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5 Tips for Choosing a B2B Content Marketing Agency
Choosing a B2B content marketing agency takes time and consideration to get right. It’s much more than a Google search (although that is a good place to start). In this blog, we’ll give you some tips for finding the right content marketing agency that can help your company reach new heights.
If you’re a B2B marketer, then content marketing needs to be a big part of your overall marketing strategy.
Content has been king for a very long time. And its reign may never end. But due to recent events, many more B2B businesses are starting to invest even more in their content marketing efforts.
Because of this renewed interest, someone might be telling you, “Hey, we need to create content.”
Great! But that’s easier said than done.
Sure, you can start writing blog posts and creating infographics, but you need more than just production. You need a plan.
The problem is creating a targeted content plan and producing content that provides value to your audience takes a lot of time, resources and, most of all, expertise. That’s where a B2B content marketing agency can help.
B2C vs. B2B – Why B2B Companies Need a B2B Content Specialist
While the fundamentals of good content marketing translate from B2B to B2C, the execution and strategy are much different.
In a B2C environment, you’re looking to create content that will lead a consumer to purchase as quickly as possible.
The B2B environment is much more deliberate. You’re selling your product or service to a decision-maker in a business. The buying process is much longer, and your content needs to project expertise and confidence at every turn to sway those decision-makers to ultimately buy your solution.
Content agencies that specialize in the B2B environment understand these nuances. That makes them better equipped to create a variety of content that will help your business convert more prospects into leads.
What Does a B2B Content Marketing Agency Do?
A B2B content marketing agency helps your business create content that tells the story of your brand in the most effective way possible.
A good content marketing agency does this by creating a content strategy that will support your overall business goals. Then, they’ll get to work producing the content and distributing it through targeted channels to make sure it gets in front of the people that need to see it. Finally, they’ll track the performance of that content and adjust as needed.
How to Decide on a B2B Marketing Agency
Deciding on which content agency to go with shouldn’t be a rushed decision. You need to weigh your options and look at many vendors to find the right fit, balancing value for the cost.
Without a plan in place or proper decision-making criteria, it can be overwhelming. To help guide you and make your decision easier, here are five tips to keep in mind as you look for a B2B content agency partner.
Tip #1 – Define Your Goals
Before you start looking for a content marketing agency, you need to know why you’re looking for one in the first place.
What are your goals? And how will a content marketing agency help you achieve them?
Are you looking to establish yourself as an industry thought leader? How about generating leads? Or do you need to provide air cover and collateral for your sales team?
A content strategy isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. Knowing what your goals are when you’re looking for a content agency will help make those initial talks more fruitful. It will help you focus your initial questions on a vendor. On the flip side, it will help the vendor tailor their presentation to your goals, so you can begin to iron out the scope of work right away.
If a prospective content agency doesn’t take your goals into consideration and gives what seems to be a canned presentation, that can be a red flag telling you to look for other options.
Tip #2 – Seek Out the Experts
It’s one thing to produce content. It’s another thing to interview subject matter experts (SMEs) and produce effective content for a niche industry or highly technical audience.
If you can find this information, make sure that your prospective content agency has writers who have been there before. Look at how often they turnover writers. If there is high turnover, that could be a sign that the agency is only in the business of producing content and burning out writers as a result.
Make sure your prospective partner takes the entire process from strategy to execution seriously.
Tip #3 – Look at Who They Work With & What They’ve Done
Finding the right content marketing agency is all about fit. The best agencies know this, and there are plenty of content agencies that specialize in certain industries.
So, it makes sense to work with a B2B content agency that has experience in your industry – whether that’s software, manufacturing, healthcare and life sciences, or any other niche industry.
A lot of agencies will share lists of current and past clients. Look at these lists and see how much industry overlap there is.
The more clients that agency has in your industry, the chances are that they’re more up to speed on the nuances of your business. This will give them a leg-up when it comes to creating content that comes across as authentic to your audience.
And speaking of that content – ask for work samples, too.
Many agencies provide a portfolio of their work on their website. Look through it to see how well it can translate to your industry and your audience. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, ask them to send over some work examples.
Tip #4 – Make Sure the Results Are There
Transparent communication is key to the success of any agency partnership.
The right B2B content marketing partner will always be upfront with results – regardless of the outcome.
When vetting possible vendors, ask them about the metrics they look at as well as what reporting software they use. Make sure that you will always have access to your results through a dashboard or through regular updates from your account team.
Also, be sure to look at their case studies. See if their work has yielded positive results for companies like yours.
Tip #5 – Take Company Values Seriously
Company values are often overlooked. You’ve probably seen plenty of about us and company value pages on websites and think that it’s either empty words or just there to entice prospective hires.
But looking at it from a different lens, those values can tell you a lot about a company. It benefits you to take them into account in your decision-making process.
At the end of the day, a good agency partnership thrives on clear communication and acting in good faith. That’s much easier to do when your company values are in alignment.
Conclusion – Put Content in its Context
These tips will help you find a B2B content marketing agency that will help drive positive results for your business. But it’s important to note that content marketing doesn’t work in a vacuum.
To get the most out of your content, you need to take an integrated approach to your overall marketing strategy. Find an agency partner that takes this approach to your content marketing to make sure it’s in alignment with and supporting all your marketing efforts.