By now, there's little need to argue that content marketing is effective. After all, 90% of businesses market with content, and content marketing leaders attract 7.8x more traffic than their competitors. Unfortunately, content marketing isn't easy. Research from the LinkedIn Technology Marketing Community found that 51% of those surveyed considered finding time for content creation to be their main challenge.
Hiring professional writers is often the best way to rise above these challenges, but you'll need to consider a variety of options here as well. The three most common options, in-house writers, freelancers and independent content agencies, all come with pros and cons to evaluate before determining which solution best serves your content needs. Keep reading to learn more about these choices and how to decide which is best for you.
By hiring a full-time writer or team of writers, you'll have creative resources dedicated solely to your content marketing initiative with no other projects demanding their time and attention. You'll also be able to train them to your exact specifications, ensuring they fully understand your industry and your company-specific goals. There's also the commitment factor to consider. When your writers are permanent staff members, they have a strong investment in your shared success. And while it's ideal to have a strategy in place that prevents last-minute emergencies and potentially missed deadlines, you'll have more flexibility to address any high-priority needs with in-house writers ready to jump into action.
On the flip side, cost is the most compelling reason to choose outsourced content creation. The Bureau of Labor Statistics reports a median wage of $61,240 for writers, with the total cost of employment coming to 1.25x - 1.4x higher when benefits and other compensation are factored in. When weighing the size of your content needs against the number of writers required to complete them, this cost can easily become prohibitive. It's also important to remember that when you hire a copywriter, you'll be responsible for their training, which could create a time commitment that's difficult to balance with your other daily tasks. Finally, consider the volume of work you'll need to complete. What may be overwhelming for an employee tasked with other duties might not be enough to keep a full-time copywriter busy, leaving you with an underutilized resource. In these cases, it's likely that looking to an outside content provider will offer a better solution for your firm.
If a full-time writing staff isn’t right for you, freelancers could be the answer you seek. Due to their independent contractor status, freelancers won’t require the significant investment of a full-time employee – you’ll pay by the project, page or word and likely save a significant amount of money by avoiding benefits, overhead and other costs. You can also easily scale your freelance resources to meet your needs, hiring additional writers when the holiday season or your busiest time of year approaches, then retaining only a few for year-round efforts. Some firms may also appreciate the diversity of voices you can curate by working with freelancers. It’s possible to turn to one writer for your blog posts, another to create whitepapers and case studies and a third to generate content for your sales collateral, picking the individual with the greatest strengths in each area rather than hoping one writer can accommodate all your needs.
However, it’s important to remember that freelancers are not your employees – they are free agents operating their own business. Surveys show that 60% of freelancers choose the field to gain independence, reinforcing the notion that freelancers are not part of your team, and they may not share your priorities or vision. While they should be able to accommodate your deadlines, you need to keep in mind that they have deadlines of their own, as they are likely a single resource juggling a number of clients. In other words, while your projects are your number one priority, that isn’t necessarily the same for your freelance writer. You will also have to coordinate multiple writers and may need to give additional explanation on what you need when handing out tasks to an ever-changing roster of content creators. It can also be harder to achieve a consistent voice for your brand, diminishing the power of your business’s personality to win customers.
If you’re looking for a content solution that balances the dedication of an in-house team with the cost effectiveness of freelance writers, consider outsourcing your content work to an agency. These firms typically retain a regular staff, allowing them to ramp up the number of hands on deck when your demands require it to avoid delays. And because they can dedicate a writer or team of writers to your needs, you’ll achieve the consistency required to make your content effective. This solution also alleviates the need to train writers yourself, as a reputable agency should have a roster of content creators who come to you prepared to get to work. That means they’ll be conversant in what it takes to create powerful content, freeing you from the burden of training. Best of all, you can hand off assignments and ensure they’ll be completed according to your standards and priorities, as the management of the writing staff falls on the content outsourcing firm. And most content agencies employ editors and proofreaders as well as writers, ensuring your content receives a higher level of quality control before publication.
One thing to keep in mind is that you may need to invest more capital in working with an agency than with freelancers. Because they are taking on the expenses of full-time employees and the associated overhead, it will be hard for them to compete with the rates of some freelancers, especially the large volume of less experienced writers willing to take on jobs at incredibly low prices. While it’s not necessarily a downside, you might also find that a content firm will ask you to enter into a contract. This does limit your freedom to cut costs by reducing your content investment throughout the term of the contract. On the plus side, you’ll have to spend far less time creating a content calendar and ensuring it's followed.
Choosing the Right Solution
Choosing a content provider is a serious decision, and one that you shouldn't rush into. Instead, take the time to outline your goals, must-haves and deal breakers. What do you hope to gain from content marketing? How much will you invest, both in time and money? Once you can answer these questions, you're ready to make an informed decision. To learn more about outsourcing content, check out our ebook, Outsourcing Content Creation: 6 Essential Questions for Choosing the Right Partner.
About Virtucom Group
Consistent business blogging yields results – more clicks, more subscribers and – ultimately – more conversions. Whether you’re writing an automotive blog, an accounting blog, a healthcare blog or a home renovation blog, blogging for business and content development are useful for any industry. Follow the content writers at the Virtucom Group blog as they share digital marketing tips and discuss website content writing services that can optimize your business blog.