So You're Thinking of Hiring a B2B Content Marketing Agency?
November 8, 2021
by Timothy Wier
Whether you want to generate leads or elevate your brand, content marketing is key to your business success.
Content enables you to establish your brand authority, attract active buyers, and nurture them into customers by providing value.
But what if you don’t have a good writer on your team?
What if you don’t know which topics will generate business results?
Or what if you just don’t have time to add yet another thing to your plate?
You could always hire an in-house marketer, but that’s expensive and time-consuming (especially in today’s job market).
The other option is to outsource your content.
Which is probably what brought you here: you’re thinking of hiring a B2B content marketing agency.
Read on to learn about the benefits of hiring an agency, and how to find one that’s a good fit.
Why Is Content Marketing So Important?
86% of highly effective organizations have a dedicated person in charge of content strategy. B2B companies who’ve published over 400 blog posts generate almost triple the leads as those with less than 200 posts.
Quality content helps you to:
- Demonstrate your subject matter expertise
- Establish yourself as a thought leader whose advice people will take seriously
- Educate your customers on your brand and differentiators
- Provide unique value to your customers
The best way to do this is through long-form content that attracts visitors to your site, then retains them as customers.
You may be asking: Can’t we just run PPC or social media ads and get leads that way?
I mean, sure. You can do whatever you want.
But without content, it’s impossible to fully capitalize on your paid advertising investment.
You need content to effectively launch a PPC campaign (your audience needs somewhere to land). And if they don’t convert, you need something that draws them back to your website.
But more importantly, all paid ads run only as long as you keep pumping in money.
Shut off the money train, and the ads stop working for you.
Not so with content.
In fact, when you invest in content once, that content performs for you in perpetuity.
So when it comes to choosing a marketing tactic, investing in content is a no-brainer.
What Does a B2B Content Marketing Agency Do?
Let’s start by walking through how a B2B content marketing agency drives results for your business.
As experts in content marketing, your agency will help you devise a content plan, generate killer content, and analyze results to make ongoing improvements.
The specific tactics will vary from agency to agency. But generally, it looks something like this:
- Develop a strategy to target specific keywords, pain points, and stages of the customer journey
- Create a content calendar with a clear, consistent cadence
- Generate high-quality content, leveraging your subject matter expertise during the process
- Research the market to emulate competitors
- Deploy and promote the content through multiple channels
- Analyze content performance and track progress toward KPIs
- Collaborate with your team on ideas, feedback, and ways to improve the process
Why Do You Need a B2B Content Marketing Agency?
If you want to scale up your content, then you definitely need to bring in someone to help. There are a number of ways a B2B content agency can help you:
- Help you come up with ideas and topics for your content
- Align your content with your business goals
- Research your customers to ensure your content matches their search intent
- Generate high-quality content at scale; beyond what your team is able to produce
- Marry skill execution with your subject matter expertise
In the best case scenario, the relationship between you and your B2B content marketing agency will be a true partnership. Each of you will bring skills to the table, working together to grow your business and brand.
Before You Start Looking for an Agency
Once you decide that hiring an agency is the right choice, the next step is to go find one, right?
Well, not exactly.
There are some questions you’ll need to ask yourself before you start fielding potential candidates. That way, you’ll know exactly what to look for, and won’t waste time on bad fits.
So here are some of the questions you should ask before you start looking for an agency.
How much involvement do you want?
Agencies can implement either a “done-for-you” or “done-with-you” model. The latter, obviously, requires more involvement on your part.
While any agency relationship is a two-way street, you need to think about how involved you’d like to be throughout the process:
- How particular are you about reviewing and editing content?
- Do you want to actively select the topics to write about?
- Do you want you (or your team) to review everything before going out?
- Will you want to analyze all the metrics & KPIs, or just let the agency handle them?
Get clear on these questions before you start looking for a partner.
Are you prepared to make an investment?
While agencies generally are cheaper than hiring an entire in-house content marketing team, that doesn’t mean you won’t have to fork out some dough.
In fact, if an agency is super cheap, that’s usually a bad sign. It means that they aren’t investing in high quality content writers, editors, and marketers; because those people cost some money.
So be prepared to spend anywhere between $1,000-$10,000 per month if you want a quality agency that will deliver results.
What types of content do you need?
Different agencies specialize in different kinds of content. It’s important to get clarity on what you need, so you aren’t wasting time talking to someone who ends up being a bad fit.
For instance, if you want an agency that can generate blogs and written content, you won’t spend a lot of time talking to video production firms.
Plus, it’s important to get clear on what you want your content to do for you. Do you want to:
- Generate highly timely, “news”-worthy content?
- Build a library of evergreen thought leadership pieces?
- Describe your products & services to support sales enablement?
- Create pillar pages that will build your SEO authority?
When you are clear on what you need, you can focus your search on an agency that can deliver those results.
Are you prepared for long-term growth?
Even the best B2B content marketing agency on earth won’t be able to produce results in a week or a month.
It generally takes at least three to six months to start to see increased site traffic. Before you invest in content, be aware that it will take some time for your investment to pay off.
But what about “quick wins”?
Yeah, I hear that from executives all the time. They want marketing to demonstrate their ROI now. (Actually, they want it yesterday.)
But this betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of how marketing works.
Marketing is a long-term play. It involves building up your brand reputation, giving value to your prospects, in the hopes of one day drawing in enough people to win your business.
If you want quick wins, hire a sales team.
Seriously. You’re going to be happier with the results and the ROI.
But if you want to build a following, attract larger, more lucrative deals, and scale your sales efforts, then you need to start investing in content marketing now.
Final Thoughts on Hiring a B2B Content Marketing Agency
When you’re ready to start vetting potential agencies, here are some tips to make sure you pick a good one:
- Look at their client list and previous projects
- Look at their team and the expertise they have in-house
- Look at their website, and whether they practice what they preach
- Listen to their promises, and make sure they’re not overpromising something (i.e. we can guarantee X number of leads per month)
- See how responsive they are, and whether they make time for you and your business
Remember, a good agency partner is just that: a partner. When you work in alignment toward your business goals, the sky’s the limit!