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A Content Marketing Agency vs. an In-House Team: Who Should You Hire?

August 27, 2019

Are you are thinking about investing in content marketing? Or perhaps you’ve already seen initial successes by employing content marketing strategies, and you want to ramp up your efforts.

Even though you’ve decided to put more time into these tactics, you still need to decide which path to choose: hiring an in-house team or working with an agency. In this post, we are going to break down some of the benefits and costs to each of those scenarios.

Hiring an In-House Team

First, let’s look at hiring an in-house team. We’ll go through what it might look like to bring in a team of professionals looking at the roles through the HR tool PayScale, which is an aggregate directory of salary data. We’ve also looked at roles accounting for five years of experience, seeing that you may not have the internal capacity or flexibility to allow for the development of a newly created position going to entry-level candidates. The salaries listed below do not account for benefit or bonus offerings.

 

  Role   Low Salary   High Salary
  Content Strategist   $46,732   $76,912
  Writer   $41,141   $71,161
  Editor   $37,211   $65,715
  Graphic Designer   $37,306   $56,621
  Project Manager   $58,500   $88,171
  PR Specialist   $43,128   $69,874

 

Let’s assume a time to hire in the 60- to 90-day range, with at least another three months to let the new employees learn your business and content processes, brand guidelines, industry jargon and other nuances that allow them to deliver work that meets your expectations. These are key points to consider if you have strict deadlines for your content initiatives.

Costs of Different-Sized Marketing Teams

Now let’s look at a few hiring scenarios you might consider given your brand’s needs.

  • Small team, low production, hiring a writer and graphic designer: The annual cost to bring in a team like this would be $78,447 on the low end, and at the high end, $127,782.
  • Self-sufficient, low-production team with a content strategist, writer, graphic designer and editor: The annual cost to bring in a team like this would range from $145,179 up to $270,409.
  • Self-sufficient, high-production team with a content strategist, writer, graphic designer and editor, project manager and PR specialist: The annual cost to bring in this team would start at $263,658 and could cost up to $428,454.

Benefits of Hiring an In-House Marketing Team

Now let’s look at some of the advantages you might consider as you look at hiring a staff of content creation professionals.

  • Control: You are in charge of the entire content creation process, so you can identify people who have the skills and experiences that will help your business succeed.
  • Coaching: Teaching an in-house team how to align with your brand’s vision and the other functions of the organization is easier when you can actually model what you are looking for and iterate through the creative process.
  • Integration: Finally, when people are able to collaborate closely, they can quickly learn the important aspects of your business that make you unique and different. This could give them the lens needed to fast-track the approval process, especially if you are in a niche industry.

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Hiring a Content Marketing Agency

The cost of hiring an agency is going to vary widely depending on the model of pricing the agency employs. The most common pricing structures are retainer, per project or hourly. In a study by Moz, 70% of content marketing agencies use the retainer model. And of those retainer agencies, 35% of them charged between $1,000 – $5,000 per month, commonly creating less than five pieces of content per month for their clients.

Costs of Different Types of Marketing Agency Partnerships

  • Low-volume, production-only agency: You might not need much in the way of monthly content, and perhaps your planning and production calendars aren’t pre-determined. Your business might be a start-up, small or mid-sized with a digitally savvy marketing team. You might need a partner that will create content for you, while your agency handles the strategy and promotion of the content.
    • The annual cost allowance for a small volume of less complex written content with simple graphic designs and no strategic direction would run in the area of $12,000 to $60,000.
  • Low-volume, strategic partner with end-to-end solutions, providing everything from strategy to delivery and measurement: You might not need tons of content, but the content you do need HAS to be high quality and on-point for the industry you serve. Your business might be a startup with newly acquired seed funds, a mid-sized or large established company with a small but mighty marketing team, or a large global organization looking to add horsepower to help support growth.
    • Annually, expect to pay $10,000 to $50,000 per month, for a cost of $120,000 – $600,000 per year.
  • High-volume output with a strategic partner providing end-to-end solutions: Your business might need your agency partner to handle all aspects of content marketing. You need everything from ideation to analytics and you want a lot of high-quality, large-scale content campaigns.
    • The annual cost for a partner providing this level of service is between $50,000 and $100,000 monthly, or $600,000 to $1,200,000 per year.

Benefits of Working with a Content Marketing Agency

Now let’s look at some of the advantages you might consider as you look at hiring a content marketing agency.

  • Relationships with publishers: Successful off-site content marketing depends on getting content in front of the right audiences and getting linked to quality sites that serve those audiences. Many agencies do the leg work of developing these relationships, so you don’t have to.
  • Outside perspectives: An agency’s job is to help the brands they work with see the path forward, to help bring clarity to their vision with execution expertise and a fresh, outside perspective.
  • Proven professional competency: Professionals who work at an agency have the unique experience of managing a multi-client roster, providing them rich experiences that in-house talent might not have the opportunity to encounter in their often-rigid job descriptions.

Hiring a Marketing Agency vs. an In-House Marketing Team

When all is said and done, let’s look at the breakdown side-by-side.

Annual Cost Comparison In-House vs. Agency
Low volume of content production only Low volume of large-scale campaign production High volume of large-scale campaign production
 

In-House

 

$78,447 – $127,782

 

$162,179 – $270,409

 

$263,658 – $428,454

 

Agency

 

$12,000 – $60,000

 

$120,000 – $600,000

 

$600,000 –$1,200,000

 

So while it may appear that using an agency doesn’t make sense for large-scale marketing operations, there may still be benefits over hiring an in-house team. When employment costs, recruiting and benefits are factored in, an agency may still provide the benefits your organization is looking for, along with experience and greater ROI in the long run due to their specialized expertise and focus.

Brandpoint works with all sizes of companies, whether they need help with blog writing or a partner to be there every step of the way, from strategy creation to video editing to data analysis and more. Drop us a line to let us know what goals you’re looking to achieve!

August 27, 2019

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