How marketing agencies learn about your business (enough to create content as if we are you)
Content is a highly personal thing. You’ve spent a long time getting to know your customers and what they want from your business, then creating content they’ll enjoy and find useful.
You probably speak to your customers in a particular way, about the pain points you know they have. You offer them solutions that only you can give them, and reassure them when they feel anxious. Your customers’ goals, hopes, successes and challenges are also yours, and you understand them better than anyone.
At ESM Inbound, we understand the bonds that tie customers to your business. These relationships are built on trust, and the fact you’ve been offering a consistent service. That’s why it’s so important that, when we start creating content for you, it illustrates your tone of voice, expertise and authenticity. We want your customers or prospects to read your blog, email or website and know it comes from your business, never jarring or confusing them with a style that doesn’t feel right.
We’ve honed our content-creation process around these fundamental points. When we write "as you", we want the transition to be seamless. This is so your customers know it’s you who’s speaking (not us), but also so you feel you can hand over your content to us in trust, knowing it’s being created to your specification.
Here, we’ll explain more about how our content-creation process works, and how we work alongside you to create the highest standard of content possible.
Getting to know you and your business
The reason our content-creation process works is that we really take the time to get to know you. After you’ve submitted a content request form, or started a content package with us, a content strategist will call a point of contact at your business for an initial 20-30 minute ‘getting to know you’ chat.
Who should be your point of contact?
Sometimes the business owner wants to be involved, since working with an agency was probably their decision. But most of the time, it’s the head of marketing or a marketing executive who is assigned this task. Whoever understands best about the kind of campaigns you want to create, and who is going to be available to work alongside us, is the best fit for this call.
During the call, you will agree with your strategist on the purpose of the content, the buyer persona to be targeted and other key details such as the deadline and any wider campaigns linked to the content.
What if you don’t have a buyer persona yet?
If you don’t already have a buyer persona (if you are onboarding to HubSpot with ESM Inbound, this is part of the process so will already be done with you) then we can help you with this. We have designed a quick 5-minute persona builder tool for those who are new to personas, which allows you to build up to three personas for free, then your results are emailed to you to keep.
Once we’ve sketched out the initial details between us, your strategist will ask you questions such as:
- What’s the desired action (ie. what do you want the visitor to do as a result of reading the content?) – what CTA (call to action) should we use in the content?
- Where will the content be shared?
- Are there any competitors who have published content you admire?
- Who do you follow on Twitter?
- Whose blogs do you read?
- Are there any competitors whose content/voice you want to differentiate yourself from?
- What are the previous/next content offers? How does this link in with your wider content strategy?
- Is there anything to avoid in this piece of content?
- If we are interviewing someone associated with your business, who should we speak to?
- Who will the content be attributed to?
- Is there any content this person has already published that will help to inform the tone of the piece?
- What are your customers' watering holes?
These sample questions show a few examples of the kind of detail we’ll go into during the initial consultation call. We share the questions with you ahead of the call so you can prepare a little should you need to, and the conversation can be as productive as possible.
Capturing your voice and tone
Once we’ve spoken, we’ll begin our research stage. This will be based on anything you’ve told us to read during the consultation call, as well as some obvious areas to help us develop a sense of your existing style and tone of voice. These include:
- Your website
- Your blog
- Your social media feeds
- Other existing campaign content, such as white papers, ebooks, guides, checklists or anything else you’ve previously created
- Examples of successful content that performed well
- Examples of less positive content that performed poorly
- Blog examples you'd like us to use for inspiration (from competitors who you feel are doing a great job)
- Social media feeds from other businesses, chosen by you
- Related industry websites or documents.
It's really important in this stage that you've armed us with as much information as possible, so our content strategist can go away and complete a thorough and comprehensive review of existing content, ahead of planning your piece. This enables them to match the way you speak to customers, while also finding aspirational examples of content we can start aiming for, and gathering an overview of your industry.
Expert writers who keep you in the loop
Once a plan has been drawn up, shared with you and approved by you, the content strategist will go away and create the content, working closely with designers and developers to deliver exactly what has been agreed. Our objective is to create a piece of content that feels as though it was written by you or one of your team members; not by someone who works at ESM Inbound.
While the content strategist is creating your content, you have a few days to focus on the things that matter to you (the parts of your job you've maybe been distracted from while trying to keep up with content), safe in the knowledge that you'll still meet your deadlines. Our expert writers will be in touch, as soon as the content is created and has undergone rigorous internal quality assurance. We keep you in the loop every step of the way, informing you once the copy is complete and ready for review, via email.
You will receive your copy in the form of a Google Doc so that you can make comments live on the document in the event that you wish to request any revisions. Everyone's content benefits from a few minor tweaks – this is a natural part of content creation. However, we do charge extra for major revisions, such as an entire re-write (since this shouldn't occur after so much communication, preparation and planning first).
Our expert writers are well equipped to create content across a range of sectors because:
- They have previous agency experience, so are used to writing for multiple businesses
- They are HubSpot certified with certifications in Content Marketing, HubSpot Marketing Software and Social Media
- They relish the research process, understanding this is central to a successful content-creating process
- They have written for a range of industries, from finance and commerce, to education and fashion
- They are strategists who don't only listen to your requirements, but who plan how to turn content around which will have the maximum impact on your audience.
We are dedicated to learning as much about your business as possible. We want you to feel like we are a member of your team – we just happen to be working remotely! That's why we put as much human interaction in place as we can. Ultimately, we know the best way to get a sense of who you are is to talk to you, and most importantly, to listen.
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