The Role of Agencies in the Age of Content Marketing

|Isabella Barbato

Last week we invited people to our Asia HQ office for a VERY SPOOKY Halloween edition of Content Conversations.

CChalloweenThe topic of this session was the role of agencies in the age of content marketing.

Brands are constantly looking for new ways to reach their audiences, and content marketing is becoming more and more the focal point of their digital marketing efforts. In a ongoing debate over in-house vs. outsourcing of the content marketing function, brands are turning to the experts – the agencies – for advice.

But how can brand marketers decide who is best to help them build a winning content marketing strategy? Which agency groups truly can claim they have content marketing value to add?

The landscape

We started our discussion by defining the landscape, which seems to be crowded by lots of players. We asked the audience to name the agencies groups that play a key role in the content marketing space. Some of them are the usual suspects, while others have just recently entered the scene: pure content marketing agencies,  digital agencies, advertising firms, traditional media companies, PR firms, SEO companies, social media agencies…but also the less obvious research organisations, web content and user experience agencies, direct marketing. It seems the agency ecosystem is shifting again…

A la carte or buffet?

Content marketing involves various stages, from content strategy planning, to content creation, identifying the right content platform, content distribution, and finally content metrics. Is this something that should be split-up and assigned to specialist agencies or can one agency do all of this for brands? And if so, who can take on this task?

We asked Simon Cholmeley, who’s the Partner at a content marketing agency called Novus Asia. Truth is…

Earned Media Has 33% Higher CTR Than Owned Media

PR agencies have been the custodians of content for a very long time. Does that mean that PR agencies should be at the forefront of Content Marketing? Brands trust PR agencies to generate earned media. But do they also trust them with budgets to amplify this content?

According to Zaheer Nooruddin of Waggener Edstrom, it’s not necessarily like that: clients will go for the best talent and opportunity irrespective of whether the agency is digital, PR or media. However, earned content still definitely plays a very important role in any content strategy.

Most Brands & Agencies Still See Content Marketing as a Campaign

Content requires constant planning, production, and evolution over a long period of time, as opposed to the traditional approach of agencies, which seem to focus on great creative campaigns with an immediate impact. Can creative and advertising agencies move beyond ads and campaigns?

According to our speaker, Simon Cholmeley, this is wrong. The content journey has to be integrated with planning and strategy…

…and a strategy has to be planned with the consumer in mind.

Key takeaways:

Even though content marketing is 100+ years old, we are in the middle of a revolution. This has forced marketing agencies to change their business models, and their sales speak, to address the changing needs of the market. This is good for the industry, but at the same time it has created confusion as to what content marketing is and what the role of both traditional and new players is.

Thank you to all the speakers, moderators and attendees for making this edition of Content Conversations a success. And thanks once again to, for creating some amazing videos of the event. Check them out here!

To get updates on the next Content Conversations in Singapore, join the group on Meetup. If you’d like to have a conversation with us about content, reach out! We’d love to hear from you.


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Isabella Barbato

Isabella Barbato

Isabella is Marketing Manager, Asia Pacific at Outbrain, based out of their Singapore office. Originally from Italy, she has spent... Read more

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