Hiring a B2B content marketing agency can be a valuable investment if you plan to keep up with your competitors. In a recent survey by Statista, 46 percent of respondents stated they were planning to increase their B2B content marketing spending in the next 12 months.
Perhaps one of the most significant reasons for outsourcing this element of marketing is that content marketing requires a wide variety of resources. In other words, it requires a team. Yet, according to the 2020 Annual B2B Content Marketing Report, few companies have that.
In fact, 35 percent of respondents said their company doesn’t have an associate dedicated to content marketing full-time, and 49 percent said their company outsources at least one content marketing activity.
If you’re thinking about outsourcing this work to a B2B content marketing agency, here’s what you need to know to choose the right one.
Why Hire an Agency?
Many companies have been burned by marketing agencies who say they can do it all, but really—they fall short. They give you a long list of things to do, but don’t execute. Or they execute poorly, doing more harm to your website and SEO than good.
However, the reality is: developing B2B content can be a time-consuming activity, requiring special SEO and writing expertise. Yet, Google continually repeats every single year: quality content is critical to your SEO value.
Partnering with the right content marketing agency can help you achieve the page one results you want to see.
What Does a Content Marketing Agency Do?
It seems like everywhere you look there’s a new digital marketing agency offering their service. There are 13.85K advertising agencies in the U.S. alone. The key thing, however, is to look for an agency that specializes in B2B content marketing. This type of agency can help:
- Drive traffic to your website
- Get you to the first page of Google
- Position your company as experts in your industry
- Educate your audience, increasing conversion and enhancing your brand
Different agencies have their own strengths. Some may be skilled at email campaigns or social media—others produce great blog content. Some may have expertise in particular industries or specialize in B2C or B2B.
As a B2B organization, it’s important to find an agency that, at the very least, has experience in this area of business. These agencies understand the specific needs of a business audience. Speaking to consumers is much different than speaking to CEOs, executives and managers.
How Do You Find the Right Agency?
With so many options, it can be hard to find the right agency. Use the following as a checklist for finding the best B2B content marketing for your needs.
Determine your needs.
Before you start researching agencies, it’s important that you know what exactly you’re looking for. For example, are you looking for a full-service agency that will provide everything, from a full strategy to total execution? Or are you looking to focus on just one or two areas, like link building or content writing?
This information will help you find the agency best suited to handle that work. For example, a small agency specializing in link building may be a better fit than a full-service agency if that’s all you’re looking for.
Understand their expertise.
Not all agencies are created equal. Look for an agency that specializes in exactly what you need. If possible, find an agency that specializes in the service you’re looking for and has experience in your industry. While this isn’t necessary for all industries, those operating in niche or technical industries may get a better result working with someone who understands the ins and outs.
Make your expectations clear from the beginning.
Just as with any relationship, the more clearly you lay out your expectations, the better chance you have of building a successful partnership. This is why it’s important to be clear with any potential agency from the start. For example, how much direction do you expect to receive? How will you be measuring their success? Make sure your expectations and their offerings match up before signing a contract.
Ask about their process.
Every agency has a different process for working with clients, from software used to workflows implemented. Understanding their process is just one more small detail that can help you determine whether they’re the right for you or not.
Here are some questions to ask about their process:
- How much direction do they expect from you?
- What is their typical turnaround time for content?
- What steps are involved?
- Who on your team will they need to work with?
- How often do they expect to connect, have meetings and check-in?
- Which software do they use to track projects and timelines?
Look for red flags.
In your search for a B2B content marketing agency, be on the lookout for warning signs. Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- Ultra-low prices
- Promised high returns
- Long communication delays
- No portfolio
- Poor-quality portfolio
- Poor-quality website
- Bad online reviews
If you’re uncertain about an agency, ask for references. Avoid the temptation to overlook red flags because of a low price tag. If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
Interview for a culture fit.
Hiring an agency is not unlike hiring an employee. As with any partner with whom you work closely, it’s important to see if they align with your culture and values. Get face-to-face with any team member that you’ll be working with. Ask questions similar to what you would ask a prospective associate, making sure to cover the values that are the most important to you.
Ultimately, this is about how you feel when you interact with them.
- Do you get a good feeling?
- Are they speaking your language?
- Do you enjoy talking with them?
Put quality above budget.
High-quality content and SEO work don’t come at a discounted price. When it comes to creating content or getting to page one of Google, if you cut corners, you’ll feel the consequences, one way or another.
It might be cheap to outsource to a no-name team that offers amazing prices, you’ll get what you pay for. What’s more, you may end up spending too much time hand-holding and fixing mistakes.
The worst-case scenario is that the work they do is detrimental to your brand and even your SEO rankings, giving you a Google penalty that can affect your traffic and brand reputation.
The best-case scenario is that you find an agency that speaks your language, specializes in what you need help with, and gives you even better results than you’d hoped for. That’s what we do at Jessica Thiefels Consulting, so be sure to check our content marketing services.
Find a Great B2B Content Marketing Agency
Well-done content marketing is an investment in your long-term success. While the vetting process may take some time and effort, it’s well worth every step to make sure your new B2B content marketing partner will help you reach your business goals.
Are you a B2B organization looking for content marketing support?
Tell us more about what you need and we’ll be in touch!