STRATEGY, DESIGN & TECHNOLOGY FOR CONTENT MARKETING
THE 40 MOST IMPORTANT CONTENT MARKETING QUESTIONS
A competency scoresheet
How to determine Content Marketing competence
Over the years, we have collected strong questions that our clients have asked us about
what they need content marketing to do for them. They were rightfully curious about what it
was, why their leadership was asking them to do it and how we, as a Content Marketing
agency could help them accomplish their goals in a manageable, predictable manner.
From that list, we have compiled this scoring sheet that anyone can use to gauge your Content Marketing partner’s
capabilities and competence. Our goal was simply to give you a starting-point to begin thinking about what you want
content marketing to do for your organization. At the very least, you’ll have a good basis for starting the discussion. You
can use this list to broach topics with your current partner, use it to interview new potential partners or simply use it to
understand what Content Marketing agencies are up to.
Scoring is simple and is based on scale of your confidence.
1= “There’s no way.”
2= “I’m not feeling very confident.”
3= “Maybe passable”
4= “Sounds like they get it.”
5= “I want them on my team.”
Once you’ve added up your scores you’ll have a much clearer idea of how you or the agency scored in your eyes. Of
course, keep in mind, this is not exact and is entirely subjective. Again, the key is to develop a basis for discussion so that
you can learn more about the agency’s offering and learn a lot in the process.
FULL DISCLOSURE: Centerline Digital is a Content Marketing agency and while we developed this list with our clients, we had
ourselves graded and out of a perfect possible score of 200, we scored a 164. We all have something to strive for, right?!
Area of Concern
1. Understands what content marketing is and is able to articulate
its fundamental properties. Understands how it differs from
2. Understands what content marketing can do for your
company/brand and they’ve invested in learning about how it
can benefit you specifically—not generically.
3. Understands, envisions and can articulate how your company’s
content marketing lifecycle should function.
4. Can help you learn how to capture all of the benefits of content
5. Can help you learn why the most important key best practices
are relevant to you.
6. Has shown you how to forecast its costs across the organization
and best approaches to get it funded initially and how to budget
for it over a long horizon.
7. Can help you parse through the bullshit and seize on the things
that matter to you—specifically.
8. Can show you smart ideas how to make it fit into your
company’s culture. (When Content Marketing is new to your
organization, it’s like transplanting an organ!) Not easy.
Area of Concern
9. Can show you how to make it fit into your existing marketing
10. Can show you how their role as your Content Marketing
partner can play nicely—collaboratively, with your other INTERNAL
11. Can show you how their role as your Content Marketing
partner can play nicely—collaboratively with other EXTERNAL
12. Has demonstrated the importance of project management
(Client and agency-side) in a successful content marketing
13. Understands and has articulated what it will mean to your
company specifically to create and sustain a culture of publishing
14. Can speak comfortably about the process of creating your
“best-fit” content marketing strategy. (Extra points if they can
show you what they have created for other organizations.
15. Can articulate why and demonstrate how to create a detailed
editorial calendar that works—well.
16. Can help you learn the different types of content to create
under specific circumstances before they create it. (Extra points if
they have strategy and design execution under one roof.)
Area of Concern
17. Knows why and how to create iterative, ongoing operational
and process standards that make content marketing work inside
18. Knows why and how you need to align your Content
Marketing strategy with other digital and enterprise strategies.
(Extra points if they can demonstrate relevant past experience.
19. Is knowledgeable about how to achieve ongoing cost-savings
and content production gains.
20. Understands the role of search (including local) on content
marketing and visa versa.
21. Understands and can articulate the role of marketing
automation (i.e., Marketo) on content marketing.
22. Is knowledgeable about and capable of integrating your
content marketing into your content management system.
23. Is knowledgeable about and capable of integrating your
content marketing into your CRM system.
24. Is knowledgeable about and capable of integrating your
content marketing into your digital asset management system.
Area of Concern
25. Is knowledgeable about and capable of integrating your
content marketing into your organization’s mobile content
26. Is capable of designing and creating content for the mobile
facets of your overall content marketing mix.
27. Knows the importance of mobile content delivery/ asset
activation or proliferation (i.e., getting your content in front of the
right people of influence at the right time and in the right place.)
28. Is knowledgeable about and capable of integrating your
social media and other social marketing initiatives into a larger
content marketing program.
29. Is able to articulate how content marketing fits in with your
organization’s digital commerce.
30. Is able to articulate how content marketing interleaves with
analytics and conversion strategies. (Extra points if they can
demonstrate similar past experience.)
31. Agency is knowledgeable about and capable of extending
your content marketing for global consumption.
32. Understands the power of video and animation in content
marketing and is able to make it happen. (Extra points if they have
this capability in house.)
Area of Concern
33. Is passionate and articulate about the importance of multi-
channel content marketing integration.
34. Understands the principles of and methods to cycle your
organization’s content marketing through a continuous
improvement process. (plan>create>activate>measure>repeat)
35. Understands why and how to mature and accelerate your
content marketing efforts with your executive suite by helping you
build the consensus that gets this (and keeps it) under way.
36. Is knowledgeable about how to achieve measurable gains in
the content marketing team’s performance and agility.
37. Is able to demonstrate how to make content marketing
achieve customer relevance at scale.
38. Is able to demonstrate how to mature your company’s
content marketing governance model over the long term without
39. Is capable of helping you benchmark your organization’s
content marketing performance. They need to show you how it
gets measured and thus continuously funded.
40. Is prepared to show you how to set a customized plan to scale
or grow content marketing based on its success within your
Scoring the Content Marketing partnership
< 40 – They are not for you. Wish them the best and show them the door.
41-80 – You’re not very confident in this partnership. They have some ideas and are
probably pretty likable but their lack of experience and operational effectiveness will likely
leave you frustrated and in the dark.
81-120 – This is where a bulk of Content Marketing agencies will land. You may score an
agency you love in this range. Keep in mind level of experience for the issues and concerns
you feel are most critical to your organization and weight them disproportionately if you end
up with three agencies in this range.
121-160 – In this range, the partnership is probably a good bet. They’ll have more
experience and will likely be able to help you with ease.
161-200 – They’re masters. They’re probably expensive as a result. While you have a very
competent partnership here, your greatest challenge may be in negotiating their contract.
Questionnaire written by Steven Keith, Sr. Business Strategist at Centerline
Digital in Raleigh NC.
If you have any questions or want to chat, please contact Steven directly.