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For me, it simply comes down to the fact that agencies overcharge and under deliver.
Maybe I’m too fussy, but I’ve proved from experience that having someone in-house producing editorial content produces better quality results.
If you are an advocate of content or have at least bought into the idea that you need it to succeed online, then you have two big decisions to make on content.
The first is what type of content you are going to produce and the second is who will produce it. I’d always argue that you should mostly produce content in-house as much as possible and this is why.
When you hire someone in-house to produce content for you, you have way more control over the process, and personally, I think when someone is part of your company, they just care more.
So many times, I’ve worked with supposed ‘quality’ content providers who have the cheek to send through copy with typos, not what you expect when you’re paying for content.
This is failing at the basics if you ask me. Having someone working in-house should also mean they care more about the work they produce as they know they are directly accountable.
This aside, having an in-house content writer also means they should know the business inside out and as such are more likely to deliver content the way you want it, opposed to someone who has been given a brief and may never have stepped foot inside your company and may never even have heard of it.
At a basic level, writers are good company stock and when it comes to the bottom line. It’s simply cheaper than outsourcing writing work sporadically, as if a time comes when you urgently need a piece of content, you may find you have to pay over the odds to get it in time.
When to outsource
With the best will in the world, it’s hard to have all the necessary skills in-house to produce the content you want, but if you want to have more control over the content you have on-site, I’d start by taking on a content writer in-house.
Next, I’d build up a bank of freelancers that you can call on to pitch article ideas to you on a regular basis.
By doing this, you build a relationship with freelancers who can produce articles for you when you need them, preventing you from getting caught out and paying over the odds if you need something in a hurry, if the need can’t be fulfilled in-house due to say, time constraints.
For specific content needs such as infographics, it can pay to outsource. There are some great companies in the states that have been producing them for a lot longer than we have in the UK, and having a monthly contract will save you money.
They’ll also likely seed the content for you as well, meaning you get good content and spend less time involved in the production process.
A word of caution: When it does come to outsourcing and for copy specifically; I would personally avoid agencies.
Now it’s purely my opinion, and based on my own experience, but I’ve yet to use an agency that has produced copy that met my expectations.
From my experience, having someone in-house producing editorial content produces better quality results.