So you’ve gone through the pitch process, appointed your content agency, made all the introductions and set a reasonable deadline. Now comes the interesting part: commissioning the content that will revitalise your brand. But now’s not the time for sitting back; for truly fantastic content, you need to roll up your sleeves and do a bit of preparation yourself.

1. Provide a good brief
A wise man once said: “There is no bad work – just poor explanation.” While your agency will be experts in creating, distributing and measuring content, they will be looking to you to provide them with a solid brief to start them off. That brief should include an in-depth explanation of why you want to produce this content, what challenges it needs to solve, and which platforms you want it created for. By giving your agency clear instructions, they will be much more sharply focussed on providing you with the most effective solution.

2. Arm your agency with information
A large part of that brief should contain armfuls of information and research on your company, brand and industry sector, as well as the specific customer you’re trying to target. The creative and editorial teams need to have a strong sense of who they are communicating to, so it’s vital they know everything they can about that customer or group. Since you are the leading experts on your own customers, you are best placed to provide this information.

3. Know what you want to achieve
If you have a strong idea of what outcomes you want from your content, those outcomes will be far easier to achieve, so take some time to think through what you actually want your content to accomplish . Do you want to raise brand or product awareness? Increase social media traffic? Target a new demographic? Boost customer loyalty? Increase cross-sell? Great content can tackle a multitude of marketing jobs, but it’s far more effective when doing just a few at once.

4. Trust your agency to deliver
Your agency is a collection of editorial, creative and planning experts who know how to create effective content that grabs the attention of a consumer and compels them to take action. Their solution may seem unconventional, it may seem plain daft, but that content is the product of years spent communicating with customers just like your own, so trust your agency’s expertise and let them do their job.

5. Measure the results and act upon them
There’s little point in creating fantastic content if there’s no strong measurement strategy in place. Whether it’s print circulation, online traffic, sales codes, offer take-up, or any one of the many methods available, all possible metrics need to be gathered and discussed with your agency in a debrief session. Not only will this give you the data to justify your initial commissioning decision, but allow your agency to adjust and hone your content so that it’s even more effective next time.

Sam Upton