How ESM Inbound avoids delays in content creation
by Anna Kaine on 29 May 2019
One of the biggest hesitations our clients face when considering whether to work with an agency or not is if it’ll actually cause delays in existing processes. No-one wants to add a longer process onto their current workload; this goes entirely against the purpose of working with an agency.
Having been burned in the past by freelancers or contractual workers – maybe even another agency – it’s easy for businesses to feel the best option is to either continue with freelancers (for the lack of commitment) or to employ a full-time content creator in-house (for convenience). But one option doesn't inspire top-quality work, and the other can be too expensive for many businesses.
We've listened to these concerns time and again, and developed an air-tight content-creation process to put our customers at ease: there really can be a successful way to outsource your content without losing the voice, tone, depth and breadth that makes your company’s content remarkable.
We've chosen to lift the lid on our content process to be as transparent as possible. We'll explain more about how our content process works and how, as a Diamond HubSpot partner agency, we go above and beyond to remove worry for our clients, dispelling any myths you might have heard about working with an inbound marketing agency.
We’ve worked to measure our productivity as a team over time, using time tracking tools such as Toggl. This means, over years of data collection, we’ve deduced how long each project takes to complete, and therefore how long our customers can expect to wait for their content. Generally, this depends on the number of words being written, or how much design and development work needs to go into the final construction of the content.
The diagram below shows our typical turnaround times (once you have approved the plan). We are confident that, as long as our processes are followed and we have the full cooperation of our customers, these turnaround times are realistic.
ESM Inbound operates a points system, so if you need one-off tasks to be created for you, these work on the above points basis (with points corresponding to a price); if you have a content package with us and want to request additional items outside of your allocation, we use the points system to price this extra content. Of course, if you’re having content created which is not in this chart – such as an ebook, chatbot or checklist – we will tell you the points allocated to these forms ahead of getting started – this infographic just offers you an idea.
Combating delays and meeting our deadlines head-on is one of our biggest goals at ESM Inbound. If we’ve told you something will take four days to create from approval of the plan, that’s the deadline we are working to. Letting customers down is not something we want to get a reputation for, and it goes against our ‘Better. Faster. Happier’ mantra.
Before we get anywhere near ‘putting pen to paper’, several things happen first. Once you’ve submitted your task request form on our website, a member of our content team will get back to you to arrange a consultation call. They’ll share the questions with you ahead of the call so you can prepare and feel more organised, making it a more productive and structured conversation.
During the consultation call itself (which is a 20-30 minute phone or video call) with your new content strategist, you will agree on the purpose of the content, the buyer persona to be targeted and other key details, such as the deadline and any wider campaigns linking to the content.
After the consultation call, the ESM Inbound content strategist will go away and do further research around your business, industry, read previous content, review any campaign documents you’ve sent over, and may conduct an additional phone interview – this will be between the strategist and one of your customers, or someone within your organisation.
Having completed the relevant research, we will create an outline plan based on what was agreed during your consultation call. This will be emailed to you for approval. If there is anything on the plan that you are not 100% happy with, this is the time to raise it with your content strategist, ahead of them starting the content.
So, as you can see, the opportunities for delays are drastically reduced, due to our in-depth content process. Because there are so many opportunities to clarify exactly what you want, have your say and ask for amends ahead of getting started, there are limited chances for the content strategist to create a final piece which doesn’t meet your expectations.
We aim to build lasting working relationships with our customers. To do this, we allocate a content strategist to each campaign and endeavour to use this person as your point of contact throughout the process for this campaign.
Here and there, you may receive emails or a call from someone else on our team – at ESM Inbound we work together closely so that we better understand one another’s workloads and our customer needs – but the final content will be created by the strategist who has worked with you closely from the start. If, for any reason, you will be on a call with someone who isn’t your content strategist, your strategist will introduce you to that person, and conduct a comprehensive handover with them so they know all about you, your business and the purpose of the upcoming campaign, ahead of reaching out to you.
We all have our strengths, so we let our content people do their job, just as we want to help you get on with the important tasks in your own role, alleviating some of the stresses linked to your content creation. We do not pass customers on to colleagues who don’t understand their campaign.
To help us with this, we use resources such as Zoom, HubSpot calls and Rev to record (with your permission) and transcribe our consultation calls. This means that, no matter who conducts that call, our content strategist has a record of exactly what was said, so there is no room for misunderstandings or any notes being passed on becoming lost in translation.
We assign you a content strategist with consistency in mind. Their workload and availability is carefully managed ahead of you being introduced to them, with the knowledge that they will be able to see your project through from start to finish – occasionally with input from another content-team member, as discussed above.
Once you’ve given the green light to the plan, your strategist will begin work on your content as soon as possible – the clock is now ticking. Additionally to the processes described in section 2, we include further steps in our content process to prevent late submissions. The turnaround time for a blog post, for example, doesn’t mean the writer is creating that post for four days – it’s likely the post will be completed within 2-3 days, leaving time for the next step: internal quality assurance.
Once your copy has been written, it will go through our internal QA system, being rigorously checked and compared with the signed-off plan by one of our content experts. We will let you know that the content has been created and you will receive your copy within 48 hours. This gives us time to distribute the content internally to the right people, and should they be needed, amendments to be made ahead of being shared with you.
Our job is to save you time, remove worry and turn around fantastic content that benefits your business. We are dedicated to giving you an enjoyable and comprehensive service so if there’s anything else that you'd like clarified about our content process, please ask us – as you can probably tell, we’re only too happy to talk about it!