Five ways to get the most out of your content marketing agency

If you’re thinking about kicking off a new content marketing campaign and hiring an agency to work with, then soon enough you’ll be preparing a brief for the first campaign. But before you do, remember that it’s important to think about why you’re engaging an agency, and how what they will deliver for you will complement and enhance your existing campaigns and investment. Here’s a quick list of our recommendations for preparing and delivering the best kind of brief, and some tips on what to expect from – and ask of – your content marketing agency over the coming weeks. 1. Set Clear Objectives For most of our clients, content marketing briefs are about driving increased leads – and not just quantity but quality – helping to get more of the right people, with the propensity to purchase their product or service, into the sales funnel. The best briefs we get are clear, structured and well thought through – forget trying to reach out to everyone and start with specific targets based on size of business, decision maker, vertical market product or solution. A good agency will interrogate your brief, challenge your objectives and ask difficult questions…ones that will likely require you sourcing more information from your own business. If they just nod, make big promises about increased leads and higher conversion rates then it might be worth having a rethink! 2. Know Your Audience Personas – a term bandied about in recent years. Spend time with your agency briefing them on what you want to sell, who you want to target, why they’d want to purchase your solution. Also take time to tell your agency what has worked or not worked previously. The more information the agency has, the better chance they stand of delivering the results you want. The agency will take this information, and combine it with their own insight, derived from primary research of the agreed target audience or of your own customer and prospect base. When played back to you, this ‘persona analysis’ will provide you with greater intelligence on your prospective customers. But don’t leave it at that – interrogate the information, run it past your sales and marketing teams, and make sure it all stacks up. It’s a critical phase to get right – as everything you do from here on out is based on targeting the agreed audience. 3. Tell A Story With all this information to hand, challenge your agency to come up with fresh and engaging ways to tell your story. This isn’t about wacky creative and huge budgets – it’s about finding a unique and interesting way of capturing the attention of your targets based on the insight you’ve derived. The content needs to take them on a journey – at Octopus Group, we filter this into three categories, The 3Es: what will Educate, Entertain and Engage your target audience. This way, each time you interact with them, you are taking them along a path of education (demonstrating your experience and expertise in addressing their challenges), excitement (making them feel confident and reassured that this is going to work and drive real value for their organisation) and engagement (that key step when they move from being a prospect to a lead with a real interest in your business and your product or solution). Get the agency to share a series of campaign ideas, ranging in scope and budget, so you can see the direct correlation between investment and results. 4. Channel Your Energies There are so many channels out there, it’s important to work with your agency to decipher which ones will drive greatest return. Talk to your agency about the different options available (paid, earned, owned, shared) and revisit the examples of what you’ve done to date and what success you’ve had. The agency will assess all of this information, and again do their own analysis of your data to make recommendations on which channels to use, and which to disregard. Ask them to also share examples of what’s worked for other clients – and what hasn’t – so you can start to imagine how the channels could work for your business. 5. Polish and Perfect Don’t be afraid to make changes – start simple and, once the campaign’s up and running, test the channels, garner feedback on the content, review the analytics, and refine your campaigns to constantly improve the results. If your agency asked all the right questions and did their homework, you will already have benchmark analysis to compare against. If things aren’t working – or if you don’t start to see the results you had hoped for – then ask your agency to evolve their thinking in line with your concerns. A good content marketing strategy will begin to deliver results quickly, whether that be increases in traffic, improved site stickiness, click-throughs, enquiries or leads. The beauty of this type of campaign is that you can track the progress through the prospect’s journey (those 3Es again!) and the smallest tweak can drive the biggest rewards. So, if you’re on the lookout for more leads and fancy giving this content marketing gig a shot then give us a shout, or why not try out our useful diagnostic tool