Should you build an in-house marketing team or hire an agency? It’s a question many businesses ask themselves and one that extends over various marketing activities.
In an earlier post, we already addressed what to take into account when you’re deciding if you should outsource SEO or keep it in-house. Today, we’ll discuss why it can be a good idea to build an in-house content creation team, and when it’s better to hire an agency or a freelancer.
The Benefits of Keeping Your Content Production In-House
Building an in-house content production team is a much bigger step for most businesses than hiring an agency or a freelancer is. Yet as Chris Walker from Refine Labs wrote on Linkedin, there are many benefits to creating your own content. We’ll go over some here.
1. Readily available product knowledge and industry expertise
As Walker mentions, nobody knows your brand the way you and your team do. While freelance writers can be experts within your industry, they’re usually juggling multiple clients which means it’s hard for them to get as familiar with your product as someone who works on it full-time.
In most cases, you’ll also have deeper subject matter expertise from being rooted in your industry, keeping up-to-date with the evolutions within it, and listening to customer needs. This brings us to the next point.
2. Direct access to customer insights
When you produce and distribute your own content, you have a direct line to your leads and customers. You can monitor how they react to things, log important comments, and engage with them when they ask questions, show interest, or have complaints.
When you outsource your content marketing, you could still monitor the comments you get on posts or the DMs you get on social media, but chances are you won’t do this as thoroughly or consistently since you’re less (or not) involved in what’s being published.
3. Higher personal investment
Someone who works for your company and doesn’t need to split their attention across multiple clients will be more invested in your success. Additionally, they’ve put all of their eggs in your basket so they’re extra motivated to get you results.
And because they work for you full-time, your in-house content team can and should be fully aligned with your company’s values and culture, while an agency will take those into account, but will also always have its own company culture and values it operates by.
To get results fast, you need to put out a lot of high-quality content. That’s even more the case for startups and scaleups since they don’t tend to have a large collection of content yet that they can rely on to bring in steady leads.
While you can hire an agency to create a ton of content for you, Walker states that will likely be too expensive to sustain over a longer period of time. On top of that, agencies have their own internal processes and different clients they work with, so they likely won’t be able to produce your content as quickly as you could yourself.
That being said, the process of hiring a new employee tends to be slower than that of hiring a freelance writer, but once you’ve got them onboard – and manage to keep them there – they can dedicate all of their time to writing for you.
5. Quick testing and adaptation
Because you have that direct line to your leads and customers we mentioned before, running tests and acting on the results becomes an easy thing to do. When working with an agency, you rely on them to run the tests, then you need to wait for the results to come in, and only then can you move forward with what works best.
The speed of this process depends on the bandwidth of the agency, and the priority they’re giving you as a client. Run tests yourself, and you can instantly react when a variant comes out as the winner.
6. Better accessibility
Someone who works for your company full-time can be reached pretty much every day, which makes it easier to quickly hop on the phone, ask a question, or organize a content brainstorming session. Agencies, however, need to split their time over different clients and so communication will happen more on an as-needed basis via a limited number of channels.
7. Relationship ownership
Round-up posts, interviews, quotes in articles, or shared on social media, … There are so many types of content that require connecting with others in your field. If you’re not the one creating the content and reaching out to experts and influencers in your industry, you’re missing out on the opportunity to build interesting and potentially profitable relationships, and to establish yourself as an authority.
In-House vs Agency: When to Choose Which
While there are many benefits to building an in-house marketing team for your content production, doing so isn’t the best option for every business. The two biggest things to consider are what stage your business is in, and what your budget is like. Often, these two are intertwined.
If you’re a startup trying to build brand recognition and a customer base as soon as possible, it may make more sense to hire an agency or a freelancer to slowly start building your blog whilst you invest heavily in paid ads.
But when your business has a solid customer base and wants to invest in sustainable growth, the time has come to consider bringing your content production in-house so you can enjoy the benefits discussed above.
It’s also worth mentioning that many businesses opt for a combination of in-house content producers and freelancers, with the former guaranteeing a consistent flow of content while the latter jump in for shorter-term projects.
Lastly, keeping your content production in-house doesn’t mean you need to hire a complete content marketing team. You can still opt to outsource your content strategy, for example. At Flow SEO, we help companies create a winning content strategy so they can write articles that rank, or hire someone to do that for them.
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