Eucalypt Managing Director, Kathryn Hawkins, shares advice on what to expect in an introductory call with a content marketing agency and how you can prepare to get the most from the discussion.
Our agency has been in business for 15 years now, and every week we get inquiries from prospects who’ve come across us through a recommendation or our listing on Clutch or elsewhere.
Some of those companies are ready to get started and have a detailed RFP showcasing their exact needs, but more often than not, they’re still in the initial stages of working out what they want and looking for a menu of potential options. Whatever the case, we’re happy to meet you where you are to learn more about your project, and point you in the right direction, even if it’s not with us.
Before jumping on the phone, though, it helps to have a good baseline of what to expect. While other agencies’ intake processes may differ from ours, here are some questions that should help us both make the best use of our time on the call so that we can move forward from there quickly.
What are your goals?
In some cases, you might have a concrete project that you’d like to develop, such as generating all of the copy for your new website. In others, you may just have specific goals, such as increasing your organic search rankings, generating press for your startup, or educating prospects on your solution, and need recommendations on the best way to go about it. When we talk to you, we’d love to know your thoughts about what you’d like to accomplish and what success looks like to you.
Sometimes, this conversation will turn into a more comprehensive content strategy engagement, where we’ll map out ways to reach your goals, and determine what KPIs we’ll use to measure success together. But in either case, we want to get a sense of where you want to go together.
What’s your starting point for content strategy?
We talk to companies of all sizes, and some have robust internal marketing teams, while others are just a few founders with no in-house staff.
We’d like to get a sense of how much background research you’ve done: Do you have a defined content strategy, or do you want us to build one for you? Most mature organizations have resources to inform their marketing content such as buyer personas, a messaging matrix, SEO keywords, and competitive research. If you don’t, that’s not a problem—it’s just helpful to get a sense of how far along your organization is already so that we understand how much legwork we might need to do.
If you’d like to share any background resources with us on the call or send them over beforehand, that’s always helpful in giving us context. If needed, we’re always happy to sign an NDA.
What brands do you want to emulate?
Are there any brands that have a voice or content strategy that you adore? We’d love to learn what you look up to, so we can build a content plan that draws inspiration from your favorites, while being uniquely yours. Feel free to gather a few URLs, including specific content pieces, as examples to share with us.
What’s working and not working in your current strategy?
Depending on your starting point, you may be looking to start a brand new strategy, add to your current resources, or switch gears from something that’s no longer serving you. Give us a quick recap of where you are in your marketing journey, what’s successful, and what’s not, and why you’ve decided this is the time to seek support.
How would we work together?
Some of our clients are very hands-off, and are happy to receive the work as it comes in, while others like to collaborate throughout the entire process. We work well in either model, and have a process that works well for us, but are also agile enough that we can adapt to our clients’ tools and processes. I can offer my personal expertise through one-on-one consulting, or bring on our resources for larger scale projects.
It’s helpful to know how your internal team is set up, and who we’d be working with. Would we work with you directly, and will you aggregate any internal feedback? Will the assets need graphic design, and if so, do you have an in-house designer or would you like our support? And in terms of getting the information we need to develop the content, will we have access to internal subject-matter experts and any proprietary resources that would be relevant?
Nailing down the structure of the engagement helps us ensure that we can offer a level of support that’s tailored to your needs.
What’s your estimated budget?
Some brands are a little cagey about sharing budget details on an initial call, but it’s helpful for us to have a ballpark to work with so that we can recommend different options for you. Our goal is to help you find the right way to use that budget, and we may recommend several different package options at different price points to help you understand the value you’d receive at different price levels.
What do you want to know about us?
Enough about you—what do you want to know about our company? If you have questions about our background, client list, or processes, we’re happy to be transparent and answer any questions for you.
This initial call usually takes somewhere around half an hour, and at the end of it, we should have a good sense if we’re a good fit to work together. If we’re not, we’ll let you know and happily recommend any other resources that may be able to support you. If we are, we’ll get started on building a custom proposal for you, and are happy to set up a follow-up call to talk you through it in detail.
Our introductory calls give us the chance to understand who you are and how we can help you in your marketing journey. The more context you can give us, the more we’ll understand about how to shape our strategy.
Interested in setting up an introductory call to discuss a potential project? Book a meeting here.
Kathryn Hawkins is principal and chief content strategist of Eucalypt Media. She has worked as a freelance journalist for media publications and managed inbound marketing and content strategy for corporate and nonprofit clients for more than 16 years.
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