The Benefits of Partnering with a Content Agency
Trust plays a major role in creativity. It starts the moment somebody’s pondering whether to share that slightly random idea they’ve had during a meeting. And it goes throughout the creative process as more people become involved in the creation of content. This is what makes the type of relationship you have with a content marketing agency so important. It’s a bit different from the normal buyer-seller dynamic because what you’re buying into is something that doesn’t yet exist.
It’s why developing a strong and lasting partnership is likely to deliver much better results than a more short-term, one-shot approach. Research by the World Federation of Advertisers has found that two-thirds (65%) of senior marketing executives believe that long-term relations produce better quality content.
And the benefits of building strong partnerships go beyond the creative – it’s simply a faster, smarter and more cost-effective way to manage work. It provides similar benefits to having an internal team but without the associated risks of an investment in costly kit and staffing.
What do we mean by a partnership?
Partnering with an agency covers any kind of collaboration that’s designed to deliver a medium or long-term marketing plan. The power of partnership comes from its flexibility – it’s not an off-the-shelf solution and can take whatever form is required to deliver the best results.
It’s often used as a way to complement the work of an internal marketing team and to cover any gaps or weaknesses in what they can handle. The increased role of video content makes this an ideal area for a dedicated agency to handle.
The nature of a partnership will typically be set out in a service level agreement (SLA) that will outline specific roles, responsibilities and any set deliveries that are agreed. It may also include campaign goals or targets whether it’s viewing times or social media engagements.
It lets both parties know exactly what’s expected of them what the aim is. By tackling this from the start, it helps to avoid any frustrations caused by uncertainties over who needs to do what. It creates a stable foundation on which effective content can be developed.
What are the benefits of content agency partnership?
In simple terms, the benefits of a partnership are that you can achieve more for less. Obviously, it depends on the quality of each partnership but there are some fundamental reasons why it makes sense for Content marketing.
Here’s a look at the reasons why:
Building deeper relations
In every aspect of life, forming a partnership can be tricky. This is particularly so with content marketing where a client is committing to something that doesn’t yet exist. You can look at an agency’s past record but there’s always an element of uncertainty. Is this going to be right for your organisation?
By building a partnership, you only have to go through this awkward stage of the process once. Once trust between the two parties is established, it strips away so many of those barriers that can stifle creativity and efficiency. These benefits will grow over time.
With many of our partners, we become an extension of their team. And these kinds of connections can be built wherever an organisation is based. Video conferencing, cloud-based documentation and a range of digital communication tools allow remote teams to collaborate.
The bonds built over time help to foster a much more in-depth understanding of an organisation – to get a feel for the stories they want telling and the audiences they want their messages to reach.
Inspiring creative confidence
By creating strong relations, a partnership can inspire an improved creative process. It builds an environment in which fresh thinking and good ideas can thrive. Teams can be much more open and transparent when developing briefs, discussing concepts and providing feedback.
Some of the best content comes from those ideas that people are unsure about initially. It takes confidence and trust to commit and convert them into something great. It’s the kind of atmosphere that’s hard to foster without a strong and stable partnership existing between client and agency.
But it’s also the confidence for people to speak up and to be real. If somebody doesn’t like an idea or feels that something isn’t working – they need to feel comfortable in expressing that. Over politeness can prove costly if it’s leading the creative process down the wrong path.
With a strong and trusting relationship, it helps to streamline the creative process by allowing the agency to hone and focus a message with minimal need for rounds of feedback and review. Over time, the agency develops an innate sense of what’s going to work best.
The result is creative and powerful marketing content.
Crafting more focused messages
Partnering with a marketing agency means having access to all of the knowledge and experience that they have acquired. This is collected as an agency works with different clients in a variety of formats and across industry sectors. It provides a valuable wealth of knowledge about audience engagement.
The stronger a partnership is, the more of these benefits can be shared as they’re applied to the client’s goals. It helps to inform every aspect of a campaign from the style and presentation of content to the platforms and formats which are most likely to find an intended audience.
This knowledge is based on the expertise of employees but also quantifiable metrics from past projects: views, engagement, sharing and conversion rates. It’s data that helps agencies to find the most effective ways to achieve the required results.
It allows for practical and focused campaigns to be crafted which have realistic and achievable goals. Building a long-term relationship also helps to ensure messages that have a consistent feel and tone. This kind of consistency is particularly important for relationship marketing that’s looking to nurture trust and familiarity.
This kind of consistency is hard to deliver when multiple agencies are used. While the presentation of the content may look similar, there’s always going to be a different feel when it’s being produced by another team.
Agile and cost-effective
The cost benefits of a content agency partnership are an important factor. This starts with a more streamlined creative process and shorter turnaround times. When trust has been established, the time it takes from brief to content being signed off can become significantly reduced.
As well as lowering costs, it allows for an agile and responsive content marketing approach that isn’t held back by a needlessly slow and inflexible workflow. Having this kind of agility is an increasing necessity to keep pace with the breakneck speed of today’s media landscape.
A recent study by Workfront of UK marketers found that agility was second only to creativity when respondents were asked to name the most important components of an effective marketing approach.
Over time, cost savings are also delivered with the build-up of reusable media assets. Graphic templates, titles, logos and video formats that are used for one piece of content can re-purposed to reduce costs and accelerate turnarounds.
Efficiency also goes beyond the creative process and includes all of the associated contractual administrative and financial tasks. Partnerships prevent the need to be constantly setting up new accounts, supply chains and having to handle the wave of administration that’s created whenever working with a new company.
By cutting the time and resources required, you can focus on the core aims of your organisation.
No need to take big risks
Partnering with a content agency gives you similar benefits to handling the tasks internally but without the associated risks or expenditures. With visual content becoming so dominant, many marketing teams are choosing this as the best way to handle video messaging.
It’s an area that can’t be ignored. Research by Cisco estimates that video content will make up 82% of all consumer internet traffic by 2022. It’s a significant challenge because even producing the simplest forms of video content requires a commitment in terms of costs and resources.
It means having to invest in a range of tech: cameras, microphones, studio kit, lighting, editing software etc. You also require people who have the expertise to create professional content – to script, film, edit and format your stories.
There are inevitably risks attached to these expenditures and the long-term challenge of maintaining and upgrading the technology as standards rapidly evolve. By partnering, you are letting the agency take on these risks while still having access to the latest technology and the expertise required to use it.
The impact of COVID-19 has deterred many businesses from investing in office-based technology with a move to remote-friendly options. A study by the Savills Technology Practice Group in October 2020 found that 55% of businesses were planning to reduce their office space over the next 18 months.
During times of such dramatic changes, choosing a partnership structure provides a flexible and remote-friendly way of working that can evolve along with a client’s structure. It’s equally effective whether communications are being held in person or across an online connection.
There are lots of hard-headed business reasons why partnerships are an effective way to handle content marketing but there’s also something more basic. A fundamental reason why partnerships have such a good track record is that it’s simply a nice way to work. It’s pleasant and it’s productive.
It’s the difference between the anxiety and awkwardness of constantly starting new jobs and the comfort of working with a team where you know everyone, you understand what makes them tick and you enjoy being in their company – whether it’s physical or virtual.
And when it comes to the creative process – there are hard-headed business reasons why it pays to nurture this kind of pleasant way of working. When people are comfortable and at ease, they have a greater capacity to be creative and productive.
It’s so much easier to share and cultivate ideas and to have real and meaningful communications. It makes the workflow enjoyable while also generating more vibrant and colourful content. It’s a win-win.
Conclusion: Best of both worlds?
The core benefits of partnering with a content agency are that you can create better content for less. Find yourself the right agency and you can expect something that approaches a best of both worlds solution – giving you access to the knowledge and expertise of an agency while maintaining the feel and creative cohesiveness of an internal team.
A healthy partnership is not something that can be taken for granted and requires work from both sides to maintain over time. But once any initial bumps have been ironed out, the benefits will accrue over time as the agency develops an instinctive feel for what the client is looking for.
The biggest challenge is overcoming that initial hurdle – the uncertainty and anxiety of starting something new. Once that’s passed, it can become an exhilarating experience as you unlock access to a whole new world of creativity. You have new ways to engage and share your vision.
You have a team fighting your corner and focused on meeting your long-term marketing objectives. And you also have a nice bunch of people to work alongside as they help to make it happen. It’s something we’ve been doing for the past decade with more than 2,000 productions and some very happy clients along the way.
If you want to know if a partnership is the right option for your organisation, get in touch here [LINK].