Five questions your content marketing agency should be able to answer

Content marketing involves a collaboration of editorial, marketing, SEO, PR and social media specialists, who work together to get the best results for their clients. But in the abyss of content marketing agencies – who do you choose to create your content?

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Great digital content has many benefits including increasing the time people spend on your site and helping your website build authority. Here are five questions you should be asking your content agency:

What is this content worth in ROI terms?

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Your content might drive traffic, attract social shares and spark discussion, but does that make it a success? There is no way of knowing unless you set clear, achievable and measurable goals from the start with your agency. First of all, consider what your digital objectives are – is it to build authority, generate direct conversions, grow your customer database or simply for brand exposure? Defining the goal is paramount – by setting the goal based on the need of the campaign, you can then measure the success of the content.

Whether your objectives are driven by direct sales or not, you should be presented with a robust content strategy following the initial creative brainstorm that you can review and help fine tune. When measuring ROI from organic traffic, your agency should be delving deep to look at the social share metrics, onsite engagement metrics and conversions, all attributed to the content you’re creating. Ask your agency what tools they use to monitor your content – Google Analytics, for example, can tell you if the content is attracting visitors through long-tail search.

How are you optimising the content for SEO?

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Content marketing and SEO should work together if you are to achieve the best results.

Through compelling content – be it blogs, articles, infographics or video – you can keep people onsite for longer, which will contribute to improved search rankings and support your website authority. But first your audience needs to find your content, to ensure its success and fulfil its goal. This is where content optimisation comes into play as a crucial role in digital marketing.

It’s important that you work with content specialists who understand how to use basic keyword research. This needs to be considered during content planning to ensure the key terms are included naturally. They should also know how to help signpost Google to the content through optimisation of images, video and the landing pages in HTML. This will include title tags, meta descriptions and alt tags. Adding internal links to other posts will also help to prop up these pages on the site.

How will you make sure my content is seen?

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Once you’ve created your content your agency should be maximising its value by promoting it on the various owned, earned and paid channels.

Utilising your own channels is one of the best ways to attract existing customers to your site. This includes clear signposting to your blog or content hub from the homepage, remembering to include a link in e-newsletters to relevant onsite content, and posting on social media…with a link back to the content.

You can also drive traffic to your content by using paid advertisements on social media, which will be specifically targeted to those interested in your brand or who are your target audience. Additionally, content network distribution is another way to get your message out, enabling advertisers prime positioning at the foot of articles on media sites read far and wide.

Earned promotion is yet another way to reach your audience. Your content marketing agency should be able to create content that can get media coverage. They should research and create a tailored media list with relevant press, influencers and websites, along with the headlines they envisage it picking up.

Is this what my audience wants to read?

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In order for your content to serve its purpose it needs to be written with the audience in mind – but do you know who your audience is? Your content marketing agency will use their insight specialists to create audience personas of your ideal customers. What are their needs and desires? What is their average age? What are their challenges? They should even be able to let you know what they like to do in their spare time. The agency can then tell you what type of content the audience will want at each stage of their buyer journey – for example, this could be blogs, reviews or FAQs.

Whether you are creating a video, infographic or article, it should always be relevant, as well as interesting, entertaining or useful, depending on the sort of content that appeals to your audience. If your agency produces content that genuinely interests your audience, in the format they prefer to receive it – be it video, podcast or blog – then you have the best chance of achieving your KPIs and objectives.

How do you use content to grow your own business?

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A content marketing agency might talk the talk, but do they walk the walk? Take a look at what they’re doing content-wise to market their own business. And ask them about it. Are they creating content regularly? What other types of content are they creating – and how well have they been designed? Do they produce whitepapers and intelligence reports? What sort of traction does the content achieve? What are their social profiles like? How many followers do they have? Are they regularly sharing articles, news and videos? By finding out how well a content marketing agency uses content for their own business, you’ll feel confident that they can do the same for yours. Take a look at whether their content encourages customers to stay on site and if it has clear call-to-actions. Are they offering information that is of real value and which demonstrates their expertise and authority?

After all, if the agency isn’t using their own marketing channels to full effect, what makes you so sure they will manage your content effectively?

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