If you’re thinking of hiring the services of a good content writing agency and wondering – Do businesses need a content writing agency? – here’s some data to answer your question. According to a survey conducted in 2020, 81% of marketers across the world outsource content writing, making it the number one outsourced content creation activity. And there’s more than one good reason for it. Outsourcing your content creation activities to a good content writing service with experienced writers on their team saves you in terms of costs, resources and time.
Many businesses often strike a fine balance between producing content in-house and outsourcing content to writing services. This strategy is particularly useful when you are trying to scale your content marketing efforts but don’t want to expand your in-house team yet. Others may outsource content creation entirely to an agency or a content marketplace with skilled freelance writers, especially if hiring writers in-house is not economically viable.
In either case, it is important that you choose the best content writing service, that can provide you not only with high-quality content but also with a great experience. Here are a few things to know when identifying what are the most reputable content writing services.
- Is the content writing agency genuine and reliable?
- What does their client base look like?
- What kind of experience and expertise do they have?
- How is their past work performing? Can they provide samples?
- What else can they offer other than content development?
- Do they offer a trial or a discount on your initial orders?
- What is their turnaround time? Do they stick to deadlines?
- What is their approach to revisions and rework?
- What do customers have to say about their service and support?
- How do they compare to other agencies in terms of cost?
1. Is the content writing agency genuine and reliable?
The first thing that you would want to verify before anything else is whether the content writing agency you’re considering is credible or not. Most content writing agencies today operate remotely or online. There are undoubtedly huge benefits to it as you can order content and have it delivered from any part of the world. But it also has its downside. For instance, if someone wants to scam customers, the remote setting makes it very easy. There could be many fake agencies out there that you should steer clear of.
To ensure that the content writing service provider you’re dealing with is genuine, the first thing you should do is check their website. Good content writing services will usually have a dedicated, well-maintained website as well as a social media presence. Go through their interactions on social media to see how responsive they are in their feed and comments.
You should also look for the company on popular review sites to see if they are listed and if they have any genuine reviews from customers.
There are several telltale signs of a fraudulent agency, so you should be able to figure it out with a little scrutiny.
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2. What does their client base look like?
Once you have ascertained that the content writing agency is genuine, you need to do some digging on who their client base includes. This information can prove to be very useful. Firstly, it will tell you whether they are working with any reputable brands and businesses. If yes, it indicates that the content agency is reliable – if big names in the industry trust their work, you can too.
Secondly, you will get an idea about what kind of businesses and industries they usually work with. If their client base includes other businesses from your niche, it would mean the agency has experience in your field and understands your target audience. This can be a huge plus.
On the other hand, if they haven’t worked with anyone from the same industry as yours, they may not have in-depth knowledge about your area. As a result, you could end up with content that just skims the surface and does not provide much value to your audience.
The best content writing agencies would be those that work with a variety of clients coming from different areas and niches, as that would mean their team of writers has very diverse skills.
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3. What kind of experience and expertise do they have?
Even if you do find an agency that works with clients from your industry, it is important to know what experience and expertise they bring along. When it comes to creating content for a business, there are a lot of factors to consider. Some writers specialize in writing short-form content like witty social media posts and ad copy. Others have a flair for blog writing or other long-form content. Some agencies specialize only in PR content or research reports.
You need to find out what kind of content the agency primarily works on. Talk with them and get to know if they have enough experience creating the kind of content your business demands. More often than not, a good content agency or marketplace should have writers specializing in multiple areas.
On Narrato Marketplace, for example, you will find thousands of freelance writers having expertise in a wide range of content. Your content order here is automatically matched with the best-suited writer on the platform based on their experience and knowledge of the topic.
Another positive of working with an experienced content writing agency, like Narrato, is that they would be familiar with the content marketing landscape and will usually provide you with a better experience overall.
4. How is their past work performing? Can they provide samples?
No matter how experienced or how reliable a content writing agency is, ultimately it all boils down to how the content they create will perform for you. Of course, it is hard to tell as content marketing takes time to show results but the performance of their past content for other clients should be a good indicator of their quality.
If you know of any brands or businesses they create content for, you could see for yourself how their content is ranking on search engines like Google. In fact, if you can find the right person to contact in the said business, you can also chat with them to find out how the content created by the agency is faring and if they have seen any positive results from it.
Another good way to evaluate the content they create is to ask the content writing agency for some samples of their past work. They can share links to published content or simply drafts that they may have saved. These samples should give you a fair idea of their content quality, their approach to keyword research and SEO content writing, and so on. Look at how they use keywords within the content, how they structure the content, how the content flows, and other important aspects. A basic evaluation should help you make an informed decision.
5. What else can they offer other than content development?
Content marketing involves a lot more than just content creation. If you can find an agency that offers something beyond content creation for blogs and articles, it could be a jackpot. Most important on our list of priorities would be SEO content, website content, and support with content strategy.
At Narrato Marketplace, for instance, you can order search-optimized content for your websites, product descriptions, affiliate marketing content, and much more. The content writers on the platform are highly skilled in SEO content writing and can create engaging copy with all the technicalities in place. If you’re opting for Managed Services, Project Managers on the platform usually provide the writers with a detailed content brief. It guides writers around your target SEO parameters and other requirements that will help your site rank in search.
Some agencies may also provide support with building your content marketing strategy, with services such as market research, competitor research, content gap analysis, and so on. However, more value-added services would also mean higher costs. So set your priorities right before deciding what services you need.
6. Do they offer a trial or a discount on your initial orders?
Outsourcing content creation to a content writing agency is a huge investment and, in most cases, a long-term relationship that your business is going to build. So you cannot dive into it without testing the waters first. If you have chosen the best content writing service, they should ideally be providing you with a free trial or a discount on your first order.
This makes sure that you have the chance to test their quality and then decide whether you want to invest more. At Narrato Marketplace, you are offered a 50% discount on your first order. And if you are happy with the outcome, you can go ahead and place more orders. In fact, to value and acknowledge the trust you put in their writers, Narrato Marketplace also offers up to 30% in volume discounts on your orders.
So when you are weighing your options, make sure to pick agencies that offer little tokens of appreciation like these. They can be great for building long-standing relationships between your business and the agency.
7. What is their turnaround time? Do they stick to deadlines?
A good content writing agency should be able to give you a definite timeline for completing your project and should be able to stick to it. For instance, the turnaround time for a content order on Narrato Marketplace is 24 to 48 hours and this deadline is never missed.
But there may be agencies that do not take clients’ deadlines too seriously. Not getting your content delivered on time can have various implications for your business. Your competitors may outrun you in the meanwhile, you could miss serious lead generation opportunities or your entire content marketing workflow could come to a halt because of missed deadlines.
Make sure that you do your research on this before signing a contract or placing an order. You could go through some customer reviews to find out if anyone has had issues with delivery speed or deadlines in the past. Your own experience with the first few orders should also be a good way to judge the agency’s timeliness.
8. What is their approach to revisions and rework?
Now, this is something that businesses and marketers often overlook but it becomes a critical factor in the long run. It is not necessary that all your requirements will be met in the very first draft of the content that an agency delivers. There may be issues, like errors in interpretation or the brand voice captured wrongly, which is perfectly normal and expected. The problem arises when the agency does not offer free revisions.
Knowing the agency’s revision policy is extremely important to ensure that the final content you get is something you’re satisfied with. For example, you can request unlimited revisions on your content at Narrato Marketplace until you are happy with what you see. Revision requests are also turned around in 24 hours.
Some other content writing services may have a fixed time frame after which you cannot request any more revisions, say 2 days after delivery. Some others may have a longer turnaround time for revisions, say a week, which can slow down your content process.
So make sure you’ve clearly understood these policies before starting.
9. What do customers have to say about their service and support?
Having strong customer support is going to be very crucial when you are working with a content writing agency. You must have one point of contact who will manage all your projects and to whom you can address your concerns and requirements. On Narrato Marketplace, you can choose to have a dedicated Account Manager who takes care of all the deliverables for you and communicates with the freelance writers on your behalf.
Make sure that the content writing service you are choosing has strong communication channels, responds to your queries quickly, and addresses issues instantly. Again, customer reviews are a great place for these insights. If most customers are happy with the agency’s service, it is likely that they have a good customer support team.
10. How do they compare to other agencies in terms of cost?
Lastly, one very important factor to consider is the cost. More importantly, the cost-to-value ratio. There may be some agencies that offer unmatched quality content and some more but at exorbitant prices. There may be others that offer very low prices, but the quality of content isn’t great either, eventually costing you in terms of performance.
The first step here is to decide on a content marketing budget. Look for an agency that fits well within this budget. Then, you need to determine the value that it can provide for the price it charges. It may need a few iterations with you having to reconsider your budget or the options you’ve chosen, to arrive at the best deal. The end goal is to have a positive ROI in your content marketing efforts.
Finding a content writing agency is not that hard. It is choosing the right one that requires some effort. If you do find an agency that ticks all the boxes, you could see some amazing results from your content marketing campaigns. The best way to approach it is by setting clear goals and priorities, deciding on a budget, and then weighing the options you have at hand. You can also score them based on the criteria we’ve listed above. The one that scores the highest in most aspects should be worth a try.