What you need from your content marketing service

So, you’re on the lookout for a content marketing service for your MSP.

The good (and bad) news is there are many to choose from. If you’re new to this whole content marketing thing, how do you judge which service will be a good fit for your business? It’s a substantial investment. You don’t want to make the wrong call.

That’s what this guide is for.

Let’s look at a few of the areas you should consider when shopping content marketing services.

What’s in the contract?

First and foremost, know what you’re getting. Don’t just rely on a verbal conversation, either. READ the contract. (Seriously. Read the whole thing.)

That’s the only way you’ll know about any of the following things you should consider, and it’s the only true way to know for sure what you can expect. If you don’t read the contract and then content marketing service follows it to the ‘t,’ any resulting disappointment is on you.

What’s the review period?

Most content marketing services will allow for a review period after they hand off the content. (If they don’t, that’s a huge red flag.) You should absolutely take advantage of that review period, at least for the first few pieces they produce—even if they have an editor who went over everything.

The content should always be written in a tone that reflects your IT services and your personality. And you want to make sure the writer gets any technical specifications right, too.

For example, maybe you never recommend a specific backup service. You should make sure the articles they write don’t recommend it, either—though mentioning things you don’t recommend is fine.

You need to know what the review period is.

The option to request revisions

You also need to know how liberal you’re allowed to be when requesting changes. Can you request a full rewrite? Or are you capped at 20% of the original copy (which is fairly standard).

Most content marketing services will include at least 1-2 revisions (of up to 20% of the original content) in the initial rate. After that, you may have to pay for additional revisions, and you’ll almost certainly have to pay for complete rewrites if you change your mind about the tone, the topic or the specific elements included.

If you’re requesting a rewrite because the initial copy was just bad, that shouldn’t result in additional charges. But again, read the contract to ensure there’s some kind of guarantee of quality.

Timeliness

Deadlines are critical in content marketing. If you’re trying to post a new article every week, you can’t afford to partner with a writer who is always late.

You know what’s coming, right? The timelines for delivery should be clearly stated in the contract. Read it. If their default timelines don’t work for you, ask if there’s any flexibility there.

Be wary of any service that shies away from explaining the process clearly on in the contract.

SEO/keyword research

You know how you’re always trying to get your clients to understand that technology constantly evolves? That they can’t set up their network one time and just be done with it? SEO is worse.

SEO is always changing. What worked last year likely doesn’t work now. In fact, even SEO experts are just taking educated guesses when it comes to best practices. Highly educated guesses, but guesses nevertheless.

Here’s what you should focus on. What pain points do your clients and prospects feel? Are they mostly concerned about the cloud? Office 365 migration? Cybersecurity? (That’s always a big one.) Don’t focus on what you want to sell. Focus on what they want to buy.

How does that play into your marketing strategy? Easy. You should be producing helpful content that directly answers the questions your prospects are asking. You’ll want to partner with a content marketing service that knows how to do the SEO work on the backend to ensure performance.

Do not partner with someone who just guesses at what’s going to work, and stay far away from anyone who favors keyword stuffing (which hasn’t worked in years) over useful content.

Quality content

Helpful content rules.

As a Content Trends 2018 report summary explains, “In this new world of content saturation and falling social shares, the big winners are sites that have built a strong reputation for original, authoritative content.”

It’s also fine if your service repurposes and reuses content as long as it does so mindfully.

Quality content doesn’t happen in a vacuum. Often, you probably need a service that specializes in your field. (We can tell you that content services that specialize in technology and managed IT services are hard to come by.)

If you choose to partner with someone who doesn’t specialize in IT, be sure to go over everything they produce for you with a fine-toothed comb. You’ll have to play the role of editor, ensuring they get all the tech jargon right.

Content matters

Partnering with a content marketing service is a smart move. If you want traction from this kind of marketing, you have to publish often, and that’s hard for most business owners to do effectively on their own.

Just be sure to do your homework. While working with a qualified content marketing service is amazing, partnering with the wrong service is a frustrating experience.