Marketing strategy

Build partnerships with agencies to develop a winning content marketing strategy

Imagine you’re sitting in a room with 100 televisions all on at the same time. What would it take for just one of these TVs to capture your attention amidst all this chaos? Something quite special, right? This is the challenge facing most marketing teams these days. Everyone is busy creating content, which adds an incredible amount of background noise to the digital world. In this environment, it is difficult for a single message to get through.

This problem becomes even more acute for small businesses that lack the resources to build highly skilled in-house content marketing teams. As a result, small businesses find new solutions to fill this skills gap or risk being left behind by their competitors.

Develop external partnerships

A common strategy that many small businesses use to find content marketing support is to partner with an outside agency. While this approach can be incredibly effective, it still requires strong internal leadership capable of identifying internal strengths and gaps, delegating responsibility to external partners, and uniting both parties to pursue meaningful common goals. So how do companies combine internal and external resources to develop a winning content marketing strategy? It starts with identifying your team’s roles.

Common Roles of Content Marketing

Before a business engages with an outside agency, they should look internally at the resources they already have, their bandwidth to take on content marketing tasks, and the skills they lack. At the end of this audit, a company should have a clear idea of ​​what help it needs from its partner agency and how the two parties could possibly work together. Here are the most common roles companies will need to fill:


A good place to start this audit is to identify who is leading content marketing efforts. The title of this person may be different depending on the size of the organization. However, their job responsibilities must be devoted to marketing.

This internal marketing leader will drive strategy, define relevant objectives and oversee internal and external resources. As such, they will ideally have direct access to management at the executive level to gain insight into business performance and planning.


Content marketing strategists fulfill many essential roles. First, they define what the team is trying to accomplish and the tactics it will use to achieve its goals. Strategists understand what internal resources are available, how to deploy content to reach a target audience, and how to modify content based on success, failure, or changing business conditions. Successful strategists also understand what a company’s target audience wants or needs and what type of content they are most likely to share.


People with production skills use visual and written information to create useful marketing content. These skills generally fall into three different categories:

  1. Writing : These producers write short or long-form content across a variety of mediums, including social media posts, video scripts, white papers, and more. It helps to have multiple writers, if possible, as they often have different strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Designers: Graphic designers who can create a cohesive look for their brand across many different content categories are very valuable team members. Designers and writers often work closely together to produce content.
  3. Internal experts: This internal resource provides the topics, facts and stats that other producers use to create compelling marketing content. Typically, internal experts are high-level employees like CEOs or other product and service experts. However, some companies use lower-level employees as internal experts to develop them as thought leaders or position them for speaking or webinar roles.


Once a content team has created something, they need to put it where people can see it. This is where distributors come in. Content channels generally fall into three broad categories:

  1. Owned media includes company-controlled assets, such as its website, blog, social media properties, or email newsletter.
  2. Earned mediaalso known as public relations (PR), places company-created content on third-party channels such as television, newspapers, industry publications, and podcasts.
  3. Paid Media includes social media and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising.

Distributors include many different roles, from PR professionals to website team to search engine marketers and more. How they distribute content will depend on the marketing strategy and where the audience for a specific piece of information lives. Strategists and distributors often work closely together to create this plan of attack.

How does an agency fit in?

Now that you have identified which roles you can fill in-house and which you will need to outsource, you can choose your partner agency. Most agencies can perform one of the functions listed above. However, some agencies specialize in one particular area rather than another, such as PPC or PR. The good news is that you don’t have to leave everything to the agency. You can mix your skills with theirs until you find the right formula for shared success.

If you’re building a content marketing operation from scratch, partnering with an agency can also help determine which roles you take on internally. For example, suppose your partner agency has writing resources. In this case, you may choose to hire a versatile designer who can contribute to other parts of your business rather than a more specialized content producer.

Most importantly, agency partnerships allow businesses to remain flexible based on their internal needs, goals, and resources. Agencies can also help businesses scale when new marketing demands exceed existing capabilities.

Built for success

Creating compelling content marketing resources is essential for businesses to get the word out about their products and services. Partnering with agencies helps these companies develop more sophisticated content that reaches their target audience more effectively. These partnerships are also often less expensive than bringing in the necessary skills and resources in-house.

So if you’re considering engaging with an outside agency, first assess the skills you have, then think about how your partner agency can augment the skills you lack. By staying flexible and communicating clearly, you can benefit from your partner agency’s resources and expertise to develop a successful content marketing strategy.

Featured image courtesy of Kaleidico via Unsplash