Content Agencies Part 4: What’s your superpower?

Content Agencies Part 4: What’s your superpower?





Content Agencies Part 4: What’s your superpower?


Tony Hallett
Managing director

Tony set up Collective Content in 2011 so brands can more easily become publishers and tell stories. This built on 15 years in media, from reporter to publishing director at Silicon Media Group, CNET Networks and CBS Interactive.

To any kind of start-up, investors often ask ‘What’s your superpower?’ What they mean is that ideally you need to have something unique and in-demand. Of course you should be to deliver and scale. But you get the idea.


But in agency-land, how different can one agency be to the next? As in many kinds of service company, your personnel can change from one year to the next. What is your agency if not the collective talent it offers?

In other sectors, we don’t always worry about this. Millions of people around the world work in convenience stores. Most of these are small businesses. But whether an independent shop or a 7-Eleven, Lawsons or Londis (my local), how different can you say one is to the next?

Innovation and having a superpower isn’t the name of the game. Execution is.

So maybe this whole ‘being outstanding at one obvious thing’ is not the case for every agency.

For example, in the world of content agencies, we often make a distinction between those that employ traditional copywriters and those of us who rely on ex-journalists.

Our friends over at Contently also wrote about this marketers vs journos difference.

To us, as an agency of the latter type, the journalistic approach means having a nose for a real story. Sometimes that can be troublesome. We gravitate towards content that a client might not want to risk, for example mentioning a competitor (whether positively or negatively). But we push the envelope and think that helps us create compelling, authentic content.
We’ve even written before about some similarities in journalism and marketing, though they weren’t obvious (My first content audit – a lesson in ROI and I was working in content marketing 20 years ago – I just didn’t know it.)

Our writers are used to working contacts, following trends, hitting deadlines by the week, day or even hour. It’s basically a different mindset, one born out of collaboration and a world moving fast around us. That kind of world sound familiar to you?

So a superpower isn’t strictly a must-have. It can help, sure. But more important is doing what you do well, with good people, and being sure-footed in the way you work.

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