In this article…
- What Is Content Marketing?
- What Is a Content Marketing Agency?
- What Do Content Marketing Agencies Do?
- What Kind of Content Does a Content Marketing Agency Provide?
- How Do Content Marketing Agencies Develop and Implement Content Strategies?
- Benefits of Contracting With a Content Marketing Agency
You’ve probably heard the term content marketing agency before, but what do these businesses actually do? Other than publishing content online, content marketing agencies use a variety of strategies and analytics data to help their clients achieve business goals by educating target audiences and promoting products and services. This seems a lot like advertising, but there’s more to the content marketing process than merely creating content and advertising it online.
Content marketing agencies establish themselves as industry experts and help clients solve marketing and promotional issues like where to publish their content online, how to grow an audience that connects with their business, and how to position their clients as industry leaders to accomplish specific business goals. If you have ever been curious about what a content marketing agency does, keep reading for more information about content marketing agencies.
Image via Diggity Marketing
What Is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a specific digital marketing strategy that uses web content to promote a business’s or brand’s products or services to a predefined audience. But content marketing doesn’t just focus on creating content for content’s sake. Its focus is to attract and inspire customer action through valuable, relevant content that meets a specific need or objective. Content marketing takes an audience’s problems, needs, and wants and prioritizes these criteria for content development.
Another key aspect of content marketing is the strategy development process. The strategy development process outlines a content plan with specific objectives and the approaches for tracking metrics that give insight into the content’s effectiveness, relevancy, and value to the readers.
How Does Content Marketing Work?
Four stages make up the content marketing process: strategy development, implementation, promotion and marketing, and tracking and analysis. Each phase has its own elements that consist of approaches that ensure a campaign achieves its goal.
Take a look at the elements of each phase of the process:
Planning and Development
Marketing teams form the foundation of the content strategy they’ll be implementing by outlining the end results they’d like to see (like increased sales or an increase in paid subscribers) and then set a projected deadline for accomplishing the goal. The team then identifies each element of the strategy like marketing goals, deadlines, KPIs, costs and resources. A marketing team also breaks down the long-term goal into short-term objectives, each with their own tasks and deadlines. The marketing plan documents and outlines all elements of the content strategy.
Content marketers develop and publish web content to the appropriate channels when they implement the content strategy they outlined within the initial content plan. Content writers contribute to various types of web copy, and the nature of the target audience usually determines what types of content marketing teams decide to develop.
With content delivery comes content promotion. Marketers use a variety of approaches during this phase to promote the content on a client’s website, including social media and content syndication methods. A delicate combination of SEO integration, tracking approaches, and regular updates in market analyses make up the approaches for promoting content.
Tracking and Analysis
Even before the scheduled end of the campaign, content marketers track and evaluate the KPIs outlined during strategy development to monitor analytics for key factors that help determine the content’s success.
Content marketing and its processes can get complex, and this is when a content marketing agency can be an advantage to consistently developing and distributing high-quality, relevant content. If you’ve come to a point in your marketing approaches where you’re thinking about implementing a content strategy you might think about what a content marketing agency can do for your business.
What Is a Content Marketing Agency?
Content marketing agencies are businesses that provide content development and promotion services to help clients increase customers’ awareness about products and services that appeal to them. These agencies work with clients to establish a content plan that’s tailored to achieve a specific outcome, like generating revenue, promoting events, gathering business leads, or building an audience. Content marketing agencies create and publish many different forms of web content.
Content Marketing for Businesses
Content marketing agencies work with businesses, brands, and organizations to create web content that promotes their products and services. In addition to content promotion, content marketing agencies establish their clients’ authority in their niches, and they work with business clients to ultimately build their customer base with the goal of increasing revenue.
As an example, think of a pet supply company that regularly offers discounts and special offers to its customers. Content marketing would be an effective approach in this case because the company hosts informational and promotional blog posts and articles on its website. At this point, the business uses a content marketing agency working in a business-to-business capacity to create and deliver content for its website on a regular basis.
Content Marketing for Individual Clients
Content marketing agencies who provide business-to-consumer content marketing (B2C) typically take on individuals as clients. In this case, an agency consults with a client and plans, creates, and provides content that helps them achieve a specific goal, like building their audience or promoting their sole proprietorship.
What Do Content Marketing Agencies Do?
Content marketing agencies use digital marketing strategies to develop and execute content plans that achieve objectives and drive traffic to client websites. While content marketing typically takes place online, there are a number of offline and in-person strategies content marketers use to increase a client’s market reach. The main focus of content marketing, though, is to create and promote content that provides something of value to the audience.
What Kind of Content Does a Content Marketing Agency Provide?
Content marketing agencies tailor content types according to what clients want to achieve. Several examples of content include:
- Blog posts and articles
- Social media posts
- White papers
- Long-form articles
- Web pages
- Product descriptions
- Landing pages
- Sales and funnel pages
Content marketing agencies take clients’ goals and build strategies to achieve these goals. It starts with developing content that adds value, helps audiences solve problems, and builds trust and authority for clients’ websites. This results in audience engagement and ultimately motivates customers to interact with a business in some way. Effective content marketing focuses on providing these benefits:
Providing Something of Value
Content marketing agencies direct content development to include only valuable content that clients’ audiences want to see. Valuable content that solves readers’ problems builds authority for a website, which results in higher search engine rankings and a consistent flow of website traffic.
Educating the Population
Content marketing agencies focus on educating the population (the target audience) about the value of an organization’s products or services. One effective way content marketing agencies do this is by using an organization’s mission or core values to connect them to audiences. Content marketing that gives audiences an informational view of a brand is more likely to build interest and retain traffic.
Building Audiences’ Interest
Effective content builds interest within an audience, leading customers to research businesses’ products and services in more detail. Building audience interest through content marketing is beneficial for creating a community of loyal customers that can become influential brand allies.
How Do Content Marketing Agencies Develop and Implement Content Strategies?
The content marketing process begins with developing a content strategy and ends with an analysis that tells marketers about the strategy’s effectiveness. These steps include:
1. Set the Goals and Objectives
The first step in developing a content strategy is the goal-setting process. Clients meet with content marketing agencies to discuss what they want their web content to achieve. This can be an increase in sales, building a bigger audience to market to, increasing the number of paid subscribers, or another business goal achievable through content marketing. Once marketers set the end goal, they’re able to break it down into metrics and key objectives that reveal the content’s success at achieving the goal.
2. Identify Metrics and Tracking
Next, content marketers identify the metrics and key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure. These are usually comprised of specific, quantifiable criteria that show the effectiveness of any content that marketers develop. Example KPIs that are crucial for tracking in content marketing include:
- Page views
- Link referrals
- Bounce rates
- Search engine results page rank
- Organic traffic
- Origin of traffic
- Conversion rates
- Open rates
3. Perform Market Research
Thirdly, content strategies need solid market information to drive the content development process. Knowing the audience is necessary to create valuable content that the audience relates to. Market research provides information that content marketers need to get the most useful and relevant content in front of the right audience. Several key steps involved in a market analysis include:
- Identifying target audiences according to demographic criteria like age, gender, income bracket, employment status, marital status, and region or location
- Segmenting target audiences into more focused categories based on things like demographics, purchasing trends, beliefs or attitudes, and needs
- Analyzing the target market to find out why they purchase certain products, what problems they need to solve, how they use the products they purchase, or determining what drives target markets to make a purchase
- Choosing which markets to serve based on market analysis and segmentation and applying this data to developing content that appeals to the chosen target markets
- Evaluating competitor success for additional information on what the target market needs, what compels them to purchase from competitors, and how to improve upon current practices or creating new approaches to getting ahead of competitors
- Projecting future trends through consistent analysis and revision of strategy approaches and predicting the audience’s purchasing behavior
Content marketing agencies typically consult with clients to determine the target market before developing content. This information helps marketers fulfill client needs and achieve end results.
4. Analyze Current Position
Analyzing a client’s current position means auditing the current content present on their website. When marketers analyze a client’s current position, they follow an auditing process:
- Logging each piece of content present on a client’s website, including blog posts, video clips, graphics, and long-form articles
- Assessing the current content’s usefulness and relevancy to the target audience and identifying areas needing improvement
- Comparing client content to competitors’ to find ways to improve the gaps found in the auditing process
Analyzing the current position is important for determining the direction of future content. Marketers use the information gained from these analyses to pinpoint exact methods that will work to improve website content and appeal to audiences.
5. Evaluate Content Channels
Then, marketers evaluate the best content channels for achieving objectives. Social media, blogging, posting videos, and hosting webinars are a few types of content channels marketers evaluate. When they choose the content channels to use, they ask several leading questions:
- Where does the target audience spend most of its time?
- What social channels host the largest number of the client’s target demographics?
- What kind of content gets shared the most on these social channels?
- What kind of content gets the most interactions from target audiences?
Evaluating the best channels to promote content can impact the amount of traffic visiting client websites and interacting with the content.
6. Plan Out Content Types
Once marketers determine the best content channels to use, they follow-up by planning the types of content they’ll be sharing on those channels. Different content types have different results, so it’s important to identify what type of content appeals to the target audience the most. Content can be long and informative articles, how-to videos, humorous social media posts, and more. The point is to create content with value to the reader. The type of content you produce is ultimately based on your audience’s preferences.
7. Determine Resources and Budget
A content marketing strategy isn’t complete without a detailed budget. Analytics tools, promotional outlets, advertisements, and employee income are important factors to consider to determine the maximum campaign budget. This information is essential to identify where and how to allocate resources. Content marketers ask several guiding questions in this step, including:
- What is the overall budget?
- What are the most effective analytics tools to use?
- What resources does the marketing team need to complete the project?
8. Develop a Content Schedule
The budget and resources are helpful to develop a content schedule so audiences receive valuable content on a regular basis. Because there are so many ways to schedule publishing deadlines, the content schedule isn’t static. Marketers can update deadlines as they need to in order to meet objectives and provide worth to readers.
9. Create and Distribute Content
Content marketers create content and distribute it according to the predefined schedule. Each time content is published to clients’ websites, marketers track and analyze key performance indicators that provide information on how well the content performs to attract and build a readership.
10. Promote and Market Content
When content marketers distribute content online, they implement strategies to promote the content and market it to the right audiences. Marketers promote web content in a variety of ways including social media engagement, syndication, incorporating optimization approaches, or online advertisements designed to gain readers’ interest. Promoting content always aims for traffic generation to achieve an objective like making a sale or building a list of leads.
11. Evaluation and Analysis
Each time content is delivered, content marketers track and measure its progress. The progress and overall success of the delivered content are two factors that determine a content strategy’s effectiveness. Web analytics tools that track essential KPIs (like total organic traffic) and that measure search engine rankings are crucial to evaluate how successfully content is marketed to the appropriate target audience.
Benefits of Contracting With a Content Marketing Agency
Content marketing agencies can benefit clients through consistent content delivery and promotion, streamlined approaches to marketing, providing expert and industry knowledge, and the ability to free up businesses so professionals can focus their efforts in other areas of their organization.
Consistent Content Delivery and Promotion
Content agencies provide web content on a consistent basis and work to promote each piece of content they deliver. Depending on the client’s specific needs and goals, content marketing agencies continuously update their methods for the execution of content plans and the promotional avenues they use to reach target audiences.
A Streamlined Approach to Marketing
Content marketing agencies use streamlined approaches to marketing content. While business professionals typically find ways to market their products and services that can drastically differ from one strategy to the next, a content agency takes away the noise of less effective marketing approaches to find only the most relevant methods that suit clients’ specific content needs.
Freeing Up Businesses for Other Processes
Marketing takes up a lot of time and business professionals usually have other priorities and urgent tasks to attend to. Content marketing agencies take over the planning and execution of content marketing so business clients can focus on what’s important for their business.
Expert Knowledge in Applying SEO Strategies
Content marketing agencies help take the guess-work out of developing content strategies through research, analysis, and consistent updates to create content that appeals to clients’ audiences.
What to Look For in a Content Marketing Agency
If you’re looking for a content marketing agency or you’re curious about how a content marketing agency can fit your unique business needs, there are several approaches you can take to find the perfect fit. It’s important to look for several key traits to make sure the content marketing agency you work with delivers on your goals and provides a return on your marketing investment.
High-Quality, Useful Content
The content marketing agency you choose to work with should be able to provide high-quality and useful content. If the content isn’t relevant or doesn’t provide value to the reader, it probably won’t do much to generate quality traffic to your website. Look for content marketing agencies that consistently deliver content that meets the needs of the audience.
A Solid Strategy and Process
The content marketing agency needs to have solid content strategies and processes in place that they follow every time they plan, develop, and deliver content. The strategies don’t have to be the same for every client, but it’s important that the agency has a specific methodology for fitting clients’ needs that achieve their goals.
A Focus on Your Business’s Goals
Content marketing agencies should be focused on meeting objectives and achieving goals set at the beginning of a content plan. Every time marketers deliver and promote web content, they focus on what it does to achieve your business goals. Contracting with a content marketing agency should propel you toward what you want to achieve for your business.
Effective content marketing focuses on the audience, first and foremost. An expert-level content marketing agency knows this. It’s crucial to building trust with your audience and maintaining customer relationships. Promotional approaches take a step behind audience engagement, and a content marketing agency that focuses on providing value to your customers is something to look for.
Industry and Subject Matter Knowledge
The content you publish to your business site needs to establish authority and position you as an industry expert. Content marketing agencies need to provide you with content that accomplishes this end goal. Work with a content marketing agency that is an expert in your industry and establishes a subject matter knowledge that increases your content authority.
Plans for Current and Future Needs
Content marketing agencies plan for the future. Look for agencies that not only work toward current goals but find ways to plan for future marketing approaches, too. You want a content marketing agency that continuously advances your rankings, provides value, and generates business through web content.
A content marketing agency can provide a valuable strategy for reaching target audiences and growing your business.