When we first started content and copywriting work for our sister brand JIN Design, we didn’t think that we’d eventually build a content marketing agency in Singapore. 

But as time went by, it became clear there was a gap that we could fill and bring something to the market. Here’s why we decided to take the leap of faith and venture into the content marketing industry to fill the gap.

1. Most businesses put content as an afterthought

Content is often the last thing to be considered in a web project. We’ve seen this so often with the web projects we did in the past. 

However, leaving the content as an afterthought when building a web strategy is a big mistake. The message is central to everything — what you want to convey to your customers, the idea you want to instil in them when they see your brand or website, and how you want them to recognise you.

Here are two examples to illustrate why content shouldn’t be an afterthought.

Microcopy and designing content

Many design agencies focus on User Interface design as a priority, forgetting that content plays a huge part in the user’s experience too. 

Many of these agencies downplay the power of content in increasing conversion. Instead of crafting the copy from the start of the project, they simply use Lorem Ipsum as a dummy text to determine the content space. 

The truth is, many design projects we did in the past with JIN Design put content creation at the very end, rather than integrating it in the design process. This gave the content very little room to develop.

Here’s an analogy:

Imagine baking a muffin. Would you rather have chocolate chips sprinkled within and on top of the muffin, or have them at the top for decoration? Of course, having chocolate chips sprinkled within and on top would enhance the flavour more than just having them at the top.

SEO optimisation

Clients typically come to an agency with a goal. On the surface, it’s to improve their website design, but in reality, these goals lead to one main intention — to get more customers.

Bringing traffic and converting browsers to customers is not a job only for design. It involves crafting a story and getting your website seen by your target audience. 

One of the many ways to get your website seen is through SEO optimisation

However, as agencies focus more on design, these technicalities are often left after the design is done. The copy coming in at a later part of the process makes it difficult for writers to optimise content with these keywords to ensure traffic. 

Moreover, many users are likely to have many tabs open, comparing a brand’s services to its competitors. Even if you’ve got the right keywords, you may not be able to stand out from the crowd. Your competitors may also be using the same keywords.

On the other hand, having the right Tone of Voice can help you to stand out and engage your audience better. Incorporating it from the get-go will certainly help. 

Content is an integral element in a web or brand strategy and should be done hand-in-hand, not as an afterthought. And that’s the area where we’d like to help businesses. 

2. Most businesses are more concerned with execution than strategy

In this industry, it seems that the work produced is more valued than the strategy behind it. 

As people want to see results, strategy and planning have become a less useful service. Many agencies use it as a closing strategy to get the business. This means that the main work would go to execution and not the planning and strategy since it’s already used to secure the project. 

This is why many brands struggle to find strategic partners to help them in digital and content marketing, and why content execution has become a commodity now. Content portals to buy SEO articles, blog posts, and website copy are now a dime a dozen. 

We think that only with a solid strategy, can the execution follow well. There may be a time to produce bulk content, and there may be a time to stop producing content. 

The approach of more is better doesn’t always work. It has to depend on your brand and its goals. 

Quality should be prioritised over quantity. But so many digital and content marketing agencies focus on volume so much that they neglect to produce high-quality, readable content. 

Quantity and frequency may result in thousands of daily blog views, but less than 10 monthly conversions — which is good, if you’re mainly focused on driving traffic to your site. But if you intend to convert, this will not work. 

Without strategic guidance to lead the way, you may be writing content that doesn’t bring about any positive result. And this itself proves that the agency is short-sighted and only focused on content execution. 

At Oats, we seek to establish that content strategy, planning, and execution work hand-in-hand.

Read about the content marketing strategy we used to double our client’s organic traffic within months here. 

3. Most businesses see content marketing as “short-burst” work

Many agencies see content marketing as a campaign with a deadline. However, content marketing is a long-running approach and a business strategy.

A viral video, an article shared by over 10,000 people, is the result of a long-term content marketing commitment, not a short-term one. 

Content marketing isn’t just about speed and immediate impact. It’s a long-term strategy. For it to work, you’d need to consistently run content audits to move your ideas and content further along.

Through our content marketing agency, we hope to help businesses with content marketing for the long-term. 

Looking for a content marketing agency? Grow your business with our end-to-end content marketing services.

Slightly 2 years in, these are some of our takeaways from the entire experience. 

Pros of having our own content marketing agency

Image of a phone showing Google Analytics and Behaviour overview, which a content marketing agency can analyse and form strategies around.
Keeping up-to-date with the trends and analysing data is part of the job.

Stepping into a field where we’ve to continuously improve our skill set and learn new things, and at the same time provide a service, is tough. 

However, it has made us improve at an insane speed. As we’re in the business of content marketing, we have to keep up with the latest trends and Google’s constantly evolving algorithm. 

We can never pinpoint exactly what the requirements are to guarantee good search rankings, but we’re always experimenting with new checklists to help us achieve results. 

We were surprised when one of our articles for Yachtly ranked on the first page of Google within 1 week of publishing. Typically, it’d take a few months to start seeing positive results — so this gave us a boost and an idea of how well good-structured content works with Google. 

To us, it’s a game of trial-and-error. We’re so dedicated to the cause that we set up Unopening, a product listicle and review website, to experiment on our content strategies and theories. This gave us room to explore new approaches and bring fresher ideas and content to our clients.

Cons of having our own content marketing agency

Content marketing is not a new thing. With so many content marketing agencies in Singapore, the competition is fierce. 

As a young company, we have limited experience in this field. We’re also playing with the big boys who have been in this industry longer. So learning and constant improvement are essential for us. If we stop learning, we’d need to take even longer to catch up.

On top of that, with a lean team of 4, everyone has to take up multiple roles —  including project managing, writing, editing, researching, and even developing the business. 

It’s indeed a great learning experience to touch base on all sides of the business. But this would also mean having our attention divided, and putting in the extra hours to grow our agency, on top of the everyday work. 

Echoing back to the point of our job being a game of trial-and-error, there’s no manual on how to do well in this industry — like how to produce successful marketing campaigns or how to guarantee rankings for your brand. 

Yes, there are guidelines established by industry experts that we can follow to significantly improve the results, but it can be tricky to ensure success for all our projects.

So we have to keep experimenting to see what works. Based on this, we set up our own internal guidelines to ensure a higher chance of ranking our content. 

Content isn’t a one-size-fits-all. That’s why good content strategies, along with content execution, are crucial and we’d like to bring that to the market through our content marketing agency. 

Keen on engaging Oats for your content marketing needs? Drop us a line; we’re more than happy to help you with them.