Guide me: Questions to ask when selecting your content agency

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Guide me: Questions to ask when selecting your content agency

May 1, 2023

 

May 1, 2023

 

Guide me: Questions to ask when selecting your content agency

WRITTEN BY

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.

I’m working on a guide that will help people choose a content agency well.

While the guide is primarily aimed at our key persona – marketers in B2B technology companies who are responsible for planning and producing content – I’m hoping it’ll have wider appeal.

And, yes, you might wonder why I’m writing that guide. See: the cobbler’s kids’ shoes. Sure, there are people who can help with this – either on our team or any one of a number of other agencies. (Even marketing agencies use other marketing agencies.) But the bottom line is that this is really close to everything we are and do as a content agency.

Which is partly the reason for this ‘work in progress’ blog post. Can you help me whip (WIP?) up the right guide, just as a handful of people like you, including some of our clients, are contributing with their pain points and deal-makers/-breakers?

How to choose the chapters for ‘How to choose your content agency: a guide’

To cut to the chase: what areas am I missing?

  1. Do you know the reason for needing your content – is it for your website, to post in the name of your CEO or other leaders, for lead-generation programmes, account-based marketing (ABM), webinars, real-world events or any one of a dozen other areas?
  2. Following on from that, do you even know the benefits of working with an agency (rather than creating in-house or using freelancers)?
  3. What kind of help would align well with your organisation? What is the size of your organisation and team? What’s the culture? You’ll want a good fit, even if the ‘big companies work with big companies’ mantra is rare these days.
  4. What is your footprint? Not just size of the programme or project in question but your intended use for it around the world (think localisation).
  5. How do you go about making purchases? This is a B2B decision and – like the tech buying we write about every week – rarely one person’s call. Is it a team decision? That will affect how you select.
  6. Indeed – what’s the role of your procurement department, if they need to be involved? What is onboarding like for your organisation? Will the agency you choose need certain certifications or to provide guarantees about things such as liability (yes) or data residency (sometimes)?
  7. What is your budget?
  8. What aspects of your content will you handle in-house – for example, will the agency execute on a content strategy you have set or will you want them to handle everything?
  9. How will they work? Ask about their preferred tools of the trade, approach to project management, and even contentious areas such as the use of AI or rounds of edits included in any price.
  10. Lastly – and this is just limiting this list to 10 – how do you get the chemistry right? Who will be your contacts day to day, what are the agency’s values, can you see yourself spending many hours working alongside the team they propose? (And you should know who will be on that team before you sign.)

This probably all feels a bit ‘can of worms’. And it is.

But content is a long-term commitment. It’s from now until forever, as we’ve long said. You want to make the right decisions as early as possible, to work with people who you can believe in, who get your role, your company culture and how content can help you succeed.

Above all else, you’ll need transparency – from you and from your potential agency.

You can speak to the team at Collective Content today about any of these considerations. And feel free to contact me if you have any thoughts or suggestions you’d like to share about what you think a ‘How to choose your content agency guide’ should include. Or you can just wait for my guide. I’ll take that as a compliment.

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