Some forms of content marketing go back more than 100 years. But in the past few years, as organizations look for new and more effective ways to get their message out to potential buyers – and because Google has changed its algorithms so that greater emphasis is placed on quality content – it seems like just about everyone is getting into the content marketing business. We see advertising agencies that previously placed their emphasis on images now getting into words, direct marketing companies now offering content marketing services, and PR firms that never really focused on this type of marketing opening up entire content marketing departments.
These changes can make it very difficult for your organization to select a content marketing agency. Obviously any business or institution wants to work with an agency that will produce the most effective content to get their message out – above the Internet chorus – and result in sales. One of the key problems is finding an agency that knows your products, services, and industry.
Over the years, as a courtesy to editors, I have written articles on heating and air-conditioning systems, facility “cooling towers,” and building, construction, and plumbing issues. While I was able to produce the articles requested, the amount of research it took to produce quality, credible articles was significant. And while I worked to find trustworthy sources, because I did not know these topics and industries, I was never really sure if what I prepared was completely accurate.
To maximize B2B content marketing, look for a firm that has some knowledge of your industry. That way it will not take a long time for the firm to understand your products or services and how they line up against your competitors’. But be wary of a B2B content marketing firm that doesn’t really know your industry and what your end customers’ needs and challenges are on a day-to-day basis.
Producing “epic” content can prove very difficult in this situation, and it can take the firm several months to get its bearings. Compounding the problem, many content marketing firms, even some of the most prestigious, are in constant need of writers. The turnover can be significant. Just as one writer learns your industry and your products and services, he or she is off to another firm or some other profession entirely.
To help avoid this, before selecting a content marketing firm, ask these questions:
- How familiar are you with our industry?
- Have you prepared content that focuses on our industry or related industries? Can we see examples of this work?
- Are you aware of the challenges and needs of, for instance, contract cleaners? Facility managers? Healthcare administrators? Attorneys? CPAs?
- Will there be someone in charge of the account that is?
Before selecting a B2B content marketing firm, realize this will be an ongoing relationship that can last for years. Have their representatives visit your office. Get to know them and let them get to know you. Let them experience your company culture. The better the synergy, the more effective and fruitful the program will be.