5 signs you're working with the wrong content marketing agency

by Nicola Dougherty on 22 April 2015

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We keep hearing that content is King but is your content marketing agency in control as Emperor of the Kingdom? Do they have complete control of the King?

Content marketing has come on leaps and bounds in the last few years but has your content marketing agency kept up? Even better, are they one step ahead?

The signs that you're working with the wrong content marketing agency might be obvious to others. We've all been there. It's like when your best friend is dating someone who just isn't right for her. All her friends can see it. Her family can see it. Her mum has tried to tell her often enough, but hey she can't see anything other than love hearts and roses, and he occasionally buys her expensive handbags.

It can be the same when you're working with the wrong agency. You think they're good for you. They take you for coffee, they make you feel special, they do as you ask, they normally return your calls, but there's much more to it than that.

Here we look at five signs that you may not be able to see at first, but once pointed out, you may realise that perhaps they're no longer who you first fell for.

Does your content marketing agency understand you and what you need?

Your content marketing agency needs to totally get you; you're putting a lot of trust in them. Your company has been built up to the point it is at now and you need someone who understands the work that has gone into it, and totally gets the ethos behind your business.

They need to understand the business and what makes your audience tick. If they don't understand, how can they be expected to convey what you do to your potential customers?

It's fine if they ask a lot of questions about what you do. That's how people learn, so don't get fed up with them asking. It's better that they ask and are informed, than guess and get it wrong.

They also need to understand your audience and work with them accordingly - with the right tone of voice.

You need to be able to get on with the team who'll be working with you. You'll get a gut feeling pretty early on whether they're the right sort of agency for you and whether the staff have the right skills to do what you're hoping for.

Did they do a strategy for you? Have you seen that pan out? Has it evolved with changes in the industry?

The content marketing strategy that they have done for you really needs to be a working document that you can refer back to for timelines and to check they are producing what they first promised. It's all well and good to try and hook you in with the promises of what they're going to deliver for you but are they keeping up with what they said they'd do for you?

Also, the strategy should adapt to changes in your industry or in the wider world. They need to be aware of changes that might impact on the industry or topical issues that might influence your content or customer base.

Are people engaging with you?

Your agency might have great ideas about content but is it reaching the right people? Content only becomes worthy if people want to read it. There's no longer so much focus on stuffing your copy full of key words to get up the search engine rankings, it's more about concise, informative and interesting content.

A good content marketing agency should have content writers who know how to make the topic interesting, unique and have the right voice for your brand. You're not just paying them to write words, you're paying them for the research they do and their understanding. Your content needs to strike a chord with the reader and make them want to read on, and come back for more. It's not just about how many times the content is shared, it's about how long people stay on the page.

If you've had good success with engagement but now your numbers are starting to dwindle, you need to look at the reasons why. This isn't a sign that your agency is the wrong one for you; it just means you need to work together to think about the approach. There's a real tendency for companies to write about what they think is interesting, rather than what their audience thinks is interesting. Your agency really needs to work on this and come up with some good content ideas to bring people back.

Are you seeing a good return on investment?

Content marketing doesn't always see immediate results. It takes time to build the content and then get the audience coming, and importantly, returning. So, if you're not seeing results for the first few months, don't worry. It can take time to get to the point where you want to be. But, if your agency has been working for you for more than six months and you're yet to see any changes from where you were before, then it's time to look at the reasons for this.

Has your audience increased? Have you moved up the rankings in search engines? If the answer's no, then something isn't working.

The proof is in the pudding....it may be common sense, but is what they're producing good?

Sure, you'll have checked out their testimonials before hand. Didn't you? If they say they've produced 100s of different videos yet only have one or two testimonials on their site then you need to ask yourself why the other companies are keeping shtum.

Do they produce good content of their own? If they can't create good content for themselves, a company they know inside out, then there's a chance that they won't create good content for you either.

If they keep sending you content to approve and you don't like it, then the chances are that they don't get you. Also, if it's littered with errors, then you need to look elsewhere. Yeah, we all get that mistakes happen but when you're paying for them to get things right, maybe you need to start thinking about whether hiring them was a mistake.

No one is perfect, although, ahem, some people come pretty close, but if you're reading this thinking that you can relate to some of these points, then there may be a problem. Your relationship may need a bit of counselling, or you might need to call it a day and move on to someone new who can deliver what they promise on that first date. We could be that someone new. Give us a call!

 

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Nicola Dougherty

Written by Nicola Dougherty

Hi! I'm Nicola, a PR/Outreach Exec. at Wyzowl. I love writing, I'm obsessed with watching the news, and I sometimes think in shorthand. I have three daughters so have limited time for hobbies. Trying to drink a cup of tea while it's still hot is enough of a daily challenge. I hope you enjoyed the blog post.