In modern marketing, content is king. For many businesses, one of the biggest decisions they make is regarding their method of content production. If you find yourself in this situation, you’re likely facing an important choice: deciding between insourcing vs. outsourcing your content.
How do you determine which content production method is best for you?
To start, you need to truly understand how insourcing (hiring an internal team) and outsourcing (partnering with an agency) will benefit or harm your business and goals. Keep the following questions in mind as we move forward:
- What are your goals?
- What do you know about marketing?
- What is your business’s personality?
- What is your budget?
- How often do you want to update?
These questions, combined with some crucial factors about insourcing vs. outsourcing your content, will lead you to a clear choice and, eventually, great content.
What Does It Mean to Insource Content?
Insourcing is when you hire an internal team to create content for your business, such as blog posts, social media ads, informational eBooks, or other copy. If you’re curious as to what an internal content team looks like, check out our guide to building a blogging team.
How Can Insourcing Content Benefit Your Business?
Let’s take a look at some ways that an in-house content creation team can benefit your business’s marketing efforts.
Team Members Have Complete Investment in Your Brand
When your own in-house team creates content for your business, members are able to submerge themselves in your company’s culture and focus entirely on its success. They have a clear understanding of where your business fits into the industry you serve.
An insourced team can also create a recognizable and consistent brand identity. A strong brand identity, coupled with clear guidelines about your image, will inform the team’s content creation to ensure that all blogs, ads, and other copy are high quality.
Insourcing is Adaptable to Shifting Priorities
An in-house team can quickly understand and react to shifting priorities, needs, and vision changes, which provides the flexibility to scale. Additionally, an insourced team works with your business’s leadership, allowing them to adapt new messaging as needed.
An In-House Team Knows Your Buyers Best
A third-party agency will have to research your business, your industry, your products and services, and your client base. If you develop an internal content team, they are already equipped with this knowledge and have a deeper understanding of it; after all, they interact with your customers. An outsourcing agency might be able to research and identify how to speak to your business’s buyers, but in-house content creators will actually know them.
What Are Some Drawbacks of Insourcing Content?
Insourcing does have some exciting benefits, but there are also some potential negative aspects that you should take into consideration.
Internal Content Teams are Expensive
This is the big one when it comes to content marketing. When you build a content creation team, you don’t just need writers—you need a content manager, editors, designers, social media managers, and more. A team of generalists might be able to meet your needs, but a team of experts will deliver a level of quality that a team of generalists cannot.
Even if you do hire experts for your own team, you have to pay expert prices. Seasoned copywriters can cost you nearly $60k per year, with content managers costing around double that price. Is it more effective to pay those salaries or to hire an outsourced team with that level of expertise for a fraction of the cost?
Content Specialists are Difficult to Evaluate
It’s hard enough to find great talent to hire in even the most general positions, and it only gets more difficult with specialized roles. If you are just starting your content team, you probably won’t be able to discern what great writing or design looks like.
This can lead to you hiring generalists, who will get work done, but will likely not create the type of content that gets your business the results you crave. It takes a leader or manager who has worked with writing, design, and other content creation elements to truly understand and identify great creatives. You might not have those same skills if you’re just starting out, which can hinder your selection process.
Hiring and Managing Talent is Difficult
Let’s say that you find some top talent for your content team. Even the best content creators need to grow. They need training to understand your business’s policies and procedures, and growth opportunities to keep them there.
However, you are too busy running your business to add this to your list of responsibilities. Therefore, you need to hire a content manager, another expensive piece in the content machine.
On top of the expense of hiring a content manager, you also need to ensure they are enough of an expert to facilitate a team. If they (and by extension, you) cannot offer growth opportunities, then employees will seek them elsewhere. It’s a delicate balancing act, and it can be hard to find that balance.
What Does Outsourcing Your Content Mean?
Outsourcing means you hire a third-party agency (or contractors) to handle your business’s marketing efforts. This can mean a complete handoff of the marketing portion of your business or just giving them select tasks, such as SEO optimization and ad campaigns.
How Can Outsourcing Content Benefit Your Business?
Outsourcing your digital marketing needs is a great option for a variety of industries and businesses, mainly due to its cost-effectiveness, expertise offered, and constant innovation.
Outsourcing Your Content Team is Cost-Effective
Outsourcing gives you access to writers, editors, designers, and more without the added cost of hiring them internally. You’re paying for a piece of their time, not for a salary and benefits—including social security, health insurance, hiring costs (training), etc. Essentially, you get all the benefits that a team of experts brings for a fraction of the cost.
You Get A Team Full of Experts
Speaking of experts, most outsourcing agencies are full of them. When you decide to outsource your content to a third-party firm, you gain access to a full team of writers, editors, designers, strategists, and more. These subject matter experts have a significantly greater value than one or two internal generalists.
Access to Innovation
Agencies are always growing and looking for the best new strategies to serve their clients. These outsourced firms are constantly exposed to new perspectives and developing innovative ways to optimize their work.
Content requirements and keyword trends shift, and a lone internal generalist cannot keep up with these changes. An outsourced marketing team that lives for creating top-quality content can make sure you remain ahead of the curve.
What Are Some Drawbacks of Content Outsourcing?
Outsourcing is a great choice for many businesses, but it isn’t perfect. It’s important to note that not all agencies face these issues when it comes to content production, but they are common enough to warrant pointing out.
Content Quality Can Be Inconsistent
If you work with an agency that doesn’t get to know your business, brand, and voice, you will see content issues that negatively affect your image. These issues can range from lack of valuable content to more serious flaws (like incorrect or inappropriate tone and voice). It’s important to work with a third-party agency to establish a style guide of some sort to avoid the aforementioned problems.
Some agencies can be inflexible when it comes to deliverables and scheduling. These agencies often set deadlines and dates for content creation and publishing at the beginning of a campaign, which can make rescheduling difficult (if not impossible).
As a result, you can get stuck with content that you aren’t able to change, even if your priorities have shifted during your current campaign. This can be especially damaging in markets where things are constantly changing or evolving.
How Do You Decide Between Insourcing and Outsourcing Your Content?
Deciding how to handle your content is an important element to any successful marketing strategy.
When deciding between insourcing and outsourcing your content, you need to keep your goals, budget, level of expertise, and priorities in mind. Your content solution should reflect your needs.
Focus on cost-effectiveness, the importance of experience, innovation, and proper fit to find a method that will yield great content for your business.
If you still aren’t sure, we offer free consultations at digitalJ2 to help assess your needs and what content strategies best align with your business. If you still have questions about insourcing or outsourcing, get in touch with us.
Remember: assess your needs, consider the factors discussed in this guide, and make an informed decision. One way or another, you’ll be producing great content in no time!