Why Your Content Marketing Agency is Failing You
During the RFP process, content marketing agencies are tasked with coming up with grandiose strategies to drive online traffic and business for their clients. Most, if not all agencies being considered, will present a strategy that potentially could deliver results. But, what’s more important is the execution that follows.
Many content marketing agency/brand partnerships begin to fail after the initial honeymoon phase. Oftentimes it is due to not establishing certain practices early in the partnership.
Are you an organization in this same boat? Maybe you are:
- Not clear on goals and objectives
- Not seeing an increase in revenue
- Unsure of the quality of content you are provided
Far too often, agencies and clients are not on the same page. It’s the agency’s job to properly manage the relationship, ensure expectations are set, and clarify both the agency and client roles and what they each must contribute. Let’s take a look at 5 major content marketing agency fails that you should beware of.
Disclaimer: THIS IS NOT EASY!!!Far too often, agencies and clients are not on the same page. Here are 5 #contentmarketing fails. Click To Tweet
Fail #1: No Documented Content Strategy
Not having a documented content strategy is equivalent to walking through a maze blindfolded. Good luck! Because content takes time to develop, a strategy is absolutely necessary. This is the playbook for both you and your agency that will ensure all implementation tasks are aligned with your strategy.
A great content strategy should have an understanding of:
- Objectives: Why are you creating content?
- Goals: What are your goals for your content?
- Audience: Who are you speaking to?
- Competition: What are your competitors doing with content?
- Formats: What types of content can you create?
- Distribution/Promotion: Where will you publish, promote, and distribute content?
- Resources: Who will produce the content?
- Measurement: How will you measure success?
Not working with your agency to craft a documented content strategy up front can be the one of the biggest fails you’ll experience. This is the first step to setting and managing proper expectations, so make sure you start with a strategy before moving onto any implementation.
Fail #2: SEO is Not a Focus
No SEO. No results.
SEO is critical to the success of content marketing. If your content is not optimized correctly to be found online, then how are you getting a positive ROI from your agency relationship?
Because of how effective Google has become with presenting relevant information to any searcher within milliseconds, the search engine has now been etched into nearly every users’ buyer’s journey. Keywords play an important role in the discovery of content, but search intent will also be vital to understand.
Think about it this way: what questions do you get asked all the time by your customers? Type it into Google and see if there are gaps in what content has been indexed. Simple research like this can bear lots of low hanging content idea fruit.
Content is sometimes created, published, and that’s it. Before any piece of content gets the green light by you or your agency, it is important that the content is optimized in line with best SEO practices. That means checking for:
- A natural use of semantic keywords
- Meta descriptions
- Optimized images
Optimizing your content is important to make sure your content is searchable. The goal is to have your content show up high in the SERPs on page 1. Confirm that your agency understands best SEO practices and holds every piece of content to a high optimization standard.If your #content is not optimized correctly, then are you getting a positive ROI from your agency relationship? Click To Tweet
If SEO is not part of the process, your agency is doing you a huge disservice.
Fail #3: Only Creating Branded Content
Creating more non-branded content vs. branded content may be the toughest hurdle to get over in your content marketing efforts. Much of traditional marketing is focused on pushing out a brand’s message to consumers. Content marketing should be approached not from the brand’s perspective, but with a mindset geared towards what consumers are looking for, pulling them in with relevant, useful information.
Research must be part of the process, using the answers to these questions to guide you:
- What is our audience sharing?
- What are they talking about?
- Where do they hang out online?
- What type of content do they consume?
A great content marketing agency will battle with a client creating more non-branded content if they really want to provide results.
Fail #4: Your Agency Is Only an Order Taker
Disagreements happen all of the time in client-agency relationships, so it’s important to recognize if your content marketing agency keeps your overarching business goals and objectives top of mind. Some agencies tend to struggle with giving an opinion because they do not want to upset the client.
You, as the client, will always have opinions and should have opinions. It’s your agency’s job to take those into account while still maintaining their content marketing philosophy and expertise.
One of Robert Solomon’s 58 Things Every Advertising & Marketing Professional Should Know, he mentions:
“Fight about work with colleagues, fight for it with clients.”
It’s important for the agency to give their opinion, even when it is not expected. Industry updates and POVs are great ways for agencies to build a trust with clients, and spark new ideas.
Fail #5: Your Agency Doesn’t Even Do Content Marketing for Themselves
“Practice what you preach,” is a common cliché, and your agency should not be excused from this. Agencies should be actively using content marketing to grow their own business if they hope to help their clients do the same. A great question to ask your content marketing agency is:
What is your content marketing philosophy and how do you use this philosophy to fuel your business?
These should align. Take the time to check out their website to see:
- Is there a blog?
- How often do they post?
- Is there non-branded content present?
- Are they actively promoting and distributing their content?
- Are they capturing leads?
If they are not practicing content marketing efforts, this should raise a major red flag. A positive ROI for you will not be reached if your agency has not seen success with their own formula.Does your #contentmarketing agency practice what it preaches? If not, reconsider the relationship...fast. Click To Tweet
Content marketing is hard, and coupling that with managing the client-agency relationship makes it even more difficult. By avoiding these #contentmarketingfails, you will help spark a long-term agency relationship that will include great wins along the way.
About Eric White
Eric White is currently an Account Manager at Vertical Measures in Phoenix, AZ. Before moving west, he was handling strategy and media planning for three years at a media agency across a multitude of industries in NYC, and co-founded a mobile technology startup in Boston. Eric has strong interests in content, strategy, innovation, and data. Outside of the office, you will most likely find Eric with a basketball or an amazing cocktail.