If you’ve already started your search, you can likely see it’s not that hard to find a B2B content agency. But finding the right content agency is a whole different story.
There are a lot of elements to take into consideration—as there should be. If you’re going to invest in taking your business to the next level, you need to make sure you find the right fit or you risk wasting time, money, and other valuable resources.
So where do you even begin? How do you know you’ve found the agency that will provide you and your business the best solutions? Here are a few foundational tips to help you find a content agency that works for you.
Find a team that fits your budget
Ok, this might seem like a given, but with all the necessary components that need to be taken into consideration, many people forget that budget is the quickest way to narrow the field.
B2B content agencies exist at every price point, but finding the right value is just as important as finding the right price. Trust us, cheapest isn’t always best. If the price of an agency is too good to be true, it probably is. They might be able to provide you a killer first post to set the hook, but that doesn’t mean they won’t drag you behind the boat with less expensive and less experienced writers, or skimp on editing down the line.
On the other end of the spectrum, just because an agency is expensive doesn’t guarantee they’ll match the quality of their services to their price. Many still subscribe to the Veblen effect—that is, that raising the price and brand name buzz create a higher demand. Insulate yourself from falling for it by researching and comparing price, services, and quality between various price points and agencies.
At the end of the day, if you still find yourself unable to afford anyone, your budget might be the problem.
Make sure they fulfill the basics
Some of these elements might seem simple or like common knowledge, but you’d be surprised how many people are overwhelmed by the search and often overlook some of the most fundamental criteria. Before you dive into the nitty gritty, make sure the agencies you’re looking at are:
Legitimate: Obvious? Probably. Necessary? Absolutely. If you’re going to work with an agency, it should be legal and licensed. Make sure there’s a website, mailing address, and email addresses that don’t end in “gmail.com.” Although a freelancer or group just getting things together might provide good work, they might also take the money and run, leaving you face-down at the starting line.
Accessible: Is it easy to get a hold of your point of contact? Is their information easily accessible? Does it make sense? Do you have direct access to content creators or simply just the people in the middle? If you answered no to one or more of these, consider what that might mean about your potential working relationship.
Transparent: Every B2B content agency you consider working with should be able to tell you up front what services they provide and what they cost. If they’re evasive or secretive about these basic elements, it’s safe to assume they’re probably hiding a whole lot more.
Look for experience
An agency doesn’t have to be in business for 20 years to have experience, but you certainly don’t want to pair up with someone who has little to none. In fact, there are plenty of marketing companies who have opened up wings in the content arena that still subscribe to outdated traditional methods and simply try to apply them to the digital realm.
In turn, there are also start-ups trying to be too cutting edge to stick with what is currently established—and more importantly, successful. Look for companies that are established, have proven success, and stay up-to-date.
But experience shouldn’t solely be judged on how long they’ve been around either. It’s just as important, if not more so, to find an agency that has worked in your industry or something related. If they don’t have that experience, there’s a much better chance they might set expectations too high or simply be unable to deliver the results you’re looking for.
Expertise is just as important as experience—especially if they’re combined! Even if an agency can do everything from app development to advertising, the jack-of-all-trades, master of none theory applies. It’s generally better to look for agencies that specialize in the type of content you need (blog posts, white papers, etc.) to better ensure their aptitude and efficiency when approaching your work.
Consider examples from portfolios and references
New B2B content agencies can do some really great work—after all, we all have to start somewhere—but it certainly doesn’t make it easy to judge their work when they don’t have much, or any.
Good work doesn’t always beget good work—but it’s certainly a good starting point. Poke around different agency websites and take a look at their testimonials, case studies, and portfolios. You may not need to ask for direct references, but you should at least be able to see clients they currently or formerly worked with and the results of their efforts.
Gauge interaction and communication
Once you’ve actually started engaging with a potential agency, take note of the dynamic that exists between you from the get-go. Are the people you’re communicating with responding in a timely manner? Do they answer all your questions directly? Do you have good rapport? Are you getting responses from one person? Or being tossed back and forth between numerous people just to get a few answers?
Generally speaking, these are usually good indicators of how an agency runs. Timely, thorough, and polite responses that directly address your questions are a good sign that they are organized, experienced, and understand how to treat their clients. If you provide them your wants or needs and it seems to resonate, or better yet, includes information about similar clients they’ve found success with, you probably have a winner.
Finally, it may seem minor, but like any relationship, liking each other is important! If you like them, working with them will be easier and more enjoyable. If they like you, chances are they’ll give you their best work for the best price.