So you recognize that your company could really benefit from a solid, well-conceived content marketing strategy. But perhaps you don’t know where to find the writing, design and marketing strategy professionals who can help make that happen.
If so, you’re far from alone. Many organizations come to the realization they’re missing out on potential customers if they’re not publishing relevant, engaging content to their websites and social media sites. But those new to the process are often unsure whether they should hire a professional agency that can handle their plan from start to finish, or hunt down independent contractors with the skills and talent to produce such content.
Whichever direction you choose, you should have no problem finding viable contenders. Content marketing agencies across the U.S. are more than holding their own; between 2018 and 2019, 62% boosted their marketing clients, while only 2% saw client reductions. At the same time freelancers are prolific; last year some 57 million people in the U.S. — a number representing 35% of the U.S. workforce — were freelancing in some capacity. And now those numbers have probably grown, due to furloughs and layoffs related to the COVID crisis.
“Freelancers can be an extremely valuable asset for entrepreneurs, particularly those who are in the early stages of development or those running on a tight budget,” notes Dakota Shane on Inc.com. “That being said, just like any other business decision, you should do your homework and think critically before jumping head first into the freelance economy.”
The best solution for your company will depend on your circumstances, including your available time, your budget and your degree of flexibility. For the sake of comparison, however, here are some of the best advantages of the two different options.
Pros of working with freelancers
Because they typically have little to no overhead, freelancers can usually charge less than agencies for their services. You can often benefit from their skills and experience without paying premium prices.
If you’re seeking acumen or knowledge in a particular industry or subject, you might seek a contractor who has key experience in that field and already understands the nuts and bolts.
Ability to scale
Freelancers can be as temporary as you need them to be, fulfilling projects one at a time on demand if your workflows call for that kind of flexibility.
Pros of working with a content marketing agency
When you contract with an agency, you’re usually assigned to a team of specialists who can collaborate with you every step of the way, incorporating your ideas, input and feedback to ensure your goals are being met. That teamwork is crucial to ensuring you get the best possible ROI for your money, and that every dollar is targeted toward successful strategy.
Agencies can usually handle a variety of services on your behalf beyond just content creation — strategy, design, distribution, web development, etc. That means you don’t have to hunt down, vet, hire and review your needs with a number of different specialists who freelance in different areas.
Agencies have systems in place to ensure your projects are being written, edited, revised, designed and/or published in a timely manner, all per your specific instructions. A project manager will be assigned to your account so you won’t have to monitor or motivate anyone else to ensure that your work is done right and done on time. That frees you from the worry of wondering whether your freelancer is skilled and dependable enough to come through, and let you focus on other crucial elements of your business instead.
Breadth of skills
Content marketing agencies tend to employ a wide range of talented people who specialize in different tasks. If your projects vary in terms of format, platform, topic, style and/or design, an agency can assess each project then assign it to the team member(s) who best align in terms of skills and experience. As such, you may benefit from industry-specific insights and knowledge.
Sure, a freelancer could have years of valuable experience. On the other hand, he could be a newbie who’s in-between jobs and trying to make a quick buck before returning to another career. In comparison, staff members at agencies tend to work across a field of different-sized organizations in different industries, such that they’re able to accrue knowledge from each one along the way.
Agencies may charge higher rates, but the value you incur from their range of services can be immeasurable. For instance, your creative team may conduct its own research about your company, customers and industry to assist with the creation of your content. It’s also likely to collaborate with co-workers who ensure your content is fully optimized for SEO compatibility, user experience, usability, accessibility and site architecture so you don’t have to hire other specialists for those purposes. Agencies also frequently work on your behalf to develop relationships with publishers to facilitate the best possible channels for your promotional content. Such services would be difficult to pull together using freelance talent.
“Although initially content marketing carries an employee cost — time for ideation, tools to conduct keyword research, production resources such as writing and shooting video, and boosting to a broader audience — it can become super low-cost in the long run, while supporting business initiatives and hitting goals,” notes marketing exec Jeeyan Rostam-Abadi in Forbes.
Larger staffs enable agencies to process your projects quickly and efficiently, and often they can handle rush projects to help you meet tight deadlines. In comparison, freelancers tend to have finite capacity because they’re alone in juggling multiple clients and commitments.
Agencies can provide standard price lists so you can plan exactly how you’d like to spend your budget. With freelancers, you may need to spend time negotiating prices for each different project.
So what’s the bottom line? While freelancers may be appropriate for certain content projects, an agency can provide strategy, quality and dependability when you need to launch an efficient and effective content marketing plan.
Learn about the exceptional value-added services Brandpoint provides clients at Brandpoint.com.