Content marketing agencies continue to grow in importance as more marketers want to spend money on content marketing, but many are less sure of their own effectiveness at it. This is increasingly opening opportunities for agencies experienced with content marketing to fill the gap, either full-time, part-time or as a coach (for more info on this, see our upcoming post on Content Marketing Agency Business Models).
With these opportunities come some key challenges:
1. Lack of recognized body of knowledge on what constitutes content marketing expertise
While the web is full of blogs by self-described “experts,” it is difficult to identify a singular repository of information that outlines the key expertise required in order to successfully carry out a content marketing engagement. How do you go about developing a successful strategy for your clients’ content marketing, and then execute upon it effectively? The lack of a content marketing agency certification, thus far, has led to a rash of under-qualified candidates passing themselves off as trustworthy practitioners.
2. Multiple types of agencies selling content marketing services without a strategy, likely leading to poor client results
Many traditional marketing agencies, seeing the shift towards content, are re-deploying their staff to take advantage of this emerging marketing. Unfortunately, many are not sufficiently retraining, or retooling their staff for the purpose. Likewise, many new entrants think they can also ride the gravy train to success. Both are often guilty of jumping in without devising a coherent strategy for their content production. While they may convince some clients to take a chance on them initially, the failure to produce solid results, due to the lack of strategic planning, inevitably leads clients to question the efficacy of content marketing.
3. Hard-to-monitor Service Level Agreements and ability to quickly show client proof of results
Service level agreements can quickly become very complex, with multiple types of content required, including supporting social media updates around each piece of content published. How do you keep track of 10 different clients, each with different amounts of blog posts due each month, and that’s just one content type?
This is why we created the Service Level Agreement manager in Mintent to automatically keep track of where you are with each client and your whole business in aggregate.
(How does one treat the re-purposing of content for multiple channels and what about maintenance and updating of existing content? Tied into this is the difficulty of determining ROI on content marketing and the multitude of performance indicators that can be used. How effective is your content marketing if you have seen a 500% increase in traffic to the website, but only a 5% increase in sales? Initially determining the goals of your strategy and identifying how best to reach those targets is a key component of your efforts. )
4. Difficulty managing the delicate balance between clients and authors, especially with author marketplaces
Striking a balance between the access your clients have to your authors’ and their work-in-progress can also be difficult. Often you will not want your client to have any form of interaction with authors, especially when you are using writers from an external marketplace. Keeping a lid on content until such time as it has been fully approved by an editor and agency managers is another concern. You may not want your clients to be able to view the warts-and-all, initial drafts of your content items-nobody needs to see how the sausage gets made. Instead your clients should just be able to view all of the content you have planned for them, and they see the finished product when it is ready for their final approval.
5. Hard to manage the many moving parts of the content marketing workflow at scale, hampering opportunities to grow business
The more clients and authors you bring onboard, the greater the level of complexity in carrying out your daily content creation tasks. What began as a creative exercise in developing a content strategy for clients quickly devolves into attempting to manage an ever-expanding army of ideas, items, authors and deadlines. This can quickly damage your service level agreements as you struggle to stay on top of where each of your authors are with the tasks that have been assigned to them, and whether clients are being effectively serviced, or content is being missed. Without a solid foundation, these problems only continue to compound as you attempt to expand your business.
At Mintent we have dedicated a lot of time to finding solutions for each of these challenges, and more. We instituted the Content Marketing Agency Certification Course to answer points 1. and 2. above. And our Content Marketing Agency Software helps your manage SLA’s, deadlines, and roles and permissions for different authors, both internal and external, as well as for clients, and helps you scale your complete workflow in a sane way for all your clients.
To start answering these challenges for your business, sign up for a free trial of the software and schedule a training consultation call to discover your options for growing your content marketing agency business today.