Content Marketing
Content Marketing Agency Vs In-House Writers

Content Marketing Agency Vs In-House Writers

February 3, 2021
6 min read

The measure of any marketing strategy is in its effectiveness.

In content marketing, we measure effectiveness by the amount of organic search traffic and rankings we deliver for our clients. And that is derived from the value our content brings to a brand’s prospects and current customers.

In-house writers are too often measured on whether they completed their tasks, and if the leadership team is happy with the content. But they are often surprisingly not judged on how well the overall content marketing program works.

content marketing ROI

There are always pros and cons to in-house vs. outsourced decisions, but we believe strongly that a content marketing agency like ours can deliver more return for every dollar you invest. Because that is our goal: content marketing ROI.

Quick Takeaways:

  • Content agencies like ours start with an assessment and a content plan to reach, engage and convert more customers.
  • We staff our teams with experts in writing quality copy that builds trust and drives conversions.
  • We focus on the quality of your content but only in order to make a significant impact on your business.
  • We measure our success in quantifiable ways: search traffic, rankings, subscribers, leads, and new customers

What a Content Marketing Agency Does

Marketing agencies are specialists in what they do. The best among us concentrate on a specific niche, whether it be graphic design, video, or written marketing assets.

Content marketing agencies specialize in written content. Writing content that converts into leads and paying customers is a tough skill to master. Content agencies hire expert writers who can persuade, inform, and attract search engines in the process.

Content Agencies Bring Quality to the Table

An agency that specializes in content can zero in on producing top-quality material: writing that sets your brand apart as a thought leader in your field. Since they don’t need to branch out into design, backend development, or anything else, they can bring a wealth of expertise to bear on creating world-class content for their clients.

A content-specific agency’s quality advantage doesn’t end there. Other advantages include:

  • Agility amid change: If 2020 taught us anything, it is that adaptability is a must, both in content and in life. Agency writers already face that need every day of their working lives. For example, your team might tackle a set of social media posts for a retailer for the first half of their day, while during the next half, they dig into heavy research to craft a white paper for a medical equipment manufacturer.
  • A broader perspective on marketing: Agency writers have a greater perspective of the marketing world at large. Since they create content for a broad range of companies, they can adapt to changes in brand voice and SEO best practices at the drop of a hat.
  • Industry-specific expertise: A content agency will likely have deep insights into your industry. Since they write for so many clients, the likelihood that they will have an excellent grasp of the latest trends in your sector is high.
  • Writing that informs and motivates: Top content marketing writers stay at the top of their game. Whether it’s in-depth research, skillful use of motivational language that entices rather than spurs, or grammar that would make your high school English teacher stand up and salute, content agencies insist on quality work.
  • A deep bench: Hiring an agency means that you’ll have a team in your corner. The depth of talent and diversity that such a group brings will ensure that your content is both consistent in quality and creativity in its perspective.
  • A strategic perspective: Content agencies have the experience to evaluate your input with an expert eye. They know what kinds of messaging can work and what cannot work. That perspective can save client companies a lot of grief. An agency has your back, while an employee might be less likely to push back on an idea that simply doesn’t work out of fear for his job.

Those are just the advantages that agency writers bring to your content itself. Hiring an agency can also benefit your company’s bottom line by cutting costs and reducing risks.

Benefits a Content Agency Brings to Your Business Model

You might think that hiring a content marketing agency is only for giant corporations. Actually, startups and small-to-medium-sized businesses benefit more from an agency from a purely cost-to-benefit angle. Here’s why:

Image via The Center for Sales Strategy
  • Hiring a content agency streamlines payroll and HR tasks: Permanent employees require a salary and a mountain of tightly regulated paperwork. Benefits and workers’ compensation are the employer’s responsibility. An agency takes all those tasks out of your hands, at least for your content team.
  • Content production won’t stop when a writer becomes ill: Furthermore, without an agency, it’s tough to find a replacement when someone becomes ill or is on vacation while an urgent assignment comes in. With the collective brainpower of an agency behind you, there will always be other writers that can take over when your regular ones are out.
  • With an agency, it’s easier to rapidly scale your content production: Without an agency, scaling up can go painfully slow. Again, recruiting, hiring, and onboarding take time. During that time, a competitor who uses an agency can simply phone her agency, ask them to step up production, and it’s done. Similarly, if you need to scale back, you won’t have to deal with all the bureaucratic tangles and bad will that come from layoffs.
  • An agency’s work is easier to evaluate than in-house creatives: Agencies already have a track record. Likely, you’ll find online reviews, as well as an extensive portfolio of their work. It’s easy for a candidate to pad a resume. It’s more difficult for an agency to hide a disaster.
  • Your company will spend less on digital tools and other miscellaneous expenses: Hiring an in-house team means that your company will need to spend money on collaboration, writing, and editing software, printer, ink, and paper to print out reference materials, laptops, and other devices your writers will use, and the energy these devices require. When you outsource content production, the agency takes on these costs.
  • You can spend more time doing the work you and your teams love: Most businesses don’t have the time to meet their customers’ needs and write content on the side. One or the other will certainly get short shrift. With an agency, you can relax, knowing that your content production will be in good hands.

Most importantly, hiring a content agency makes sense even if you have an in-house team. Research shows that the more content you publish, the more your web traffic and conversions rise. In fact, if you can publish a blog post daily, the number goes up exponentially – and soars from there.

Image by Marketing Insider Group

But, What If Our Industry Has…?

We often hear these kinds of conversations from companies whose products and services are highly technical, tightly regulated, or difficult to explain, such as breakthrough innovations. Those situations, however, are ones in which hiring a content marketing agency makes the most sense.

Highly technical subject matter

There’s no one better to explain difficult-to-grasp subject matter than a gifted writer. Writers who specialize in marketing spend their working lives simplifying complex concepts into plain English (or whatever language they write in).

You and your team know your products and services inside out. Yet if you’re not trained writers, your communication often comes out like gobbledygook to potential customers. That’s why people make jokes about “doctor-speak,” “lawyer-speak,” and “tech-speak.”

Every industry has a jargon of its own. That’s fine when you’re communicating among yourselves. Yet to get that message across to consumers or business executives in another field, you need to communicate in words your prospects understand.

Content agency writers can collaborate with your subject matter experts to get a grasp on your work. Then, focusing on the benefits your products and services can provide to your customers, they can create content that communicates those benefits in clear, easy-to-understand blog posts, white papers, and social media posts.

Tightly regulated content

Many industries, including health care, nutritional supplements, food products, and insurance, face tight regulations regarding what topics and terminology they can communicate with. Content agencies can work with your compliance and legal departments to ensure that all the content meets the criteria for your industry and organization.

Furthermore, agency writers familiarize themselves with all the standard style guides, as well as your company’s internal style guide. If a message is unclear, they and the agency’s editorial team will likely flag it before it goes out. In today’s litigious environment, such attention to grammatical detail can make the difference between a successful resolution or a costly settlement, as one Maine dairy company discovered.

Breakthrough innovations

New products and services, even from established corporations, face a whirlwind of challenges in getting off on the right foot. Educating potential customers about the value these products can bring to them is an essential part of meeting those challenges.

Informative blog posts that position your company as an expert in your field, along with case studies on those who have tried the new product, are effective in building confidence in whatever you produce.

White papers that explain how the product can solve common problems that your target customers face, too, are effective tools to get the attention of a company’s decision-makers. Material that explains how a new product works, as well as instructions on how to use it, can also drive buying decisions.

Content agencies have the writing expertise to create compelling stories around your brand and its products. Positioning your product as the “sword’ that helps your customers conquer the “dragons” they face in their personal and business lives helps them see themselves as the “hero” of the story, giving them a personal stake in the ending.

That’s what content agencies do. We turn your customers into heroes.

If you are ready to get more traffic to your site with quality content published consistently, check out our Content Builder Service.

Set up a quick consultation, and I’ll send you a free PDF version of my books. Get started today – and generate more traffic and leads for your business.

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Michael Brenner

Michael Brenner is an international keynote speaker, author of "Mean People Suck" and "The Content Formula", and Founder of Marketing Insider Group. Recognized as a Top Content Marketing expert and Digital Marketing Leader, Michael leverages his experience from roles in sales and marketing for global brands like SAP and Nielsen, as well as his leadership in leading teams and driving growth for thriving startups. Today, Michael delivers empowering keynotes on marketing and leadership, and facilitates actionable workshops on content marketing strategy. Connect with Michael today.

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