Should Your Agency Add Content Creation as a Service?

By Jason Swenk on February 24, 2020

Have you thought about offering content creation as a service but not sure where to start or how to charge? Content is a huge part of almost everything we do for our clients, but often times its the client themselves that hold up projects by not providing good (or timely) content. When you take control of content creation, your agency can help you be more successful in achieving the clients’ goals. It may seem daunting to add content creation as a service,  but it can also be very rewarding in the long run.

In today’s episode, we discuss:

  • #1 benefit of offering content creation as a service.
  • How to charge for content.
  • What type of content are agencies creating?

Today I had the opportunity to sit down with my good friends at Verblio, Steve Pockross, CEO, and Paul Zalewski, Vice President of Marketing. Paul and Steve know a lot about content. After all, they run a content agency sourced with over 3,000 copywriters. Recently, Verblio sent out a survey to thousands of agencies to get a better idea of what agencies think about content creation, how they use it, and best practices surrounding content creation. Their findings may come as a surprise, but learning from them can help grow your agency and get better results for your clients.

#1 Benefit of Creating Content

Steve and Paul say that as agencies, we should not expect clients to have the ability to create their own content. Yes, they might be the expert in their industry but they are not always successful at writing about it. According to Verblio’s survey, of the agencies who felt their content was successful less than 20% of them curated content from the client. What does that mean? Well, it means that although the client is the industry expert they suck at writing about it! 🙂 Let’s be honest, clients are busy and writing is hard. So even though they mean well, they put writing on the backburner because it’s a difficult, time-consuming task.

The solution is for you, as an agency, is to take control of the content creation. By either writing in-house or outsourcing it, you can speed up your project cycle by half. For example, in most cases, a website build that would normally take 6 months, can be completed in 3-4 months when the agency is not waiting on the client to write and handover content.

Okay. You’ve decided you’re going to start offering content — good! But how much do you charge? Well, according to Verblio’s survey 87% of agencies who felt they have a solid content creation service include the cost for it in their monthly retainer. And the vast majority of those agencies felt as though content was a major profit center for them. This is a key point because, as an agency, it might be easy to think content creation is an area where you can be competitive and price yourself lower than the competition. But when you spend the time and dollars it takes to do a great job you can make money on it. So, why race to the bottom?

Verblio’s survey indicated that the average agency is marking up content 200%. Why walk away from that kind of margin but undercutting yourself on pricing?

There are 3 general options when it comes to charging for content:

  1. Build it into your retainer. I find this approach usually works the best. Figure out how much you are going to charge for content and make it part of your retainer agreement.
  2. Charge content as a separate line item. Here, you make content a monthly charge but are transparent about the fee.
  3. Charge a la carte. Charge on a per-piece basis. The downside is, this has a tendency of making content look like an extra instead of a necessity.

Typically, when you make content a part of your service offering and show the benefits of incorporating it, your client will be will see the value.

What Type of Content Are Agencies Creating?

When you offer content creation, you give your clients an unfair advantage by using content to set them apart. It gets you a seat at the table with clients you wouldn’t otherwise be seated at the table with. If you use a resource like Verblio it allows you to white label a service to scale your agency because you are relieving a pain point for your clients (and yourself). Consistency is key – stick with it and give it time.

What type of content should you offer? The overwhelming majority of those surveyed said blog posts. So get over the idea that blogging is “So 2006.” Blogging helps drive SEO and it still the #1 thing agencies are recommending in content strategies.

Out of blog ideas? Do an audit of existing blog posts. Look for opportunities for a mashup or a refresh of older, outdated posts. Your clients have great ideas for content — sit down with the Head of Products or the Head of Customer Service. Those are the people with content ideas — they know the FAQ’s.

Looking for a Content Creation Solution?

Verblio has been a long time supporter of the Smart Agency Masterclass and one a trusted vendors we’ve been using for over two years. They are an amazing content creation solution designed specifically for agencies; their writers can help with all your content creation needs across a variety of industries. If you’re interested in trying Verblio for yourself check out Verblio.com/smartagency for 50% off your first month of content.

AND… if you want to provide input about what works and what doesn’t, take a minute to participate in Verblio’s agency survey.

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