Who Should Write My Content?: In-House, Free-Lance, or Agency
The Content Marketing Institute’s survey of over 400 marketers across North America provides insightful information about the importance of content marketing.
According to the report, companies set aside close to 30% of their marketing budget for content creation, 77% of them plan to increase their overall content production in the future, and 84% of B2B success was due to “higher quality, more efficient content creation”.
These stats highlight a few significant and essential aspects of content marketing:
- You need a lot of it
- You need high-quality content to make it work
- It’s going to cost you money to get the results you want
This all leads to one important question: “what’s the best option for my content marketing: hiring an in-house writer, a freelancer or a digital marketing agency?”.
Discovering the “Why”
Essentially, it all comes down to what you need to convert your audience into followers.
Do you think on-going blogs might be the answer? If so, a freelancer might help. Is your business about showcasing the best technical advice available? You might need an in-house expert who will learn about your niche business to write about it. Are you looking to maximize multiple channels, such as blogs, ad copy and website content at a fast rate? A digital marketing agency might be for you.
Once you’ve considered the “why”, then you can look at the pros and cons of each option and see what fits into your plan.
Hear From Industry Experts
Read the latest tips, research, best practices, and insights from our community of expert B2B service providers.
Hiring An In-House Copywriter
Traditionally, if you want to get instant content, you’d either hire a contractor to do the work for you or bring someone in as your full-time content writer. Opting for the latter adds a personal touch to your work, which can be beneficial, as you’ll read below.
- They’ll understand your company’s mantra, tone and vision. Having a professional writer that is deeply invested in your company will provide more knowledge, insight and value to your content.
- Typically, a full-time in-house salaried writer will be able to create high-level content at a faster rate – as they’re working in the same building as you! That means more bang for your buck while ensuring you get someone that fits in with your company’s values and work ethic.
- Effective for building a strong brand vision. If you rely on dominating your online presence, you need to have a specific brand voice to maintain and expand your business. Having an in-house writer can ensure it happens.
The cost of hiring a writer is the biggest setback, as you’ll have to pay for salaries and benefits (The average salary for a writer is $49,392, according to PayScale). And due to the flexible workload on offer for writers, there are times when the writers will be overloaded or have plenty of free time.
In terms of your work itself, if the writer doesn’t know about particular topics, especially outside their field of expertise, you won’t get the quality that’s expected with an educated professional.
Significantly, a survey by Forbes Insights & PwC of 350 executives indicated that “94% of respondents say that delivering personalization is critical or important to reaching customers”, but it wasn’t always entirely possible with an in-house writer due to “internal bias”.
Hiring A Freelancer Content Writer
Let’s face it: it’s the age of freelancer writers with Freelancing in America 2017, stating that there are over 57M freelancers right now. Many make a great career out of it, as there are numerous reasons why companies hire freelance writers.
- Perhaps the cheapest choice to make, as “content writers earn $15–$80 per hour on Upwork”. You can get the services you want for the price you want.
- Very scalable option, as your demand influences the amount of content you need and how much you want to pay. You can hire more and more freelancers to cover your workload.
- A wealth of variety, as you can have two to three freelancers that can write for you at any given time on numerous topics. The distribution of ideas and styles that bring is a huge plus.
Of course, there are some negatives to hiring a freelancer writer. Significantly, you’re not going to get an expert in the field, particularly for topics that require specialized insight. Unless you’re paying in the hundreds, you might not get high-quality writers that can deliver quality, consistent work for you. You might struggle to get someone that works with your brand’s voice and style.
It’s also harder to generate a strong relationship with the writer as they work their hours. That can make deadlines a struggle, and if they don’t work out, you’ll have to find another writer, requiring more time and effort.
Hiring a Digital Marketing Agency
While still technically in the “freelance” area, hiring a digital marketing agency to handle your content is a step above the rest. There are some special benefits they bring to your business.
- Expertise in content creation. You’ll get access to an experienced and competent content writing team specializing in researching, editing and publishing content for various platforms.
- The ability to scale is paramount as you can demand more content than normal and expect it to get done within a specific time frame. Larger content projects, such as web design, can be done with ease as the agencies have larger writing teams to handle projects at scale. You can increase/decrease your order volume without sacrificing time, quality or your salary budget.
- Digital agencies have expansive networks of resources in which they can access to develop your content.
- Convenience is key. How much easier is it to hand off a large content project to a team with untold resources and experience in handling it? It’s blissful and worth the value.
Of course, here’s the downside of outsourcing your content to an agency.
You’re going to have limited control of the content. Sure, most agencies invite collaboration and communication, but there’s always going to be a limited amount of control.
Significantly, it’s going to cost you more money. WebFX states that content marketing can cost “from $2,000 to $50,000 each month” with Vertical Measures also mentions similar figures, noting it can “range from $5,000-$50,000+ per month depending on your business size, goals, marketing budget, and resources”.
No matter which option you choose, it’s important to consider your budget and your goals. Each option has potential positives and potential negatives, so be sure to weigh the risks and rewards.