So, you're running a content agency?
Maybe you thought that'd be about finding the right words, like a magic spell that satisfied customers. Maybe you thought clients would hire you to do a thing, you'd do the thing, and boom, profit...
It's harder than that. Let's be serious. Those were fever dreams, but you still have a content agency to run, and fever dreams don't make that happen.
You're the voice of your clients. That's why they hired you to get their audience to trust them and become customers... or they heard that content marketing was a thing they're supposed to do, but they're too busy and need you to free up the bandwidth.
Fever dreams and client motivations aside, how does your content agency set up successful client relationships?
Challenges abound. Everything from churn to scope to expectations. It's like a minefield. Let's sweep it.
Churn is a challenge. Over time, you'll find that some clients aren't a good fit or aren't getting the results they want despite your best efforts.
But not all churn is created equal. Clients can churn for many reasons:
If your output doesn't meet client expectations, they'll look elsewhere or decide that content marketing isn't landing for them. That could be a you thing (your content team is missing the mark) or a them thing (their expectations aren't in line with the scope, scale, and quality you've agreed upon).
Lack of Communication
If you’re not keeping your clients updated on their projects, they’re likely to get frustrated and look for someone who will.
But there's more to it than that. You need to set expectations. Clarity goes a long way. What that means takes a lot of forms, from the macro of monthly goals to the micro-granularity of getting an outline or a content map approved.
Sometimes, clients have unrealistic expectations. If a client is asking for too much or is being unreasonable, it’s necessary to discuss that. If you can’t agree, parting ways is always a viable option.
Your Price Point
Clients will look for a better deal if your fees are too high.
It might surprise you, but it can also be a problem if your prices are too low. Low prices can give the false impression that you don't care about quality, and clients will dump you for someone they think does. That's money you left on the table, but it's also a reputation hit.
You're Not Providing Value
You have to provide value for your clients, regardless of how much they’re paying. They'll dump you if they feel like they could get the same results by doing it themselves or you’re not giving them their money’s worth.
Aside from client churn, there are other challenges content agencies face.
It's scope creep when clients start asking for more than initially agreed upon without a revision in terms. Clients who want you to write longer blog posts or add more keywords to their content through endless revisions are scope creepers.
Does that sound like something you want? No. It sounds like your weird uncle. No one likes that guy. There's a reason for that.
There are tens of thousands of content agencies. And it's hard to stand out, particularly if you're starting out.
What's your agency's competitive advantage? What do you bring to the content space that's unique?
There are several ways to set your content agency apart:
It's also important to understand your target market.
Are they price-sensitive? Do they need someone who can handle high volume? Some clients want speed; others want a boutique product.
Do you have a unique selling proposition? What do you offer that the competition doesn't? This is where knowing your audience comes in handy. By understanding what they're looking for, you can position yourself as the solution to their pain points.
At Letterdrop, we stand out through our software. It helps us deeply integrate with our clients, show them analytics, improve content quality, and reduce time spent creating content and managing projects. We like to share. Our software can be used by anyone looking to get ahead with their content marketing agency.
Content marketing is constantly changing, so agencies have to adapt to the latest trends. It's challenging, particularly if you're trying to run a lean operation. Google Trends can tell you what search terms are gaining traction. Check out Miles Beckler's primer on Google Trends:
Once you've understood the challenges you face, it's time to strategize on how to overcome them.
Learn about your client's business, target market, and what they want to achieve. The more you know about their goals, the better you can deliver. Sit down with your client for 30 mins and ask them a couple questions:
If they already have some content, look at it and learn how they speak to their audience. You can also use tools to understand what's getting engagement.
Use Google Analytics to track and analyze the performance of client websites. This data gives valuable insights into what's working and what's not.
Google Analytics shows you where visitors are coming from, how long they stay on the site, and what pages interest them. It also displays audience demographics, including age, geographic location, and gender.
Using this data, you can tailor your content to help clients achieve their marketing goals. Understanding their customer lets you hone in on what's going to keep them engaged.
Check out this video on Google Analytics:
Position yourself as an authority by blogging as a thought leader. High-quality deep-dives and how-tos drive traffic. You do it for your clients; do it for yourself too. Be your own best client. Show the world what you can do for them.
Even as you expand your expertise, know your limits. While it may be tempting to take on every opportunity that comes your way, saying yes to everything will likely stretch you, compromising the quality of your work.
Not every client is a good fit. The clients you'll be ready for in 6 months might not work well today.
You want repeatable services you can provide consistently. Going too broad too quickly dilutes your offering and risks poor outcomes. It's better to do fewer things well.
Transparency is vital in the content creation industry. You're working with your client's most valuable asset—their brand.
Be open and honest about processes, what you're working on, and what you need from clients. Set realistic expectations and update clients.
Defining success metrics upfront is crucial. This way, you can execute against them, and the client can measure outcomes.
You might think your content agency is going swimmingly well, but it's best to let your customers be the judge of that.
Get feedback. Ask your clients if they're satisfied, what they like and don't like about your services, and what suggestions they have.
Use key performance indicators (KPIs) to measure success.
You may want to track the amount of content produced, social media shares, traffic to your client's website, customer leads generated, or client satisfaction.
KPIs can help you identify what's working and what needs improvement.
Virtual Strategist has a video on how to develop KPIs:
Constant communication is important. Use platforms like Slack or WhatsApp to stay in touch with your customers.
Minimally, have regular client check-ins. Update them on your progress, answer questions, and get granular feedback.
Set up a project management system so your clients can engage and track your progress. And be sure to have a revision process established. Rather than seeing them as a point of failure, see client requests for revisions as opportunities for engagement.
Letterdrop can keep you and your clients aligned and communicating if you're looking for something purpose-built for content operations. You can publish content directly into their blogs, social media channels, and newsletters.
Letterdrop is an efficient, practical, stable, and scalable content management system (CMS) for content teams. You can easily manage client workflows, invite clients to view their content drafts and revisions in real-time, automate coordinated socials pushes, and seamlessly integrate your services with your client's existing systems.
Keep your clients on the same page by planning their content calendar together and tracking when content actually goes out.
Watch this video for a glimpse into how you can collaborate with your customers.
Challenges like client churn, scope creep, developing competitive advantage, and meeting client satisfaction metrics are all obstacles to overcome.
Clear communication is your foundation. Every other tactic mentioned above boils down to it. If your communication is open, honest, and transparent from the very beginning, your client relationships will have a better chance of succeeding in the long term.
You're a content agency, after all. Communication is your gig.
With platforms like Letterdrop at your disposal, you can efficiently manage client workflows, collaboration, and approvals. It's a bandwidth enabler, allowing you to widen the scope and deepen the quality of your agency.
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