It’s a question I get asked a lot – and a perfectly reasonable one, at that: How can an outside agency ever fully understand my complex industry/business, let alone be able to write about it in an authentic way that will engage my target audience, as if I’ve written it myself?
Even your family and friends don’t fully “get” what you do; when you try to explain (for the umpteenth time) they politely smile and nod with a glazed look in their eyes. So, in much the same way, how will a content marketing agency ever be able to get a full grasp on your day-to-day business, the intricacies of your products or services, and the headaches that are keeping your customers awake at night?
A brief that’s anything but brief
This is where the briefing stage comes into its own. A solid brief is of absolute paramount importance here; a document that will shape and guide your content to come.
Whether you’re in B2B or B2C, before we can deliver a message effectively, we need to know exactly who we’re delivering it to, and why. Getting to know your business and target audience is a multi-layered process, but this is where extensive research comes in. Spending time talking to you and honing the brief in this preliminary research phase is more than a worthwhile endeavour in the long-run.
Ultimately, the relationships with our clients are based on balance: we provide the writing and project management skills, while you provide us with the in-depth insights into your business. Tapping into this in-house knowledge is one of the key stages in the process. We’re happy to talk to people from all departments within your company. For example, your sales team is likely to know about the questions prospective customers are asking which can help shape your content (as well as possible keywords). We can then use this information to build personas.
We’ll also look at everything from:
Competitor research – what are your competitors doing, and what could you be doing better?
Hot topics – what’s your industry talking about right now?
Source links on possible areas to focus on – which sources should we avoid? Which would be ideal?
We’ve been in the game long enough (over 20 years, would you believe!?) to have worked with businesses of all shapes and sizes – and, while no two companies are the same, chances are we’ve had relationships with clients from a similar sector to yours.
Our copywriters all have their individual areas of expertise, so we are in our comfort zone when writing about anything from financial services to law; software to marketing.
What’s your end goal?
Ultimately, I imagine, your goal is to turn readers into paying customers. We’ll work out how direct/indirect you want to be with your messaging and call-to-actions to make sure we can help turn initial leads into conversions.
When creating your content plan, we’ll make sure it supports your objectives – whether that’s nurturing an existing audience, recruiting new followers or driving brand awareness.
We’re comfortable with – in fact we thrive on – getting to know a business inside out. With the help of talking to experts within your company for their insights, our content plans lay out the solid foundations on which we can build. So next time your friends or family ask exactly what it is you do, you may just be tempted to hand them over an M2 Bespoke brief…Ben Hollom
May 31, 2017