5 Content Marketing Agency Red Flags

Content marketing Red flagsA content marketing agency can be a great asset to an organization.  They can provide direction to your marketing efforts and improve your relationship with your audience.  But not all agencies are created equal.

If you are working with or evaluating a content marketing agency, keep an eye out for these 5 red flags.

1. They don’t make an effort to talk to internal stakeholders.  

The CMO or CEO may be the one paying the bills but you simply can’t get all the information you need without talking to the people who interact with clients every day.  A good team will talk with people in the organization who can provide insights that won’t show up in analytics.  Some of our favorite sources?  Customer service teams and the front-line teams like those on the floor of a retail store.  They always hear complaints directly from the customer and can help dig into the common challenges the target audience is facing.

2. You feel overwhelmed and lost.  

A good agency (a good partner of any kind) will walk you through information and will make sure you are comfortable with what is happening.  Whether that is talking through how they gathered data to develop audience personas or explaining why they picked one distribution channel over another, you should always feel comfortable asking questions.  At the end of a project, you should be confident in the next steps for your content work, not confused by the strategy that has been handed over to you.

content marketing agency red flag

3. They disappear.  

This ties into #2.  An agency should be like a team member, while you shouldn’t expect them to answer your call at 10pm, they should be accessible. When agencies aren’t responsive, it can leave you in the dark.  Good agencies will be available to answer questions and help you find solutions to your content marketing challenges.

4. They aren’t curious.

This is a bit of an anecdotal recommendation but every brilliant marketer I know believes that good marketers are curious by nature.  If your agency team isn’t asking questions, exploring things further, and generally doesn’t seem to be very curious, you should consider that a red flag.

5. They aren’t familiar with new communication technology or platforms.

A big piece of the content marketing puzzle is using the right distribution channel.  If your content marketing agency isn’t familiar with emerging technology and platforms, they won’t be able to help you understand how those things can factor into your company’s distribution strategy.  That doesn’t mean you should worry if they don’t have a Pinterest profile, but they should know whether or not Pinterest is a good fit for your marketing work.

New content marketing agencies are emerging every day – these are just a few red flags we’ve noticed that you should look out for when evaluating a firm.  Marketers – what would you add to the list?


  1. says

    These are good, thoughtful and somewhat atypical points Cate. (That’s what makes them good!) Hard to choose one over the other but I really like the one on curiosity. While I am trying to learn about content marketing, I am also in the process of trying to develop criteria to help business owners choose this type of agency. Here’s my number one deal breaker: if the agency isn’t practicing content marketing in their own company, I discard them.


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