Agency or Freelancer? 5 Things to Consider Before Making a Content Investment

  ●   June 20, 2023 | Content Marketing
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June 20, 2023 | Content Marketing

Content marketing has become a cornerstone of brand success. As you embark on your content marketing journey, a crucial decision lies ahead: should you hire an agency to support your content needs or work with freelancers? 

There are advantages and considerations for both options and your decision will significantly impact your content strategy’s effectiveness. With a better understanding of the unique benefits and limitations of each approach, you’ll be equipped to make an informed decision and pave the way for content marketing success. So, let’s delve into the pros and cons of partnering with an agency for content creation versus hiring freelancers.

We’ll look at the following criteria:

  1. Expertise and service quality 
  2. Content scalability
  3. Communication and management
  4. Budgets
  5. Commitment to your business

The pros and cons of hiring a content agency vs working with freelancer writers

Access to a team of experts in various specialismsLimited expertise and specialism
Ability to scale content at willLimited scalability
Appointed account manager for excellent communicationTypically a ‘one-man-band’ handling comms and content delivery 
Typically provides services with a monthly retainer feeCharges per project or per word
Build a long-term, committed partner to help you throughout your entire brand and business journeyGreat for small projects but has a lack of commitment to your brand or business, and may not be available for long-term use

1. Expertise and service quality

There’s no doubt that you’re looking to work with experts who can deliver the highest quality service, but what does this look like for an agency and a freelancer?

Agencies offer a broad range of expertise and experience

Working with a specialist agency gives you access to a team of content experts with extensive experience across a range of industries. Whatever your brand, you can trust that an agency will be clued-up on the latest industry trends, best practices, and everything in between. Likewise, an agency will have access to industry-leading tools and technology, which can be used to track industry trends, listen in on your target audience, conduct keyword research, measure content success, and much more. 

Not to mention, if you go for a full-service agency that offers a variety of services, such as content, SEO, organic social, and paid media, you can maximise your content’s potential across the entire content life cycle. This includes creating the content, optimising it for SEO, and promoting it on social media and paid channels to extend its audience reach. This way, you’re guaranteed the highest quality content that meets your brand needs, satisfies your audience, and hits your SEO targets. 

Freelancers have a specific specialism 

Freelancers can be an excellent choice if you are able to find one that specialises in your industry, since they will be well-versed in the latest trends and can write quality content that resonates with your target audience. However, it is important to note that finding a freelancer in your specialism may not be as easy as you may think – especially a good one! Moreover, unless a freelancer has been recommended to you or you’ve already tried and tested them, there is no guarantee that the content you’ll receive will be of high quality. 

Also, freelancers do not always have expertise in other marketing areas, like SEO or social media. As such, you will need to have in-house capabilities to optimise your content for search engines and to promote it on your social channels, to ensure your content reaches your target audience. There’s no point in creating great content if no one is going to see it!

When working with a freelancer, you can’t always account for where your content comes from. Many freelancers have been known to outsource to cheaper solutions or even plagiarise copy. So, be careful!

2. Content scalability

When you begin outsourcing your content, you must think about the bigger picture. Will this content solution serve your future needs and grow with your business?

Agencies give you the freedom to scale your content at will 

Agencies are generally better equipped to handle large-scale projects that demand a high volume of content, as they have more resources and a larger team of experts. This means they have the ability to scale content production based on your changing requirements and are particularly useful for brands with big ambitions!

In some cases, agencies may even offer to hire additional team members to meet your content requirements or have a bank of their own trusted freelancers that they can count on for support.

Freelancers offer lots of flexibility but may lack resource

Many freelancers work alone and often have multiple jobs going on at the same time. One person can only do so much. This means that if you’re looking to grow your business and upscale your content production, a freelancer may not be able to keep up with your requirements. 

The only solution to this would be to hire multiple freelancers to meet your content demands. However, using different freelancers means they will use different writing styles, and working methods, which requires a high level of organisation and communication on your side. Time is money, and handling multiple freelancers may be more time than it’s worth!

3. Communication and management

When choosing to work with an agency or a freelancer, you need to think about how you want them to communicate with you – whether that’s close collaboration or a simple transactional relationship.

Agencies have designated account managers and comms processes 

Effective communication and collaboration are vital for successful content creation. Agencies often have well-established processes and project management systems in place, making it easier to coordinate and communicate with the team. They provide a centralised point of contact, ensuring smooth communication, and seamless collaboration.

Freelancers are more accessible and personal 

On the other hand, freelancers offer a more direct and personalised approach. When you hire a freelance writer, there is no middleman. You’ll be communicating with the person who will also be writing your content. In some ways, this can be beneficial as you can have a closer working relationship. However, juggling content creation and client communication may result in a compromise in quality.

4. Budgets

We understand that one of the key considerations for business when outsourcing is price, which is driving many to opt for freelancer workers. However, we urge you to do your research before going for the most affordable option to ensure you’re getting the very best service you can. 

Ultimately, you’re looking to make the highest ROI, so you need to guarantee that you’ll see the results you want from your initial investment. Just some food for thought…

Agencies offer scalable content solutions to suit your marketing budgets

Big or small, there’s a solution for all. Agencies offer flexible solutions that work around your budgets. Typically, you’ll be able to negotiate content deliverables and receive a steady flow of content on a monthly basis, which will be priced up depending on the agency’s day rate. This will be paid as a monthly retainer.

Although freelance writers are typically cheaper than hiring an agency, this may not be the case for larger projects. Paying for a mass amount of freelance work can actually end up costing a lot more money in the long run. Agencies are more inclined to offer package deals and economies of scale discounts. So, we recommend not being too quick to judge agency pricing and assessing your options before making a decision. 

Freelancers offer affordable content deliverables for smaller budgets

You’ve probably all heard of the saying ‘you get what you pay for’ and that’s the case when it comes to hiring cheap freelance writers. Unfortunately, unless you have a fully vetted directory of freelancers with proven years of experience, you could be putting your brand reputation in the hands of anyone! That being said, freelance writers are often a more affordable option for brands with smaller budgets, but make sure you do your research or you risk not achieving your desired results.

5. Commitment to your business

You’ll need to consider the nature of your content to determine whether you’re looking for a long-term partnership to maintain your success or a quick content fix on project-based terms. 

Just a note: Take it from the experts, anyone who tries to sell you content as a ‘one-time thing’ probably doesn’t know what they’re doing! If you want long-term results, you must be consistent. Unfortunately, there are no shortcuts!

Agencies offer a long-term partnership

Content is a continuous job. Your brand needs to be creating fresh and engaging content on a regular basis in order to stay relevant. Ultimately, this means you’ll want a team of content writers that you can rely on for the long haul. A content agency provides just that, and more. An agency team has the resource and expertise to build a deep understanding of your brand, develop a consistent tone of voice, and execute a long-term content strategy that delivers measurable results.

Freelancers provide one-off content deliverables 

On the other hand, freelancers are typically most useful for one-off content deliverables or small projects at most. If you are looking for ongoing work and sustainable success, hiring a freelancer for content may not be the most suitable option for you.

That being said, some freelancers may want to build longer-term relationships with your brand, however, due to the casual nature of freelancers, they have no obligation to stay loyal to you. If another opportunity comes along, or they no longer want to work with you, they can leave as and when they want.

Final thoughts: agency or freelancer?

The choice of whether you partner with a specialist content agency or hire a freelancer will depend on your unique requirements. You should now have a good understanding of what each option can offer your brand, which should give you more clarity on what will be best for you.

If you want to find out more about what a content marketing agency has to offer, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with our team to discuss how we can help you achieve content success.

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