If a tree falls in a forest, does it make a sound?
Maybe to those two hikers who happen to be on the trail, but in this case, two hardly makes a crowd.
If you have a great brand but nobody knows about it, does it make a sound? Maybe out in the boonies, but not where most prospects can hear. If you want to widen your reach, you need to amplify your sound — and that comes from content marketing.
Of course, getting into content marketing means all that content needs to be created, a responsibility that often falls on the business owner.
Now, maybe you’re great at content marketing, you have the time to do it, and you’re even seeing positive results. Or maybe you’re not. Regardless, you’ve likely entertained the idea of hiring a content marketing agency to help amplify your sound. But is it right for your business, and is it right for your business now?
Let me be clear: the goal of this article isn’t to sell my services to you. My goal is to give you insights into the traits of companies we’ve been able to get the best results for so you can determine if partnering with a marketing agency makes sense for your business at this time. (Spoiler: Sometimes, it doesn’t.)
6 Signs It May Be Time to Hire a Content Marketing Agency
1. You don’t have the marketing knowledge necessary.
Maybe you’re good at one piece of the content marketing puzzle, such as ideation, writing, brand voice, or promotion, but you don’t quite have the other pieces nailed down. So, you start with the piece you’re good at and knock it out of the park — but the other pieces are still staring you in the face.
If you try to sink valuable hours into something that isn’t your forte, you’ll drain your energy and lose motivation. That isn’t sustainable even if you didn’t have a business to run on top of it. If you’re struggling to complete the content marketing puzzle, a good agency can fill in the gaps.
2. You don’t have the time to commit.
If you calculate how much your time is worth per hour — your total earnings divided by the hours you spend to earn it — doing your own content marketing may be costing you more money than it’s worth.
When you started your business, you were probably the voice of your company, doing all your own marketing. As your company grew, this went from a high-value use of your time to a low-value use as your time became more scarce and valuable. You need someone who can do it as well or better than you, so you can focus on more high-value responsibilities without worrying.
This only works if you’re willing to give up a little control and delegate responsibilities. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck chasing perfection that isn’t there.
3. Your marketing efforts are inconsistent and you’re not getting the results you want.
Does this sound familiar: You’ve started writing, maybe even published a few pieces, but most of your ideas remain hanging out in draft folders, jotted on notepads, or stuck in your head.
If your most recent content marketing efforts look like a bunch of half-finished projects that haven’t yielded real results, it may be time to bring in a content marketing agency to help your projects reach their full potential.
Here’s a tip: Hiring a marketing agency doesn’t mean surrendering complete control of the process — it means entering a partnership. Look over all those existing projects and identify which parts you enjoy and are good at, and which parts drain you or fall outside your wheelhouse. Let your agency know so they can incorporate that into their strategy.
4. You need help reaching new and more targeted audiences.
A good content marketing agency will provide the creative spark you need to generate fresh ideas and break through the clutter. They’ll also help you develop a content strategy tailored to your business goals and your specific audience’s needs. They’ll never promote a “one size fits all” strategy — if they do, they aren’t the right agency for your one-of-a-kind business.
Why hire a marketing agency to do this? Manpower and resources. A good agency is essentially a team of human beings experienced in executing successful content marketing campaigns — social media specialists, SEO strategists, writers, editors, etc. And you don’t have to manage them.
5. You don’t know if your marketing is working or how to interpret the results.
“About one-half the money I spend for advertising is wasted, but I have never been able to decide which half.”
Even though marketing pioneer John Wanamaker reportedly said this over 100 years ago, it reflects a trend people are noticing in their businesses today. Are their marketing dollars making a difference? Many owners aren’t sure.
If you aren’t confident you’re making the right decisions, perhaps you need to find someone who has the information and experience to make those decisions instead. Some business owners are very handy and do most things themselves, but when it comes to the marketing of a company, it can be best to hire someone you know will do it right.
Sometimes, businesses think just putting a lot of information out there is enough to get people’s attention, but this isn’t necessarily true. It’s the way you put something out there that has everything to do with how well your audience receives it. When you hire a marketing agency that knows what they’re doing, you don’t have to worry about wasting time and money on things that may not work.
6. You have a documented sales strategy for converting leads into prospects.
Having a documented sales strategy is important because without a clear plan, measuring the success of your content marketing efforts is difficult. Plus, without measurable goals, it’s easy to get sidetracked and end up wasting time and money on content that doesn’t serve your larger objectives.
If you have a sales strategy in place, it’s easier to track progress and make adjustments as needed. And your sales strategy gives the content marketing agency you hire a clear understanding of what you’re trying to achieve, making it more likely they’ll be able to deliver results.
6 Signs It Isn’t Time to Hire a Content Marketing Agency
On the flip side, it may not be the right time to hire a content marketing agency. Why? It could be a mix of timing, resources, or budget. Regardless, here are some of the biggest reasons hiring a marketing agency may not make sense.
1. You don’t want to give up control.
Maybe you’re not convinced someone else can market your content as well as you can, or maybe you want to be involved in every step of the marketing process. There are plenty of agencies that’ll still take on a project under these circumstances, but we’ve found it’s better to hire a full-time, in-house content marketer if you want to be heavily involved each step of the way.
2. You don’t have brand standards in place.
If you don’t have brand standards in place, content marketing will be much more difficult. Brand standards ensure your content is consistent with the rest of your marketing materials. Without them, it’s much harder to create a cohesive content strategy, and you can come across as inconsistent or sloppy to interested prospects.
3. You don’t have the infrastructure to grow.
If content marketing isn’t something you’re confident in or if your website isn’t equipped to handle it, now might not be the right time to start. Coordinating and succeeding with content marketing takes a lot of effort. If that’s not something you’re prepared to take on at the moment, it’s best to wait until you’re ready.
4. You want to skip content marketing strategy and jump straight to content creation.
A content marketing strategy helps you to determine what kind of content to create and how you can use it to achieve your business goals, not the other way around. Without a content marketing strategy, you’ll end up wasting resources by creating content that doesn’t serve a strategic purpose or achieve any meaningful results.
5. You don’t have buy-in from the rest of your team.
If you don’t have buy-in from your team, you’re setting up your content marketing efforts for failure. As mentioned, content marketing takes a lot of effort and coordination, so it’s crucial to get everyone on board with the strategy and ensure they’re committed to seeing it through.
6. You’re afraid you’ll give too much away.
Content marketing is about providing value to your audience that positions you as a thought leader. This means giving them content that’s meaningful, valuable, and helpful at a cost of $0. If you’re afraid of giving too much away for free, check out our article on the subject.
When to Hire a Content Marketing Agency: Final Thoughts
Content marketing is a great way to grow your business, but only if you’re ready for it. Maybe you’re not ready to amplify your sound, or maybe those two hikers are all you can handle at the moment.
Regardless, just because you aren’t ready to invest in hiring a marketing agency now doesn’t mean you won’t circle back to that option in the future. When your business checks all the boxes on our list of signs to hire a content marketing agency, give me a call. I’d love to help.