“We wrote our first blog post before we wrote our first line of code.”
- Jon Miller, founder, Marketo

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Tag: content agency

Quality work – why I constantly assess our agency model

On my mind: How to describe team members at our content marketing agency. That’s partly because we’re preparing a new website – nothing radical, just something every company does. But it’s also because of an article from a partner at a VC firm.

The founding general partner at Eniac Ventures talks about team slides in decks that companies use when they’re seeking seed-stage investment. Several things caught my eye, as they relate to Collective Content (although we’re not looking for investors). Number five on his list is “If you have shared history, make that very clear” – so we’ll be doing that, for example.

Our core team averages about 20 years working with B2B content, as writers and editors. That’s across a mixture of agencies, such as PR and content marketing, and working for B2B companies. But mostly we’ve all worked in journalism (another way we’re different from other agencies). Even our wider roster of part-time specialist writers and designers tends towards the higher end of experience.

This is in contrast to agencies where a team of junior writers often means lower prices, along with a we-can-turn-our-hands-to-any-content approach.

 

Process affects

How does all this affect the way we work with clients? There’s one obvious way and it goes like this: Collective Content works to a four-step process for much content – a white paper or e-book, say. Other agencies, often where content is produced by a faceless ‘pool’ of writers (have you heard about our ‘farm fresh’ content theory?) will feed content back into a cycle of edits and other amends numerous times.

This happens because each stage isn’t as well planned, and because their model is based on cheaper, less experienced writers who iterate again and again. I don’t want to mention Shakespeare’s monkeys. But I just did.

 

The difference

The results – to be honest – can be the same. In one model (ours), a group of experienced writers and editors takes fewer stages to get the right outcome. In the latter model, where a larger group takes several more rounds of work but at a lower per-employee cost, the overall price tag to a client is similar.

Clients don’t necessarily have a preference. They just want a good result.

But I prefer doing things thoroughly at each stage, with the highest-quality people and fewer stages, to keep everyone’s blood pressure at a healthier level.

There is always a trade-off across speed, quality and price. Focusing on quality doesn’t necessarily make you slower – but it can maintain project sanity.

 

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

 

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Content Agencies Part 1: Specialise

What follows is controversial to some. The message of this post is: do one thing well.

That’s what we believe in, speaking as a content agency. We think it’s good to specialise at being great at content. But others in agencyland would disagree. Which is why this is controversial.

We live in an age of integrated agencies. They might start out as media buyers. Or designers. Or PRs. Or a digital agency – which is a pretty wide catch-all in itself.

Then they add on complementary services. And content is complementary to all the other types of agency service.

So we get how everyone now ‘does content’. We openly partner with a number of agencies (smart guys!) for whom we’re the content arm. That makes sense all round.

But us? We’re not about to branch out.

In this series we ask one fundamental question: What makes a great content agency? After this post we will talk about all kinds of things – transparency, agency models, experience, pricing and more – but we think that, being content people, specialising on content is what we should do. Maybe not 100 per cent. But 90 per cent-plus.

That doesn’t just mean knowing how to write or edit or present or commission or do one of dozens of other content things. It means marrying all that with subject matter expertise. But these are still all fundamental content disciplines.

Do you agree? What’s been your experience, as someone buying content services or as someone else providing them? We’d love to know.

Follow us on Twitter – @ColContent

Need content right now? Try our new WriteNow on-demand service.

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Contact us

Contact us to find out how we can help you:

Email:  tony.hallett@collectivecontent.co.uk

Twitter:  @ColContent

Facebook: facebook.com/CollectiveContent

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/company/collective-content

Phone:  0800 292 2826