6 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Content Marketing Agency

When partnering with a content marketing agency, enterprises have a lot of options and considerations. Outsourcing content is common, which can increase throughput and ensure high quality. In the search for the best fit, what approach should you take? There are some key questions to ask that can help you choose a content marketing agency, and we’re going to tell you the ones that matter and why. If you’re looking for a match made in content heaven, then you’ll want to keep reading!

How Common Is Content Outsourcing?

Before you begin your journey to finding an agency, you may be wondering if outsourcing content marketing tasks is a prudent business move. It’s your brand and voice, which internal teams perfected. However, with the right partnership and a foundation of continuity, including a content strategy and a voice and tone guide, it can be a mutually beneficial relationship.

Looking at data, you’ll find outsourcing is common. According to the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) B2B Content Marketing 2020 report, 50 percent of companies outsource.

CMI Research - B2B Content Marketing Outsourcing - choose a content marketing agency

Image: CMI

They are most likely to outsource content creation and content distribution. These are the aspects that require the most time and skill. This data indicates that outsourcing is a good model for many companies and that there are specialized providers of such services.

CMI Research - Content Marketing Outsourced Activities - choose a content marketing agency

Image: CMI

Next, we’ll go over those burning questions you’ll want to ask when looking for an agency. These questions will allow you to understand what they offer and if it satisfies your unique goals and vision.

6 Questions to Ask When Seeking a Content Marketing Agency

Once you have a list of prospective partners, it’s time to have important conversations before you engage. Here are the questions we recommend.

1. What Are the Costs?

While cost isn’t the biggest driver in satisfaction with outsourcing, it certainly matters. Your budget isn’t infinite, so you have to balance needs with cost. This is a good initial question because it could immediately eliminate some contenders that are way outside your range.

2. What Is Your Process for Working with Clients?

Next, you want to get a feel for how they collaborate. Content marketing agencies have specialized talent, including writers, designers, and strategists, but they likely don’t have specific insights into your industry and audience. You’ll teach them, and they’ll teach you about content marketing.

Let them walk you through what onboarding looks like and the steps after that. What will content workflows look like? You’re coming to them to make the process easier and more streamlined, so it would be a major red flag if they don’t seem to have any structure.

As this will be an ongoing relationship, you want to nail down how the process will work in the real world, so there are no surprises and everyone’s living up to agreed-upon expectations.

3. Can You Share Success Stories?

The agency’s website likely has some case studies, but this is still an important question to ask. Even if they can’t share the customer’s name, they should be able to elaborate on the strategy, tactics, and results. You’re looking for specifics that contributed to actual ROI (return on investment).

For example, you want to hear about how a company increased its content production, which led to higher organic rankings, more traffic, and other important content analytics. These stories will give you real-world examples, so you know they can execute a strategy to fruition.

4. What Is Your Content Marketing Philosophy?

This question is somewhat subjective, but it can tell you a lot about an agency’s values and culture. In the ideal scenario, content marketing agencies recognize the power of educating, inspiring, and meeting audiences where they are.

Not all agencies are going to think this way. Some are “SEO mills” that deliver the same strategy to every client and focus on ways to “game” the system. While ranking is a critical objective, it’s not the only one. You should never compromise quality to beat the algorithms.

5. What Type of Reporting Do They Offer?

A reporting package is crucial to determining ROI for content marketing efforts. While you’ll still have internal reporting, an agency should supply you with metrics and data regarding what they produce or manage.

Reports are only effective if they are clear and include actionable insights. Visualizations are important, as well as seeing progress with month-over-month graphs. Ask if they have an anonymized sample to share so you can determine if the reports will be effective in improving ROI.

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6. What Kind of Tech Do They Use?

Content marketing and technology have a strong link in the modern business world. Having the right tools in place eliminates manual work, ensures proper metric tracking, and integrates efforts.

First and foremost, they should use content marketing software. Such a platform delivers useful features that standardize processes and enable consistency. A dynamic content calendar is a must-have. It should be shareable and visible to all stakeholders.

Additionally, they likely use marketing automation solutions for email, social media posting, and lead scoring. Ultimately, you want to have alignment on technology so that everyone is on the same page. The integration of the tech stack is crucial for efficiency and productivity. If that’s not possible, the relationship could be bumpy.

Asking the Right Questions to Find Your Content Marketing Agency

When companies seek out any partner, asking the right questions sets everyone up for success. You’ll be trusting this organization to be part of your brand’s story and voice. When you choose a content marketing agency, you want to find synergies and sync on big-picture needs. Having conversations about how you’ll find success together is the best course for making a choice.

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