It’s difficult to overstate the impact that content marketing can have on your business. In a digital landscape flooded with information, creative, engaging content can help you stand out to users. Unfortunately, this practice is also challenging, and so many companies decide to outsource content.
Content marketing enables you to advertise to consumers without sounding like an ad. A stunning 91% of B2B advertisers use content marketing, which means you have a lot of competition. Standing out among this crowd can be challenging, which is one reason so many businesses prefer outsourcing.
At the same time, you may have some reservations about outsourced content. Hiring an outside service may seem like a considerable expense, especially if your business is relatively small. Like any investment, outsourcing requires some amount of trust or confidence, which can be a roadblock.
There are pros and cons to both outsourcing and keeping content creation in-house. Let’s take a closer look at these to find what solution will work best for you.
Perhaps the most significant benefit of outsourced content is that you’ll get expert help. Your employees are skilled at their jobs, but they may not be content experts. Outsourcing ensures that your content will come from professionals with skills and experience in this specific field.
Content marketing companies and publishing houses like Doe likely have insider knowledge and trade secrets that your team may not. Many of these teams also continually research internet trends and developments, so their approaches evolve with the market. Your employees may not have a grasp on these changes, but professional copywriters do.
When you outsource your content, you also get the benefit of an outside perspective. Third parties bring in new views and ideas, and this diversity can help create better content. If you have an ongoing relationship with one writer or company, you take advantage of that to find new, creative marketing solutions.
Outsourcing can also make your content development process more efficient. Writing a blog post today takes 26% more time than just a year ago. If you leave writing to an outsider, you can focus on other matters while they churn out content for you.
Finally, when you outsource, you reduce the risk of making any grammatical and stylistic errors. Third-party content marketing companies have editors that ensure the posts they produce are error-free. Since these mistakes can affect users’ perception of you, it’s crucial to avoid them.
As advantageous as outsourcing content can be, some businesses still encounter issues with it. No solution is perfect, and outsourced content marketing is no exception. The biggest hurdle you’ll have to clear with outsourcing is communicating what you want to in your content.
While an outside perspective can be helpful, it can also be an obstacle at times. When you hire a copywriter, you’ll have to educate them about your message, services and client base. If there’s any miscommunication there, you could end up with content that doesn’t match your goals or expectations.
Just as you may not know the ins and outs of content marketing, contractors may not grasp the nuances of your industry. Many content marketing companies serve a variety of clients, so they may lack industry expertise. Since they work with so many different companies, they also can’t give you their full attention.
It can also be challenging to find the right writer or company to handle your content. There are more than 56 million freelancers in the U.S., and that doesn’t include larger content marketing companies. This variety can be an advantage, but it also means it could take longer to find the best solution.
Now that you understand the pros and cons of outsourcing, let’s consider in-house content creation. The most obvious benefit of keeping it in-house is the same as outsourcing’s greatest weakness. Your employees already understand your industry and client base, so they can better capture your intended message.
While an outside firm will have multiple clients, your employees work for you alone. As a result, they can give your content their full attention and likely have a stronger sense of commitment to your company. Since they’ll benefit directly from your content’s success, they may also have more motivation.
Today’s market craves authenticity, yet 78% of consumers don’t think brands are open and honest. Creating your own content can help you retain an image of authenticity. Your employees understand your company spirit, so they may be able to capture it more authentically.
Since you’re already paying your marketing team, creating content in-house could eliminate additional expenses. If you can handle content marketing with your current staff numbers, you can save money.
In-house content creation comes with plenty of potential downsides as well. First, the potential monetary savings of in-house content marketing don’t always pan out. While you won’t have to pay an outside firm, you will likely have to hire more employees.
Content marketing is often a more involved process than businesses realize. If you don’t expand your marketing department, your employees’ productivity could suffer from the increased workload. If you do expand, you’ll have to pay new workers, which will likely be more expensive than outsourcing.
On top of your new workers’ salaries, you’ll have to cover expenses like healthcare. Since employer plans must cover at least 60% of average healthcare costs, that can quickly get expensive. Without outsourcing, you’re stuck between increased expenses or decreased productivity.
There’s also the issue of expertise, which you may lose when you handle things in-house. Content marketing is a continually evolving industry that requires a specific skill set that your employees may not have. If you don’t have full-time content marketers on your payroll, you could produce sub-par content.
How to Decide Which Is Right for You?
There are a lot of variables in both in-house and outsourced content creation, so there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Whether or not you can handle in-house content marketing depends on the employees you have. Similarly, depending on what’s most important to you, outside firms may not provide what you need.
First, you should take inventory of the skills and expertise that exist in your company. Do you have employees that are familiar with creating various types of content? Do your workers stay on top of content marketing and SEO trends? If so, you may be able to handle it in-house, and if not, you should outsource it.
You should also think about what aspect of your content matters most to you. If you want it to be as engaging and well-performing as possible, you may want to outsource. If staying true to your specific company spirit and message is most important, then in-house solutions may be better.
A hybrid solution may provide you with the best of both worlds. For instance, you can create your overall content marketing strategy in-house since your employees will understand your brand’s image. Then, you can outsource the content itself to professional marketers and writers, giving you their expertise.
You won’t likely be able to handle everything in-house and get the same results. Content marketing is too specific a field. That said, the degree to which you outsource can vary depending on your resources and goals.
Optimizing Your Content Marketing Strategy
No matter how you approach content marketing, you need to do so carefully. Whether you outsource the entire process or handle most of it yourself, you can take steps to optimize it. The first step in any content marketing approach should be defining your goals.
Before you start, you should know your intended audience, tone and message. The more specific you can get with each of these, the better, especially if you’re outsourcing your content creation. With a more detailed vision, your writers can deliver a product that better suits your needs.
Like with many other aspects of your business, you should use analytics to measure your content’s success. Content marketing is a continually evolving field, so you need to keep an eye on what’s working and what isn’t. Since 79% of content marketers use analytics in their marketing, you may want to as well.
Consistency of voice is crucial in content marketing, so you should have a company style guide. This resource will be especially handy if you outsource lots of content, as it’ll help outsiders understand your brand’s voice.
If you outsource much, compare multiple firms before making a decision. Remember to look not just as prices and services, but industry experience as well. You may find industry-specific content marketers, which is ideal if you work in a highly technical sector.
Find the Best Option for Your Content Marketing
Content marketing can be a confusing subject at times. Similarly, it’s not always easy to decide if you should outsource content or create it in-house. You need to compare the pros and cons of both and look at your specific situation to find the best fit.
Outsourcing can help you create the best content possible, but you don’t have to outsource everything. Handle everything that you do best and let an outside firm take care of what you don’t. Mixing and matching what you outsource can help you capitalize on everyone’s expertise.