A Content Marketing Agency is a business that manages strategic creation and distribution of branded content while also solving problems, answering questions, and adding value. Great content marketing has the power to systematically grow an audience and incite specific action. Content strategy is the backstage crew that does the heavy lifting for your brand. It’s not the rockstar of the marketing world, but more of the behind-the-scenes strategist that helps the rockstars be the rockstars.
But I talk to brand executives all of the time that want to know, why when they go to review a piece of content from their agency before go-live…it feels totally off-brand. So why, when it comes to content strategy and production, are so many agencies missing the mark?
Here are my observations…
S.O.S. (SEO Obsession Syndrome)
Just because your blog post is stuffed with 437 keywords and lands on the front page on Google search, doesn’t mean you’ve struck gold. If the content’s consistency in personality, values, and POV is not in lockstep with the rest of your brand strategy, SEO-mongering could actually be the undoing of your brand.
S.G.C.D. (Slightly Generic Content Disorder)
It’s true, driving action for brand growth is a numbers game. But hurling 1,000 well-intentioned darts doesn’t get you closer to the bullseye than 10 that are aimed with precision and skill. What makes the difference? The easier-said-than-done undertake of creating fresh content that holds the essence and integrity of your brand. The person writing your content should have a high level of intimacy with your brand, that goes beyond snuggling on the couch. They should know that your brand has 3 freckles on its low back. Has an undying love for Keanu Reeves. And hates any food that even remotely tastes like bananas.
A.S.D. (Agency Structure Deficit)
Given the nature of how agency teams structure their who-does-what, it’s not a surprise that the people who write aren’t as connected to a brand as the people who do the actual brand strategy. And just like having someone tell you about scuba diving in Belize will never be the same as feeling the salty water on your skin and seeing the real thing in living color, reading a few passed down notes on a brand’s UVP isn’t enough. Agencies who have writers that are savvy to and involved in brand strategy work will absorb and understand the big picture and nuanced bits that completely elevate the quality of the content.
So what makes a content strategy agency worth your brand’s time and money (and how can you tell the duds from the studs)?
A.S.W.B.S. (Always Start With Brand Strategy)
It’s all about sequence. If a content strategy agency doesn’t start with brand strategy, their tactical piece will miss the mark and, in turn, skew outcomes and taint any efforts to effectively monitor the metrics that steer your project’s course.
A good content strategy agency ALWAYS starts with brand strategy and from there will integrate your brand’s business goals with content THAT:
- Is written by a trained copywriter who understands brand strategy
- Is on-brand with your Unique Value Proposition, tone, and voice
- Is relevant to a particular stage of the buyer’s journey and geared to move them seamlessly into the next stage
- Leverages assets that will resonate with your target audience; blog posts, emails, ebooks, white papers, buyer’s guides, case studies, videos, stories, pins, and more
- Incites specific actions and/or builds a primed audience
- Is optimized with targeted SEO and keywords
- Contains READ-ME-NOW copy that’s easy to digest
- Can be tested, tweaked, and tested again
Working with an agency that doesn’t start with brand strategy is about as effective as spending thousands of dollars of a new, totally custom-designed wardrobe without having your measurements taken or telling the tailor what pieces you need.
Who knows what you’ll end up with—maybe something pretty, but not what your brand wants or needs.
We know that no brand wants to get stuck with an agency suffering from S.O.S., S.G.C.D., or A.S.D.. If you’re ready to bring your brand to life with content and social that personifies your business, grows your community, and amplifies your impact, let’s get in touch.
In your corner,