Building Agency and Client Brands: Q&A with John Hall, Digital Talent Agents

By | December 14, 2012
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This post is part of the Insider Series, which is designed to feature professionals in our industry, offer business insight and discover new paths in the agency world.

Digital Talent AgentsJohn Hall (@tweetJohnHall) is the CEO of Digital Talent Agents (DTA), a full-service professional branding firm that works with clients to build thought leadership, establish market awareness and credibility, and manage their reputations. DTA’s sweet spot is obtaining strategic, high-quality interviews and bylined articles for clients.

John has a weekly column at Forbes, and has contributed to sites including The Huffington Post, Business Insider, Portfolio, Inc., and The Washington Post.

Q&A with John Hall

MAI: What are the origins of Digital Talent Agents? What types of services do you provide to clients?

John: Digital Talent Agents, formed in 2011, focuses on helping clients build credibility and authority in their industries online through bylined articles, awards and personal websites. We help clients form strategic content marketing plans that establish their goals, and target sites that their audiences visit. DTA offers the following services:

  • Online content article development, strategy and placement
  • Awards strategy, application and sourced opportunities
  • Professional customized websites

MAI: I understand you also have an agency partner program. What services and benefits are associated with that offering?

We offer all of the same services mentioned previously; it just might be in a different way. We work with agencies in several fashions, whether that is white labeling our services or acting on behalf of the agency.

What we suggest is for the agency itself to utilize our services first for a few months so that they have a complete understanding of the process and can speak intelligently to their clients about the services. We really want to act as an extension of an agency’s team and create a real partnership.

Agencies benefit from a partnership in several ways:

  • Agency awareness in specific niche industries
  • Engagement with prospective clients
  • High-quality talent recruitment
  • Agency credibility
  • Industry thought leadership
  • More time, resources and focus
  • Pull strategy for prospective clients

MAI: What brand-building tips do you have for agencies and their leaders?

John: It depends on what your goals are for the brand building and how you want to position your agency. It’s important to get content online that speaks to the agencies’ and their leaders’ expertise. Original content helps you build a trustworthy presence online – the goal right?

It’s great if you have a blog online, but who is actually reading your blog and is it the audience that you want to be reading it? Getting content published in reputable online publications that your target audience reads (potential clients in most cases) is key so that they understand that you are the thought leader in this specific area.

It’s really all about where your target audience is and engaging with them in the mediums they are most present.

But, it doesn’t stop there. What happens when the content is published? How does an agency make the most of that? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Repurpose the content on your company’s blog, but make sure to give original credit to the publication where it was first published.
  • Share with your social networks, and talk to your colleagues about the article topic. Help begin a discussion.
  • Utilize the content and published article in your agency’s marketing materials.
  • Get involved in discussions with your audience. Are they on LinkedIn? Are there specific Twitter hashtags or chats you should be involved in?

MAI: What process does Digital Talent Agents go through to get clients published?

There are a few  steps. Let me walk through the process with you:

1.) Understand the client’s goals and define a strategy: DTA creates a strategy roadmap and detailed plan to take the client’s brand to the next level online. Together, DTA and the client pinpoint publications that target the audience the client wants to reach. Then, we solidify topics that meet identified goals and would appeal to the publications’ targeted readership.

2.) Extract expertise: Our job is to pull the client’s expertise out and highlight what the client does best within informative, entertaining pieces. We help the client extract expertise and showcase what he or she knows to their target markets.

3.) Create content: The clients have the knowledge and are the experts in their fields, not us. But, we have the time and talent to help them create content around that expertise. Through answering a series of open-ended questions around a determined topic, our team acquires the expertise and information for each article.

Our writing staff then transforms the information into full-length, exclusive articles to be published online. Through limited time and effort on the client’s part, our team works with them, through minimal edits, to capture tone and voice.

4.) Publish: We have a dedicated publication outreach team that is constantly establishing strong relationships with niche publications in an array of industries. From scientific journals, to parenting blogs and the authority publications every expert dreams of being on, DTA works to get our clients’ original content published. Full bylines, no scammy link building, just the client’s expertise.

DTA handles the communication with editors and works to help the client maximize each published article through social media, reproduction of the article on the client’s blog, and explanation of the analytics from each piece.

Interested in learning more about DTA and how you can get involved as an agency? Email John or his VP of agency partnerships, Natalie Stezovsky, for information.