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Outsourcing and hiring both have pros and cons. Learn how to make the best choice for your business.
All businesses need writing in one form or another. Marketing, contracts, ads, sales, training decks, and admin require concise, well-written language to convey important information.
For marketers, high-quality content helps you stand out from competitors, create better connections with your target audience, and convey the right brand voice. Lead generation, customer acquisition, and retention will suffer when you don’t produce well-written copy that resonates with people. And let’s be honest, no business wants that to happen.
When you’ve decided that you need help with writing, your first question is usually if you should hire an in-house writer or outsource. Both options have benefits. But, by understanding your goals and budget, you can make the right choice.
This post will explain why content is so important, the difference between outsourcing and hiring, tips for finding the right writer, and more.
Why brands need content
Let’s start by talking about why brands have to have great content. Content marketing is comprised of many outlets you use to reach people, including:
- Social media
- White papers
- And so much more
These channels are used to attract, inspire, and engage leads and customers. And each of them requires content—copy, imagery, video, and more. They require one underlying and consistent element: writing. And not just any old writing, great writing.
Writing content helps you connect with people on more meaningful levels. You can speak to their pain points and show them solutions. You can engage them at whatever stage they’re in within their buyer’s journey, whether they’re just looking for more information or ready to purchase.
Content works so well because it speaks to your audience’s specific needs at a given moment. You get to craft your brand voice to cater to their desires and build a relationship using content.
Brands should be guided by their value proposition. This is a way to sum up what you do, how it helps your target audience, and how you’re different from everyone else. Your value proposition should tell people exactly what you do so there’s no question.
For you to create an effective value proposition, you need great content that will communicate your uniqueness.
5 signs you’ve taken on more than you can handle
All this may sound great in theory. But do you have the resources you need to create great content consistently?
These five warning signs are the key indicators that you can’t do it alone. These signs mean it’s time to find another path for content.
1. No time
Maybe you and your current team have been trying to churn out content, but you’re finding you just don’t have the time. Other business concerns are being put on the back burner, and it’s getting in the way of growth.
2. No marketing plan
When you have no content marketing strategy, it’s nearly impossible to see the desired results. You need to get some help if you need to start from scratch and map out a way forward.
3. No ROI on marketing efforts
Maybe you do have a plan in place, but you’re putting too much into marketing and not getting enough back. It might be time to recalibrate if your ROI isn’t what you need it to be.
4. Can’t afford a full-time employee
Your content woes could be solved with another staff member. But your budget just won’t allow it, so the rest of the team is taking on the content work.
5. Need to expand marketing efforts
As your business grows, you need to level up your marketing strategy. Are roadblocks like cost or workforce getting in the way of taking marketing a step further? Are you noticing that your campaigns aren’t as effective as they could be?
These are the issues that arise when you’ve taken on more than you can handle and are the clear signs it’s time to get help. But what kind of help do you need? Outsourcing to an agency or a freelance writer can solve the problem of not being able to bring someone on full-time.
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The hidden costs of hiring an in-house writer
Deciding not to outsource could cost your business. You may want to appoint a current staff member to take care of writing or hire another full-time staff member.
Here are a few hidden costs of going this route:
- Time. It takes up a lot of time for you to create a job post, vet applicants, set up interviews, hire someone, and onboard them. It could go on for months. Meanwhile, your content isn’t performing for you.
- Money. A full-time employee is an investment. On top of their annual salary, you have to pay for benefits and other perks employees receive.
- Overworked resources. Hiring and onboarding someone takes up a ton of resources in the business. In addition, if you decide to give writing duties to someone already on staff, the team will become overworked, and content won’t be getting the attention it deserves.
Consider outsourcing to avoid these costs, both on the team and your bottom line.
Benefits of bringing in an outside source, whether agency or freelancer
Bringing in an outside source can help you harness great writing skills to improve how you communicate with people. Here are a few benefits of working with a writer:
- Improve lead generation. Well-written content that’s optimized for SEO and created for your targets helps you attract leads.
- Lean on their expertise. Working with a professional means that you gain access to their experience and knowledge. They can give you exceptional content like it’s their job (because it is.
- Get different types of content. Content writers can help you with content ranging from social and blogs to website copy and white papers.
- Select services you need. Many writers and writing services allow you to choose the content services you need, so you’re never overpaying.
- See better marketing ROI. When you have a dedicated team or individual behind your content, your campaigns will hit on all the most important points for your audience, helping you improve ROI.
Working with an outside source gives you instant access to these perks. But your next consideration is whether to hire a writer directly or to work with a content agency.
The difference between hiring a freelancer and outsourcing
Many businesses decide to hire either an in-house staff writer or a freelance writer to help with content. Freelancers are independent contractors who don’t work for one employer but have several client relationships at once. They typically set their schedules and can customize how much work they want to take on. In-house writers are regular part- or full-time employees.
You can find freelancers on several websites, like Upwork, and can then set up whatever type of relationship works for you both.
A con of freelancers is that they usually have other projects and clients to take care of while working with you. But they are typically experts in the writing field or one specific niche, and they can provide lots of flexibility and affordability.
Outsourcing writing to an agency works a bit differently. Agencies provide a one-stop shop for your content marketing, where you can get more comprehensive services. You’ll still get writing services, but they may be part of a bundled package. You’ll likely have a whole team behind your content efforts.
Many agencies work with freelance writers to get your content, so you’re still getting that expertise on top of a more holistic marketing plan.
The pros and cons of hiring a freelance writer
Here is a quick list of why you would consider hiring a freelance writer:
- Hire them on an as-needed basis
- May have last-minute availability for tight deadlines
- Expertise in their field
And the cons:
- You’re not their only focus
- The relationship could end unexpectedly if they decide to scale back
- They can’t help with everything you need for marketing
The pros and cons of outsourcing content to an agency
Hiring an agency gives you these pros:
- More holistic marketing services beyond writing that may include strategy, editing, design, production, and more
- Customized services
- Dedicated team members for your account
- Use of technology to improve experiences
- Help with your marketing strategy
The cons include:
- Pricier than freelancers
- May not be able to provide a last-minute turnaround
Considering these benefits and downsides will help you determine what your business really needs based on your current priorities. Either way, hiring for writing points you in the right direction for better content marketing.
How to hire the right writer
Suppose you’ve decided to work directly with a writer. Connecting with the right content writer will do wonders for your brand. You’ll engage your audiences, cater content to their needs, and improve your brand reputation.
Unfortunately, there are a lot of writers and writing services out there who won’t give you the level of quality and expertise you need. Where do you start to find someone great?
6 things to look for in a writer
Amazing writers are out there; you just have to find them. Here are a few qualities to watch for in your search:
- Great storytelling skills
- Experience with the kind of content you need
- Strong reviews or examples from past clients
- Ability to adapt voice for different types of content
- Organizational skills
- Reliability and consistency
7 things to ask when hiring a writer
Sometimes the best way to assess these qualities is to ask the right questions. Start with these:
- How long have you been writing?
- What’s your writing background?
- Have you worked with clients similar to me?
- How do you manage your work schedule?
- Do you have other projects or clients that will get in the way of this work?
- Can you send reviews or testimonials I can review?
- What kinds of content can you provide?
Working directly with a writer can benefit your brand. Just make sure you thoroughly vet candidates to know you’ll get consistent, great content.
Watch for these red flags when outsourcing
Now you know it’s time to outsource. But you still need to be cautious when looking for the right writer or agency. These red flags could mean a service is too good to be true:
Very low prices
Of course, every brand wants a good deal. But if you’re seeing suspiciously low prices offered by a writer or agency, they’re probably low for a reason. Don’t sacrifice quality for a lower cost.
Be wary when it seems like someone exaggerates or offers something completely unrealistic. For example, if a writer says they promise you’ll see a significant jump in website visitors just because of their content.
Don’t know best practices
Make sure the writer or agency knows what’s new with SEO and other digital content best practices. You need an expert who will help you meet current demands and trends.
Don’t have any reviews
If you ask for a review, testimonial, or writing sample and the writer or agency can’t provide any, this is a red flag. While writers have to start somewhere, they should be able to provide some kind of example of experience, so you know that they’ll be effective.
Finding the right content partner is crucial in getting better content. Watch closely for these red flags before you sign up for services.
Your content should be an extension of your brand
Why is content quality so important? Think of content as an extension of your brand. The words and images you put out into the world represent who you are, why you exist, and what you care about.
When you work with a writing service, keep in mind that they need to be able to master your brand voice and tone so that customers have seamless experiences across your channels.
Your first step is deciding what route you want to take, then finding the right writing partner. Whether you choose to outsource writing to an agency or writer or hire a writer to join your team, make sure you’re all on the same page.
When you’re ready to talk content, reach out to ContentBacon. Our content marketing experts can help you create a better inbound marketing strategy that will resonate most with your target audience. We’re backed by a team of expert writers, editors, and strategists who can tackle a holistic approach to better content.
Contact us today to learn more about our content subscriptions.