Creating an Agency Content Service: The 5 Must Do’s
Last week, my colleague Maria spoke about the reasons to set clear goals for content. These goals have helped our team immensely and have become the backbone for what our content service is becoming. Today I am going to bundle up those goals, throw some wrapping paper on them and package them as a present, better known as a content service.
It took me months to wrap my head around just how important content actually is to the overall aspect of Internet Marketing, but I have finally collected my thoughts into a quick, overall guide to creating a successful agency content service. Efficient content marketing has become more relevant than ever. The mind of the Internet user is changing dramatically in such a short span of time and it is our job to focus on those changes and properly cater to them in order to inform, entertain, and enhance their user experience with content. With that in mind, here are the 5 Must-Do’s of creating an agency content service:
1. Assemble The Team
By definition, a team is a group of people who are linked by a common purpose or goal. The two words that most stand out in that definition for me are linked and common. These two words speak lengths about the type of people your content service needs. Whether your background is technical SEO, PR, journalism or traditional marketing, you need a collection of colleagues who have same goals in mind. We all have unique skills that set us apart from our team members, and that’s what is most exciting about working at a progressive agency.
Take a look at The Avengers- all so different but when put together to fight crime, they very often save the world. Will content save the world? In most cases, no..But putting together your content service starts with a team of people who are not only passionate about helping the company’s goals, but also moving in a unique direction that will transcend what the industry is currently doing.
2. Check for Leaks in Profitability
Before jumping into creating your content strategies and marketing plans for clients, you must first find any potential leaks in profitability. Assessing content for profit is crucial when launching your service, for both your agency’s profitability and your client’s ultimate success. It sounds like a no-brainer, but sometimes, it can be harder than you think to make sure that each piece of content is profitable and isn’t actually costing your company money to produce. Try to stay away from charging “at cost” for content.
To gain profit, you need to account for time spent on the content project plus time spent editing; delegating that specific task to someone on the team and your co-workers expertise in ensuring it meets your clients’ brand standard. Our client’s happiness and success is very important to the overall growth of business, but it is important to make sure your service is remaining profitable. These projects should also help lead your SEO team onto bigger and more exciting tasks for the future. Content writing and SEO should always work hand in hand with each other.
Once you figure out how profitable your content sector can ultimately become, this is when you can begin jumping in to help more clients, assigning bigger projects and looping in the SEO team for their expertise.
3. Determine Client Needs
When the team is assembled and profitability is accounted for, it’s time to determine which of your clients need your skills. This will vary depending on your client base and the industry’s they live in, but in most cases your content team will have something of relevance to offer no matter what kind of internet marketing strategy your SEO team has put together. Different types of businesses require different types of content. Their industry, length of time in business and overall business objectives (branding, re-branding, launching a new line of service, etc.) may all be driving factors in the type of content they want—and need—to have created.
During this evaluation stage of assessing where your clients could use some fresh content, it’s important to take a comprehensive look at your client list to see just what kind of opportunities you are looking for. Work with your SEO team during this stage, because they know what the client needs to succeed. Sending out a questionnaire or survey may help you better understand where specific clients need help, and where you can stay on the sidelines.
When you discover clients that need your assistance, it’s time to dig into that specific industry. The first step to creating a furthered sense of trust with existing clients is giving them ideas that WILL help their business, not MIGHT help. If you have data to prove that they’re missing out on business opportunities by not providing specific pieces of content, this is where you can become confident in the work that your team can generate. Remember: if you can’t offer the best services to clients, don’t offer them at all. Holding your team and their content efforts to a high standard is important when jumping into new relationships and projects.Your client will appreciate you suggesting items that may not be within your agency’s current repertoire, but you may be able to help them find someone who can best deliver what they need. (This is where Step 4 comes in next.)
Be confident in your colleagues and the work they can hammer out, but also acknowledge where there are areas where you may not be able to offer them the best, most knowledgeable team for certain offerings.
4. Find Trusted Freelancers
Now this must-do may seem a bit out-of-scope, but from our team’s personal experience, this is a huge aspect to creating a successful content team. In reality, your team should be able to write on a number of topics. As they become more familiar with certain clients, they will be frequently delegated the same kind of work depending on their strengths and experience.
When content requests pile up and clients need work that your internal team cannot handle, trusted freelancers become super important. Whether your team is full of technical writers or not, there are just some industries that require a higher level of expertise and this where specialized freelancers come in. Find a solid group of freelancers who can report on specific topics that speak to certain industries, have reasonable fees and turnaround times and (most importantly) adhere to deadlines. Creating a unit of trusted resources will become increasingly important as your client base and content needs grow.
5. Package the Product
Seeing as though this is the last must-do, you are now on the brink of something exciting. The packaging process requires a financial-savvy team-member who has the company’s growth and best interest in mind. This person should spearhead the package design and make sure potential projects in the pipeline are surveyed for existing content opportunities.
During this last step, it’s important to make sure your whole company is aware that your product is ready to be released, and that up-selling is gladly welcome. Spreading the word about a newly-launched service may have existing clients testing the waters, which could potentially lead to further business down the road. Whether it’s new business or existing clients, your team needs a group of individuals who knows the team’s strengths and can sell these strengths down the road. A gentle nudge is all a potential client needs to realize that your team can help them in various ways.
Have you or your business been exploring the possibility of a content service, or do you have experience with content marketing ideas? Share your thoughts, stories, and comments below!