Top Content marketing agencies 2024

Top 9 Content Marketing Agency: Are They Worth it in 2024?

Take a look at these numbers.

  • 7.5 million every single day,
  • 312,500 every hour,
  • 5,209 every minute, and
  • 87 every passing second. 

That is the number of blog posts that are published to the web, and that’s not even including news articles.

Those staggering numbers may make you think ‘everyone’s doing it, so should I?’. Yes, this is a double-edged sword. Yes, you can’t afford to be the silent business in the room. But with so much competition, simply doing good content is not enough anymore — as a matter of fact, even doing great content is not enough. 

The days when quality content, valuable content alone could get you reach are sadly gone. That’s not to say that content itself is irrelevant. On the contrary, it’s more important than ever.

If you’re a brand, you need to put out content. It helps you build brand awareness, increases authority, and drives sales + engagement. 

But coming back to the question, how can you ensure that your content is seen by people, and is seen by the right people? A popular choice these days is to let experts do it. That’s to say, hire a content marketing agency.

That’s why we’ve put together this guide. By the time you’re done reading, you’d have 100% clarity on:

Let’s begin with the most basic question. 

What does a content marketing agency do?

A content agency is probably one of those things that you’ve heard of, but you didn’t pay much attention to. In fact, we’ve often seen people fall prey to the notion that a content agency is just a bunch of writers huddled together in an office. 

While content writing is definitely a major part of the agency’s operations, a lot more is done behind the scenes.

So, what does a content marketing agency do? Two types of things: inbound and outbound marketing. 

Inbound marketing “pulls” people in by showing them attractive content.  

Think of inbound marketing like fishing. You put out delicious bait (your content) that attracts the fish (potential customers) to come to you. This could be:

  • Blogs that answer people’s questions
  • Videos that solve problems
  • Helpful guides that people download

Outbound marketing “pushes” your message outward so that more people can see it. 

Think of outbound marketing like a megaphone.  You’re broadcasting your message far and wide in hopes of reaching the right people. This could include:

  • Traditional ads (TV, print, radio
  • Social media advertisements
  • Targeted email campaigns

A content marketing agency takes care of both. Let’s see how this pans out at a task level. 

  • Your agency will primarily create content for your business. This includes everything from blog posts and infographics, to short form and long form video. 
  • They will also take care of publishing, which is called your “distribution strategy”. In other words, the content marketing agency will help display the content they made for you.
  • Additionally, the agency will optimize your content for SEO (search engine optimization). 
  • What many people do not realize is that an agency can optimize your past content as well. Whether it is previous blog posts, an online shop, or your social media, a content marketing agency will make you findable
  • Speaking of social media, a good content agency will also handle your social handles for you. They’ll respond to queries, redirect questions to the correct team, and make posts, etc.
  • And lastly, any content marketing agency worth its salt will measure results. Word to the wise, great content agencies spend more time on results than they do creating content. In fact, they obsess over results. They track KPIs (key performance indicators), to see if their efforts are helping. And if things aren’t going the way they should, they will change course, try new things, until they get better results.

So now you know what a content marketing agency actually does. But is the cost of hiring one? Let’s find out. 

What does a content marketing agency cost?

Before we get into the numbers, let’s understand how a content marketing agency thinks about pricing. 

Competition in the industry is massive. 

Finding the next client is a challenge. 

So many agencies offer beginner packages that look like great value for money. 

However, these packages are more to get a foot in the door, and to them pile on the costs as add-ons 30 to 90 days into the engagement. 

So, when you see offers of managed content service from as little as $299/month, know that it’s the cost you’re paying now, and not the cost you’ll pay tomorrow. 

Back to the question of pricing. To even begin their work for you, an agency will need to budget for efforts to be invested in completing some preliminary tasks. 

These include:

  • Prepare proposals and plans for you
  • Do competitor research
  • Do a content audit for you
  • Cause minor disruptions to existing stable projects, and get people onboard for your project team
  • Learn from, or create a style guide for your content project

So, a legitimate content marketing agency knows two things:

  1. They have to perform these actions to deliver a meaningful service
  2. They have to budget for the costs of this work, but in a way that their service doesn’t become too expensive to try

Because of these non-negotiable market forces, the cost of hiring a good content marketing agency starts at about $1,000 per month, and from there, the sky’s the limit. The true cost will depend on how you answer the following questions:

  • How much work needs to be done per month or per project? 
  • Is it just writing and marketing, or is there social media and advertising involved? 
  • Is your niche very technical, like finance or healthcare, or is it wide, like agriculture? 

Knowing the answers to these will help you gauge the cost of a content marketing agency. 

More work = more cost; more niche = more cost, most of the time. We say ‘most of the time’ because getting a bulk work discount is quite common, especially if you sign a longer contract.

Agencies with a lot of experience usually charge more. You might also be able to get a better price if you sign a contract for a longer period of time. For reference, the average content marketing agency contract is six months long.

And one last thing: content agencies typically use one of three pricing models. These are as follows.

Pricing Models

The retainer model

The retainer model is typically for monthly contracts. You pay the entire monthly cost upfront, and the agency deducts their monthly bill every 30 days. Any ‘unused’ amount rolls over to the next month, when you ‘top up’ your monthly cost for the coming month. If you make the agency work more billable hours than the upfront paid, you settle the cost at the month’s end. 

An example of using the retainer model is as follows. You need 20 blog posts a month, with images. You would pay an agency $1,200 per month to completely take this task off your hands. Say in one month you need 25 blog posts — that’s 5 extra. At the beginning of the next month, you’d pay $300 extra to cover that excess. It is the most common billing model that content marketing agencies use.

The project model

The project model is exactly what it sounds like. You have a fixed-term deadline, and a certain number of things need to be done. For project models, most CMAs operate on a ‘split’ basis. A certain amount upfront (usually 30%-50% of the cost), and balance on project completion. For example, you might agree to pay an agency $5,000 to create an ebook for you, then share it with customers. It’s more of a one-off than a regular content creation plan.

The performance model

Under the performance model, there is usually a (comparably) very low fixed cost component. Usually hovers around a few hundred dollars, to cover tool subscriptions and the like. The majority of the CMA’s money will depend on how well they perform. The most common method here is for you to give a portion of revenue or profit (5%-10%) to the CMA.

Also, the same content marketing agency can offer you two, or all three types of billing model. The one you choose depends on which you think is best for your business case.

No two businesses are the same, which is why no two pricing plans are the same. In the next section, we have outlined nine of the best content marketing agencies in America. For each, we include their pricing system, to help give you an idea as to what a CMA costs.

The list of 9 best content marketing agencies

1. Search Revolutions 

Search Revolutions Homepage

Search Revolutions is the oldest content marketing agency on this list. They have over three decades of experience and were around before Google. Headquartered in Dubin, Ohio, they work best in manufacturing and B2B spaces. They offer pricing slabs from $2,500 to $5,000, but can also make custom plans according to your needs. Search Revolutions also boasts a Semrush content marketing agency score of 5 out of 5.

2. AltaVista 

AltaVista has made a name for itself as a contractor-focused content marketing agency. They’ve been in business for over 29 years. AltaVista has navigated times that have killed other digital agencies. For contractors, AltaVista specializes in B2C marketing and architecture, headquartered out of Maryland. They take care of SEO, PPC-based marketing, database marketing, and social media marketing. Their pricing slabs start at $1,000 and are increased on a case-basis. 

3. Directive 

Directive Home Page

Based out of Irvine, California, Directive caters specifically to technology-focused businesses. They can assemble an out-of-house team for your specific needs, but it comes with a price. The minimum project size that Directive takes on is $5,000. However, their usual project size sits between $10,000 and $49,000. Their hourly rates within that minimum project size are from $100-$150. Directive specializes in PPC, SEO, and advertising, and has excellent reviews.

4. Siege Media 

Siegemedia Homepage

Siege Media is a premium content marketing agency based out of San Diego, CA. They specialize in B2B, SaaS, B2C, Finance, and e-commerce operations. Despite being a high-end content marketing agency, they offer variable pricing. The pricing tiers are based on your budget and projected ROI. Siege Media is known for its keyword-based content that drives good SERP (search engine results page) rankings.

5. Foundation 

Foundation Homepage

Foundation is the only canada-focused content marketing agency on our list. Headquartered in Halifax, they focus on software products, B2B, SaaS, and manufacturing/ milling. They are known for their thorough quantitative research methods. Think of it as data-driven content marketing.  Foundation offers custom pricing, depending on what your individual needs are. Brand-name clients of Foundation include MailChimp and Canva.

6. Sagapixel 

Sagapixel Homepage

Sagapixel was an SEO company that made a name for itself as a content marketing agency. They have a lot of experience in healthcare and operate from Philadelphia. Sagapixel helps hospitals, clinics, and independent doctors with their SEO, marketing, and advertisements. They are on the more affordable side, with their plans starting from $1,000 per project.

7. 97th Floor 

97thfloor Homepage

Another high-end content marketing agency, 97th Floor has their offices in Lehi, Utah. 97th Floor does something that no other CMA on this list does: they automate your workflows. The catch is that you pay a premium upfront for their services, and they only offer custom pricing. 97th Floor pairs clients with specialized marketers, designers, and content creators. The aim is to find the “best-fit’ team for your needs.

8. Optimist

optimist Homepage

Specifically created to help SaaS companies, Optimist is headquartered in Los Angeles. They specialize in inbound content, so whatever they make for you will focus on driving sales. They make product-focused content for you, that creates a funnel for new sales, users, and leads. Major clients at Optimist include the likes of Submittable and Sontentstack, among others. You can get a free consultation with Optimist, where you can discuss goals, KPI’s, pricing, and more. They offer custom pricing on a retainer-project basis.

9. Green Flag Digital

Green Flag Digital Homepage

The last content marketing agency on our list is Green Flag Digital, who have their offices in San Diego, CA. GFD is known for its work in real estate and e-commerce, with a focus on PR, SEO, advertising and brand building. Their name-brand clients include and Bear Grylls, the star host of “Man Vs. Wild”. GF Digital offers initial pricing on a per-project basis. However, they can also sign long-term contracts after working with you for a while.

Those were the nine best content marketing agencies we could find. Some brought you excellent value for money, and some brought hyper-specialized experience in industries. 

Whichever agency you talk to, it’s likely that a question will pop up (if it doesn’t, go ahead and ask it yourself): what role will AI play in the work of the agency?

This question is a more meaningful one to ask than something more speculative like ‘will AI technologies replace the work of content marketing agencies?’. Nevertheless, let’s still try to answer this question. 

The future of content marketing agencies in the age of AI

Can AI replace a dedicated content marketing agency? Absolutely not. 

But can AI help content marketers, make them more efficient? We think so, and here’s why.

There is a saying that begins, “To err is human”. Humans are genetically not great at doing repetitive tasks—but AI algorithms are. A human will get fatigued, tired, even bored. Whereas computers and AI… they love to do a task with perfection, and then do it always with perfection, faster than the speed of thought.

This gives people more time to focus on creative and strategic work that AI cannot do. AI will never have cultural insights, experiences, or personal anecdotes. It will always lack the human touch, at least foreseeably.  AI doesn’t understand these human elements very well.  Humans are better at catching imperceptible details that AI infallibly overlooks.

AI is also useful for making decisions based on its analyzed data. It can look through large amounts of data about how content is doing and suggest ways to make it better. This helps make content strategies more effective and shows clear results from marketing efforts. So, AI can replace entry level data analysts and unskilled writers. But there’s a bigger pattern to notice.  With one hand AI giveth, and with the other, taketh away. Where you replace low ranked, cheap analysts, you now need a highly paid AI expert to handle their tasks. So you see, like everything else in life, this is a balancing act.

So, now that you’ve gotten the whole picture, it’s time to ask yourself the big question that we cover next. 

Should you partner with a content marketing agency?

Again, we have to let you decide yourself, but can give you a framework that you can use to decide well. First, understand the true benefits of hiring a content marketing agency

No training required — can begin work immediately

Content agencies  have skilled writers, designers, SEO specialists, and marketing experts on their team. They understand how to create engaging content, how to get it found on search engines and help promote it effectively through different channels.

Cost savings and scalability

It’s true that you have to pay to hire an agency, but it is often cheaper than building your own in-house team. You don’t have to worry about hiring, training, and benefits for full-time employees. You would also not have to worry about downsizing in rough times, simply pause your contract.

Creative new ideas

Agencies come to your marketing efforts from the outside, with new ideas. They can identify ways to improve, suggest new content types, and help you keep up with your industry.

Time savings

Agencies take care of the hard work of creating, sharing, and analyzing content. This frees up your valuable time for other things. You can focus on running your business, managing customers, and other strategic initiatives.

Next, to make your decision easier, here are some questions you can ponder over to decide whether you should hire a content marketing agency. 

  • Can you afford to pay agency fees?
  • Agencies thrive on data. Are you committed to measuring the results of your content marketing? 
  • Are you willing to give up some control over your brand message?
  • Is your target audience clearly defined?
  • Are you comfortable with the time it takes to see results?
  • Do you have the resources to support the content an agency creates? If you can’t handle the generated leads, for example, you waste the agency’s efforts. 
  • Are you looking for a long-term partnership or a one-off project? 

…But before you jump into hiring a content agency, there’s one crucial question you need to ask yourself:  can content marketing truly boost your bottom line?  

After all, you want more sales and better margins. So you need to know what percentage of your marketing budget you should spend on content marketing. This also means you have to measure it against other channels that can bring in even better results, and faster. 

For instance, we know for a fact that email marketing still delivers strong returns, and platforms like Meta Ads can offer better ROI than content right from the first week. We speak from experience of having got measurable results for 100+ brands as their email marketing and Meta Ads partner

Need help with the big picture? Let’s talk about the opportunity cost of not doing email marketing, not doing Meta Ads, and doing content marketing instead. Afterall, you need to be convinced that content is the best investment for you. Ask us for a no-obligations conversation. 

The Bottom Line

If you do decide you need a content agency, choose one that aligns with your industry, budget, and overall vision. Compare agencies and look closely at all factors. Make sure to check experience, pricing, and results before making your final selection.

Ultimately, the decision to hire a content agency depends on your specific needs and resources. Consider your budget, in-house capabilities, and level of control you want to maintain.

And with that, we come to the end of this article about content marketing agencies, their associated costs, pros, and cons. We hope you found it useful, and we’ll see you in the next one.