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Client Management Tips for Content Marketing

John Waghorn

by John Waghorn on 7th February 2013

checklistIn an industry where you will be working with clients and helping to push their marketing campaigns in the right direction, it’s important to maintain a strong client relationship from the start. This principal applies to all forms of marketing and goes beyond just this sector alone. Whether it’s SEO, advertising, PR or content marketing, a decent relationship between both you and the client will certainly bring its advantages.

So why exactly is it important to maintain an effective client relationship when it comes to content marketing?

Well first of all, with a strong relationship, you can create better content. By sharing ideas, the content will be more relevant to the company you are working with. Although in order to achieve this, both parties will need to firstly need to understand the full process involved and secondly, have a desire to work together for better results. These results stem from the client’s business needs and from the professionals willingness to help out and put their skills to good use.

It’s important to bear in mind that at this stage that it’s not solely down to the client and there is obviously a level of input that all professionals will need to pursue in order to see results; however this is probably obvious to most people, given the nature of the business we work in.

In addition to the benefits mentioned above, a shared interest will also help when it comes to the later stages of content marketing. By this, I simply mean the promotional stages from both parties once the content has been written and published. As mentioned earlier, if both you and the client are pushing forward in the same direction, then your campaigns can really prosper.

So, it’s all very well having an understanding of what the benefits are for maintaining an effective client relationship, but how exactly do you get to this stage? Well, this is where you, as a content manager, marketer or executive, come in to the equation.

In order to achieve this, you have to be clear from the start, explaining:

  • What content marketing is – The world of digital marketing is probably second nature to you, but those outside of the industry are likely to either have only a degree of understanding, or very little knowledge at all. In each instance this is not a problem, you simply need to make sure the client understands how you will be working with the content you create and what the process is. With a basic grounding, your clients will be able to observe what is going to be created and how you will be working with future content.
  • Why content? Have you explained and elaborated on what the benefits of content marketing are and how they can help alongside existing or additional forms of marketing [see, 5 Ways Great Content can Complement your SEO Campaigns]. The client might also want to know what sort of results they are likely to see. So, although you may not be able to give an exact indication in the initial stages, it’s worth telling them what great content can really do and how it can help, not only in terms or links and traffic, but also from a social, branding and promotional point of view as well.
  • The types of content you will be creating – Again, what is second nature to you might seem unfamiliar and completely new to others. Therefore, explain to your clients, the different types of content that you will be using. This might require you to send over previous examples of work you have done and also do a little more explaining for methods that are relatively new or less obvious. For example, the client might understand what a blog post is, but be unsure about what a guest post actually is, or what the function and purpose of an Infographic is. Once the client understands what types of content are involved, you can ask them for resources to help you in the creation stages.
  • Chalkboard - StrategyThe plan or proposal – Does the client understand how the plans or proposal will be carried out? It’s probably best to ask if they wish to sign off any plans, as well as any of the content that you will be writing. If you have a number of client accounts, then make a note of which ones require sign off before you can begin working on their campaigns.
  • Any areas which need to be clarified - Is there is anything that the client doesn’t understand? If so, now is the time to ask and clarify before the campaigns gather speed.

Getting the best from your clients

Now that you have shed light on the digital marketing environment, it’s over to your clients to provide you with the necessary information you require. But in order to get the very best from them, there are a few areas you can focus on:

  • Do they have anything coming up that you can use to tie into your campaigns – If the client has any projects, events, exhibitions, industry news, or updates coming up, then you can look to incorporate these within your content plans. If clients currently have an in-house PR team, then you don’t want to tread on their toes, but you might want to liaise with them to see if you can work together on any upcoming projects [see Content Marketing and PR: When Similar Worlds Collide for more info].
  • Gain an understanding of how your clients work, what they do, and the position they hold within their market – As you are going to be writing content related to their line of business, you will need to have a decent level of understanding. Spend time reviewing their website or speaking to them directly, so that you are comfortable with how they operate. A little research in the initial stages will help massively when it comes to content creation further down the line.
  • Keep them updated – Communicate with your clients on a frequent basis. By sending emails and calling, you will be keeping them in the loop and ensuring there is constant communication throughout the campaigns. Your clients will not only appreciate any updates, they will also be more likely to have ‘content’ in the back of their mind should any ideas arise at a later point that they wish to share with you.

Challenges and expectations 

If your client is working on other forms of marketing, such as SEO, then they may already have certain expectations when it comes to content. This again reinforces the belief that you need to be clear from the start, explaining that time frames and expectations will be slightly different. This situation obviously depends on the existing knowledge and grounding of your clients in relation to the digital marketing environment.

Content is less about rankings per se and more to do with driving traffic, increasing social signals (which will act as a ranking factor in itself), as well as generating worthy links. A really great piece of content has the potential to reach a lot of people and start pushing traffic towards your client’s site. Therefore, make sure you’ve stated the main purpose of content marketing so that your clients know what to work with and what to look out for as the campaigns progress.

It may also take longer if the client decides to hold onto the content in order to review and approve it. However, if this is the case, you should prioritise and start the content well in advance to allow enough time for approval before it’s published thereafter. Initially you might learn this as you go, although once you are in the swing of things, you will easily get used to your clients requirements.

Finally, once all the content has been completed, ensure you report back to the client to tell them the progress that’s been made to date. How you do this is entirely up to you, whether it’s a phone call, an email, building a report, or a combination of all three, as long as they are made aware and the communication is maintained, then your clients will be able to see the results for themselves.

If you’ve got any client management tips for content marketing then please add them to the comments section below. Hopefully the above has been useful and will help you to work with your clients, maintain a decent relationship, and push their campaigns in the right direction for the benefit of better results in the coming months.

Image Credits: 

Pen and checklist image from BigStock

Strategy image from BigStock

John Waghorn

John Waghorn

John works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. With previous experience in PR, he helps the team by writing a range of client content including press releases, guest blog posts and website copy. He is also a regular contributor to the Koozai blog.

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2 Comments

  • James Perrin

    James Perrin 7th February 2013

    Some great advice in here John! I like the tips on getting the best from your clients, and all it takes is the occasional email or phone call. For me, this is one of the most important aspects of client management, because they know their business better than anyone; so by incorporating them at the early stages, we are able to come up with far greater content.

    Reply to this comment

  • John Waghorn

    John Waghorn 11th February 2013

    Thanks for your comments James. It definitely helps to keep clients informed during certain stages of their campaigns. Initially, they have to get to grips with how you work and the exact processes involved. In the same breath, as a content creator, you also have to gain an understanding for the subject you are writing about, particularly if they are a brand new client. As the campaigns progresses, this will become easier for both parties and will hopefully provide the basis for an effective relationship.

    Reply to this comment

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