To make the most of a content marketing strategy, you must provide highly engaging materials that not only attract but also KEEP the reader’s attention. The most successful content comes from a collaboration of in-house marketing teams and a creative agency. You’ve got the best marketers on your team, so why do you need both?
Nobody knows your business better than you do. That certainly includes the agency account rep who has interviewed you at length, read every word on your website, memorized your marketing materials, and watched all of your YouTube videos… twice. For all the time and effort a firm puts into immersing itself in your business, you are still the world’s preeminent expert on the products or services you offer. You also understand your customers better than anybody.
With that said, your agency has a breadth and depth of experience in product/service positioning, branding, design, and messaging that you do not. They take your knowledge, combine it with their own and employ the tools and the people-power to complete projects that would take you and your team much longer. Your agency’s skills, production capabilities, and vital role as project managers and advisors are critical to your success.
The Ping Pong Approach
If you want to produce the best possible content, think collaboration. Ideally, each party contributes ideas and provides feedback in a highly iterative process. While that may sound like it would add excessive time to a project, the understanding that your initial decisions aren’t etched in stone (i.e., you will get another crack at the content soon) allows you to reach mid-project conclusions very quickly. The final result? A stronger, more polished finished piece thanks to the touches of many subject matter and marketing experts.
The Buck Stops Where?
As you and your agency adopt a more collaborative approach to content creation, be aware that issues of authority will arise. Ultimately you pay the bills (and the price, if the content is not successful), so you might fairly suggest that the project lead within your organization will have the last word on all decisions. However, if a task falls within your marketing firm’s wheelhouse, you are wise to give them the final say. Even if you have relatively strong feelings about this issue, trust them.
Can’t Wait to Collaborate?
How do you ensure that your next project will be both collaborative and successful?
Choose wisely. Select an agency that isn’t just willing to be a content co-producer, but wouldn’t have it any other way.
Set guidelines clearly. Explain up front that you expect a fast, flexible and dynamic creative process.
Defer graciously. Know when you should step back and let the agency bring the project to completion.
If a marketing firm balks at the idea of collaborating with you, keep looking. In the end, many hands not only make light work, they make the best work.