In-House vs. Outsourced Content Marketing: Building Your Rockstar Content Team
As you begin to create a high-level marketing plan for your business, one need will likely become abundantly clear: content. Marketing content—which includes educational content like blogs and whitepapers along with more sales-focused pieces like case studies—is foundational to nearly any marketing plan in the modern age.
Content marketing has become the most effective means of organic growth for businesses. Why? Simply put: people love free stuff. Whether it’s interactive or informational, content helps to fill that need for people who may be interested in your services today or down the line.
As your growth goals become more aggressive, so do your content needs, and you may start looking for someone to manage your content writing and distribution. Do you start with an in-house content marketing manager or an outsourced marketing writer or agency?
And how do you find the content rockstar who can do it all–write clear, compelling copy that builds trust and converts?
Outsourced content marketing: What to expect
As your business grows, you may author the occasional blog here and there or write your own webpage copy. But if you’re a busy executive, this won’t be sustainable for long.
For many companies, especially those without a long history of strategic maketing, outsourcing writing to a freelancer, agency, or consultancy makes sense. Here’s what you can expect from each.
Hiring a freelance writer or content agency
Many people will start searching for a marketing writer on a site like Upwork, where independent contractors take jobs on a one-off basis. There are also content agencies, such as Verblio, which employ writers at a set rate and deploy them as needed for a quick turnaround.
On the one hand, this can be a gamble. Even well-reviewed writers may not be able to translate complex subjects into streamlined articles and actionable copy for your target audience.
However, once you find a good fit, a freelance writer can greatly supplement your content marketing efforts–as long as there’s someone to oversee them. A freelance content writer will not have the time, access, or experience to manage your content marketing in the long term and will require someone to oversee strategy, your content calendar, editing, and metrics.
Outsourcing through a consultancy or fractional marketing model
If you don’t have someone in house with marketing expertise to manage your content writer, you can work with a marketing consultancy or fractional CMO to handle this as part of their services. With this option, the person leading your account does the work of finding the right fit and creating your content calendar.
Best of all, your content marketing will be tied to your business and revenue goals. Rather than writing content for content’s sake, you’ll get someone to keep an eye on analytics to continuously fine-tune strategy.
Hiring in-house: Common content marketing roles
If you’re searching for an in-house content marketer, you might notice a variety of roles:
- Copywriter – Copywriting is any writing used for marketing purposes. A copywriter is great at crafting catchy ad copy that sells or converts. While there is some overlap, a copywriter may lack some of the skills it takes to be an effective content writer.
- Content writer – A content writer also writes for marketing purposes. However, their specialty tends to be longer-form content not intended to immediately convert, but to build trust and provide valuable information to potential buyers.
- Content marketing manager/specialist – A content marketing manager goes above and beyond the writer role. While they are experienced content writers, they will also manage and own your content calendar, playing a strategic role in determining which content types and topics will best fit your marketing and business goals, along with testing and measuring results.
- Content strategist – Content strategist is sometimes used synonymously with content marketing manager titles, especially at small and mid-size companies. In specialized roles at large companies (particularly in tech), content strategists may work alongside user experience (UX) teams, ensuring copy effectively directs users to take desired actions.
- Content manager – Sans “marketing,” a content manager title may indicate someone is more of a project manager, keeping content organized and on track.
So how do you know who to hire–and when?
Benefits of outsourcing vs. in-house content marketing
Finding the right outsourced content writer comes with several potential benefits to growing companies.
- Bringing an outside perspective can help differentiate your content from competitors.
- You get to test the voice and tone of your content to figure out the right match for your brand.
- There are thousands of freelance writers out there; with trial and error you are certain to find a good fit (given the right guidance).
- When managed by an in-house marketer or fractional CMO/consultancy, an outsourced writer can become an integral part of your team for a fraction of the cost of hiring in-house.
An outsourced model can be effective for many years. But content marketing is also one of the first in-house marketing hires once companies reach a certain revenue or size goal.
Having content expertise in-house means:
- A dedicated specialist devotes their time to your company, meaning more content priorities can be in play at once.
- The content marketing manager will have access to your team’s expertise at any time and can become an expert on your product or service.
- You’ll have a writer/editor on-hand to help with other projects on an as-needed basis, like working with HR to update an employee handbook, writing social media posts, or editing sales emails.
But your content marketing manager (or specialist, or strategist) will not be set up for success without a plan in place. Consider hiring concurrently with a fractional CMO model to make sure your marketing strategy is clear and focused on growth.
Contact Marketri to learn how content can help achieve your growth goals as part of a marketing plan.