Lynn Tan of TNT Express believes content marketing agencies should provide strategic counsel to clients.

Similar to dating, choosing your ideal content marketing partner can be tough. With the myriad of options in front of you, what should you look for when choosing your content marketing match?

To answer that question, I spoke with Danielle Uskovic, Head of Digital & Social Marketing for Lenovo Asia Pacific and Lynn Tan, Marketing Manager, Content, AMEA at TNT Express Worldwide B.V.

Here are their tips on things you should look for when hiring a content marketing agency.

1. Strategic content marketing counsel

“ Not many agencies are able to provide strategic counsel to clients with the understanding of marketing and sales attribution, says Tan. “What is missing is the ability to understand and ask the right questions about the client’s’ business objectives. If a content marketing agency is able to align these objectives into a tangible action plan and measurable results, they’ve already won half the battle.”

2. Creative ways to repurpose content

“When an agency is pitching to me, I’m looking for their creative approach,” says Uskovic. “Content today needs to be produced for multiple channels, networks and mediums. For example, if my hero content is a whitepaper research piece, I need to see how the agency can creatively slice and dice this into an interactive ebook, infographics, webinars, various video formats, multiple social posts, podcasts and other formats. B2B content can be boring, so I’m also after the creative approach to make the content more fun and sexy to my target B2B audience.”

3. Understanding of your target audience and channels

“Understanding where the clients’ target audiences are is important,” explains Tan. “Also important is the agency’s ability to find out what are the existing platforms or channels their clients own, what can be used with minimal reinvention and to consolidate resources to maximize reach. Clients appreciate the proactiveness of a holistic approach, rather than getting a proposal to invest more man-hours to hire an external headcount just to manage social media distributions and traffic.”

4. Knowledge of your buyers’ journey

Telling a compelling story isn’t enough these days. Effective content marketing should be optimized for search engines and fed into a larger marketing automation or lead generation program. Essentially, your content marketing agency should be able to apply best practices for each stage of your buyers’ journey.

5. Quality of previous and current work

Uskovic says: “Similar to creativity, I’m interested in the quality of work. I want to see past and current customer references and pieces of content, campaigns and work. I’m not going to invest thousands of dollars if I can’t review what their capabilities are.”

Danielle Uskovic 5Mb 1200x1200 7 Things You Should Know Before Hiring A Content Marketing Agency

Danielle Uskovic of Lenovo believes a good client-agency relationship should consist of full transparency.

6. Transparency and trust in the relationship

When choosing an agency, Uskovic says she wants there to be full transparency. It should be built on trust and good principles. “I need to know that the team that pitches to me is the team that will also deliver day-to-day.”

7. Leveraging tech to measure content marketing success

“This is probably the most important part of choosing a content marketing agency,” according to Uskovic. “You need to know that your agency is using the latest technology (both ad tech and martech) to drive the best results with your content strategy. Ask questions, research technologies, understand how your agency is going to execute your content marketing end-to-end. Don’t settle for vanity metrics either. Seek to understand what they will be measuring and how they will use this data to optimize performance.”

Tan adds: “ Tracking measurable success metrics is one of the foolproof ways to gain more traction within the management and sales community. A good content marketing agency is able to provide feasible methods of tracking and reporting, recommend reporting frequency and break down the numbers into actionable steps to refine the content strategy and content created.”

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