Before you engage a content agency, it’s essential to know that you can take it at its word. But when you are evaluating agencies, how do you know if their marketing is overhyped or if they are being open and transparent about their experience and acumen?
Many businesses will want their content agency to become an extension of their own team. All will want to be sure that their content aims and strategies will be supported and delivered upon. Let’s not forget the time investment in building a solid working relationship with any new agency either. In choosing the right one, it is critical to do some due diligence by checking them out and asking some searching questions.
In terms of what an agency says about itself, a good place to start is its website. See what services it offers and ask the agency for recent examples of work that demonstrates its expertise. You don’t want to pay to have the agency team learn to do something it has limited experience in.
What team are you actually getting?
If there’s a team page on the agency website, see how many actual writers are on the staff and if there’s a high preponderance of account people – that might suggest they work with mainly freelance writers. While it’s fine for content agencies to use freelancers – we do and are open about that – you want to ensure the agency has a sizeable amount of full-time employed writing staff. This ensures continuity and means that you are investing in a dedicated team that understands your business.
Also, find out which clients the agency works with and if these are mentioned on its website. Sometimes the agency client won’t want this information made public for competitive reasons, but you can ask the people you are talking to disclose this information verbally. You want to know whether the list of clients is current. It could be that clients mentioned include those that one of the agency’s employees worked for elsewhere. If you feel that the agency isn’t being truthful about its clients, ask yourself how honest it can be with you.
Client satisfaction says a lot
Another area to ask any prospective agency about is its client retention rate. See if the agency develops long-term relationships with its clients, ask how long on average they keep them and why clients stay with them. Ask to speak to the agency’s clients as well – and don’t be afraid to ask them to be open about the working relationship they have with the agency. If you are about to embark upon a relationship with the agency, it’s better to find out how satisfied its clients are first.
Social media posts also provide important proof points – especially LinkedIn for B2B content agencies. Try reaching out to those who have left agency reviews or endorsements to gain further insights. Also, look at the frequency of posts and engagement and if the claimed skills or company profile match up to the agency website. There are also online directories such as Clutch that can help you learn more about the agency.
A good agency should be open to answering your queries. What it says about itself should be transparent and should be easily investigable, either by a simple cross reference or by quizzing the top brass. Any solid relationship is built on honesty and trust. If there are early warning signs that you are being fobbed off – or worse – lied to, steer your search in a different direction.
Persevere until you find the right content agency and you should eventually be rewarded with a rich and fulfilling agency relationship.
Interested in learning more? Collective Content has prepared a guide called “How to choose a content agency,” which is the most comprehensive resource you’ll find on this subject: what to look for, questions to ask, how you’ll work together and much more. Download it here and get in touch if you’re ready to begin your agency journey.