How to Choose a Content Marketing Agency for your Startup

Aaron Marco Arias
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Choose the right partner
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17.11.2022

Looking for a content marketing agency? The process can be exhausting and frustrating. But don’t worry, this article will make it easier.

We talked to some of our most recently onboarded clients and asked them what they wish they’d known when they were looking for a content agency. Plus, we inquired about poor experiences with past agencies, and the red flags they chose to ignore. 

So, in this post, we’ll share key insights that will help you choose the right content marketing agency to support your growth.

We’ll cover:

  • The pros & cons of hiring a content marketing agency
  • What to look for in a content marketing agency
  • Red flags you should avoid
  • 9 questions you should ask your next agency

Ready? Let’s dive in.

The Pros of Working with a Content Marketing Agency

Whether you’re starting a company blog, reactivating an outdated one, or pivoting your content production, chances are you can’t do it all on your own. That’s when a content marketing agency enters the picture.

Working with a content marketing agency can:

  • Help your team to stay focused on the core of your business
  • Spare you the costs of hiring, training, and managing an in-house team
  • Guarantee high content quality consistently 
  • Help you scale your content production frictionlessly

But it’s not all great.

The Cons of Working with a Content Marketing Agency

While working with the right content agency is a net positive, the wrong content agency can cause more problems than it solves.

The wrong marketing agency can:

  • Increase your internal team’s workload by forcing you to revise, edit and rewrite their low-quality drafts.
  • Create irrelevant material, by spending as little time studying your brand as possible.
  • Overcharge and underdeliver.
  • Hurt your brand through low-quality content.
  • Hurt your website’s SEO with blackhat link-building techniques.

But, how can you foresee if your potential content agency will bring you these issues? 

In the next section, we’ll take a look at 10 content agency red flags and what they mean. 

6 Content Agency Red Flags & What They Mean

Whether you’ve already hopped on a call, or you’re looking at agency websites, here are 6 red flags you shouldn’t ignore: 

  • A hyperfocus on SEO 
  • Extremely low prices that go unexplained
  • Low-proficiency writers 
  • Overpromising
  • Information dumping 
  • Being extremely salesy during calls

Your ideal content marketing agency isn’t obsessed with SEO

This may sound counterintuitive, but teams writing high-ranking content don’t rely on SEO too much. Keyword research is a great way to understand your users’ needs. And most technical SEO best practices guarantee a high UX baseline.

But great content begins with ideation and brainstorming guided by user needs. Your content team shouldn’t just be providing you with lists of target keywords. Instead, your content marketing agency should deliver an owned media strategy with brand awareness and demand generation in mind. SEO isn’t the full picture.

Are you failing to find customers through organic search? Learn how to boost organic traffic in 2023

Best-in-class content marketing agencies don’t charge under 3 digits per piece

Pricing is usually a fallible standard. You may find poor-fit agencies charging $1,000 per piece. But we recommend you avoid any company charging below 3 digits per article.

Why?

Well, there are five reasons why an agency can get away with those fees:

  • They’re underpaying their writers, which can result in high writer rotation and unpredictable content quality
  • They’re hiring low-proficiency writers, which results in low-quality material
  • Their content is AI-generated, so it’s uncompetitive and unoriginal
  • You’re working with a freelancer masquerading as an agency, who doesn’t have the resources to help you scale
  • They’re saving on strategy, which will directly impact your content’s ROI

The best content marketing agencies hire high-proficiency or native writers

Your content marketing agency doesn’t have to be run by native English speakers. But high English proficiency is a must. For instance, at Postdigitalist most of our team began learning English at a young age and have years of experience working with US-based teams.

Your ideal content agency doesn’t overpromise

Just as you should stay away from investment opportunities that guarantee high returns, you should stay away from agencies that promise incredible results. 

Of course, having case studies with outstanding results isn’t a red flag. But promising potential clients waves of backlinks and thousands of hundreds of new visitors is. 

Content marketing takes time, and what’s considered ROI can change on a case-to-case basis. 

Curious to learn how we measure success at Postdigitalist? Discover the 9 KPIs we swear by

The best content agencies don’t try to overwhelm you with information

Is your potential agency’s website full of irrelevant information? From the fact that they work with all content management systems to the fact that all their writers are “experts”... If your potential agency’s bombarding you with platitudes and irrelevant “information”, beware. 

Pro tip: To check content quality before making a commitment, you should ask your potential content agency for a test blog post. Agencies worth their salt will charge you for it. But the ability to weed out poor-fit agencies will save you thousands of dollars. Interested in getting a test piece from Postdigitalist? Get in touch!

The best content agencies aren’t pushy during calls

We assume you won’t hop on calls with agency representatives asking for free advice. But sales representatives should be consultative and constructive, not overly salesy. 

Expect good-fit agency representatives to:

  • Listen more than they talk
  • Give you true insight into their processes
  • Ask questions
  • Share some general advice
  • Keep promises to a minimum

Stay away from agencies whose sales representatives:

  • Talk over clients
  • Spend most of the call going over a pitch deck
  • Promise results without knowing your goals first
  • Dismiss your questions

9 Questions You Should Ask Your Next Content Agency

Most agencies will probably charge you for a test piece. So, before requesting one, you should probably do some extra pre-vetting. 

Before even considering if an agency may be a fit, ask them these questions:

  1. Do you have a stable roster of content writers? How do you source them?
  2. Who will be in charge of my account?
  3. What does your content ideation process look like?
  4. What does your research process look like? 
  5. How many rounds of edits am I entitled to?
  6. Which KPIs do you track? 
  7. Do your plans include monthly reporting?
  8. Have you worked with similar companies before?
  9. How do you price your services? 

Additionally, request samples of previous work with companies similar to your own.

Key Takeaways

In this post, we explained what to look for in a content agency, as well as some red flags you shouldn’t overlook. Finally, we shared the 9 questions you should ask your next potential content agency.

Don’t Worry, We Do It Differently

If you’re looking for an agency with true content expertise, you’re in the right place. At Postdigitalist, we strategize, research & write content that your users actually want to read. We also enrich it with amazing infographics, and help you distribute it. 

2023 may be the year you unleash your content’s potential. Learn more or get in touch.