Six Ways To Dramatically Improve Your Agency’s Content

During a recent podcast, my guest, C.C. Chapman, made a rather blunt statement about agency content creation. His assertion? Every day, agencies violate the “speak human” mantra. Instead of treating potential and current clients respectfully, they throw out acronyms and gibberish, making readers scratch their heads and ultimately turn away. And we have the audacity to wonder why clients are tuning us out. To be sure, Chapman is the no-nonsense, straight-shooting author of books such as Content Rules and Amazing Things Will Happen. In this case, he's also brutally correct. If agencies want their content to have punch and traction, they need to stop writing for each other and begin writing for people who aren’t enmeshed in agency jargon. In other words, it’s time to wipe the slate clean and start creating content your clients can actually appreciate. Differentiate, for goodness’ sake. What separates one agency from another? It’s not all the bold logos or shiny websites — every agency has those. Instead, it’s the culture and brand, the community of individuals who make up the agency. To truly distinguish itself, agencies have to define their uniqueness. Are they playful? Outdoorsy? Musically inclined? These are the differentiators that matter. When a prospect has to choose between three relatively similar agencies, chemistry counts. Where does content come into this picture? Most clients do their homework online by examining digital footprints. According to Demand Gen Report, roughly half of all clients will read no fewer than three content pieces before contacting a prospective agency. Besides, marketers recognize and respect smart content. According to a survey by LinkedIn, nearly three-quarters of marketers have a content strategy for their businesses, allocating as much as 46% of their budget to content marketing. If an agency’s web presence [...]

‘Helpfulness’ May Have a Delayed ROI, But Hang in There Anyway

About five years ago, a business owner requested a meeting with my team to help rebrand his company. When we met, he set down a three-ring binder filled with copies of my weekly marketing column and said, “I’ve been reading you and saving your columns for three years. I’m finally in a position to hire you. I don’t want to work with anyone else.” So, instead of obsessing over immediate ROI, solve problems by teaching, sharing and being helpful in your content. Some readers may never be ready to buy, but their trust in you may lead to valuable referrals, recommendations and introductions. The lesson here is that being helpful doesn’t immediately translate to sales, but it does earn trust. Most people hitting the web for information are in the early stages of the sales funnel. But sharing content on your website that makes them smarter -- via podcasts and newsletters -- will keep potential customers coming back. Eventually, if and when they’re in the market to buy, they’ll choose the person they trust. Case in point: The client who collected my weekly columns has remained our customer for more than five years and brought in nearly half a million dollars since that first project. In short, invest in the long term. Time is a limited commodity, and it could take years to create a bank of helpful content that draws new clients. But in our case, it’s been worth it. Since launching our agency blog in 2007, we’ve brought in more than a million dollars in billings from the readers we’ve helped. Here are five of our strategies: 1. Share your knowledge. Content comes in many forms: podcasts, ebooks, webinars, blog posts, newsletters. Employing a variety of mediums [...]

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