Setting Up for Success: How to Work with Your Content Marketing Agency
All this month, we’ve been talking about how to avoid B.A.S. (Bad Agency Syndrome), and we’ve established that choosing the right agency to begin with is by far the most effective tactic for steering clear of this harrowing experience.
But once you’ve signed on the dotted line, then what?
As tempting as it is to kick back in your chair and book a few extra rounds on the golf course, you’re not totally off the hook. The client-agency relationship is a two-way street, and while your agency team will take on the heavy lifting, they still need your input and guidance.
To set up your agency — and yourself — for success, you need to build and maintain an effective working relationship. And while each relationship is slightly different, here are a few essentials to get you started on the road to success:
Pack Their Parachute
When Resonance begins working with a new client, we spend a tremendous amount of time and effort getting to know the details of their business, including
- The story of their company
- Their brand character
- Their culture
- Their target market
- Their audience persona(s)
- Their competitive environment
The onboarding process may seem tedious — sometimes our kickoff meetings go on for two hours or longer — but it’s a vital first step in building a foundation for success.
If your agency team is worth its salt, they’ll have an intensive onboarding process of their own, and your thorough, honest responses can mean the difference between success and failure. Give them what they need and you’ll equip them to serve you well.
Stay in the Flow
While the word “workflow” causes many folks’ eyes to glaze over, it’s nothing more than a week-by-week timeline for creating, reviewing, editing, and publishing your content.
Here’s what a sample workflow might look like for social media posts:
- Thursday: Agency submits draft of the following week’s posts for client review.
- Friday noon: Deadline for client feedback.
- Friday afternoon: Agency schedules following week’s posts.
Let’s be clear: If your content marketing is going to succeed, your participation is not optional. Review everything your agency submits, ask questions, and suggest changes as needed.
Pay Attention to Your Analytics
Let’s face it: Reviewing analytics isn’t what most of us would call a good time.
But hey, if we’re going to get where we want to be, we have to know where we are, to see what’s working and what’s not in getting us closer to our goals. That’s exactly what your agency will highlight in that monthly report — plus they’ll add in some suggestions for improvement.
So when your agency sends that monthly analytics report, take the time to review it carefully, ask questions, and offer some input on their recommendations.
Even when things are humming along, a regular 10-minute check-in call can be an effective forum for asking questions, discussing initiatives, and exploring opportunities.
Sure, you could do all this via email, but there’s something about a real-time, person-to-person conversation that gets ideas flowing and elevates your working relationship. (And hey, you’ll save dozens of back-and-forth emails in the process.)
So if your agency recommends a weekly, biweekly, or monthly check-in call, get one on the schedule … and please show up. Those few minutes on the phone add up to a valuable investment in the success of your relationship and your content marketing strategy.
You’ve already put the time and effort into selecting the right agency. By sharing, collaborating, and communicating with that team on a continuous basis, you’ll build a solid working relationship that can turbo-charge your progress towards your content marketing goals.
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. To learn more, download our complimentary audio 5 Things You Must Know About Content Marketing.
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