I can safely say that more than a few digital marketing agencies regularly lose clients over poor quality content. That’s because many people who enquire about our content marketing services do so the moment they reach the end of a digital marketing agency contract – when they’ve made a decision not to renew because of a content issue. Often, they’ve encountered the problem early on in the contract, but when their complaints didn’t result in any significant improvement, they stopped complaining and quietly awaited the contract expiry date.
To be clear, there are some digital agencies that do an excellent job in this space. But why do many others have such a problem supplying good content? For a few, it’s because they’re short-sighted and not even trying. Many others seem to have the will but not the way – they want to keep clients happy but can’t seem to stem the flow of complaints about content. Where agency attitude and culture are right but the content is falling short of client expectations, I believe it comes down to the not having the right processes and team members in place for properly managing content creation.
Agencies that began in traditional marketing and added digital marketing or content marketing services seem to have far less trouble that those that began with a focus on SEO and PPC management. That’s likely to be because traditional marketing agencies are accustomed to the processes necessary to manage creative work, so if they add a content or blog writing service for their clients, they tend to apply similar processes.
The challenge for those traditional marketing agencies is more often that they only need a few writers, and when new clients with highly specialised topic areas come along, they find that their existing content writers don’t have sufficient understanding of the topics to create good content for those clients.
As that’s very easily addressed by finding a content writing service that can manage those particular topics, I’m going to stick to looking at the process problems that some strictly digital agencies seem to encounter.
Digital Agency Content Processes
It’s not uncommon for digital marketing agencies to have an overly simple process in place for content creation, particularly if they have a large number of clients. There are variations, but here’s one example:
- The client is asked to provide topics for the blog writers
- The writers are given a list of topics/titles, keywords and link instructions
- Writers produce the articles and send them to the account manager
- Account manager sends articles to clients, possibly taking a quick look first
Where high numbers of clients are involved, keeping things simple would seem like a good idea, so what’s the problem with that process? A lot, if you really do want to prioritise quality:
- There’s often nothing in place at the front of it to identify any particular client expectations, preferences and requirements.
- In some cases there is no defined content strategy behind the approach: no matching of topics to buyer personas, or mapping content creation to particular stages of the customer journey.
- Clients aren’t always very good at choosing their own topics, and without any guidance will often choose broad topics that can only lead to very general articles, when what they expect is interesting well-detailed articles that are useful for their audience.
- There’s no content editor or editing process to identify and correct issues before the work is dispatched to clients.
Combined, these are some of the process gaps that can result in a high rate of complaints about content quality, and a high number of amendment requests. And that in turn, leads to irritated writers, because nobody likes to do a job as instructed, and then suddenly be given different or much more specific instructions and expected to re-do the job for free.
The agency account managers also suffer because dealing with unhappy customers is stressful.
All of which can make it difficult to retain good writers and account managers (not to mention clients), and lead to a persistent cycle of chaos and inefficiency.
Getting quality into your content creation process
To the savvy digital marketing agency owner, it makes perfect sense to be able to supply high quality content that pleases clients. Not only does it help you reduce client losses over content issues, you’ll find it much easier to get excellent results for clients when they have top quality content that can be promoted to generate leads. And that will surely make them happy customers, which helps your business to grow.
But I’ve only touched on the issues here, and I’ve looked more at the problems than the solutions. If you’re keen to improve the quality of content your agency produces, you might like to download 10 Processes Digital Marketing Agencies Need to Produce Quality Content. In that short eBook I outline some of the specific processes involved, and look at challenges digital marketing agencies can encounter implementing them. It should help you to diagnose the gaps in your process and weigh up potential solutions.