8 Questions to Ask Your Content Marketing Agency How to Find the Right Team for Your Small Business

How to Find the Right Team for Your Small Business
7th, 2020
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder
7th, 2020
Keyhole - Digital Marketing Agency - Joe Dudeck
Joe Dudeck
President + Founder

Managing the many components of a marketing strategy and ensuring it becomes successful is a lot to handle. How can one organization possibly keep an eye on every factor between social media management, e-mail marketing campaigns, and, especially, SEO? Hence, why hiring a content marketing agency is becoming the new norm with 73% of major organizations having someone manage their content marketing strategy.

Keep in mind too, not every content marketing agency is created equal. Remember this when you’re on the prowl to find that perfect match; the one who will boost your domain authority and organic traffic. Here are eight questions to ensure you evaluate a partner that will help deliver relevant, engaging content and a strategy built on data and insight.

8 Questions to Ask Your Content Marketing Agency

1. What is your experience in our industry?

If the content marketing agency has had previous clients within the industry, they will have a solid understanding of what makes for compelling content, provide access to thought leaders, and open opportunities for industry resources.

However, industry knowledge doesn’t make or break a decision to hire. It’s just one of many factors to consider. If a client hasn’t had experience in the field, they should offer up some legitimate tools and data-driven strategies. The demand for content is at an all-time high and quality ranks over quantity so their explanation is essential.

They should provide insight into:

  • What tools are going to be used to source content or secure opportunities for your team on high ranking sites?
  • How they will conduct keyword research within the industry, along with long-tail keywords, and potential seasonal keywords or topics?
  • What tactics will be used to benchmark your content strategy against your competitors and the overall industry?

2. What strategies did your content marketing agency implement for your own brand?

Before you sign that retainer, take a step back from your business marketing goals and ask a prospective agency about theirs.

  • How did they decide to take on a specific strategy?
  • Do they keep up with the trends?
  • What have been the results of their own marketing efforts?
  • What key lessons have they learned from using their tactics to their business?

A digital marketing agency who practices what they preach is a good sign that they believe in the tactics they’re selling. They should be able to demonstrate that they are their marketing practices’ best case study.

How to Create a Content Strategy in One Week
To successfully convey the message and goals for your business, you must create a content strategy. It’s the pulse that beats at the heart of the most excellent branding initiatives, acting as the lifeblood of acquiring new business. It’s the secret ingredient in a brand’s recipe, yielding trust with clients or establishing a favorable reputation with customers.

3. What would be your process for helping us meet our marketing goals?

Instead of asking about how they are going to help you accomplish your goals, be more exploratory in your question by asking about the specific process.

It’s easy for an agency to answer back that they are going to help you come up with a sound marketing strategy if you ask how. On the other hand, asking about the process itself will yield more insights on the details of the strategy. If an agency cannot articulate their process in detail including the tools required and the frequency of interaction with your team, consider looking elsewhere.

4. How does your content marketing agency plan to work with our team?

The marketing agency you hire should be able to communicate what needs to be done, but they also need to educate you on how to effectively manage your marketing. Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.

For your campaigns to truly succeed, the agency of your choice should be able and eager to train your in-house team on the basics. This could include training your team to use automation platforms or interpreting data from the analytics software that they recommend.

Furthermore, an agency who is truly involved in helping you grow your business understands that your team’s subject matter expertise is a critical piece of the puzzle. How will they communicate with your subject matter experts? How often?

5. What tools do you use to gather data to strategize?

The agency should respond with a variation of web analytics, social media analytics, SEO analytics, marketing automation, blogging, and CMS tools all within arm’s reach to start.

Here’s a sample of what some of these tools are and their purpose:

  • Moz:  Ranking, keyword research, SEO campaigns
  • SEMRush:  Tracking keywords across both paid and organic channels
  • Google Analytics:  Tracking organic traffic, along with other marketing channels, and Search Console queries
  • Hubspot:  Marketing automation platform

6. How does your content marketing agency define and measure success?

Based on the tools and strategies they use, the agency should be able to communicate what they define as “success.” There’s more to creating the best call-to-action on your landing page or picking the right font size for your homepage. The marketing agency you work with should be able to to support their recommendations with data.

When talking with a prospective agency, ask questions on benchmarks, metrics, and analytics. Aside from asking on what should be measured, inquire on how often the report on progress should be made towards these metrics. What adjustments can be made if data indicates that the campaign is not working?

Lastly, when will you see results? Be wary of digital marketing agencies who promise that you can expect substantial ROI in a short span of time. Marketing efforts founded on inbound takes time to yield positive results. However, once you’ve built a mean inbound machine, you’re in it for the long haul. Think of it as a long-term investment with compounding interest.

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7. What do you and your team know about us?

You should probably ask this question at several points along the process. When you first meet with them, see what research they’ve done in advance about you and your company. Find out what they know about your products and services, your industry, your key customers, your role, etc.

Allow them to show you that they’ve done their homework too and are proactive about learning about their client. And if—after meeting with them and describing your needs—you permit them to assemble a quote, see how much they actually paid attention to the uniqueness of your company. Make sure they didn’t just cut-and-paste a strategy for you. You want an agency that is willing to pour into your brand like you do.

8. What do others have to say about you?

Ask for a list of contacts of the firm’s current AND past clients. You’ll want both because the contacts from their current clients will undoubtedly be their biggest cheerleaders. Of course, they may be hesitant to share past client’s contact info, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Plus, you may be able to find that info yourself by perusing their resources page.

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