The agency world is awash in confusion. In the past six years, Accenture Interactive has made 30 agency deals. Beyond that, there are thousands of independent agencies and tens of thousands of specialty agencies hanging shingles around a few skill sets, and they’re all offering you content — but you’ll quickly find that to win your business, they’re often overpromising.
How many times did you think you had the right agency or writer in place, only to receive a disappointing manuscript that showed the agency didn’t do their homework or even understand your business? A lot of agencies say they can give you what you need, but few can actually deliver.
In all that noise, how do you find the right content marketing agency partner — one who is uniquely fit to create the kind of quality work you require?
The Story of a New HQ
Years ago, working as a consultant, I heard a story about someone high up in HR at a major food company. The company wanted a new HQ, and the responsibility for this work had fallen to her.
She started by learning as much as she could, setting out on a yearlong research-and-discovery quest to gather information about what a HQ needs in terms of parking, child care on-site, nursing options, and more. Before she had a conversation with a salesperson, she wanted to be armed with as much knowledge as possible, but the information was vastly foreign to her and a lot to take in, so it took her a ton of time. She did an amazing amount of research, and her pitch went over fairly well, but there were some misses, and hindsight showed a meandering and muddy path that she wouldn’t readily trek down again.
What if there were another version of this story, where, rather than putting in hours upon hours of research to learn an industry ground-up, she could have found a single piece of comprehensive, spot-on content to quickly and expertly immerse her in this new field? She would have saved a ton of time, for one. And two, she would have found a potential partner for future work in whomever authored that piece.
The Missed Opportunity for Agencies
Let’s say an agency had designed an e-book or report entitled, “Everything You Need to Know About Building a HQ.” This would not be salesy content. Think of it as a product unto itself. Its goal is to legitimately inform and drive action.
That’s the content clients are looking for.
To create this high-value piece of content, the agency should have started by diving deep to develop a keen understanding of the client’s business and industry. That means conducting loads of up-front research and in-depth interviews with key stakeholders and subject matter experts, then merging their findings with SEO best practices to ensure the piece was both created for and found by the right audience.
In marrying the content with the data, the agency would have created true value for a growing firm that needs this knowledge, making for a happy client in turn.
So begins a smart agency partnership.
Conveying Value in a Sea of Content
We’re awash in content. Every agency out there says they can deliver great work for you, but few are actually doing so. And buyers are getting frustrated.
People have learned very well how to ignore ads and content they don’t want. More than 30% of browsers now use ad blockers. If you’re not publishing relevant and valuable content, it’s going to get quickly ignored.
The only way to avoid this is to create high-quality, research-driven, strategic content. That’s the life raft in the churning sea of confusion where the agency ecosystem currently resides.