To succeed in content marketing, you must be in the long run.
With direct response marketing, the return on investment can be measured in weeks or months. With content marketing, however, it can run over year for your efforts to be rewarded. When they hire a content marketing agency, brands must plan a long-term relationship.
Alenka Bester, Head of Digital Content Marketing at Zavarovalnica Triglav, and Nenad Senic, Brand Editor at PM, poslovni mediji, explain how at a presentation to Content Marketing World, Customer Collaboration- agency: How to evolve together Provide content marketing results .
Alenka and Nenad share their experience of working together, as well as tips for success in the client-agency partnership.
Partners and Organizations: Setting Common Goals
As in any relationship, success is difficult when opposing interests are at stake. If you want "x" and I want "z", we will probably end up bumping and we will not achieve anything.
"For a successful long-term relationship, you need to set common goals. The objectives of (the agency) must be aligned with those of the client, "says Alenka.
Often, the goals of an agency are to create compelling content for the customer and increase its business revenue. Although these goals are valid, Alenka believes they should be secondary, giving priority to the client's goals and interests: "You have to ask yourself, 'This is really what your customer needs and it will bring them closer to them. he of his objectives ? & # 39; "
For example, Alenka's team felt proud of the content of a project, but statistics show that it fell flat for the target audience. An agency motivated by the growing revenue of its customers could attribute the ad spending to an insufficient amount or offer to create new content. An agency aligned with the client's goals might say, "Maybe you do not need more content … We can help you optimize and reuse what you already have."
Common objectives also guide project decisions. "You should always know what your ultimate goal is," says Alenka. "Stay true to your mission and keep working for it. This will make your relationship with the agency much easier as it will know what to expect. "
Client side: Think differently about the relationship
Brands maintain relationships with many agencies – advertising, SEO, paid search, social media marketing, etc.
Alenka knew that she had to think differently about the relationship with a content marketing agency.
His organization usually works with two-year contract agencies for an associated campaign. For new campaigns, the company reopened the bidding process.
"Conventional contracts would not work for us because we could never achieve consistency in the form of a series of campaigns," says Alenka.
She has folded some internal rules to establish a permanent contract with a content marketing agency, while limiting the scope of work to specific content marketing projects.
"This contract has allowed us to set up a functional and consistent program around a content hub supported by email and social media distribution," says Alenka.
The contract was signed with the Nenad agency.
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Agency side: lawyer to the client's public
As Nenad explains, "From the point of view of the agencies, we must find the meeting point between the interests of the client and those of the public. As an agency, we defend the interests of the public. "
Agencies should better understand the audience of the client than what the public already knows, says Nenad. Sometimes the agency has to get the audience out before the customer – asking the customer, for example, whether a new initiative serves the public properly.
"The agency's job is to always ask" why, "says Nenad.When the customer has great ideas, you have to ask him why he wants to make them.They serve the public "You have to ask questions and sometimes persuade them to choose another path," he says.
The agency's job is also to educate, says Nenad. "Many customers told us that the other agency built a content center and then they left us and we did not know what to do, we did not know how to fill it. content, "he explains." Help (customers) out. "" Get them to get the information, optimize their workflow. " .It's your job and that leads to good relations. "
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Clientele: it's a team sport that breaks down the barriers
When the client and the agency establish common goals, they are part of the same team. However, some customers still keep agencies away, says Alenka. They are reluctant to share information, fearing that it exposes them or that the agency uses them to sell them more. They view the relationship as a transaction – what can you do for me and when can I have it?
"I firmly believe that it is a highly collaborative process in which you only get what you give. You two, the agency and the client, need to share information and get involved to get the best results, "she says.
She finds it useful and productive to share her ideas with the agency. "What works best for us is if I can make room for creative discussions, where I sit with Nenad and openly talk about my ideas and visions. I know he will not try to sell me anything immediately, but he will take those ideas and bring them to a whole new level, "says Alenka.
Agency side: Structure the relationship to succeed
In any team environment, personalities can confront each other. One person thinks differently of another. They have trouble communicating.
Nenad tells the story of a project in which his first contact was replaced. "We were both very professional. We were both experts in our fields, but the relationship was very tense. Either I could not explain to her why something had to be done, or she could not explain why I had done wrong. "
This rupture led to crisis meetings, which caused a lot of shouting. It was not nice for both parties. Nenad withdrew from the relationship and put a colleague in charge of the client's account. The personality of this colleague has become much better integrated and the crisis has been avoided.
Nenad tells another story in which the agency was slow to resolve personality conflicts and ended up losing the big client.
It's good to shake the team to support the client's success. The important thing is to act quickly and decisively.
Partners and organizations: coordination of skills acquisition
It is rare that an agency has experts in the field in the industry of its client. They are content experts.
As Nenad explains, "In one day, I worked on Christmas recipes, the future of innovation in Germany, postpartum depression and the strategy of communication in the pharmaceutical industry. It's obvious that I can not be an expert in all these areas, right? "
He needs to know how to find experts.
Clients should not expect their agencies to be experts. "In a complex industry, it's unreasonable to expect the agency to understand all the details, all the complex details of your products. They will learn, of course, but only if we help them. If we share our expertise, do not despise them, "says Alenka.
But customers have a vital role to play with the experts in the field. "As a content buyer, I am the intermediary between the agency and our subject matter experts. I prevent ping pong between the two parties. It's sometimes stressful, but important, "says Alenka.
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Partners and Agencies: Successful Long-Term Success
By reading all these helpful tips from Alenka and Nenad, you can see their strong client-agency relationship. They continue their long-term partnership today, collaborating on a successful content marketing program.
What do you think? What is your perspective as a customer or agency? What is working well? What did not work?
Share your thoughts in the comments.
Here is an excerpt from the presentation by Alenka and Nenad:
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Cover image of Joseph Kalinowski / Content Marketing Institute