How to start your own content marketing agency

Harvey Holloway
Freelance Digital Marketer
4th January 2021

Let’s set the scene. 

You’ve been working in digital marketing for a little while now.

You know your Moz from your MailChimp and fully appreciate just how important web content can be.

Whether it be email marketing, social media campaigns or backlink analysis, you understand content like the back of your hand and could, if you wanted to, create effective strategies in your sleep.

You decide it’s time to show your content expertise to the world, finally breaking away from digital marketing to branch out and form your very own content marketing agency.

You’re excited to get started but suddenly realise you’re not sure how to prioritise all the things you need to do. You turn to Google looking for answers and it’s that which brings you here today.

First things first...

If you can relate to the situation described above, then you’re in luck – this article is designed to provide you with all the answers you’re looking for.

However, before we get into the nitty-gritty of setting up a content marketing plan, I need to be serious with you for a second. So, brace yourself… 

In today’s day and age of coronavirus chaos and economic uncertainty, it’s now more important than ever to stay proactive and constantly think about the future. 

In essence, you need to establish new and effective ways of not only making it out of the pandemic to the betterment of yourself personally but from a financial perspective as well.

Therefore, you need to be absolutely 100% certain that setting up your own content marketing agency is what you genuinely want to do.

If you’re not motivated or passionate about it going in, it’ll show and – ultimately – you’ll only end up on your ass as a result. Decide that before choosing whether it’s worth reading on. 

Step One: Niche it up

OK, so now the serious chat is out of the way, it’s time to start thinking about the practical side of running a content agency – starting with your niche.

With so much competition out there already, for example, it’s important to ask yourself: what exactly is it that makes your agency better than the rest? And why should your target customer choose you over the others?

The way you answer these two questions will impact everything – how you set up your business, how you market it, how you advertise it, etc.

Working out what sets you apart is, therefore, imperative – so don't rush it. Take the time now to identify your content ‘X’ factor, the key thing about your agency that will improve its marketability, engagement and profitability over the long run.

Step Two: Decisions, decisions...

Once you’ve identified what it is that makes your agency different from your competition, you will then need to make a few more key decisions.

Starting with the services you offer; you will need to provide a variety of these to customers in order to meet their budgets and requirements.

Even if your ultimate end-goal is to write articles for more major websites, you need to be realistic with your ambition early on and start small. As you’ll be a relatively tiny fish in a huge pond, you’ll need to quickly identify ways to build your profile, improve your authority and obtain consumer trust.

Whether that be through offering bespoke blog writing at a cut-price, social media management at a discounted rate or taking the time to invest in your own website’s SEO, there are a number of effective ways to get your agency off and running in the right way.

One of the best ways to do exactly that is by showing your customers what you can do. 

As the old phrase goes, ‘you’re only as good as your last performance’ so it’s up to you to prove to your target audience that you know what you’re talking about.

Therefore, set up a blog, newsletter and all the various social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Snapchat, etc.) to publish your content on. 

That way, you’ll be seen and heard by a lot more people, helping improve your domain authority, rankings, traffic and conversions as a result. Talk about a win-win. 

Step Three: Research constantly. And I mean constantly.

Once you’ve got your content marketing agency off the ground – the website set up, SEO ticking over nicely, social media followers gradually rising and the Ahrefs’ score in the thousands rather than millions – it all comes down to one thing: research. 

Striving for improvement is what will set you apart from the rest of the other content marketing agencies out there, so don’t settle for adequate. 

While yes, you don’t want to change something that’s working well, it’s important to constantly be looking for what you could be doing even better, conducting your own market research to see what’s working in your agency, and what’s not.

If you notice a growing trend for clients wanting interactive media in their content, for instance, why not branch out and add this to your portfolio of services?

Alternatively, if you recognise your customers respond better to an emailed newsletter with a different content style, why not utilise this and rework your strategy around your findings.

As the self-made multi-billionaire Bill Gates once wisely put it: "Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning." So, from the case studies you publish on your website to the freelancers you work with, every decision you make can have a significant impact. 

It’s important to remember this in everything you do – otherwise, you could soon find yourself falling behind your competitors.

Finally, get ready for 2021…

Setting up your own content marketing agency can be an incredibly exciting thing to do. But, as with anything in life, you’ll have to work for it.

The key thing to remember is that, since you’ll be the one in charge, the buck ultimately rests on your shoulders.

However, by establishing a niche, strategising correctly and constantly researching as you go, you will put yourself in the best possible position for success.

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