When it comes time to hire a content marketing agency, you’re looking for someone who will help you succeed. Ideally, you find an agency that’s as invested in your success as you are – an agency that cares about more than how much you’re paying it.
However, whether or not you succeed isn’t just about the agency you choose. It’s also about how well you work with the agency. It needs to be a partnership. And, yes, everybody says that, but the cliché is true.
That means not only do they have to be a good agency… you have to be a good client. You can hire the greatest agency in the world, but if you don’t help them help you, it just isn’t going to work.
In our experience, here are the qualities that the best clients bring to the table.
For content marketing to work, you need to maintain a certain cadence – if you go too long between efforts, you won’t be top of mind with the audience. To establish and keep a winning pace, you need to be responsive to your agency – providing answers to their questions, making SMEs available for interviews, and with timely approvals. When a content marketing initiative starts to drag, it’s the beginning of the end. Responsiveness is vitally important for achieving success.
A commitment to the audience
The best content marketing is unabashedly audience-centric. Sometimes that can get uncomfortable for your brand – will you create content around a much-discussed conversation in your industry, even if it bleeds past the boundaries of your company’s offering? Too many companies are fearful of writing about things they don’t sell, even if they’ve bought into the concept of not pushing product all the time with their marketing. The best content marketing efforts don’t get bogged down by this apparent conundrum. They are journalistic efforts that seek to provide answers to the audience’s questions… even if those answers don’t directly lead to sales.
Be honest with your agency. Tell them when things are going well, tell them when they aren’t. Be forthcoming when discussing your company’s strengths and weaknesses – it will help them understand the context in which they’re operating.
An openness to changing course
A smart agency will frequently bring new ideas to you, and possible new directions. Content marketing is evolving rapidly, so it’s important to not simply keep doing things a certain way just because that’s what you’ve always done. For your success, you need to be willing to change course occasionally. On the other hand, there can be a tendency to chase whatever new marketing trend emerges, and that’s problematic. You want an agency that knows when it’s time to make a smart change. And when they do, you need to be a client open to change – it will help you succeed.
If you’ve hired the right agency, you need to trust them. They’re professionals, and if they’re good at what they do, they should be leading you forward. If you question everything they do and wonder about their motives, you’ll never achieve the success you’re looking for. You also need to trust the process and be patient – content marketing success won’t happen overnight. Expect to take six to nine months before your audience starts to turn into leads, prospects and clients.