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A lot goes into content marketing. It’s much more than simply throwing up a few blog posts or creating a few videos from time to time. If your brand works with a content marketing agency, you already know this

In fact, you can often easily tell which brands have fully invested in content marketing and which ones are still on the fence about it, just by looking at their websites and social media.

Of course, some of the brands that have seemed to nail content marketing haven’t been working alone. As the 2017 State of the Creator Economy study revealed, about 16 percent of brands work with an external content marketing agency.

If your company’s content marketing has been slow or a non-starter, working with the right content marketing agency might be what you need to get things off the ground.

What Is a Content Marketing Agency?

Simply stated, a content marketing agency creates content for its clients. What that actually means can vary from agency to agency. Some agencies also have different price points and structures, so that a brand with a very limited budget can tap it for some services, while a brand with a bigger budget can take advantage of additional sources.

Some of the services a content marketing agency might offer include:

Why Work With a Content Marketing Agency?

One of the big reasons to work with an agency is cost. It’s typically a lot less expensive for a brand to on-board an agency than it is for a brand to hire one, two, or more full-time (or even part-time) employees.

It can cost anywhere from six to nine months of an employee’s salary to bring him or her on. Hiring an agency won’t cost nearly that much. Brands also don’t have to pay taxes on agencies, or cover the costs of benefits.

Plus, when you work with the right type of content marketing agency, you get to take advantage of a higher level of experience and expertise. Your brand might not be able to afford the salary of a high-powered content marketing specialist, but you’re likely to be able to afford signing on with an agency as a client.

Components of a Good Content Marketing Agency

Since there are literally hundreds of content marketing agencies out there, all of them offering a different mix of services, you might feel a little overwhelmed when it comes to choosing the best agency for your brand.

Usually, a good content marketing agency will offer the following:

Industry experience.

Your agency doesn’t need to specialize in your brand’s niche or industry, but it should have experience in it.

Strategy and execution.

The agency should be able to work with you to put together a content strategy that meets your goals. It should also execute that strategy so that your brand actually meets its goals.

Actual metrics to measure success.

An agency needs to have data and metrics to actually prove itself.

Knowledge of content marketing and a commitment to keeping up with changes.

Content marketing changes all the time. An agency should know what it was like in the past and what it’s like now, and be able to anticipate or adjust for any changes in the future.

What to Look for in a Content Marketing Agency

Once you’ve got a few names of agencies you could work with, it’s time to dive in and choose the one that’s the best fit for your brand.

Here’s what you need to look for in an agency:

Examples of past work.

What has the agency done for its clients in the past, how has the work panned out, and what type of results did it produce?

How the company tracks and measures content marketing.

What key performance indicators (KPIs) does it use to measure its campaigns? Remember, just because an agency is “measuring” something doesn’t mean it’s a metric worth measuring.

Are clients generally happy with the agency?

An agency with high turnover, or who can’t seem to hold on to clients, might not be an agency you want to work with. You can ask the agency for a list of references when interviewing them, so that you can talk to clients yourself.

A web presence.

It’s a red flag if an agency claims to excel at content marketing, but has little or no web presence. How good can an agency be at content marketing if it’s not using content marketing itself?