Hiring a content marketing agency can be an enormous responsibility for a nonprofit marketer. With so many agencies offering a myriad of services, how do you determine which one can best suit your needs within your budget?
In this post, we’ve created a list of 6 questions to help you evaluate whether or not a prospective content marketing agency is the right fit for your organization.
1. What is your experience working with nonprofit clients?
Although not a requirement for success, it’s preferable to hire an agency that either currently works with nonprofit clients or has had past success in this area. Despite many similarities between nonprofit marketing and for-profit marketing, there are also inherent differences. One key difference is that for-profit marketing tends to focus on promotion and selling, whereas nonprofit marketing tends to focus on awareness and giving.
Be sure to ask for case studies, documented testimonials, or even client references to help you make an informed decision before engaging an agency.
2. What is your process for onboarding new clients?
Before an agency hits the ground running, there should be a formal onboarding process to help you understand how your account will be managed and what your expectations should be regarding project timelines and deliverables.
The onboarding process also gives you the opportunity to get the agency up to speed on your specific business goals, challenges, and target audience(s). Taking the time to go through this intensive exercise will help lay the foundation for a successful agency-client partnership.
3. Who will manage our account?
When hiring a content marketing agency, it’s important to have a clear understanding of who will be managing your account and executing your marketing programs. Ideally you want to hire an agency with experienced internal teams that manage their client work.
However, it’s a common practice for agencies to outsource certain types of work to skilled contractors and/or freelancers. If this is the case with the agency you’re considering, it's reasonable to expect all outsourced work to be seamlessly managed by the agency’s internal account managers.
4. How will your agency determine the best content strategy for my organization?
The prospective agency’s content strategy should be tailored specifically to the overall business goals and objectives for your organization. You want the agency to ask probing questions about your goals and objectives, business challenges, audience personas, marketing channels, existing content inventory, current content creation process and workflows, etc.
With a detailed working knowledge of your organization and its marketing function, the agency should be in a solid position to design a content strategy that delivers results.
5. Which key performance metrics does your agency focus on to measure client success?
Meeting your goals should be the agency’s top priority, and all progress should be measured at each step along the way. The agency you hire should help you identify quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs) relevant to content marketing effectiveness. These should include a mix of consumption, engagement, and conversion metrics such as:
- Consumption: # of page views, post views, video views, downloads, email opens
- Engagement: # of shares, likes, retweets, mentions, comments, forwards
- Conversion: # of form fills & downloads, blog subscriptions, email subscriptions, leads generated
6. When can we realistically expect to see a return on our investment?
Timing for ROI can vary depending on how you and your agency determine success for the strategy you’ve agreed to implement. While it's possible to achieve some positive results early on, the goal is to consistently create quality content that builds a great brand experience for your audience over time.
On average, it can take anywhere from six to twelve months to begin generating significant results. But like other marketing methodologies, content marketing is an ongoing process that requires a long-term commitment.
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