| Apr 11, 2024 | | 9 min read

The Ultimate Guide to Crafting an Agency Content Strategy


No matter what audience you’re marketing to, there’s a good chance they spend a large portion of their day in front of their screens consuming online content. This means if you can consistently put out valuable, high-quality content that appeals to your ideal customers, you can capture their attention and grow your business. But for this to work, you’ll need a strategic plan, also known as an agency content strategy.

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An agency content strategy is a blueprint for researching, creating, sharing, and managing online content—blogs, images, videos, and more—in support of your agency’s or client’s goals. To win in the digital attention economy, it’s not enough to wing it. A content strategy ensures all published content works in service of growing the business, whether it’s your agency’s brand or your client’s. In this blog, we’ll cover everything you should know about content strategies, including why they matter, how to create one, and when it makes sense for businesses to hire outside support.

Why an agency content strategy is important

Running a digital startup requires many agency skills, and one of the most important among these is lead generation. Your agency services and experience matter, but if you can’t capture the attention of target audiences and convince them to become paying customers, your client’s businesses—and, in turn, your agency—won’t grow. An agency content strategy is a vehicle for creating strategic content that enables an organization to achieve its goals through boosting brand awareness, customer engagement, and lead generation.

Let’s take a look at how each of these areas is impacted by content strategy:

  • Brand awareness: Just about every small and medium-sized business (SMB) must face the reality that they aren’t the only option in town. For their dream clients to choose them over the competition, they need to generate buzz. Audiences may not become paying customers instantly, but building up brand awareness is an important step in bolstering business reputation and generating prospects.
  • Customer engagement: Engaged customers feel more connected to the businesses they work with. If you can engage audiences with high-quality, relevant content, they’ll view the business publishing the content as a valuable, trusted voice in their niche.
  • Lead generation: A healthy sales pipeline requires regular lead generation, and content is a highly effective way to capture inbound leads.

If you want to hear exactly how these aims can be achieved by a successful B2B content strategist, check out this episode of the Conquer Local podcast:

Benefits of having an agency content strategy

Anyone who’s created marketing content will tell you it takes much more time and effort than you might guess. When audiences engage with content it may feel effortless, but behind the scenes, lots of work goes into planning, creating, and monitoring the marketing impact of digital content. That’s why outsourcing content strategy to an agency is often a no-brainer for SMBs.

Increased time for core business tasks

Business owners have a lot on their plate already running the daily operations of their businesses, and content marketing isn’t something you can dip your toes into occasionally. It requires a consistent, daily effort that many SMBs simply can’t manage.

By working with a content strategy agency, they can be confident they don’t fall behind in this important but time-consuming pillar of digital marketing.

Access to agency expertise and resources

Your SMB clients are pros in their area of expertise, but content marketing is more of a digital agency skill. It’s not as simple as hitting publish on a blog every few days: between staying active on multiple platforms, creating content in different formats, and using the latest tech to monitor and optimize your content strategy, successfully using content to market a business requires serious expertise and resources. Using a content strategy agency solves this problem by providing instant access to their tools and know-how.

Increased efficiency, creativity, and scalability

As a business grows, its content strategy must grow with it. Agency content strategies are well-suited to the needs of growing businesses to scale their content creation and distribution. They have the tools, knowledge, experience, and creative resources to create content strategies that deliver returns at scale.

Challenges of creating an agency content strategy

Agency owners can run into obstacles when developing content strategies for clients, but with some knowledge of these common agency challenges it’s possible to mitigate them and ensure your delivery of content services runs smoothly.

The difficulties of creating an agency content strategy for SMB clients largely come down to communication. Let’s take a look at the most common ones, and how you can avoid them.

  • Understanding client goals: As with any services delivered by an agency startup or marketing consultancy, it’s essential to understand your client’s goals before starting any marketing projects. The optimal content strategy for a business whose primary goal is building brand awareness will differ from that of a business whose goal is to improve its customer acquisition cost. Knowing their goals will set you up for success.
  • Using the correct brand voice: A common content marketing mistake, particularly for agencies that start with no experience, is failing to use the brand’s voice throughout content. This misses an important opportunity to strengthen their brand identity and connect with clients. Worse, it can come off as inauthentic.
  • Speaking to the target audience: To create content that resonates with an audience, it goes without saying that you must know who that audience is. What do they care about? What are their values? What are their demographic and psychographic characteristics? All of this information can inform better, more impactful content creation.

Ultimately, a successful agency content strategy for your clients is a collaborative effort. Build in opportunities to communicate before and throughout your content marketing campaigns to ensure alignment and optimal results.

How to create a killer agency content strategy

While the specifics of your content strategies will differ from one client to the next, you can use the same blueprint to ensure a killer, goal-crushing strategy, every time. Here’s how.

  1. Understand your client’s goals: Start by thoroughly understanding your SMB client's objectives and goals. This will typically include increasing brand awareness, generating leads, or driving sales. You might do this through a survey, questionnaire, or conversation.
  2. Conduct research: Take time to research your client's industry, including the competitive landscape and current market trends.
  3. Define their target audience: Your client may already have a well-defined target audience, but if not, it’s essential to identify one. A useful strategy used by all types of agencies is the creation of an ideal customer profile (ICP), a fictionalized version of an ideal customer that can be kept top-of-mind during the creation of content strategies.
  4. Set strategy goals: You’ve already determined your client’s goals, but for your agency content strategy to succeed, you should establish quantifiable goals that you both agree on to measure success. It’s a good idea to make these SMART goals: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound.
  5. Create content pillars and a calendar: Develop a structured content calendar outlining what content will be created, when it will be published, and where it will be shared. Content should be a mix between different content areas, or pillars, determined based on the target audience and goals.
  6. Batch-create content in a variety of formats: Choose your content formats based on the ICP. Then, schedule time to batch-create content for each client. For example, you might spend a couple of days writing blogs or creating graphics for the next month. Schedule these using a publishing tool so you don’t have to manually publish them every time.
  7. Monitor performance: Since you set SMART goals in a previous step, you know exactly which key performance indicators (KPIs) to track for each client. Regularly monitor relevant metrics, like website traffic, conversion rates, and return on investment (ROI).
  8. Optimize: Based on your performance analysis, refine your agency content strategy to maximize results.

When to hire a content strategy agency

Small new businesses may start by handling everything in-house, but knowing when it's time to hire outside support can help you pitch your services to new clients. Look for these signs:

  • Stagnant growth: A DIY strategy got your client’s business off the ground, but they can’t seem to break past a certain revenue ceiling. This can suggest it’s time for a more sophisticated agency strategy.
  • Off-brand content: Branding inconsistencies in content can damage a business’s reputation, hurting its profits in the long run. Using the services of a digital marketing company is a good investment if they’re struggling to maintain consistency.
  • Declining engagement: Engagement requires a daily time commitment from SMBs, which isn’t practical for many. A digital agency can free up valuable time by taking on this responsibility.

How to become a content strategy agency

Making the jump from content creator to boutique marketing agency is possible with the right strategy.

Brush up your skills

As a digital agency startup, it can be helpful to brush up on the basics with a certification or course. This isn’t absolutely essential, but it can help you get up to speed on the latest tools and best practices.

Make a portfolio

Develop a portfolio showcasing your skills in content creation, planning, and optimization. This is important for building credibility. If you have any speaking engagement experience, you can include it here. Case studies and testimonials are also valuable.

Attract clients

Finding clients can be challenging, especially if you’re trying to keep your startup costs low. Get active online, particularly on LinkedIn, where you’re most likely to find B2B clients. Attend networking opportunities: you never know which contact can become a paying customer.

Finally, focus on cultivating long-term client relationships. Getting that first client may be tricky, but by building strong relationships, you’ll secure a reliable income stream and set yourself up for growth by benefiting from more referral business.

About the Author

Lawrence Dy is the SEO Strategy Manager at Vendasta. His career spans from starting as a Jr. Copywriter in the automotive industry to becoming a Senior Editorial Content Manager in various digital marketing niches. Outside of work, Lawrence moonlights as a music producer/beatmaker and spends time with friends and family.

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