The importance of content marketing for agencies
This article explores the benefits content marketing can bring agencies and makes the case for ongoing investment in consistently producing a variety of high quality thought leadership and content.
What is content?
When we refer to content, we mean all the words, pictures and videos that fill your marketing channels (website, socials, emails, PR, events etc). Your content is your unique take on the world and the space you occupy within your industry niche or specialism.
Your content can have multiple purposes and talk to many audiences.
We class marketing content as that which educates, informs, inspires or adds value to your audience. It brings you awareness and engagement. It fuels your conversations with prospects, clients and wider audiences like new talent or trade media.
Sales content sits towards the bottom of your funnel. This might be credentials, case studies, landing pages, sales emails, ads and you use this content to help you convert qualified leads. Both sets of content are important - but you won't get to send prospects your sales content, if you don’t have the awareness and engagement that marketing content can deliver.
According to Hubspot, content marketing is in the top three trends for both B2B and B2C marketing (along with social media and targeted social ads). And the Content Marketing Institute suggests content marketing generates three times as many leads as traditional outbound marketing, but costs 62% less.
But our own research into agency marketing which assessed over 100 agencies found:
59% of agencies lack a variety of content (covering work, opinions and culture)
32% of agencies post social content that is irrelevant to their work and proposition
46% lack a clear and coherent content strategy
44% produce content without a clear audience in mind
Retain clients and generate new leads with content marketing
According to The Content Marketing Institute here are the top ranking goals B2B marketers successfully achieved with content marketing in 2022:
Image source: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/articles/b2b-power-content-marketing-research/
Here we look at some of these goals in turn and explain why they’re so relevant to agencies.
1. Increases brand awareness:
Your content marketing fuels your SEO and determines your visibility on SERPs (search engine results pages) so it is worth investing in keyword rich content that will help you get discovered on Google. However, according to our research, agencies’ SEO is pretty poor. We ran all the agencies through a URL analyser which produced topics for each agency, reflecting what a SERP thinks the agency’s website is about. Shockingly, 76% of agencies didn’t have any closely matching topics to what their actual service is!
But your content will also give you Makes your brand visible – whether through earned media or becoming an valuable voice in your industry
2. Build trust and add value
Your content will help build trust with your target audience in a way that paid advertising does not. While you may use paid ads to amplify your content, the messaging isn’t sales driven, its value driven. When done well, your content will educate or inspire your audience and allow you to become a trusted resource and expert in your field.
This is especially important for agencies that have long sales cycles and high value services. Paid advertising alone will be more difficult to prove ROI on due to the nature of how we buy and sell creative services.
Building trust with your target audience is imperative as according to The Edelman Trust Barometer, we are twice as likely to buy, stay loyal and advocate for brands we trust
No one likes to feel like they are being sold to. Making sure your marketing content is educational ensures you showcase your expertise and is a much softer way to engage with your prospects than a hard sell. In fact, a 2021 DemandGen study revealed 62% of those making B2B purchase decisions relied more on practical content like case studies and webinars, to guide their buying decisions.
But be sure to solve the challenges your audience are actually facing within your educational content, rather than just the solutions you want to sell.
4. Lead generation
Our research shows only 44% of agencies produce content without a clear audience in mind. This means agencies are not successfully targeting specific audiences with their marketing. This may be because they don’t want to alienate potential buyers, but the opposite is true. Being too generic communicates to your audience that you do not understand their specific problems.
When you have a defined ideal customer and create content that answers their challenges you can use it to drive new leads into your agency.
Lead magnets, events, ebooks, whitepapers and research are all great ways to provide value to your audience in exchange for their email address. Remember this content is the beginning of your relationship with a new contact. Consider what will come after the download or event attendance so you can continue the conversation and nurture your relationship with your new lead. According to HubSpot, 60% of marketers measure the success of their content through to sales, so set KPIs upfront and measure against these once your content is launched.
5. Nurture relationships:
Content allows you to keep your audience engaged even when they’re not currently buying your services. Not all your prospects or clients will be ready to meet with you or busy straight away. Keep in contact with them regularly and use your content to do that with regular newsletters, events and socials.
This will keep you top of mind for when they’re ready because they trust your insights and have gotten to know you through your content
6. Build loyalty
Your marketing content isn’t just for your prospects but your current clients too. When you view your marketing through a customer servicing lens you can begin to see how everyone in the agency can contribute.
Read on here to discover how LinkedIn can be used as a customer servicing tool.
We are big fans of content marketing at Chime Agency, beause we have seen the results it can have for agencies targeting B2B audiences.
You can find out more about how agencies are utilising content marketing by downloading our research report which assesses the content marketing strategies of over 100 UK agencies.
Download our Practice What You Preach report
Agency marketing is hard. Our research with over 100 UK agencies proves it. Download the report to learn how to become your own best case study.