Shortlisting the premier content marketing companies doesn’t have to be a daunting task. If you’ve finally decided to get things off the ground, our list will give you a headstart. In addition, we’ve designed a proprietary evaluation methodology that helped us assess the leading content marketing providers. Following that, we’ve prepared a comprehensive guide that will get you ready to seal the deal.
Upon landing on the agency’s website, we determine whether they really exist by checking the address, business email, contact number, and past work. We also check how long they’ve been around. Although not a decisive factor, the age of an agency gives us a good idea of their level of experience.
Then, we learn about the agency’s expertise. Some content marketing firms specialize in one area or one type of content, while others offer a wider range of services.
Finally, we check whether they practice what they preach. Specifically, we consider the following things:
Content strategy is the basis of every successful content marketing campaign. We scan the case studies and portfolios of the content marketing companies in question to discover whether they invest time in creating an actionable plan with long-term goals.
Next, we scout their previous work and look for signs of authenticity. Each piece should be unique and with a strong point of view.
Last but not least, we examine the quality of writing. The content needs to be engaging and appealing to the target audience, and above all, relevant.
Also, we check whether the content design aims to sell ideas to the reader.
How a content marketing manager handles the workload is an excellent indication of their capabilities. We look for content marketing professionals who create a process-oriented strategy, from planning to publishing to promotion to analytics.
Top content marketing companies are able to create a clearly defined path that each piece of content should follow with an editorial calendar that helps them track the content through its stages.
Going a step further, we discover who is responsible for publishing and optimizing the content. Some marketers will complete these tasks themselves, while others will deliver the content to the client to upload it. The first option usually works better.
Following the steps of our evaluation methodology, we come to the next phase: the creative product. Once again, we go through case studies to see how proficient they are in the top-performing types of content and whether they are written or visual.
As a rule of thumb, content marketing agencies should be proficient in creating different types of blog posts and also have a strong focus on visual content like infographics, videos, and graphics—all of which have high engagement rates. Here’s a complete checklist of the nine best performing types of content:
The content marketing services we feature on our list base their project on a thoughtfully defined buyer persona. Furthermore, their content creation relies on the buyer’s journey, ensuring that every visitor who lands on their clients’ sites receives useful information.
Content is the soul of SEO, and vice versa— it’s vital that these two strategies go hand in hand. So a content marketing consultant that doesn’t care about SEO is a no-go.
The best content marketing agencies tend to work closely with SEO experts, so we prioritized SEO expertise while evaluating the outfits. Multiple search engine optimization aspects must be considered—from keyword research and quality content to UX optimization and link building.
Social media is yet another fundamental part of content marketing. For a social media strategy to be successful, it must align with the overall content marketing strategy. Hiring an SMM agency is always an option, but the best firms provide this service in-house. Here are some of the things that we take into consideration:
The next step aims to discover how the best content marketing companies consider metrics and analytics. We conduct interviews with the agencies’ project managers and previous clients to establish how efficient they are in establishing KPIs and whether they’re flexible in this field because different businesses use content in different ways.
KPIs can vary, but here are the most important ones:
Also, we take note of how they share insights with clients. We look for content marketing companies that give detailed reports about their progress and what they’re doing to reach their clients’ goals.
We examine review directories, social media, and the agencies’ sites looking for opinions of their past clients. From there, we learn how satisfied their clients were with the work and how reliable the agencies are.
Additionally, client reviews and testimonials help us uncover any possible points of concern.
Finally, we get to the price. When curating our list, we came across different pricing models, such as content marketing services packages, custom builds, retainer, and a-la-carte. We tried to get quotes from the agencies and come up with an average hourly rate. Unsurprisingly, when it comes to content marketing, expenses might vary. Needless to say, we listed only the best agencies that have also proved to be cost-effective.
Before choosing an agency from our list, you need to do your due diligence. This will help you determine what you’ll need from your marketing agency exactly and help you work together better.
A successful content marketing strategy requires a clearly defined audience. To determine your target audience, you could collect demographic data, create a buyer persona, and get customer feedback. Once you get the general idea of who your customer is, you can categorize customers according to location, needs, etc. This enables you to choose an agency that can successfully reach your business’s most relevant audience through the right channels.
Defining your goals before you contact any content marketing services is tremendously important as it ensures clear communication with a given outfit.
Determine what’s most important for your business:
Content is a competitive field. Carrying out a content audit will help you assess the usefulness and success of your current content strategy and see how it compares to your competitors. Also, you’ll be able to identify any gaps that need filling, which in turn will shape your next strategic moves.
Understanding what resources you have at your disposal is an important yet often overlooked step when shortlisting content marketing agencies. The entire strategy can fail due to a lack of resources.
Blog posts are a must-have in every content marketing mix. They should be valuable, shareable, and actionable—and should sometimes include different types of articles. Other content types might vary depending on your audience. You can use tools like Buzzsumo to find out the most shared type of content related to a specific topic, as well as track backlinks and trending content. The best content marketing strategies include as much visual content as possible. Videos, infographics, or customized graphics—they all have a high level of engagement.
If you have narrowed your list of potential candidates, you can further inform your decision by asking the right questions.
Top content marketing agencies would list significant metrics like unique visitors, page views, and conversions. Also, they should be able to explain how the metrics influence their decision-making.
Good organization is the key to good content marketing. It impacts communication, progress, and the flexibility to change. You should know in advance whether the content marketing service you’ll be benefitting from uses a flat or hierarchical structure. Also, ask them what communication/project management tools they use (Slack, Azendoo, and Trello are only some of the options).
Voice search continues to grow rapidly; therefore, it’s essential that your content is optimized for voice queries. Besides top-notch SEO skills, the best content marketing agencies are typically adept in voice search optimization, which requires a conversational writing style that answers the most frequently asked questions about a particular topic.
Content marketing is an ever-changing field, and your agency needs to keep up with it. This means working with a team that seeks out learning opportunities like conferences, in-house training sessions, research, and reading, or maybe something entirely new. Every viable content marketing agency will foster an educational environment for its team members.
Does the agency have an in-house team, a couple of freelancers, or a combination of two? Usually, well-functioning content marketing companies have a reliable in-house team as well as a network of apt freelancers that they work with regularly.
The lack of an outreach plan or a follow-up strategy is among the most repeated content marketing mistakes. Other common mistakes include having no way to measure success and never implementing effective content promotion methods.
The correct answer to this question lies in your chosen audience. To discover this, it may help to survey your target audience.
Publishing more often is better. A HubSpot study found that companies that published more than 16 pieces of content in a month received 3.5 times more traffic than the companies that published content four times a month or less. Working with content marketing companies is crucial to ensure consistency as such.
A content marketing director is essentially the person who develops the content strategy and coordinates all departments. They determine the voice or image that needs to be projected in the content as per the client’s marketing brand voice. Also, the director is usually the one in charge of workflow management, content sourcing, and promotion planning.
Content marketing is not magic; therefore, you can’t expect results in a set time frame. However, to help you set realistic expectations, we would say that you should start seeing results within the first six months of partnering up with a digital content marketing company.
Yes. Being active on social media will help you engage your audience, generate leads, and create a community of loyal customers. You need an agency that will invest time and effort into creating a social media content plan that will help you reach your objectives.
Depending on your business’s size and goals, content marketing companies will charge you between $5,000 and $50,000 per month.