Content marketing has been one of the pillars of digital marketing for decades. And quite frankly, it’s been working wonders for brands.
But it’s 2021 and research shows that one of the challenges of the digital age is information overload. Does this mean brands need to reduce the amount of content they’re producing?
More importantly, could that be a sign that starting a content writing agency in 2021 isn’t such a good idea?
On the contrary, a simple look at the content marketing trends for 2021 reveals that the demand for different kinds of content is only set to increase.
Will A Content Writing Agency Make Money In 2021?
Before we get into how you can start your content writing agency, let’s take care of the elephant in the room. Yes, I’m talking about the money factor — will you make money with a content writing agency in 2021?
There’s no better time to start a content writing agency than now.
With an increase in remote working and most of the world spending more time (as much as 16:06 hrs a day) in cyberspace, businesses need to be churning out more content at this time. And not just your run-of-the-mill content but high-quality content. Content that will stand out and get noticed above the noise.
But don’t just take my word for it. Here are a few facts and figures to back this up:
The Business Value of Content is Becoming More Apparent
Businesses are now seeing the real value of content marketing. This is seen in the fact that the content marketing industry is set to grow to a whopping $412 billion in 2021. The growth is mainly because more brands see content as a primary driver of sales. According to a Databox survey, 70% of marketers cite search engine optimization (SEO) to be the better channel for driving sales than PPC. Of course, the backbone of SEO is good content writing.
Businesses Plan on Increasing their Content Output
One of the biggest marketing challenges brands face is creating content that generates quality leads. And that’s a big problem as content plays a huge role at each stage of the sales funnel.
Research by Statista shows that 46% of B2B brands plan to increase their content output in the next 12 months.
What does this mean for you?
It means brands are looking for people to create tons of content for them.
So yes, this is the right time for you to start a content writing agency.Have a Pool of Talented Writers at Hand
Content Marketing Produces a Better ROI
One of the main reasons there’s been an upsurge in content marketing in the past two years is the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
What does that have to do with content marketing and starting a content writing agency?
Research shows that content marketing costs 62% less than other traditional forms of marketing. Yet it also brings in better leads — both in terms of quantity and quality. And with brands cutting down on marketing budgets due to the recession, content marketing has become the go-to marketing strategy for most brands.
So yes. Starting a content writing agency in 2021 makes a lot of business sense.
Steps To Kickstart A Content Writing Agency In 2021
Now that you’ve seen that starting a content writing agency could be the best decision you’ll make in 2021, let’s dive into how you can do just that.
- Research the Market (And Choose Your Niche If Needed)
- Sketch Out a Viable Business Plan
- Launch Your Website
- Have a Pool of Talented Writers at Hand
- Use Technology to Streamline Operations
- Market Like Crazy
- Make Sure Your Client Contract Covers All Bases
- Be Ready To Grow
1. Research the Market (And Choose Your Niche If Needed)
One of the first steps to kickstarting your content writing agency is to conduct market research.
Of course, you already know that there is a market for writing services. What you need to do now is to research which industries have a greater need for writing services. These are mainly industries that are emerging and those that are growing fast. Examples include:
- Software-as-a-Service (SaaS)
- Business-to-Business (B2B)
- Service-based businesses
Besides researching the industries that need high volumes of content, determine which industries you’re familiar with or interested in learning about. Effective content creation rides on you knowing your target audience intimately. Doing so will help you create personalized content that they can resonate with.
You must select a niche or two that you’ll specialize in to start and run your content writing agency successfully. Doing this will help you provide better value for your customers. It will also help you position yourself as an expert, which is what many brands are looking for.
2. Sketch Out a Viable Business Plan
Once you’ve done your research and settled on a niche, the next step to getting your content writing agency off the ground is to draw up a business plan.
Don’t worry. Your business plan doesn’t have to be elaborate. It can even be a simple one-page business plan. The crucial thing is that it must include all the essential elements that will help you steer your business to success. These include, among other things:
- Business growth strategies.
- Overview of your competitors.
- Financial goals.
- Staffing plans.
- Tools you’ll use to increase your efficiency.
Because your business plan is your blueprint for success, it must be clear. More importantly, it must be time-based to help you know if you’re making headway or not. One thing you must also keep in mind is that a business plan is a living document. As you learn the ropes of running a content writing agency, you can always adjust it to help you grow a better business.
3. Launch Your Website
As an online business, you’ll need to invest in your online presence. You must invest in a website. After all, in the digital economy, a website plays a crucial role in supporting your inbound marketing efforts.
That’s why you must invest in a good website builder and reliable hosting service. Once you’ve done so, make sure to build a website that:
- Projects the industries you serve
- Acts as a portfolio of your work
- Serves as an integral part of your sales funnel
Because your website is usually the first point of interaction your clients will have with you, it must give them a good impression of your capabilities. You must get your branding and content right. You may have to invest in a good web designer and copywriter if you can’t DIY.
4. Have a Pool of Talented Writers at Hand
One of the reasons you’re probably considering launching a content writing agency is to increase your income. To do that, you must take on more orders and deliver them on time — without compromising on quality.
And the only way to do that is to look for talented writers to help with your deliverables.
Now, I’ll be honest here. While writers are a dime a dozen, talented writers are not so easy to come by. These are writers that:
- Can easily mimic a brand’s voice
- Follow a content brief to the “T”
- Consistently meet deadlines
- Produce engaging content that doesn’t require much editing
That’s why you must design a system that helps you source great writing talent for your content writing agency. A good place to start is on job boards dedicated to writing jobs. Examples include the Problogger job board, BloggingPro, the AWAI job board, and many more. You can also use social media sites like LinkedIn and Twitter as professional writers frequent them.
Content marketplaces like Narrato’s content ordering and freelance writer platform could also be a good place to source content from. Such a writer sourcing platform is both scalable and flexible. You can easily use more or less of the platform, depending on your demand at the moment. Having one or more editors layered on top of Narrato would ensure quality and consistency of content going out to your client. Their managed content writing service is also an option if you are not interested in building an editorial team yourself.
5. Use Technology to Streamline Operations
Very soon you’ll realize that managing a content writing agency operation with several clients and a team of writers (and maybe editors too) will get pretty busy. The only way to ensure that you don’t lose control of your operations and continue growing your business is to use technology to automate and streamline operations.
You can use a content process management software to manage writers, content creation process and clients all on the same platform. Such a software will allow you to keep track of task assignments, workflow and delivery to manage timelines and expectations effectively. It can also offer you tools to manage content quality more effectively.
Other kinds of software you might need additionally are accounting management and/or invoicing software, plagiarism checkers and payment processing software.
6. Market Like Crazy
Especially since you’re a new agency, you’ll have to work extra hard at getting noticed by clients.
You must market your business like crazy.
A few ways you can do that include:
- Leverage your networks. Let your former colleagues and people in your network know what you’re doing. Ask them to help you spread the word about your content writing agency.
- Create and share great content. Create content on your blog and share it on your social media profiles. This will help you increase your online visibility and establish you as an authority in your niche.
- Invest in paid ads. Besides generating organic traffic, you can also pay for ads to help boost your brand awareness.
- Guest post. Guest posting is the practice of creating content that you publish on other sites. Doing this helps you become more visible and tap into traffic sources from those sites.
In all your marketing, ensure that you leverage platforms your target audience frequents. You must also tailor your messaging in such a way as to attract them and gain their trust. If you play your cards right, your marketing strategy will drive relevant traffic to your website, and you’ll soon have a steady flow of inquiries.
7. Make Sure Your Client Contract Covers All Bases
As your lead generation and marketing strategies start bearing fruit, you’ll soon find yourself signing on your first clients.
This is a critical stage as you’ll need to draw up a contract that protects both you and your client. To do this, you can use contract management software to build and customize a contract.
Important terms and conditions your contract must cover include:
- Contract duration
- Budget and payment schedule
- An additional work clause
- A termination policy
- Scope of work and deliverables
You can also include clauses concerning who owns the copyrights to the work you produce and confidentiality clauses.
Your contract should be as comprehensive as possible to ensure there are no grey areas that can be manipulated. Drawing up a contract is crucial for your business as it helps you build transparent and honest relationships with your clients.
8. Be Ready To Grow
Growth is an inevitable aspect of a well-run business. That’s why you must anticipate it right from the start.
As you build a reputation for creating great content, your client roster is bound to grow. And as that happens, you must have systems in place to support that growth. Your system must mainly focus on:
- Talent. Have a system in place to source writers familiar with the industries you’re creating content for.
- Technology. Leverage technology to streamline your processes from client onboarding to assigning articles to relevant writers.
- Techniques. To ensure you maintain your standards, you must create standard operating procedures (SOPs) that guide the content creation process. This should include everything from the content brief creation to types of resources to be cited to your preferred writing style.
Scaling a content writing business is all about creating and implementing systems and processes that help you create content faster. You don’t have to wait for your business to grow to do this. Design those systems well in time to avoid any teething pains as your business grows.
And because you haven’t walked this path before, part of preparing for growth should involve taking online courses on how to start and grow a content writing business. Who knows, as you get the hang of the business, you can add a revenue stream by creating a course and hosting it on an online course platform. Not only will this help other budding entrepreneurs, but it will also help add to your credibility and authority.
Starting a business of any kind requires a lot of preparation. It also requires a lot of dedication on your part.
Starting a content writing agency is no different.
You’ll have to wear many different hats as you’ll have to be hands-on in the initial stages, so be prepared for a lot of hard work. But if you play your cards right, the rewards will well be worth it.