scs creative content writing agency questions to ask

Eight Questions To Ask Your Content Writing Agency

by | Aug 2, 2020 | Good Content, Smart Strategy

Not everyone is a great writer. Not everyone even likes writing. But if you’re marketing products and services in the 21st century, content writing is as important as it is unavoidable.

Luckily, you don’t have to go it alone. The right content writing agency produces engaging, accurate, and valuable content that grows businesses while you focus on marketing strategy, SEO, sales, or just being a boss.

As you look for the perfect content writing agency, keep in mind that, just as with any product, what works for one person or business might not work as well for another. Before signing on the dotted line, you need to do your due diligence to ensure that you’re choosing the best people for your company. With so many options out there, how do you know if you made the right decision? Read on!

What does a content writing agency do?

A content writing agency is dedicated to the production of blogs, guest articles, website copy, and other written content necessary for the marketing of a product or service. Generally, this content is part of a larger marketing, search engine optimization, or public relations (PR) strategy.

A content writing agency typically has several in-house content writers, along with editors and project managers. This staff works with you to determine the most important services your business offers, the most interesting part of your business’s story, and the best way to present your business to your target audience with informative and engaging content.

What services does a content writing agency offer?

A good content agency should offer these services:

  • Produces written content for your business. Sure, that sounds obvious, but not all content is equal. As the cornerstone of a content writing agency, the content produced by its writers should have several markers of quality, including:
    • The ability to produce engaging, well-organized, and authoritative written work in a number of formats
    • The creative vision to repurpose that content into other forms of content, such as turning a press release into a blog post
    • Sharing new information that offers value to the reader and distinguishes you from other competing products and services
  • Adheres to best SEO practices. A content writing agency should automatically write with SEO in mind. While you may not be engaged in a formal SEO strategy at the time of writing your content, not optimizing is a missed opportunity that many regret not taking advantage of earlier, particularly because SEO is a long-term and time-consuming process. Your content writing agency should offer to collaborate with your SEO team or they should use their consultants to inform the content. Plus, any metadata such as title tags and meta descriptions should be provided at no extra cost.
  • Serves as an outside voice to help your team. Sometimes, a fresh pair of eyes can provide you with that breakthrough you’ve long sought. If you and your team are struggling to make your content connect with your target audience or give your content an authoritative, engaging voice, a content writer can offer an outsider perspective that makes all the difference. A content writing and marketing agency also should have ample experience to help you talk through your content and marketing ideas.
scs creative content writing agency ask questions

The difference between a content writing agency and a freelancer

A content writing agency usually comprises many content writers and has a top-down structure through which a team of head editors has the final say and approval on all content that writers have created for clients. A freelance content writer, on the other hand, is just one person, and the lack of a larger team surrounding your freelancer can impact not just the content created, but your entire project and marketing strategy.

Some differences between a content writing agency and a freelancer include:

  • Editing. When you hire a freelance content writer, chances are that your content is only seen by one person before you receive it. This lack of input from other folks can harm your content. Even the best freelance writers can miss typos and factual errors, and that’s only because they’re a one-man-band. When multiple writers and editors review content, the chances are increased that these mistakes are caught. Content writing agencies should guarantee that both the writer and the editor approve your copy before it makes its way to your inbox.
  • Full attention. If your go-to freelancer is sick, on vacation, or busy with other clients, it could impact your business. What if you have pressing content needs and your freelancer is unreachable? When you hire a content writing agency, you can rest assured that even if your main point of contact is on vacation, another writer who’s just as qualified can help you.
  • Staff. In addition to the extra editing benefits that come with hiring a content creation agency, you’re also paying for work by a team of writers, and each writer likely has a unique background and niche expertise. If you need content created about a topic in which one writer at a content agency is better-versed than your usual contact, you might find yourself working with a different – and even better-suited – content writer than usual.
  • Faster project completion. Need 30 pieces of content in the next few weeks? This amount of work might overwhelm an individual content writer, who may need more time to file all 30 assignments with you. Not a problem when you hire a content writing agency: The company should have more than enough writers among whom to evenly divide the workload and keep your project on track.
  Content writing agency Freelancer
Multiple readers and editors Extremely likely Unlikely
Availability Staff of several content writers means a good content writer is always available Just one person may be unavailable for your needs 
Knowledge diversity Staff of several content writers increases the likelihood that someone within the agency will know your content’s subject matter well Diversity of expertise may be limited
Project completion rates Faster, since work can be divided among staff writers Slower, since one person may have limited capacity

Questions to ask your content writing agency

Deciding that you need to hire a content creation agency is only the start of your journey to a more robust content marketing strategy. Before you hire any content writing agency, you need to do your research first.

A major part of that research, in addition to looking at testimonials and internet reviews, will be speaking directly with content writing agency contacts to learn more. The people with whom you speak will likely have many questions about your needs, and you should come prepared with just as many questions for the agency. Be sure to ask the following questions when you speak with a content writing agency.

1. Can you write for any subject?

Why should you ask this question? You should hire a content writing agency with experienced interviewers on staff. This means the writers can ask the right questions to get to the root of any subject matter.

What should the answer be? It may sound too good to be true, but your content writing agency should have the flexibility to cover any subject. You should consider hiring an agency staffed by writers with formal journalism training and experience, as this background virtually guarantees that the agency’s writers are uniquely qualified to figure out the questions to ask, do the research needed, and fill in the blanks whenever specialty knowledge is required.

2. Do you understand SEO?

Why should you ask this question? Well-written information is just one part of the equation for success. At the heart of content marketing lies the intersection of SEO and writing. An SEO expert who can’t write well should not write your content, just as a writer with a woeful understanding of SEO should not be solely responsible for how your content performs online. Good content needs to be as well-written as it is primed for SEO best practices.

What should the answer be? Your agency should confirm that all its writers have a working knowledge of SEO best practices. Better yet, your agency should have in-house SEO experts who review copy and pay close attention to ever-changing best practices as dictated by the search engines. Get a content writing agency that can do both.

3. How much experience do you have?

Why should you ask this question? A content writing agency can have a staff of seasoned journalists and still not have ample experience writing non-journalistic content. To ensure high-quality work, you should be certain that your content writing agency has years of experience – and results to show for it. A wealth of experience can be especially important if you need content created for especially complex topics.

What should the answer be? Even brand-new content writing agencies should comprise mostly content writers with years of experience. That background becomes vital, as content writers have seen the hands-on success produced by certain types of content or industries and can therefore recommend what’s best for your business.

4. Do you have any specialty knowledge?

Why should you ask this question? Content creators should be able to write about any topic, but they will also inevitably specialize in certain subjects based on their backgrounds. Similarly, content agencies may specialize in working with certain industries given their time spent working with clients in specific sectors. In some cases, you may fare better if you choose a content creation agency that specializes in your industry than if you choose one that is versatile in a wide variety of topics.

What should the answer be? Often, a content writing agency will specialize in a certain field. That might work in your favor! So if you see that a content writing agency specializes in product marketing, tech, or restricted sectors, put that experience to work for your business.

5. How do you approach each project?

Why should you ask this question? Just as you should get a sense for your content writing agency’s creation process, you should examine the agency’s approach to each project. Make sure that your agency is not a “content factory” that mindlessly churns out endless writing that adds up to little. You want an agency capable of producing unique content that prioritizes your business’s needs, is written in an appropriate tone and voice for your audience, and most importantly, isn’t the same as what your competitor is publishing.

What should the answer be? There is no one way to approach a project, so a question this open-ended may only result in vague answers that provide little helpful information. However, this question may be the most important one to ask. An agency’s approach to your work can reveal how it will turn complex topics into easily understandable content.

what to ask scs creative content writing agency

6. How do you come up with ideas?

Why should you ask this question? Your content writing agency’s answer to this question can reveal how well they understand your audience and your project goals. Your agency should also detail how they go about getting a feel for what your business does and what kind of voice you want your content to have. The agency should ask about your specialties and competitors as well. Combined, these factors form the basis of an effective content creation and marketing strategy.

What should the answer be? Your content creation agency should tell you that it will determine the number of monthly posts ideal for your needs and then work as a team to develop meaningful, relevant content ideas based on your audience, goals, services, voice, specialties, and competitors. You should hear that looking up recent developments or trending news is a part of the agency’s process for coming up with ideas too. 

7. What’s the editing process like?

Why should you ask this question? Editing is integral to good writing, so when you hire a content writing agency, you should be sure that all copy filed with you is edited by at least one person in addition to the writer. This question is also paramount because you too are a part of the editing process even if you don’t think you’re a writer. Just because your content agency hands you squeaky-clean copy doesn’t mean that it’s guaranteed to be accurate or written with an appropriate tone for your audience. You get the final say.

What should the answer be? You should hear that all copy is edited and approved by at least one other staff writer or editor before it is filed with you. Your agency should also detail its procedure for implementing any edits or rewrites that you demand – how quickly are these changes made, and by whom? Most importantly, a round of edits between you and the content writing agency should be part and parcel of any content writing services booked.

8. How do you get to know so much about my business?

Why should you ask this question? Even an esteemed, highly recommended group of content writers may fail to meet your needs if they don’t take the time to learn about your business. Just as job interviewees are advised to ask plenty of questions about the company interviewing them, you too should gently turn the tables on your content writing agency. When content writers and editors can show you that they’ve done their homework, you can infer that your business won’t be just another project on your agency’s task list – instead, your business will be prioritized and given valuable, highly considered content that’s been gone through with a fine-tooth comb.

What should the answer be? Your content writing agency’s answer should show that the group’s writers and editors have extensively researched your business. You should hear facts about your company’s history, products, services, audience, and industry – things that are second-nature to you but would only be known to outsiders after thorough research. If they can’t find what they need online, make sure they ask you for corporate decks, prior articles, or anything else previously written about your company. 

Don’t select a content writing agency — select a partner

Once you have an idea of your company’s content creation and marketing needs, you can search for content writing agencies, browse through agency websites, and visit any fitting agencies’ contact forms to get in touch and explain your content needs. For certain projects, you may want to consider only agencies based in your area or with ample experience working with clients in your region.

At SCS Creative, we make it easy for you to reach out to us – and we’re eager to hear about your content writing and marketing needs. When you work with us, you get access to a content writing staff with combined decades of training and experience in journalism, SEO knowledge, and first-hand experience with a wide range of topics, from selling brand-name products to promoting tech-driven solutions and everything in between. You’re with us every step of the way, with stellar communication and transparent strategy. We don’t just write great content – we help you stand out in a way that’s authentically you. Fill out the contact form and get your quote today!

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