Tips for Choosing the Right Content Marketing Agency

Tips for Choosing the Right Content Marketing Agency

Hiring a content marketing agency to help improve your brand’s visibility is a great first step to success, as long as you choose the right partner. We understand that outsourcing part of your business can be a big decision, so let us help you decide. While it would be easy to say Eight Oh Two is the best and leave it at that, the truth is, not every marketing team is a good fit for every business. Whether you’ve just begun your search or you’ve been looking for a while, let our advice help make sure you’re contracting with the right marketing team.

We like to remind people a content marketing agency is a partner for your brand to lean on for advice, analytics, and help with campaigns big and small. We’ll work with you to plan, create, and distribute high-quality content that aligns with your company’s mission and gets you closer to your goals. We understand that creating original blog posts and designing landing pages are difficult tasks, and that’s why we’re happy to step in and help, whether your business is limited in staff, specialized skills, or time. 

Instead of completing complex projects in-house, a marketing company like Eight Oh Two can design and write content on your behalf. Unlike a freelance partnership, an agency isn’t constrained to a single function; the content team’s involvement can move from strategizing to creation, and continue to distribution.



Before Starting a Content Engagement

We love when a potential client does a little legwork upfront to make the meeting as productive and constructive as possible, for everyone. While we can certainly help you set goals and create a strategy for growth, there are some pieces of the puzzle you’ll have to provide early in the process, so we know what you’re looking to achieve and how we might help get you there. If you’re ready to vet agencies, some orders of business you’ll want to have organized include:

  • An approximate marketing budget (with leadership buy-in)
  • Your team’s strengths and weaknesses (time constraints, resources, skills, etc.)
  • Current business status
  • The target business objectives


Top 10 Marketing Agency Selection Factors

In past jobs, I’ve been on the team interviewing marketing agencies and on the other side of the table. From my experience, many people overlook the fact that hiring a digital marketing agency is a partnership that requires careful review. You can learn only so much by researching candidates, and even delving into each firm’s website, blog posts, and social media won’t tell you how responsive or detail-oriented they are. These online sources are great spots to check that the agency practices what they preach, but you’ll also want to keep these 10 factors in mind when considering content marketing agencies:

1. Expertise 

You’re an expert in your field and you need your content to reflect your proficiency—a good content marketing team won’t need to be told twice. Look for an agency with the vertical experience needed to conquer the competitive landscape you live in. Next, make sure the company’s website, LinkedIn page, and social channels reflect its marketing prowess through articles and contributions within the industry. Clear, concise, well-written content on the blog can be an excellent indicator of the results you can expect.

2. Successful Portfolios

Would you hire a new employee without first seeing a résumé or hearing from a personal reference? Likely not. So, why hire a marketing agency before seeing search marketing success stories and testimonials? Finding positive feedback on the firm’s website, through Google reviews, or LinkedIn comments is a good sign a content agency is proud of its work and that past and current clients are happy, too. 

3. Skilled SEOs

Optimizing a website for search engines isn’t a job for everyone; not all content marketing agencies are adept at these strategies. Beware of a content marketing agency that offers a load of quick fixes and fast results, because those will hurt you in the long run compared to ethical search engine optimization (SEO) tactics. A true partner isn’t afraid to say that SEO takes time (because, trust me, it does) and they also won’t shy away from the heavy lifting required to get your site’s content up to par.

4. Investigation and Problem-Solving Proficiency

The top traffic for all websites comes through organic search, so if the agency you meet with suggests using only paid ads or a very generic digital marketing strategy, they might not be willing to do the work to earn those top spots. Verifying the agency’s investigative prowess can be difficult in a meet-and-greet, but you can always ask for case studies or an SEO audit to see who tiptoes around the hard-to-talk-about topics.  

5. Analytics and Reporting

Experienced marketers use metrics based on data, not whims, to recommend adjustments to a content strategy. Don’t be afraid to ask potential agencies about their measuring and reporting tactics. Choosing an agency dedicated to monitoring traffic, engagement, and conversions and reporting on the results leaves you free to focus on other tasks, instead of keeping leadership and stakeholders informed.

6. Industry Awards and Recognition

If you’re seeing ‘award-winning’ agencies in your search, these accolades do matter. Mentions on the marketing agency’s website for outstanding content, business milestones, or partnership recognitions can be a good indicator of the level of work—and effort—you can expect from the team. 

7. Strategy Development

Though most content marketing agencies won’t lay out the full strategy during the first meeting, be wary if their website features sample work and testimonials but doesn’t mention planning. If content development begins without a firm plan in place, you’ll be paying for blog posts and landing pages that might succeed (and might not). An agency that’s driven by goals and objectives outlined with roadmaps to get there is worth a second look.

8. Multiservice Disciplines

Hiring separate firms to handle all the details of your marketing program can be difficult to manage (and a grueling process). Instead, consider a team with the chops to optimize conversion rates through A/B testing or who can provide additional media services, from photos to ads. While you won’t need to contract with the agency for every service they offer right away, knowing the company can handle other projects when the time is right can take a lot off your plate later. 

9. Choosing Probity Over Profits

Regard the content agency team as experts, not interns filling a gap in your marketing department. If you approach us with a wishlist that’s void of SEO considerations, don’t be surprised if we suggest alternative ideas that work toward your goals, and you ought to value any agency that does. Remember, you’re looking for a collaborative partner, not just a writer to produce endless content and collect a check.

10. Great People and Partners

You’ll be working closely with your content marketing agency, so it is imperative that you like them—professionally and personally. If you aren’t comfortable with your point of contact, achieving a healthy partnership is nearly impossible. Review the testimonials, look for client feedback online, and see whether the culture and personalities are a good fit for your company. Rather than pushing off meetings and avoiding collaboration, find a team you like and trust, and lean on them like they are a true partner (because they are!).

If you’re ready to start a successful engagement with a results-driven content marketing agency, let’s team up! Contact us today for an SEO audit to see how we can help you grow. The Eight Oh Two team is well-versed in content marketing, search engine optimization, and paid search advertising, and knows how to get results.

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