How agencies can up their content game

Now more than ever, big ideas are told through powerful stories.

These narratives empower businesses to develop personalized relationships with their customers. However, the model that so many agencies have relied on to help deliver their clients’ messages to a mass audience has crumbled. Agencies are now moving toward content creation as a way to better serve their clients and spread a core brand message to an always-on audience.

If an agency is able to use content to establish connections between its clients and its audiences, word-of-mouth chatter begins to take form, making brand loyalty much more attainable. Consumers share their brand experiences with their social networks, while influencers pass on their opinions to decision-makers. This kind of approach adds context to a narrative told through content marketing.

But building an innovative content-marketing offering poses many challenges for agencies. These firms are tasked with developing a sustainable content-strategy framework for exceptional content creation, as well as facilitating those processes and tools to their clients. For our Agency Content Innovators eBook, we asked seven agency executives how and why they think shops needed to change to meet the content-marketing challenge.

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Here are three things top agencies must do (and why) to build innovative service offerings around content strategy:

Explore New Organizational Structures

“The old agency structure can’t move fast enough, or handle the range of content — blog posts, social ads, short-form video, editorial responses — that make up a modern integrated campaign. Just like agencies struggled to integrate digital operations through every aspect of the organization, the same commitment needs to take place around content creation. The change will call for new roles in every department, the education of traditional agency people, and the retooling of production processes. Like all big industry shifts, the vision needs to start with the senior management team.”–Phil Johnson, CEO, PJA Advertising and Marketing

Build Scalable Processes for Content Creation

“The biggest problem organizations face around content is how to deliver a meaningful and relevant content experience for their users. This means starting with a strategy that clearly defines which content is necessary, identifying the mechanisms to support it, and providing up-to-date and timely content for the many channel outputs to which their users engage. Now and in the future, the largest challenge will be how to support the content required to deliver meaningful, relevant and timely experiences. Or, succinctly put, getting the right content to the right user at the right time.” –Kevin P. Nichols, director and global practice lead of content strategy, Sapient

Finding New Ways to Reach and Engage the Always-On Consumer

“Great content marketing is about connecting with people by telling compelling stories. When it’s done right, it doesn’t feel like marketing and will engage even the busiest consumer. Great content engages people, creates experiences, helps people find answers and valuable, relevant information. At AMP, we shifted the mindset from selling to storytelling. Our content strategies are consumer-centric, rooted in an understanding of how the customer consumes — and shares — content and the type of preferred content.” –Gary Colen, CEO, AMP Agency

“The average brand must keep content fresh across an average of 178 online properties. Each of us as consumers must decide which content to peruse or more deeply explore among an average of 3,000 brand impressions we encounter per day. … Release and finess, because you can no longer command and control.”–Kiersten Lawson, Content Strategy Director, Waggner Edstrom

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