to take care of your content needs is a valid choice, sometimes a more structured approach is necessary.

Hiring a content marketing agency is the best option for your business if:

  • You need a lot of content produced on a regular basis
  • The type of content you need varies (i.e. anything from Facebook ads, blog posts, and activation pages to witty Instagram captions and newsletters that people won’t hit ‘unsubscribe’ on)
  • You prefer that someone owns the whole process versus you having to micromanage writers
  • You don’t have the resources in-house to either produce or manage your content needs

As you can see, working with a content writing agency can be highly beneficial for your business — and can free up a lot of space for you to do your actual job of running it.

But how do you pick the right content marketing agency for you?

Sure, you can start googling things like “content marketing agency Bristol” (or wherever you may be based) and see what comes up, but you need to be strategic about it. Think of hiring a content marketing agency like interviewing for a potential teammate. In an ideal world, this agency will be working with you for a long time — so it’s important you gel.

The tips we’ve gathered below will help you achieve just that.

Choosing the right content marketing agency for your needs

Ask about the content marketing agency’s previous clients

Any content marketing agency that’s serious about their work will have a portfolio for you to look at, helping you get a sense of what they’ve done so far. But you need to dig a bit deeper to ensure they are a good fit for your particular business. Asking questions about previous clients will help you decipher if a) this content writing agency has experience in your industry and b) if they are masterful enough (and appropriately staffed!) to be able to deliver all kinds of content verticals, including yours.

Which brings us to our second key point…

Samples, examples, working staples

The more work samples an agency provides you with, the better your understanding will be of their capabilities. But going through all that content will take precious time; and when you’re running a startup, time is a valuable commodity!

Instead: ask the content marketing agency you are considering for three examples of previous work for clients within your industry. If they haven’t had that many clients in your niche before, it’s not a dealbreaker — but they should be able to provide you with three, strong examples of their most diverse work in different industries.

We should note here that it’s not just the content marketing agency that should provide samples. You should do the same, if you want to set up a successful, symbiotic working relationship. From the content you currently have, identify three pieces (or projects) which you feel work particularly well for your business. These can be working staples for the agency to produce content that flows seamlessly with what you have so far.

Don’t have any content yet? No problem! Just give them as many examples of content you like/find relevant as you possible.

Don’t worry about overwhelming them with too much info. Any content marketing agency that knows their stuff will actively ask you to provide them with as many points of reference as possible, in order to better understand what your vision is. This will help optimize the content they will be producing for you.

Meet your content makers

Excuse the ominous phrasing — but this is very important!

Many a branded content agency will have an impressive website, extensive portfolio and reps who are personable and seem to “get” you. Some of them may even have well-known writers in their roster. But at the end of the day, you should be able to know who is writing (or, if that is not possible, at least top editing) your content.

Agencies who are worth their salt should be able to provide you with a link to at least a couple of their writer’s profiles (for instance, you can meet some of our Scribly writers here). That way you can see whether the writers they have in mind for you have the right experience or a versatile tone of voice.

Define your content process. Then, understand theirs.

How much is your budget?

How much room do you have to increase said budget, if need be?

How do you envision the perfect process between you and the content marketing agency, to avoid unnecessary disruptions and maximize quality content creation?

How involved do you really want to be?

Who will be the point person, or point persons, in your company to assign tasks and give feedback?

Having put some thought into all these questions will seriously help you during the selection phase.

A good content marketing service should be able to offer solutions within your budget. They should allow you to make as many edits to the content as you want, until you feel 100% satisfied with it. They should also be able to communicate very clearly how the process works from their end, what tools they will be using, how and when the content will be delivered — and how flexible they are to tweak that process to match your needs.  

Always, always do a content marketing trial!

When all is said and done, picking the right content marketing agency for you is a bit like dating. People’s profiles may look great on paper, but only when you actually spend time with them, will you find out if the partnership works.

That’s why you should always ask for a test or a trial period!

At Scribly, we understand how important this is, so we offer all our new clients a discount on their first project. Give us a task and we will take care of it ASAP at a reduced rate, so that you can give us a whirl risk-free.

If you’d like to do more once the trial is over, our simple, flat monthly fee will make it easy for you to have as all the quality content you need producing at an affordable rate.

Maximum results with minimal stress? Now that sounds like the beginning of a beautiful relationship!