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December 5, 2014

Cindy Penchina, President
The Key to Content Marketing: Trusting an Agency with Content Creation

One of the best ways to generate ideasfor topics for your blog posts, social media accounts, and other content offers is to listen to the questions you get asked by clients and prospects.

The week before last, I was asked the same three questions about our content creation services several times during prospect and client meetings. Here's these top questions and their respective answers:

How can you write our content when you don't know our business as well as we do?

Figuring out how to take advantage of the power of content marketing without the time to write the actual content is a common problem for many businesses. Fortunately, you CAN outsource your content marketing tasks, including the creation of content. Here's how we do it at Hudson Fusion.

First, we do an inventory of any materials by asking our clients for any content resources they have previously created. This can be in any form, including sell sheets, website copy, webinars, white papers, brochures etc. Very often one piece of content can give us the material we need for several blog posts, several weeks of social media posts, or entire email campaigns.

Next, we brainstorm topics with our clients for new content. The culmination of this brainstorming is the creation of an editorial calendar. The editorial calendar outlines what we'll be writing about and when we'll be publishing it. Once we have the topics agreed upon, our content writers schedule time to interview appropriate experts from the client's organization. One hour of interview time can give us enough information to help us create weeks of content. 

Will we see what you are publishing before it's online?

This question usually comes up when prospects are concerned about giving the role of content creation to someone outside the organization. The underlying fear is that the content won't be accurate, or the "voice" will not be in line with the company's brand. These two concerns are addressed differently. Clients will always provide final approval on content, although as the relationship between agency and client matures and our knowledge of our client's business increases, we typically need less approval over time.

What about the "voice" or tone of the content? During the first month of our engagement with our clients we are either helping to develop and define the appropriate "verbal tone" to support the organization's brand, or we are reviewing already established style guides for both verbal and visual brand personality. Publishing content with a consistent and appropriate visual and verbal personality is important. Think about what an animal rescue facility should look and sound like as opposed to what a high-tech software company should look and sound like. It's not only about what you say, but how you sound and how you look that define your organization's brand personality. Our job as marketers is to make certain that all communications with your audience support your company's brand.

How much time will I need to devote to our content creation?

This question is a bit more difficult to answer. Clients should always assume that they will have to devote SOME time, but the question of how much differs from client to client. There will be some time needed for an initial knowledge transfer, time for interviews and for review and approvals. There will also be time for collaboration on editorial calendars and for meetings to review performance and results.

Some clients will still want to write some content on their own, and we always welcome this. It doesn't necessarily have to be ready for publication. It can even be just an outline of the piece that needs to be written. Our content writers can take this content and edit for voice and for the style and tone of publication channel (a white paper is very different than a blog.)

A successful client/agency relationship requires collaboration and communication. However, the time needed to support this relationship is far less than taking on the burden of consistently creating and publishing quality content on your own. Your agency partner is an expert in crafting content that works online for lead generation, lead nurturing or client retention campaigns, so working with a marketing partner will mean less time for you, but more effective marketing than if you were on your own.

One of the major benefits of outsourcing your content marketing is that it frees up your organization's leaders to run the business, while your marketing agency works to bring qualified leads to your sales team.