Content marketing partners work closely with digital marketing specialists to create content for various channels, including websites, social media, direct marketing, and paid-for adverts. Content is used to help boost brands, create connections through social media, and improve search engine ranking (SEO). The key is to partner with a content agency that you can trust to deliver high-quality, original content with authority.
In this article, we will explore the role a content marketing agency can play in your digital marketing strategy. We’ll look at some of the ways you can assess your content partner and ensure that the content created will boost your brand and not damage it. We’ll also look at the reasons why you should work with a specialist content agency rather than a cut-price content agency, freelancer, or AI content producer.
What is digital marketing?
Before we explore what a content marketing agency can do for you, it’s important to understand what digital marketing is.
Digital marketing is a catch-all term covering a range of online channels, including websites, social media platforms, search engines, and email. Digital marketing is used to promote products or services and is a core part of marketing and brand building in every sector.
The goal of digital marketing is to reach the target audience, engage them, and ultimately drive them to do something you want – like making a purchase, filling out a form, or downloading a piece of content.
Digital marketing is driven by data. Agencies understand the audience, explore consumer behaviour, analyse data, and use these insights to create compelling content that resonates with the target audience.
Digital marketing activities
The simplest way to define digital marketing is a strategy that uses digital channels to connect with your core audience and boost your brand online.
Digital marketing involves a combination of channels, including search engine optimisation (SEO), content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising.
The key is to combine these channels to create a campaign and strategy that resonates with your target audience, establishes authority, and provides value.
- Search engine optimisation (SEO): SEO is a crucial part of digital marketing (and for many people, it’s the whole of digital marketing). SEO involves optimising a website’s content and structure to improve its visibility in search engine results. SEO is about ensuring your website ranks highly on popular search engines, including Google and Bing. Most businesses want to secure a coveted page one slot, but targeting long-tail keywords can supply a stream of visitors to your website.
- Content marketing: Content marketing (something we specialise in at 42group) is another essential component of digital marketing. By creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content, companies can attract and retain a clearly defined audience. Content can range from blog posts, articles, videos, infographics, and more. Increasingly, organisations are using animations, films, and other interactive content like infographics. Content is used to establish a brand as a thought leader in its industry and build trust with its target audience.
- Social media marketing: Social media is a powerful tool in the digital marketing toolkit. Marketers can use social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter (now X), and LinkedIn to connect with customers, share content, and build brand awareness. Social media is a cost-effective way to directly engage with your audience, sharing content, engaging in conversations, and creating connections.
- Email marketing: Direct mail gets a bad name, but email marketing is a highly effective way to nurture leads and build relationships with customers. Personalised emails, businesses can provide your audience with valuable information, offers, and updates. Email marketing can be automated using a range of online platforms you may have heard of. You can get sophisticated, and segment your audience and target them directly with key messages.
- Paid advertising: Paid-for online adverts and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising enables organisations to reach their target audience through targeted ads. With PPC advertising, you only pay when someone clicks on your ad, making it a cost-effective way to drive traffic to your website and generate leads. Google, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn (among others) all provide advertisers with advanced tools that enable precision targeting, bringing you closer than ever to your target audience.
What do content agencies do?
Digital marketing is driven by content. SEO, social media engagement, paid-for marketing and online promotion all require professionally written content.
Content agencies work closely with businesses to understand their target audience, brand voice, and goals. This information is used to create content that resonates with your audience and helps to create connections with your core audience.
Content agencies play a key role in delivering your overall content strategy, providing the ongoing content that you need for your campaigns. Content agencies work strategically, helping clients to develop a content strategy that combines the best range of channels to connect with their audience.
Driving every content strategy is a series of processes, procedures, tools, and technologies that agencies use to deliver content when it’s needed and to the highest standards.
Content agencies will ensure every piece is accurate and demonstrates authority. It will be proofread and edited to ensure it captures your tone of voice and brand style.
Once the content is released into the real world, content agencies will work with you to analyse its impact, optimising future content to deliver the best campaigns.
How to select a content agency partner
Search online for content agencies and you’ll find hundreds of results. They all basically say the same things (look out for those who say they’re ‘passionate about words’ – it’s a warning sign). But how can you determine if the content agency you’re looking at will deliver the content you want for your business?
Here are 10 ways to assess a content agency. It’s not foolproof, but it’s a useful list for narrowing down content partners to a selection that you engage with directly.
- Expertise and industry knowledge: It’s critical that you work with a content agency with experience in your industry or sector. Specialist content and copywriting agencies should (but not always) understand your target audience and be able to create relevant and engaging content without having to spend a long time getting up to speed.
- Portfolio and track record: Case studies and work examples can help you learn about their capabilities and their experience (see above). When reviewing case studies, unpick what the agency did and look for tangible achievements and impact.
- Collaboration and communication: A strong partnership with any content agency is based on effective communication and collaboration. Ask your content agency how they work with partners, including the mechanisms they use to collaborate. Do they use any online software to collaborate? What workflow platform do they use? How do they schedule work? (There are lots more questions, but this is a good start.)
- Services offered: Review the Understand the range of services the agency provides. Do they offer all the services you need? Some copywriting and content agencies only provide blogs, whereas others (like 42group) can support your entire digital marketing strategy.
- Pricing and budget: It (almost) always comes down to price. Can the agency partner you’ve selected deliver what you need for your budget? Some agencies can be difficult about the fee, but our recommendation is to be upfront. Tell them your budget for the project and agree on a fixed fee, or ask for a rate card and a breakdown of the work plan. In the UK, we’re often afraid of chatting about money, but doing so openly is the best way to build a relationship.
- Client testimonials: Does the agency have any on their site? If not, ask them to put you in touch with current or former clients. Any agency operating should be happy to do this. In fact, we did it today.
- Customer reviews: Has the content agency got any online reviews? Online reviews (good and bad) can tell you a lot about a business, including the type of clients it works with and how it treats them.
- LinkedIn profile: You can check LinkedIn to see if the company has a profile and the content they’re sharing. Content agencies should have a LinkedIn page (we do), and while we’re not always that quick to update it, we try and share our latest news and updates.
- Speak in person: Too many business relationships are conducted online without people ever meeting and interacting. Taking the time to speak to your agency and building a personal and professional relationship is a great way to understand if they’ll fit with your organisational culture. We’re not suggesting you become best friends, but this process can help you understand if they’ll fit or not.
- Test-and-learn: Don’t commit to a big project with a new partner. We always recommend companies operate on a test-and-learn basis. This means starting off with a small project and establishing the relationship on solid foundations before starting any big projects.
Can I use AI to create content?
Artificial intelligence is going to change the world, right? In time, it may do, but at the moment, it’s absolutely useless.
Don’t believe us? Try it yourself.
The content created is poorly written, inaccurate, and absolutely unsuitable for use on any professional website. But that’s not stopping some agencies from using AI and passing it off as their own. It’s why every piece of content we produce for our clients is accompanied by a plagiarism check and AI check.
When working with external writers, we use OriginalityAI to scan all content and check for plagiarism and AI content creation. It’s not foolproof, but when accompanied by our in-person checks and professional editing stage, it will help us identify poor-quality content that could damage your brand.
Is your content agency performing these checks? If not, then ask them why…
Searching for a content agency partner?
42group is here to hep. We work with leaders across a range of industries, helping them to use content to communicate more effectively with their audiences. If you’re looking for a content partner, get in touch.Get in touch