Ever walk into someone’s house and instantly feel like you belong there? The place is so welcoming and comfortable, in fact, that you doubt you will ever want to leave. That’s what you want your team members, clients and freelancers to feel like when they connect with your agency.
Achieve this by giving them a warm cozy agency onboarding that introduces them to your process – a process that is distinctive and makes them want to stick around for the long haul.
The Warm Cozy Onboarding
The kick-off call is typically part of the agency onboarding process, but that’s not where the warm cozy feeling begins. It actually needs to start from the moment you first meet a potential team member, client or freelancer by providing your undivided attention and personal touch.
- Listening to what they need.
- Acknowledging any fears, concerns and questions.
- Asking what would make this a successful collaboration for them.
Once you move forward to the onboarding, it all just gets warmer and cozier. Here you want to:
- Gather pertinent information.
- Set expectations.
- Define goals.
- Sign the contract.
- Provide a welcome packet that’s stocked with all the info they need to succeed.
Agency onboarding for team members and freelancers is similar, with training next. Have readymade instructions, video tutorials and other materials that can walk people through any systems they may need to learn.
For clients, it’s now time for the kick-off call. This call serves as the formal introduction between your new clients and the team members who will be handling their account. Here you want to:
- Ask what success looks like to them.
- Review everything you’ll be providing.
- Establish a communication schedule.
- Outline what’s next on the agenda for both you and them.
- Discuss processes. They may have their own internal process you’ll want to accommodate, and you’ll also want to give them the lowdown on your agency process.
Nailing Your Process
As a content marketing agency, you’re likely to have a standard process that looks something like this:
- Research, create strategy, plan content
- Create content
- Optimize, schedule and publish content
- Distribute and promote content
- Analyze performance, revise strategy as needed
Your job is to transform your standard process into an extraordinary experience that delights everyone involved.
Retain the process framework to keep it streamlined, but embellish along the way as needed. Customize to fit client needs. Make sure everyone’s on the same page with goals. Above all, make it fun.
While you have full creative freedom for adding fun into your process, you want to keep a few do’s and don’ts in mind.
Dos and Don’ts for Creating a Distinctive Process
Do assign a personal contact for each client, team member and freelancer. Having a real live person they can talk to is a must, whether it’s for regular updates, answering a question or solving a problem.
Do prove your value, early and often. If you can’t deliver on overall goals right away (which is often the case with content marketing), set up smaller milestones to showcase a steady stream of progress.
Do have a streamlined workflow that keeps track all content you’re creating for each client (like the one you’ll find on the WriterAccess platform).
Do ask about their communication preferences. Some people like frequent face-to-face check-ins while others are happier with quick emails. Communicate in a way that pleases, not annoys.
Don’t schedule endless meetings, especially for things that can be explained or handled in a succinct email.
- Clients hired you so they’d have more time to do other things – and those other things probably weren’t meant to be sitting around in meetings.
- You hired team members and freelancers so they could amaze you with the high-quality work they can produce – and they can’t produce it if they’re sitting around in meetings.
Don’t put too many cooks in the kitchen. The only thing worse than endless meetings is an endless stream of edits, approvals and chains of command.
Every decision, blog post or piece of paper shouldn’t have to be handled by 10 different people before it can move forward.
- Assign a compatible team member to the client.
- Assign compatible freelancers to content.
Since you’ll be getting to know your team members, clients and freelancers using the personal touch, you’ll instantly have a good idea of which individuals will work best together. Put them together and let them go for it!
Make Communication a Top Priority
Good communication is a must for any relationship, and your agency already has already been engaged in it. After all, you have been:
- Listening closely to everyone’s needs
- Promptly answering questions
- Explaining everything clearly
- Giving everyone the personal touch
- Regularly checking in with team members, clients and freelancers to ensure all are on the right track
But one area of communication that doesn’t often get as much attention and care as it should is feedback. Specifically, feedback for freelancers who are creating the content that is going to propel your clients to success.
- Providing positive feedback keeps enthusiasm high and great content flowing.
- Providing constructive feedback delivers guidance to greatness while correcting small issues before they turn into big problems.
Your content manager should be giving feedback to content creators – and so should your clients. Feedback needs to be given, especially early on, to make sure creators hit the bull’s-eye every single time.
Making team members, clients and freelancers feel wonderfully welcome is a crucial step for agencies seeking to become a content creation powerhouse. That’s because the warm welcome, created by an amazing agency onboarding that turns into a fun, personalized and distinctive process, creates the experience you need to create a loyal following.
- Loyal team members who learn and grow with your agency
- Loyal clients who sing your praises at dinner tables across the country
- Loyal freelancers eager to deliver high-quality content again and again and again
If you’re looking for freelance content creators that fit the bill, check out the pool of more than 20,000 at your service on the WriterAccess platform. Start now with a free trial.
This is the fifth and final blog in a series of agency hacks to transform your agency into a content creation powerhouse that your clients can depend on for quality content.