How to Choose a Content Writing Agency: 7 Questions to Ask BEFORE you Team Up

By Jakk Ogden on October 7, 2013 in Content Tips
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Your content is crap, and you nor anybody on your team can write very well. So you’ve probably considered outsourcing, right?

Right.

Outsourcing your content creation is a great way to free up your time, but it can also be expensive and unreliable…

…at Content Hero we understand this better than most. We were born to address this very issue. Prior to setting up, myself and the directors behind Content Hero had serious issues with outsourcing content creation – it was a slow moving, tedious process that made us bite more finger nails than we can care to remember.

We wasted hours of our week managing writers and trying to get them to commit to time scales that were not unreasonable. What happened?

We failed.

So we just created a content writing agency ourselves.

Let me be clear – whichever industry you are in you can bet your life that content is relevant to you.

Yeah, I know, we are a content writing agency… and we reckon that our content writers are the best in the UK. BUT that doesn’t mean that we’re biased all of the time. On the contrary, we want what’s best for your business as much as you do, because as a small business ourselves, we understand that getting ahead isn’t as easy as 1-2-3.

A good content team can go a long way to helping you develop a prospering business.

Here’s 7 questions to ask of a content writing agency BEFORE you work with them.

Question #1 – Do they know about the content marketing industry?

The modern content writing agency is not just made up of writers…

…it is made up of marketers, too.

In order to craft top quality content we believe that the writer has to have a knowledge of how that content is going to be used effectively as part of a strategy. This way the content can be tailored towards a particular industry, and it will also define the tone of the copy itself.

A team of content writers that live and breath the content marketing industry are far more valuable to your company than a team that does not. They will be able to help you draw up an effective strategy and distribute content accordingly.

Question #2 – Can they identify what content works for your industry?

A good team of content writers isn’t there to just follow orders and turnover pieces of copy. They are there to help you grow your business through unique, relevant, engaging and valuable writing. There is no point in content being created for your business that isn’t going to give you a return on investment or at least benefit you in some way.

A good writing agency WILL help you to develop a brief with a road map to success.

Question #3 – Is the content produced really by UK writers?

There are lots of content writing companies competing in the search engines. In Google.co.uk, the first page is dominated by UK agencies. BUT, there are a handful that are based in India, Pakistan and China that claim to offer UK content writing services when in fact, they don’t. How do we know this? Because we have directly chatted to some of them. Yeah, not good.

Before you work with an agency make sure that you are actually working with a team that write in your native language. Otherwise the content you receive is likely not to be of a good quality. Also bear in mind that there is a difference between an agency that is based in UK, and an agency that uses writers in the UK. Just because a company is registered and based in Leeds or London does not mean that they don’t outsource abroad.

Question #4 – Do they offer a duplicate content guarantee?

Duplicate content is the plague of the internet and it can potentially harm your website if you unknowingly publish it. Although webmasters should obviously take the necessary steps to ensure that any content they publish is free of any duplicates, as the service provider, agencies have the obligation to provide clean, written copy.

At Content Hero we have a Copyscape Premium account and a Premium Duplichecker account. We know that our team are utterly trust-worthy, but nether-the-less, we run each piece of content through these tools before passing them on to our clients.

Question #5 –  How much do they charge per word?

Almost all content writing businesses charge for their services per word. At Content Hero for example we charge a flat rate of £0.04 per word; this covers all forms of writing, and the price includes all research and unlimited free revision.

A lot of agencies charge a different amount per word for the type of content produced. This can create confusion. The modern writing agency does not charge extortionate prices; writers offering services for upwards of £0.20 per word can be safely avoided.

Question #6 – Do they offer a free trial?

How are you supposed to know whether a content writing team are qualified to write on your subject, if you can’t test out their service?

We run a free trial on our services and offer a free 400 word blog post; this can be about any subject and written in any tense you like. It can also be static web page copywriting. There are also other content writing agencies that offer free trials.

Question #7 – What do the reviews say?

No matter how good a content writing company sounds on paper without reviews and testimonials from real customers they’re nothing. You should check the agencies website you are on for reviews.

Our reviews can be found here.

You should also search Google to see if there are any forum threads made by disgruntled customers. This could avoid any nasty headaches in the future. Another way to assess the quality of a writing company is to contact them directly and ask for examples of their work.

Conclusion

Remember, content writing requires skill, but not all agencies have it. It is important that before you begin to work with a team of content writers that you understand how they tick, and how good their knowledge is of content marketing. All content writing is going to be used as part of a marketing strategy, after all. Ultimately, the best writing agency is the one with good outreach, marketing skills, relationship skills, and of course writing skills.

Have you recently hired a team of content writers? Perhaps you’d like clarification on any of the questions above? We’d be delighted to hear your thoughts. Comments are open below or you can tweet us @content_hero. Thank you for reading.

Image credit.

About the Author

Jakk OgdenView all posts by Jakk Ogden
Jakk Ogden is the founder and managing director of Content Hero. Jakk's background lies in marketing, advertising and publishing. He is partial to the clever infographic, Mark Twain, golden age comic books and Johnny Cash. He has written over 3,000 articles that have been published online. Connect with him on Linkedin, , or buy him a coffee in Leeds to talk about how high quality content can grow your business.

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