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In the age of content matching, AI content and freelancing, creating quality content in volume may seem like an impossible undertaking. And many would say that they have created a rich content organization from the ground up
This is where our business has gotten things right from the start – clear company standards, organized operations and the establishment of a results-driven team from scratch. In our nearly 14 years of operation, we have learned a great deal – initially that growth is often not linear, but gradual. Anyone who wants to establish and grow a content empire should take this lesson to heart: Adaptation and perseverance are the keys to success.
Related: How to know if you are creating quality content
Here’s how to create a content empire that can break the cycle of a feast or famine.
Define your agency values
To create a content agency that has an integral presence, you need core values. These values provide a value for your company’s purpose, your team drive, and the quality of service you provide to clients. In 2008, when our company was a small group of only three, we immediately saw the need to establish the quality of our company. Without these, we would be upset and, more importantly, struggle to differentiate ourselves in the marketplace.
These values fall into two themes:
- Define our value in the market
- Define our expectations for our team
The former has clarified what our products are: Legal web content. We were able to enter a unique niche where the need for quality materials was high. Our values have become specialized and quality. The latter led to a process by which internal writers and contractors should create content. We have defined clear intentions for writers, editors and senior editors. Content production has become orderly, dedicated to results and suited to the strict ethical standards of the legal industry.
If you do not know who you are, you do not know how to sell. To create a content empire, you need clearly defined values that hold your agency to a higher standard and set your agency apart in the market.
Related: How Establishing Key Values Drives Success
Own your operations
Initially, we faced the same challenges that most content agencies face: a feast or famine acquisition cycle, a slow recruitment process, and scaling problems for content creation at volume. We’re faced with a make-it-or-break-it point: take time to create our activities or flounder with each new stage of growth. Not surprisingly, we decided to own the operation. This means creating processes from start to finish and creating a system to scale the content needs of our clients.
It started with our Content Production Blueprint, which set detailed editorial standards for our writers and editors to follow. Blueprint not only outlines the content production process, but also includes the unique requirements defined by our clients. To add grease to this operation machine, we have developed growth and training protocols for our newly-dedicated operations department. We set clear criteria for our content editors on QA content, even at high volume. Blueprint has led to substantial growth in content production and our core team has grown as well.
Creating a content empire requires a streamlined blueprint for content research, production and QA and a clear system map for each step. You can still scale your content efforts while achieving marketing results.
Recruiting the right talent
Hire for character fit. Skills can be developed – and proper training will help – but teaching drive, dedication and detailed attention is much more difficult. Not everyone can navigate and survive change. Once we started implementing the new processes, those who wanted to get on the board had to be hired and retained. The right people were excited to get started and play a vital role in our growth
We have been fortunate to have great employees and contractors from the beginning. When we hire new talent, we look for the right personality according to our culture and content values. Plus, all potential writers and editors must pass our proprietary tests that screen for writing quality, best web writing practice, message relevance, and more. This helps us maintain the quality our clients expect from our company.
Related: How to hire top-level freelance writers for your content business
QA in each step
Where many content agencies fail to scale production while compromising with their content standards. This can lead to high client churning, poor reviews and big flaws in your brand reputation. Decreasing the quality of content can affect marketing results and send clients to competitors. This is not an area where we are willing to compromise.
What our QA process looks like today:
- Complete client adoption, including creating a unique client profile of likes, feedback and editorial guidelines.
- Team SOPs, training videos, content summaries and work documents for each stage of the content creation process.
- Senior editors work in close partnership with clients to meet their needs, ensure content is fully optimized, and verify the source of legal content.
- Final QA on SEO Content, References and Quotes and Content Delivery.
For the legal industry, there are strict legal ethics and bar marketing rules lawyers must adhere to in their marketing. With this in mind, our company maintains even higher standards to keep our clients in the hot water.
Build your acquisition engine
The onset of the epidemic in 2020 hit us hard. We faced the reality that most of our marketing was dependent on personal networking and talking events. We need to build an acquisition engine and a sales team to keep the lead flowing through our doors. Never wanting to rely on a single source of lead, we tend to rely heavily on inbound marketing. This means creating our own optimized content that appeals to law enforcement and builds our reputation in Google search.
Thought leadership is also a huge part of it. In the legal industry, often who you know and what you know gets your foot in the door. Cultivating legal and SEO partnerships and publishing informative content has helped us fill the pipeline.
This is the tie to diversify your acquisition strategy. Whether it’s content, advertising, social, email or whatever, don’t rely too much on a single source of lead. Instead, define your message and adopt a cross-channel strategy so that your audience is constantly coming to you. As with your activities, your sales team should follow a clearly-outlined process: A to B to C. Market on a scale, sell on a scale and you never have to worry about the dryness of lead production.
Content agency success for the future
Production has improved as agencies have moved to remote environments. Content firms are able to reach more clients, create more content, and grow a team faster. But this growth is only sustainable through effective measures.
It’s hard to build a content empire, especially in the tough-to-scale world of SEO. These are just some of the goal setting shareware that you can use. But production, training and team development and ongoing client acquisitions hold the key to building a rich content empire.
Thought Point: What needs can your content agency meet in the market? How can you create a content offer that is interesting, replicable and built to scale?