It’s the lazy, hazy days of summer. People go on vacation, business slows down, and you take a moment to catch your breath and head out for a week at the lake with the family.

But don’t take too long, because you can take advantage of the slower business season to prepare for next year. Specifically, summer is the perfect time to start planning your content marketing for 2020. It may seem like it’s too soon, but back to school – and all the hustle and bustle that comes with it – can start as early as the middle of August for some locales. Then Halloween is just around the corner, and you’ll be in the thick of your winter holiday campaigns. Before you know it, you’re scrambling to get a content agency in place to help you hit your 2020 goals. 

By then, it might be too late to find the right agency to help with your 2020 marketing plans. Think about what goes into bringing on a new vendor. In some cases, you’re putting out an RFP. In all cases, you’re doing your due diligence, meeting with agencies, and figuring out if they’re a good fit. You’re reviewing proposals and working with finance to find out how much your company can budget for a new vendor, and you’re getting the approval to bring them on board.

Meanwhile, your internal team will be working on holiday campaigns and planning for the new year. The longer you wait, the less time you’ll have to get your team to help you vet a new partner. If your marketing department is relatively small, you’ll have even less time to spend once business picks up in the Fall.

Getting Ahead of MSA Bottlenecks

Where most companies run into delays is when it’s time to get the master services agreement (MSA) signed. Even if you have a standard MSA that legal has already prepared and vetted, chances are, your vendor will have changes. Legal and your vendor may go back and forth on things like indemnification clauses, or legal may be backed up with other priorities. You need to get that MSA into the hands of the legal department as soon as possible.

Reach Out Now for the Best Agencies

There’s yet another reason to start looking for your content marketing partner now, rather than later. Agencies already know how important it is to plan for 2020 over the summer, so the best ones are already meeting with clients and filling their calendars. That’s not to say that you won’t be able to book someone, but if you want your choice of agencies, now is the time to start talking to vendors.

Don’t wait until you’re up against the wall this winter. The time you have this summer, while business is slower, can be used to vet your vendors and be ready to go once Q4 rolls around. Even if you’re headed out on vacation in the very near term, you can still start requesting proposals before you leave – and with any luck, you’ll come back to a virtual stack that you can start disseminating among your team when you return.

Then, when you get your new agency on board in Q4 and start to work on your 2020 strategy, you’ll be poised to take full advantage of the new year. Q1 and Q2 will be much less stressful when you have a partner who’s ready to hit the ground running with you.

Start outlining your requirements for 2020, and start reaching out to partners that may prove to be a good fit. That way, by the time the winter holidays roll around, you’ll be able to jump quickly into your marketing campaigns in the new year.

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