In this blog, Josselyn Jara, Digital Analyst at The B2B Marketing Lab, highlights six key factors to consider when choosing your B2B content creation agency.
In 2019, the backbone of any marketing or sales activity is content. It’s become a necessity for B2B companies that want to grow their traffic, generate qualified leads, and deliver real marketing ROI.
After all, one of the most effective ways to reach your target audience is by telling meaningful stories that resonate.
However, while B2B companies understand the importance of content and the role it plays in generating leads, many lack the resources or in-house expertise to ‘get started’. These companies want to invest in content marketing but often need a nudge in the right direction – so it’s not at all uncommon for them to work with an agency.
But choosing a B2B content marketing agency can be very daunting – and with so many stellar digital and content agencies out there, how do you choose the right one?
In our experience, the true challenge is not finding a stellar content marketing agency but finding one that understands your goals and has the capability to serve your business well. This will make creating and managing your B2B content marketing strategies much easier!
To help you understand what you need to consider when choosing a B2B content marketing agency, here are six things to bear in mind:
1. Determine your company's needs
What are your business needs? If you don’t know, now’s a good time to establish your needs and objectives; they will help you identify what direction you want to head in with your content.
For example, if you want to increase brand awareness you might want to focus on thought leadership, opinion articles and market research. These content assets enable you to demonstrate expertise and industry understanding.
On the other hand, if you want to generate leads, you might want to focus more on gated content like eBooks and in-depth guides.
2. Write up a request for proposal
Content marketing is more than just writing blogs. It’s about understanding the buyer’s journey and client’s objectives.
Why is this important?
Well, today’s buyers are knowledgeable, resourceful and have complete control of the buying process. They don’t want to read marketing spiel – they want answers to questions.
This means that your content needs to be helpful, not promotional. The right content agency will be able to help you figure out who to talk to, when to talk to them and what to talk to them about.
P.S. Make sure to clearly detail what you’re looking for in your request to weed out any ‘bad fit’ B2B content marketing agencies.
3. Industry and subject matter expertise
The right content marketing agency will understand the challenges your customers face, your competitors, and the dynamics of your industry.
But they need to prove that to you.
So, when you find an agency that ‘looks good’, look for case studies that focus on your industry. These will help you to determine whether they understand your industry or not, as well as their ability to get results.
However, what if they don’t have the subject matter expertise, can they learn fast? If an agency is able to demonstrate their ability to learn a new market quickly and get a handle on the issues that shape that market, they’re certainly worth considering.
We would suggest providing B2B content marketing agencies with brief on a specific topic area and asking them to write a blog or article. This will help determine their level of expertise and gain a little insight into their writing abilities.
4. Do they create their own content?
Content marketing agencies should practice what they preach. If they don’t create their own content, then they’re probably not that bought into content marketing and might not be able to realise your goals.
You can see how bought into content marketing an agency is by reading their blogs, eBooks, web pages. If they have any videos, watch them too! This is a really easy way to see how authentic their content is, as well as check out their tone of voice, language, and expertise.
5. Do their values align with yours?
As mentioned previously, it’s not about finding the best B2B content marketing agency, but the right one for your company. Often, the main reason why agency relationships fail is a difference in culture.
Find the best agency for your business. Take your time and have a look around. No need to rush into anything – content will always be king.
This one is a major sticking point and become increasingly important over the years. In the past people would just pay whatever for content marketing expertise but it’s become increasingly apparent that some agencies charge an extortionate amount and can’t deliver.
First and foremost, try to find a B2B content marketing agency that can tell you their pricing upfront or at least tell you what the pricing is based on, so you know what you’re getting. It’s not about spending thousands but getting your money’s worth.
It's never too late to start with B2B content marketing!
Content marketing is a powerful tool when its well produced and strategically delivered. This does not necessarily mean that content agencies need to have a killer client list to be the best but consists the right capabilities to meet your specific business needs.