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Thinking about signing on a content marketing agency to assist your campaign in 2018? That’s a big commitment, but if you think about it correctly, you can end up with results that far exceed what you could have done yourself.

In this video, we suggest the questions you should ask your potential agencies to find which, if any, are the right fit for you and your business.

Audio Version

Video Transcription

Hi, I’m Ross Hudgens, founder of Siege Media, and today, I want to help you learn how to evaluate a content marketing agency. So, you’re a company, you need content, maybe you need SEO in some way.

You’re thinking about any agency, how do you evaluate them? How do you compare them to someone else and decide one is better than the other?

1. Establish Monthly KPI Expectations

My first tip for doing that is to get on the same page with agencies you’re evaluating with the KPI you’re asking of them, and ask and set expectations for what that KPI will cost on average, and also, how they’re going to go about doing that.

How they describe both of those things will tell you a lot about their efficiency, their capability to actually do that and, of course, the value that you’re going to get from what they do.

So, specific to our industry in SEO, commonly, we’re asked what’s the average cost you can generate a link at?

So, this general thought process is that the sophisticated people that come to us and evaluate us, as compared to other people, will come to us and say, “We know we can’t guarantee the links, but what is the average cost per link that we can expect?”

And with those people, as compared to the less sophisticated who do not ask those kinds of things, I can tell they know what they’re doing. And also, they’ll ask, “How do we go about doing that?” Most people know that we do content marketing and we do it through content, but that will help show how they think about link acquisition and if they do it the right way.

Other SEO agencies might say that they’re going to generate links for you, but they might do it through guest posting, or they might do it through some other kind of shadier tactics.

That will help inform your decision making process, and hopefully help you go with the cleaner, better option when evaluating your agency.
You may see two to four agencies that are giving you different price expectations.

These general things will help ingrain a goal for the agency and help them realize that they have to achieve that, which will also get help you get better outcomes for whoever you end up picking as your final decision.

2. Ask What to Expect Growth Wise

Next, is to ask what to expect growth wise.

I think there are lagging and leading indicators from a content marketing agency. What I mean by that is a leading indicator for us is that link. Yes, we’re being asked to generate links, but what we’re really being asked to do is hit a lagging indicator of search traffic.

So, we also are defining value not just through the links we’re generating, but also the rankings of that content we’re creating. Therefore, we’re also able to create expectations from a traffic perspective.

After six to eight months, what can they expect? Different agencies should be able to give you different numbers. And obviously, based on their proposal, what their costs are, and your confidence in them are going to be based on how they suggest they’re going to do that.

With that, you can better gain confidence about one over the other as it pertains to your business.

3. Ask for Example Work in Your Sector

My next tip is to ask them, for specific examples of work they’ve done in your industry.

So, every industry is different. Some are more complex than others. Especially in the complex ones, see if they’ve done work in something comparable, that they can make some strategic suggestions that make sense and clearly apply to that space, or they have a strategy.

For example, some spaces just don’t link out very frequently. So how are they going to generate links in personal finance? It’s hard to get links from personal finance bloggers.

So, if someone comes to you and they say, “We’re going to do a ton of infographics about money,” you should run and hide from that person as opposed to an agency that knows what they’re doing, knows that they have to target high-end news in order to generate links or tangential link markets as well.

That said, I don’t think you necessarily need someone that did exactly your industry every time. Sometimes, that can help in the right space where it is super technical. But in general, I think some general experience there will always be helpful and should be something you should at least ask about.

4. Ask Who Will Work on Your Account

And finally, when thinking about a content marketing agency, ask who’s doing the work? Who’s my point of contact? What’s their experience? What do they like?

And the same thing with the industry, there’s things with expertise. People like certain things and they don’t like other things.

For example, if we have a lot of clients in the lifestyle space, I’m not going to put someone who is male on very feminine brands because they’re less likely to be interested in that. They don’t know the space. They’re going to do worse because of that focus.

On the other side of the spectrum, maybe someone really loves development, maybe does coding in their spare time, and we have someone who is in a coding kind of market, like Codeforest or a website like that, you would want someone that shows particular interest in that concept.

And similarly, you’re also going to learn not just their interest areas, but their experience levels.

So, you’ll find out, are they a senior person? Did they just hire this person right out of college and you have that person leading your account, why are we hiring this agency as compared to this other one where we’re going to get a manager or a senior person managing it?

Obviously, those sides of the spectrum are very important for the performance you’re going to get on that outcome because agencies are so much about people.

Yes, the engine that runs it will help bring the best out of all, even the most junior person, but all of these factors combined will inform whether or not that content marketing agency is a great fit for you and your business specifically.

Hopefully, these tips help you find your next great agency. Thanks for watching.

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