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10 Steps To Getting the Most Out of Your Marketing Agency

DATE PUBLISHED: October 15, 2014

marketing agencyLike any outsourcing partner, you want to get the most out of your relationship with your marketing agency. The trick to doing so isn't exactly a secret. Both parties need to clearly articulate roles and responsibilities, keep the lines of communication open, and measure results. Of course, actually seeing these things play out in the real world is a different story altogether, which is why we'd like to present 10 tangible ways to get the most out of your relationship with your marketing agency:

1. Devise an editorial calendar

Your editorial calendar is your roadmap for your agency relationship. It articulates who does what, when content is published, and the types of content you'll publish. If you and your agency lack an editorial calendar, your relationship is doomed to fail. (Harsh, we know...but true.) Click here for helpful guidance on creating an effective blogging editorial calendar.

Meanwhile, in this post we looked at how firms can address the assignment of roles and responsibilities in an agency relationship. And since every client company is different, there is no hard answer that will apply to all circumstances. However, there are certain key roles that an agency should be on the hook for. Here are a few:

2. Social media review and management

An experienced marketing agency is attuned to the constant changes on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. They know what constitutes a rock-star social media profile, and they should know how to make the most out of things like paid advertising. That's what they do, after all. So at the least, your relationship with a marketing agency should include a kind of inventory of your social media networks. Perhaps some accounts can be deleted; others could be built out. This is a basic first step in revisiting your social media footprint and something that should fall squarely on the shoulders of your agency.

3. Keep day-to-day social media management in-house

By this we mean things like responding to comments, posting questions to followers, and daily engagement with your network. The same goes for Twitter. For example, if your auto dealership is live-Tweeting an event, you'll naturally want someone from your dealership, and not an agency rep, doing the Tweeting.

4. Outsource content writing

Yes, you and your team are experts in your given field, but unfortunately, you have other things on your plate. While you can't outsource the sales function to an agency, you can outsource certain elements of content writing. Things like white papers, FAQs, and blogs.

5. Let them handle content marketing 

Much like step #1, an experienced agency knows how to effectively promote content, be it via Facebook ads or through viral-sharing techniques like posting to aggregate sites like Reddit or StumbleUpon. They should do this.

The remaining steps deal with day-to-day management of your agency relationship.

6. Train the agency

If an agency is going to be "ghost-blogging" for you, make sure they are experts in your field. Educate them on your business model, your buyer personas, and make sure they read blogs related to your industry.

7. Read their work 

Once you outsource content writing to an agency, you'll have the urge to put it out of your mind completely. That's a bad idea. Read what they write to make sure they're not making mistakes or misrepresenting your brand.

8. Keep an eye on budgets 

Just because the agency is handling Facebook ads, for example, they shouldn't get a blank check. Sit down with them and walk through a budget you're comfortable with and agree on success metrics so you can gauge performance.

9. Establish a point person 

Select someone on your team who will interface with the agency. This may sound obvious, but some teams oftentimes have multiple individuals working with an agency. This approach accentuates the risk of error and overall confusion.

10. Measure performance

At the outset of the relationship, have the agency establish metrics for success, be it "Boosting Facebook engagement by 85% within two weeks" or "Publishing three blogs a week for three months." The point is less about the metrics themselves – though of course, they're certainly important — and more about establishing a framework by which you can objectively measure the agency's performance.

Now we'd like your feedback. Does your firm work with a marketing agency? What roles are outsourced? What roles are kept in-house? How do you track the effectiveness of this relationship?