Everyone agrees that content marketing is a huge part of the current marketing scheme of any really successful company, and many experts say that importance will only increase over time. What does that mean for entrepreneurs? That if you don’t have a content marketing strategy, it’s time to get one.
But should you start up your own blog and social media accounts, or outsource the work to a freelancer? Let’s look at some of the pros and cons.
Outsourcing content marketing can lead to significant cost savings. A study by Deloitte found that companies can reduce costs by 59% when they outsource specific tasks. This is particularly relevant for content marketing, where specialized skills are required but not necessarily on a full-time basis.
Pro: Content marketing is a rapidly changing field, and it takes time to keep up with what’s working and what isn’t.
The best freelancers don’t just write for their clients, they follow and learn from a variety of industry experts to make sure that they’re using strategies and techniques that are proven, useful, and correct for your business strategy and brand. By outsourcing your content marketing, you will save yourself a great deal of time trying to learn about the ins and outs of SEO, search engine algorithms, and brand leadership.
Con: Not all content marketers are created equally.
With the proliferation of platforms like eLance and UpWork, literally anyone can sell themselves as a content marketer. There’s a big difference between knowing how to write a paper in college and write an article for the web. Ask for samples, and references, and consider a test job (paid!) to find out if you and the writer will work well together.
Pro: Get a fresh perspective on your strategy
Great content writers work with a variety of brands and can write in many different “tones,” from formal to casual, depending on what is called for with their current client. They know quite a bit about marketing and what works and what doesn’t in web design; they can be a valuable resource on which blog platforms are the best to work with and which social media platforms will best showcase your work.
Con: You need to train them on your brand and your ideal customer
Any content marketer worth their salt will ask you questions about your target customer, your brand identity, your most valuable mission elements, and your pain points and value propositions.
A word of advice: if your content marketer asks you these sorts of questions and you have no idea what they’re talking about – say so! They’d much rather educate you on the topic than need to redo all of their work because what you wanted wasn’t what you got because you weren’t sure what they were asking you.
The integration of AI in content creation, when outsourced, can lead to a 50% reduction in content creation time, as per a Salesforce report. This allows for more timely and relevant content, adapting quickly to market trends.
Pro: Save money on employee benefits, healthcare, vacation and sick time
When you outsource your content creation, you’re hiring a freelancer, a 1099 worker. This means that you’re not responsible for their benefits, healthcare, vacation time – just paying them when they invoice you. This can be a huge weight off your bottom line.
Con: You might get what you pay for
Freelancers, in general, are going to feel less loyalty towards their clients than traditional employees. Working with an agency instead of individual freelancers offers some protection from family emergencies, sickness, or a simple lack of communication, but be wary.
Pro: Focus on what you do best
Many companies are really good at making products or offering services, and less good at marketing those items. Great marketing is a skill that’s learned over time, and it’s entirely possible that even if you went to hiring fairs, you’d struggle to find someone who is a real expert at marketing for what you could pay a freelancer or agency.
By outsourcing your content, you get the opportunity to hire the absolute best that you can afford.
Con: You will need to learn how to manage freelancers
Which, it turns out, is a different skill than managing the rest of your team. Freelancers aren’t the only ones causing delays, after all; many content marketers adhere to the pause clause in their contracts. You will rarely be able to contact a freelancer and demand that something happen today without paying a premium; after all, they are probably bumping other clients or cutting into their own free or family time to make something special happen for you.
To make an outsourced content marketing strategy work, you need to be able to work with the agency or freelancer you choose, deliver what they need on schedule, and help them understand what you need from them.
Pro: Access to specialized expertise
Outsourcing connects you with professionals who have specialized skills in various aspects of content marketing, such as SEO, video production, and social media strategy. This means your content can be more diverse and innovative, catering to different platforms effectively. Moreover, these experts are often equipped with the latest industry knowledge, ensuring your content stays current and impactful.
Con: Potential for brand misalignment
While external agencies bring fresh ideas, there’s a risk that these ideas may not always align perfectly with your brand’s voice and ethos. It takes time and effective communication to ensure external teams fully understand and embody your brand’s identity in their content creation. This challenge is amplified when working with multiple freelancers or agencies.
Pro: Flexibility in resource management
Outsourcing provides the flexibility to scale your content efforts up or down based on your current needs and budget. This adaptability is particularly useful for businesses experiencing seasonal fluctuations or those testing new markets. It also means you can commission specific types of content as needed without the overhead of a full-time team.
Con: Dependency and Response Time
Relying on external sources for content creation creates a dependency, which can be a drawback during urgent situations. External teams have their own schedules and may not always be able to accommodate last-minute requests or changes swiftly. This can lead to delays, especially if you’re working across different time zones.
Outsourcing vs. In-House Content Creation
When considering outsourcing content creation, it’s crucial to weigh the quality of content against cost-effectiveness. Outsourcing offers access to a diverse pool of talent with specialized skills, which might not be available in-house. However, maintaining brand voice can be challenging. A Gartner study in 2023 indicated that 65% of companies that outsourced their content noticed a significant improvement in content quality and brand consistency when they established clear brand guidelines and regularly communicated with their outsourced teams.
Practical Tips on Managing Outsourced Content
Effective management of freelancers or agencies requires a strategic approach. Establishing a clear content calendar, setting realistic deadlines, and having regular check-ins can significantly enhance the output. According to a LinkedIn report, businesses that set clear expectations and maintain consistent communication with their freelancers see a 40% increase in content effectiveness. It’s also beneficial to involve freelancers in brief strategic meetings to ensure alignment with the company’s vision.
Making the Right Choice for Your Business
In conclusion, the decision to outsource content creation should be based on a strategic assessment of your business needs, resources, and goals. It’s about finding the right balance between maintaining control over your brand voice and leveraging external expertise for enhanced content quality. Regularly reviewing the performance of your content, whether in-house or outsourced, is key to ensuring that it aligns with your business objectives and resonates with your target audience.