Outsourcing content vs hiring content experts in-house

When it comes to building your very own content team, there are several things to consider:

  • What kind of writers you need
  • Whether a content lead is needed to manage your content marketing
  • How many writers you need to meet the objectives of your content strategy
  • Whether you’re outsourcing all of your copywriting, keeping all content in-house, or a mix of both

Now that you have a whole load of questions swirling around your head, one of the first things to decide is whether you will be recruiting for content experts in-house, or if you need to outsource your content to freelance writers, an external team of writers or a content marketing agency.

We’ll help you to decide what is best for you and your business.

Your business is an original, which means that your content needs a unique too. There’s no straightforward answer to what’s right for kicking your content strategy into action. The decision of whether to outsource content or build an in-house team will be significantly affected by several factors.

Your considerations to building your content team include:

  • The industry you work within
  • Your budget
  • Your content goals (including the quantity of content)

The business world is very competitive and an excellent content marketing strategy can make all the difference to your business. Content creation is the process that makes sure your business gets seen and doesn’t tumble down below your competitors.

There’s no right or wrong answer as to whether you outsource your content or not, but you can even take a hybrid approach and do both.

This blog is here to help you decide what works best for you and your business. So let’s take a look at outsourcing content vs recruiting in-house content managers, strategists or content executives.

The benefits of outsourcing content

Why outsource your content

When you want to start content marketing properly but you lack the experience and knowledge to effectively create your own content, outsourcing content is a great option for you. It means you’re removing the risk of investing a lot of time and money into hunting for an experienced writer or content manager to bring into your business in-house and full time.

Recruitment costs for an experienced content professional are extremely high. It’s difficult to find quality writers who have the knowledge, experience and seniority to lead your content strategy. And if you’re looking for a writer with relevant industry experience then it’s even harder. Another challenge is that there are so many different types of writers out there; content managers, content writers, copywriters, SEO writers, editors, technical writers and more.

This is the difference with outsourcing your content – your network of writers is broader. With a range of freelance writers to choose from you will have more chance of finding a writer with the skills you need. They may operate as a sole trader, or they may even work with a creative content writing agency and have a broad experience with content marketing for a range of businesses.

Outsourcing content can help increase your business’s brand awareness and generate more leads while also increasing sales.

What do we mean by content marketing?

When it comes to content marketing, we’re talking blog posts, website content, SEO landing pages, email marketing, paid ad copy, print copy, and social media posts. Wherever content appears.

Why you should outsource content instead of hiring in-house

Here are some of the benefits to outsourcing your brand’s content.

Outsourcing content is flexible to you, your business and industry

Outsourcing content offers you a flexible option as you can always hire the number of writers you want, depending on your project size. You’re in control of content quantities you wish to hit and when the best time to write content is through the year.

A freelance writer’s work can be ramped up or even paused whenever you see fit. A full time employee on the other hand has more rights than a freelance writer. They will be set to your working hours and have a much stricter contractual agreement than a freelance writer or content provider.

If, for example, you’re in an industry that has popular seasons for business, then out of season where potentially you need to recoup your money, you will have a full time writer being paid and potentially their content not providing ROI. This could be an issue for your business’s finances. If you’re outsourcing your content there’s a very good chance you could put your content activities on hold until business picks up again.

Outsourcing your content is usually cheaper than in-house content creation

Once again, you’re in control of your content output. This means you could go heavy on writing and publishing content in the first quarter and not publish for the rest of the year, or you could even keep up regular posting all year round. Either way, you’re in control of when an outsourced writer works with you and when you invest in new content.

An in-house content creator is usually on a higher salary, but there’s also other costs associated with hiring in-house. You will have to factor in training, equipment cost, as well as overheads that come with having other workers. Outsourcing content means you don’t have to get stressed about overhead costs or replacing IT equipment when it breaks. The independent writer or writers at a content agency will have their own equipment.

Outsourced content is created by writers from agencies that factor in every cost into their overall rates, making outsourcing even cheaper for you.

The cost to outsource your content is covered in our freelance copywriter rates blog – it’s worth checking it out for more information on different types of content and different ways to pay. The cost of a freelance copywriter will be £40 – £50 per hour or £350 – £500 per day. Find out more here about copywriter costs.

What’s the salary of an in-house content expert?

  • In-house Content Managers will be on a salary of at least £60,000 per annum.
  • An all-rounder Content Executive will have a salary starting from £25,000. A more senior Content Executive will cost around £40,000.
  • Hiring an experienced in-house Copywriter will also cost you anything from £30,000 up to £60,000 and sometimes more.

Fast and efficient content production

You get your content written quickly and efficiently. Independent writers (quality writers that is) and content marketing companies have well trained and qualified content creators that generate content to the tightest deadlines. It’s the environment they work in due to writing for many different businesses and writing for different target audiences.

It’s important to note that an in-house salaried writer has zero incentive to hit a certain quantity of work (unless it’s agreed into their KPIs) compared to a freelance writer hired by you or with a content marketing agency. Outsourced content writers are paid by what they produce, so they work quickly, concisely and produce quality content.

A slight warning about agencies: There are many amazing agencies out there, but some agencies make the same error: they offer services that they’re not quipped to do. You will find that they offer content writing services, however, they don’t have high quality writers available and they’re working to the tightest deadlines possible. They work on high cost and quick turnarounds. That’s the agency model, I know I’ve worked at many. This is something to be aware of. If an agency doesn’t specialise on content creation, don’t use them. If it’s a sub service, then the quality will be sub standard.

You get more time to work on other things

A proper content strategy requires more than just writing. The best content creation has a thorough process; topic research, keyword research, brief, writing, editing, proofing, and publishing content. And the work doesn’t stop there, you then need to track and measure its performance.

Getting your content live is one thing, then you need to get eyes on the content, then you focus on search engine optimisation and then getting in front of the right people on social media. There’s a lot to focus on and an outsourced writer will know how best to achieve all of this for the best results.

Make the most of writers with wide industry experience

By outsourcing your content, you get the chance to use a pool of professional, experienced and skilled content creators. They will have experience working with other businesses and sectors.

You may be able to recruit an in-house writer who has vast experience in planning and executing a content strategy for a range of businesses. These a content professional with this seniority and experience will cost you.

Make the most of a fresh outside perspective

Unlike an in-house writer, an outsourced content creator is not influenced by any type of internal bias. They will have a fresh view of your business and will provide honest feedback to you and your content strategy.

Discover writers with experience in your sector

Many content writing agencies hire writers that have different specialties and experience. This means that you can specify someone with particular expertise in the topic you want. And most independent freelance writers have experience in a range of industries. They will be up front whether they’re comfortable writing for your business or not.

Content offers measurable value and ROI

Many people aren’t sure whether they’re getting the most out of outsourced content to make it a worthy venture. It’s so easy to track and measure the value and ROI of outsourcing your content. There are some things you can measure in outsourcing, including:

  • Conversions on a piece of content (people buying or getting in touch)
  • Increase in sales and revenue
  • Growth in social media following, engagement and shares
  • Increase in online presence (more people finding and coming to your website organically online)

The benefits of hiring in-house

Hiring content experts in-house

Content might be king because your web content drives organic traffic, revenue, and leads, but it’s vital to get it right. And just like many other business owners, you might be wondering whether you should hire in-house or outsource.

The following are some of the benefits of hiring in-house content creators:

Independency

Having a salaried content creator means that you won’t have to depend on a third party to do the job for you. You’ll have your very own content strategist, content manager or junior content executive.

You will feel in control when you write your own content.

Industry know-how

No one knows your business better than yourself and your employees. You have the knowledge of your industry and, more importantly, understand and know your customers as well as their needs. You can appeal to those needs with a writer who works with your business constantly and is constantly within your environment.

Cost

Budgeting for an in-house writer is different to budgeting to outsource your content. By pushing your in-house writer to write a certain quantity, you could potentially see a huge ROI on your copy. But because they’re an employee you won’t need an additional budget set aside for content creation. Your workers are already on salary, and creating content is part of their daily responsibilities.

It may be wise to still outsource content to a content marketing agency for additional support. Especially if your in-house content manager/strategist needs help with creating new content. Writing content across multiple platforms is extremely time consuming. For a single in-house writer it’s not possible to write and publish a huge amount, especially if they’re writing content across your entire website, blog, external article, guest posts, social media channels, Google My Business posts, magazine features, paid ads and wherever else you wish to feature your content.

The salary you can expect to pay an in-house content expert

  • For an in-house Content Manager, you can expect a salary of at least £60,000 per annum.
  • An all-rounder Content Executive will have a salary starting from £25,000. A more senior Content Executive will cost around £40,000.
  • Hiring an experienced in-house Copywriter will also cost you anything from £30,000 up to £60,000 and sometimes more.

With the above costs you can see that hiring in-house experts is a real investment. It makes it paramount to set clear goals and KPIs for your in-house content team and make content worth the investment. And of course, to ensure you actually get a return on your investment.

Control your growth

In-house content creation gives you better control over your team and business growth, which might otherwise not be attainable from an outsourcing viewpoint. If you see a good ROI from your content then you may want to expand the team.

Final considerations to outsourcing content or hiring in-house

There is far more flexibility when it comes to outsourcing your content. You are in control of how much content is created. You also can create a network of high quality writers for your business, giving you a huge advantage over your competitors.

Hiring in-house however may mean that you find a talented writer who exclusively writes for your brand. Again, this could be a huge advantage over the competition.

Either way, the lesson here is that hiring content professionals, external, remote or in-house, is right for your business and marketing efforts.

Whether you outsource or hire in-house really does come down to your and your business’s needs.

There are a couple more considerations which may confirm exactly what you need.

What content are you creating and what kind of writer/writers do you need?

If you’re like most business owners out there then you may be looking to hire a content creator for your company blog. So, in that case, you should look for an experienced copywriter. They should have blog writing experience, have great knowledge of writing for the web, and be clued up on SEO.

However, it is crucial to note that not every company will need a blog post. For example, SaaS and technology firms might need technical and informative content for their customers in the form of articles and whitepapers. This is very different and you will need a technical copywriter. This is a very specific and specialist type of copywriter that not every content writing agency can provide (we unfortunately cannot provide a writer for this!).

If you need your content to be rewritten then you can hire an editor or copywriter.

The industry expertise needed

How much industry expertise will you need from a writer to get high-quality content? If you’re in a larger industry, the chances are that you will have an easy time finding people with the right set of skills and levels of experience.

On the other hand, if you are in a niche industry, you’re more likely to have a hard time finding a writer with the writing talent and industry knowledge required to write high-quality content for your business.

That said, it will be very easy to determine if outsourcing is better than hiring or vice versa.

If you choose to outsource content to an agency or content provider

When outsourcing your content creation to an agency, you will realise that many content creating companies offer their services in the following ways;

  • A managed service
  • Self-service

What is managed service content outsourcing?

With managed services you will gain the extra value of convenience and customer service. Managed service content services mean you get access to a dedicated account manager who will consult with you on all your projects.

That way, you are only left with the responsibility of approving their strategy, suggestions and the content coming your way. It’s much like having an extension to your team with an external content manager.

Not all content creating firms have an account manager though, you may be dealing with a Content Consultant, or even the Copywriter or Content Writer themselves. There can be additional costs when you include account management, such as editing, content strategy, proofreading, images, meta titles and descriptions, keyword research, blog posting, and many other content jobs.

Self-service content outsourcing

In this type of outsourcing, you’re given a chance to use an online platform to place content orders. You can then quality check the content with every writer as soon as it has been completed.

This is the cheapest option and is almost similar to the process of cooperating with an in-house writer but with the liberty to manage content through the content creating company’s platform.

Be warned: The common issue with a self-service setup is that the writers in the pool are usually inexperienced writers. So although cheaper, it can also mean poor quality content.

Take content seriously and find the ‘write’ solution for you

Content is an effective sales driver and lead generator. Making the decision to outsource or hire an in-house content creator needs a lot of consideration. You may even want to go down the hybrid route and test what works best for you and converts for your business. The decision you make should be based on your target audience, the quality of work you need, the needs of your business and more so, your budget.

Both outsourcing and hiring in-house content creators have their own pros and cons. You need to understand your content marketing needs, with the final objective of delivering high-quality, exciting and compelling content to your target audience.

Whether you decide to outsource or hire in-house, or even go for a mixture of both, it’s crucial to find the perfect balance without compromising the quality of work.

Need some help getting your content strategy started?

If you’re undecided then you may want to go down the route of a hybrid content model. You can hire a content consultant to work with your in-house content creators. This can either be just to kickstart your content marketing strategy, or even ongoing for the foreseeable.

Additionally, if you do need help recruiting trained and skilled in-house writers, we can help you. Our founder Tom Blake has recruited over 15 quality copywriters and content executives for his content business and for some of the biggest brands in the UK.

Do contact us today for content recruitment support – we’d love to help.

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