How To
8 min read

What Is a Content Marketing Agency and What Do They Do?

Soniya Jain

June 23, 2022

More than half of all surveyed B2B content marketing organizations have outsourced at least one content marketing activity.

These numbers may not be surprising if you’ve been paying close attention to the trends. 

The demand-to-supply gap for content marketing services is growing. This is primarily because of the growing importance of content marketing as a channel in marketing strategies and budgets.

Outsourcing content marketing activities is helping businesses stay on top of their goals.

So who are these companies outsourcing to? Well, it is a mix of freelance talent and content marketing agencies. Today, the focus of our discussion is the content marketing agency.

In this post, you’ll learn what a content marketing agency is, what they do, and how they can support your business.

What is a content marketing agency?

A content marketing agency is a subset of a marketing agency. It offers one or more content marketing services to a business via an outsourcing model.

This helps you build brand awareness, increase your reach, and improve ROI by utilizing content.

What are the different types of content marketing agencies?

Depending on the business and content focus, a content marketing agency can be categorized in various ways. 

Some of the popular ones include:

  • B2B
  • SaaS
  • B2C
  • SEO
  • Social media
  • Technical content
  • Video
  • Creative

man in black shirt sitting in front of computer

How can a content marketing agency help your business?

A successful content marketing strategy involves many activities to help market your product or service.. 

A content marketing agency can support an organization with one or more of these activities.

Content strategy

Content strategy is the backbone of any good content marketing program. 

A content marketing agency can provide you with the skills and knowledge to draft a winning content strategy.

Here are a few areas where an agency can contribute:

Content writing

Content writing is the most commonly-outsourced content marketing activity. 

While there is no shortage of marketplace websites like Upwork and Fiverr where you can easily hire freelance writers, agencies also provide these services..

Here are a few reasons why you may want to go with an agency over a freelance writer for your needs:

  • Managing multiple freelance writers can be challenging
  • Agencies can develop your strategy as well as execute the writing. This makes the transition to the writing team simpler.
  • Agencies have already developed process-oriented, technology-driven writing and review workflows
  • An agency will typically have stricter IP protection
  • It takes time to find and hire topic-specific writers yourself. Many agencies often do the heavy lifting of finding the most suited writer for a given topic.

A content marketing agency typically produces the following types of written content::

  • Blogs
  • Whitepapers
  • Ebooks
  • Video scripts
  • Case studies
  • Infographics
  • Email newsletters

Content operations and technology

Streamlined content operations are becoming more important than ever as organizations ramp up content production to meet demand. 

An agency can bring in the right set of expertise to improve content workflows with the help of their:

  • Available software technology
  • Knowledge
  • Team

Many agencies also offer clients training on the entire operating system. This allows businesses to run it independently when they want.

Content design

Content is more than just text. It needs to be put into a suitable form and presented in a compelling manner for the audience to consume. 

This is made possible by the expert team of graphic designers and other creative talents that a full-service content marketing agency provides. 

For example, if you want to create a killer banner for your next blog, an agency can do that task for you.

Content (web) development

Your organization will have a lot of content that needs to be put out on the web in a custom layout. 

For example, a linkable asset may require additional layout elements to make it as attractive as possible for the reader and encourage linking. 

This will require knowledge of web design and development. An agency can offer you a front-end developer to meet those needs.

Content editing

Editing is an essential step before publishing any piece of content. It makes the content polished and error-free. 

If you already have a team of in-house writers but lack a quality editor, then an agency can help you here. 

They often support their editors with industry-leading software for plagiarism checks, proofreading, and more. This way, you’ll always end up with professional final drafts.

Content SEO

If your content strategy focuses on generating organic search traffic from Google, then investing in SEO is a no-brainer. 

SEO has multiple dimensions to it. To be precise, SEO activities can be divided into four main areas:

Typically, link building and technical SEO are the most commonly outsourced SEO activities to an agency. This is because they require a specialized skill set.

Videography and editing

Every business today wants to create more videos for marketing. The challenge is that it requires a lot of resources.

A content marketing agency can help you choose appropriate media for your projects, such as animation or live-action. They can also help you decide how best to script your videos so they’re as impactful as possible. 

The agency may also do the actual filming on-site at your location or via remote access from their office. 

Once filming has been completed, the agency will edit your raw footage into the final product, capturing all those beautiful moments that tell your story.

Content publishing

Publishing is not always a fun activity, and your in-house employees already have a lot on their plate. Often, the task of publishing is left to writers, but it isn’t the reason they were hired.. 

By outsourcing the publishing work to a specialized agency, you can free them up for more valuable work.

The agency professionals are typically trained in multiple CMS systems like WordPress and HubSpot. They also have the right tools to manage the publishing work efficiently for you.

[suggested for future interlinking] Read: New to CMS? Learn what they are.

Content distribution and promotion

Creating content just isn't enough these days. While your audience is bombarded with information everywhere, your content may never get the right eyeballs if you don't promote and distribute it rigorously.

You do have the option to hire a separate person to handle this. Typically, this person is a social media manager. 

However, with new content formats and platforms emerging all the time and hiring becoming a challenge, you may be better off going with an agency for this activity as well.

An agency specializing in social media management can properly distribute your content for maximum reach.

Content performance reporting

Measuring the ROI of your content program is a challenge for even the most seasoned organizations.

However, the need for better reporting on content performance is taking center stage in marketing activities, with more budget being pumped into this channel.

Talent who can understand and execute content analytics is rare. However, you can find and hire an agency that has already implemented robust content marketing reporting for other clients.

Content optimization

The performance of your content may degrade over time. For example, an article written in 2021 may lose out on search rankings in 2022. 

While competitor pages worked to outrank yours,you may have ignored that published piece.

This can directly impact your business if that piece was a top lead-generating page for you.

However, you can guard the page and maintain its rankings by hiring an agency to optimize it periodically with updated content and more backlinks.

On the other hand, if your published piece never took off as you expected, an agency can also help with content optimization.

[suggested for future interlinking] Read: Guide to generating leads with content marketing.

Key characteristics of a top-rated content marketing agency

With so many content marketing agencies out there and so many claiming they do everything the best, how do you separate the genuine ones from the not-so-good ones?

To help your business choose the right agency partner, here is a list of the top traits you will find in a content marketing agency that delivers on their promises.

3 women sitting on chair in front of table with laptop computers

Process-oriented and systematic

Robust content operations are becoming one of the key differentiators between organizations doing great and those who are doing fine with content marketing.

A good agency understands this increasingly important work area and tries to be as process-oriented and systematic as possible. 

For example, a content review process can be one of the most frustrating workflows, consuming time and bandwidth. 

You will find a good content marketing agency has systems like:

  • The use of proper outlines
  • Multiple levels of edits
  • Revision control 

These reduce the complexity of the process.

Supported by past work and results

Nothing speaks more loudly about an agency's quality than its past work and results. 

You should look for well-written case studies on their website before deciding to work with them.

If the quality of case studies is not good, maybe they are just “faking it to make it.”

One thing to note here is that newer agencies may not be able to showcase case studies. In that case, you can choose to judge them based on their sample or PoC work.

Doesn't claim to know everything (but has a comprehensive suite of services)

No agency can do everything well. Good agencies are often more thoughtful about mentioning their expertise on their website.

If an agency has a small team but claims to offer much more, you should be a bit apprehensive and understand how they will fulfill your needs.

As a business, it makes things much simpler and more efficient if you can avail multiple services under one roof. Good agencies often have a refined suite of integrated services to help you meet a content marketing goal.

For example, an agency may offer content strategy, writing, and link building for SaaS website blogs. All of these should help you get results from organic search traffic.

Successfully used content marketing in their own business

We all have heard the old saying, "Practice what you preach." This applies to good content marketing agencies as well. 

Most good agencies will use content marketing to drive their own business. The best agency would make for a good case study of itself. 

When you choose an agency, consider asking something like how many leads they generate from their own blog.

ROI-focused

The best content marketing agencies value outcomes just like you do. This establishes a more substantial alignment between your goals and their approach.

You may find many charging a premium for their services. However, in most cases, if you are going with a reputed agency, they should deliver on ROI.

Deliver work consistently

Sometimes you just need your agency to complete the assigned task on time. 

A credible agency will deliver work on schedule and be accountable for it.

Do you need a content marketing agency to support your business?

Sometimes it makes sense to hire an agency, and sometimes it’s smart to hire freelancers or in-house employees instead.

But how do you know which you should choose for your unique situation?

Read on to discover when it’s best to go with a content marketing agency.

man and woman sitting at the table

Scale content creation

Your in-house team has been working round the clock, yet you cannot meet your monthly content goals. 

This may signal it’s time to bring in some external help, like a dedicated team of agency writers or editors, to augment your internal team's hard work.

Hard to hire in-house talent

Hiring great talent remains a key challenge across industries, especially where demand far outpaces the supply. 

Rather than waiting for months to get your next hire to take on the backlog, it will be much faster to ask an agency to help you with the project. 

Moving fast on critical initiatives can be immensely beneficial to your marketing goals.

Only need temporary services

Your business may not always want to hire someone full-time to get a job done. 

For example, if you participate in industry events twice a year, your requirement is very time-focused.

Hiring an agency can be the perfect solution in such scenarios where your need is temporary and erratic.

Staying lean and flexible

Say you hired a 5-person team to market your new product. Five months later, your product couldn't get the traction you expected.

Now, this puts the management in a spot. What do you do with the team if you decide to take the product off the market?

You could have gone with an agency to support the initial product launch to save yourself the trouble. Once you confirmed the product’s market fit, you could have added more people internally and gradually phased out the agency's role.

We call this being lean and flexible.

Your agency won't mind if you get rid of them after their intended work is over. On the contrary, they are there to offer you that flexibility and peace of mind.

Closing remarks

Content marketing agencies have become an integral part of the marketing outsourcing system.

They offer you the opportunity to harness external : 

  • Knowledge
  • Talent
  • Tools 

This can help power your content marketing program in a lean and flexible manner. If you can choose the right one for the right project, you will reap many benefits.

Do you want to support your existing marketing team and generate better copy without investing in a new hire?

CopyAI's suite of AI-powered copywriting tools can offer you a very affordable and scalable alternative.

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