Ask a content agency these 5 questions before hiring them
Google the cost of hiring a marketing agency, and you’ll get wildly different answers. Most search results will immediately start offering hourly rates and retainer ranges.
But the real cost? Thousands of dollars of your time spent. 💸
Think about it: If you spend two hours searching online, and four hours setting up meeting times and interviewing candidates, you’ve already spent six hours before even debriefing with your team.
If you’re ready to recruit a content agency that will surpass your expectations, underscore your vision, and give you the results you’re seeking, read on.
The best relationships (both personal and professional!) start with insightful questions. Here are five you can use:
1) “What is your creative philosophy?”
This is important as it weeds out those agencies that don’t take a differentiated approach. (They haven’t articulated their ‘why,’ other than trading time for money.
Such agencies are based on a transactional exchange. They don’t have a clear mission and as such, may care less about your success...because there’s no need for alignment of purpose. You want to hire a team that thinks like an expert partner, not a service provider.
Ideally, they should be able to walk you through their mission and the reason that they exist.
As you listen to their response (if they have one), ask yourself:
Will this content agency help my organization move forward?
Do I see myself building a long-term relationship with them?
Will they treat my success like it’s their success?
Sounds a little like dating. It is.
2) “How do you select your writers for a given project?”
The people you work with have an undeniable impact on your success and wellbeing. By hiring a content agency, you’ll essentially be gaining an extended team.
But signing on the dotted line and suddenly having writers crank out viral blog posts is a fantasy. For concrete results, you’ll need to wait closer to six months. So, it’s important to know that the writers you’ll be working with are not only competent but also possess deep experience in your industry.
Ask the agency about its process for selecting writers for a given project. And if possible, meet them in person or virtually if they’re geographically out of reach.
3) “How will you onboard your team to our brand?”
This question concerns your entire brand rather than a one-off project. You want to partner with a content agency that knows how to familiarize themselves with precisely how you want to be represented in the market.
It’s crucial to understand how they will ‘onboard’ their team; that is, the ways in which they’ll orient themselves to your brand. Such teams can create content that inspires, informs, and fosters relationships. You might even have trouble delineating what was written by an external firm. That’s when you know you’ve found the sweet spot.
In other words, they should be able to download your genius. Checking your website and social accounts isn’t going to cut it. It takes a deeper understanding of your business, your stakeholders, your offerings, and your unique selling proposition.
4) “Who will be working regularly on this?"
This question may seem obvious but is still a must-ask. Many agencies are, sadly, notorious for having their principal pitch the services only to delegate the work to entff or freelancers who may or may not possess the desired expertise.
This question becomes especially important if you’re hiring an agency because of a senior member’s reputation and experience. If the work you’re hiring them to do will be delegated, do request the names of those you’ll work with and feel free to do a little reconnaissance on LinkedIn. (The best firms will give you some background on their team, so you won’t have to, though.) Your brand deserves top-notch content.
And of course, their response should include a point-of-contact who you can check in with regularly.
That leads us to the next question…
5) “When will I hear from you?”
It all depends on your preferences.
Do you prefer a high-touch service or a more laissez-faire approach? How frequently you’ll be updated on the progress of a project could be according to the agency’s internal process or more aligned with your needs. Some clients meet once a week with quick messages in between, whereas others go a month without communicating.
Some may welcome you checking in daily. Have the prospective content agency share their typical cadence and feel free to propose something else if it doesn’t align with your expectations.
Find the perfect content marketing partner
These questions have been designed to save you precious time, and by extension, both money and a lot of headaches. We hope they help you to onboard the best content marketing agency that considers you to be their partner, helps you attain success, has similar values and is fun to work with for a long, long time.
💡 Looking for an expert content firm? Our team is ready to answer your questions!