5 Questions to Ask a Potential Content Marketing Partner
I hear this question often when I’m out and about talking with corporate marketers and small business owners, and my answer is an enthusiastic “Yes! … As long as you choose the right outsourcing partner.”
Just like outsourcing your accounting, your website design, and other services, outsourcing your content marketing can save you a tremendous amount of time and stress.
The right partner will bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to the task of creating powerful content that speaks with your voice — and that helps you to build those all-important relationships that grow your bottom line. And finding the right partner doesn’t have to be all that complicated.
As with all those other services, you just need to know what to look for. Let me get you started with 5 questions that will let you get a feel for whether a potential content marketing partner is right for you.
- “What is your background?” A basic question, yes, but it will help you make an important distinction. All the recent buzz around content marketing has attracted a lot of “me too”-ers who just want to get on the bandwagon. Look for someone with a solid background in professional content creation. (That means they’ve gotten paid for writing content for other people. Writing a personal blog where they gush about their favorite TV series doesn’t cut it.)
- “What’s your new-client onboarding process?” OK, I tossed in a little jargon there on purpose; give them bonus points if they know what you’re talking about. This is where you find out how your potential partner gets to know you and your audience, so that they can represent your brand and speak with your voice. They should mention some form of interview process — either in person, on the phone, or in writing — involving questions that will help them get a clear picture of who you are and whom you want to reach.
- “What’s your process for creating and publishing content for your clients?” You simply cannot do this job without having some processes in place to make sure every piece of content (a) aligns with the client’s brand and audience, and (b) gets published on schedule. An experienced content marketer should be able to rattle off their process without hesitating. For example, Resonance’s social media clients get drafts of all their social posts the week before, which gives them time to review and send any edits in advance.
- “How do you report results?” A good content marketer understands that what gets measured, gets improved. Their packages should include reporting of analytics from all your various content delivery venues (blog post views, social shares, e-newsletter opens, etc.).
- “Can I see samples of content you’ve produced for other clients?” The right partner will be happy to send you samples of content produced for a variety of different clients. This allows you to gauge their ability to write in different voices and for different audiences as well as for different formats.
Sure, there’s a lot more you need to know before deciding on a content marketing partner. Think of these five questions as the first elimination round. If they do well, they get to move on to Round 2. If they blow it, thank them for their time and move on.
Which questions would you be sure to ask a potential content marketing partner? Tell us in the Comments — we’d love to hear from you!
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About the Author
A self-described geek who can recite entire episodes of South Park by heart, Rachel Parker has had a passion for content ever since she was old enough to hold a crayon (purple, please). As Founder and CEO of Resonance, Rachel helps businesses publish content that connects with their audience … and converts those followers into customers. She’s also the host of the Content Marketing Podcast and a sought-after speaker, having presented to many major business and marketing organizations. Contact Rachel about speaking to your group or business.