The Truth About Content Marketing Agencies

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The Truth About Content Marketing Agencies

November 13, 2013

All content marketing agencies are not created equal. Learn the difference between the pretenders and the contenders in content creation.

Content marketing is changing the face of communications agencies across the board. Traditional, digital, public relations and new hybrid agencies are scrambling to embrace content marketing as a core competency for clients who are hungry for content that will drive customer engagement and generate and nurture leads.

At the same time, marketers who are either frustrated with their agency’s inability to respond quickly or who foolishly believe that “creating content is easy” and so they can do it themselves, are forcing the entire marketing services landscape to change.

The problem is that every agency now calls itself a content agency. The reality is that very few can actually execute an ongoing content marketing program.

There are two truths about content marketing agencies.

Truth #1: Most Agencies Can’t Create Ongoing Quality Content.

Traditional agencies and PR firms gravitate to content marketing because marketers continue to cut traditional mass advertising funding in favor of content marketing. Most of these agencies can talk the talk but can’t walk the walk when it comes to creating ongoing original content programs. Their very DNA forces them to think in catchy slogans and short-burst campaigns. More important, they lack the journalistic resources required to strategize, create and maintain a sustainable content marketing program that will engage and motivate customers on a continual basis.

Truth #2: Marketers Can’t Be Content Agencies.

Marketers who believe they have internal resources to create an ongoing content program that engages and evangelizes customers are kidding themselves and likely putting themselves farther behind their competition. Most marketers we’ve seen have three big problems that prevent them from creating content in-house.

First is the “it can’t be that hard to create content” syndrome. Content marketing strategy, creation and execution is a specialized discipline that marries journalistic expertise with the art of marketing. Marketers simply don’t have the in-house journalists to do the job.

Second, marketers mistakenly believe they have tons of existing content in their organizations that can just be posted, sent or distributed to clients. Most of this content is boring marketing-speak produced by internal staff. It is not content that will engage, excite or motivate customers or generate leads. In many cases, it will do the exact opposite: alienate customers who will see it as blatant marketing.

Finally, in-house content programs fail because internal pressures, decisions and priorities affect and erode the content program over time. Self-interests of brand managers, sales staff and even senior management too often take precedence over what content will engage customers.

At the end of the day, content marketing agencies that provide strategic content vision, have the experience and creativity to come with big ideas that will drive results, and have the journalistic resources to continually and flawlessly deliver content, will outperform traditional and in-house agencies every time.

James Meyers is president & CEO of Imagination

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