Striking the Balance: Outsourcing and Insourcing Content

Posted by Nef Gayola - February 20, 2017 • 5-minute read


More and more companies have been turning to content marketing and reaping the benefits. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s latest trends report, on average, 29% of brands’ total marketing budget is spent on content.

One strategy used to maximise that outlay is outsourcing content: a 2015 survey showed that 76% of marketers believed an expert content team could increase their ROI by two to five times. However, outsourcing poses a number of challenges that leave many companies reluctant to try it.

When does outsourcing best serve a company? We take a look at the pros and cons.

Content and Context: The Power Duo

Content writing outsourcing

When it comes to making an impact on your target audience, great content with a strong understanding of the context will deliver excellent results. One advantage of outsourcing your content marketing to an experienced team is that you can be assured that the people crafting your content are experts not only in writing but also in search engine optimization, marketing, and branding. All of these are important for generating leads and increasing your revenue. These people are trained to ensure they will be producing high quality content that will drive traffic.

One drawback, however, is that outsourced teams may not have in-depth knowledge of your industry or specialisation. An in-house team of subject matter experts (SME) would be more knowledgeable about your company’s services, products, and markets. Unless these SMEs also happen to be writers, however--and unless you screen them for that overlap—they may not be able to craft compelling articles. So although you might have full control over hiring, you may still run into obstacles with your content marketing strategy and its performance.

A solution exists in blending  the two approaches. You might have an outsourced team of content specialists editing your SMEs’ work, or your SMEs might provide information and insights that an outsourced team weaves into compelling content.

Time(line) is of The Essence

Are you projecting a 10-year content marketing plan? Or maybe just trying out a few content marketing projects? Are you planning to post several blogs a week or just one or two a month? Your timeline is an important thing to consider when it comes to content marketing. According to Hubspot’s State of Inbound report, it takes most marketers about one to two hours to create just a 500-word blog post—that’s a lot of your team’s time and that’s on top of other marketing initiatives they are working on. Moreover, larger content projects such as whitepapers, case studies and ebooks would take up even more of your team’s hours. Now, if your company can afford to dedicate a lot of hours to content marketing campaigns, it might be better for you to get an in-house team to produce your content. However, most companies do not have the luxury of time when it comes to marketing, especially in the fast-paced digital era.

That’s where outsourcing your content would come in handy. Outsourcing agencies have the infrastructure and staff training required to produce quality content and you are assured that they are focused on the content creation. Plus, your own marketing team can put all their energy on other marketing efforts. A good relationship between an outsourced team and your company could drive meaningful results through continuous communication to further improve the content.

Sample project work plan

Let’s Be Practical: How’s The Budget?

All companies face this question in every project but really, how much has your company allotted for your content marketing efforts? Considering the number of hours each person works, the training necessary for each team member, and other requirements from your company, creating an in-house team might cost a lot more than hiring an outsourced one to produce the same results. A 2015 study by Kapost shows that companies lose around $958 million a year because of inefficient content marketing processes.The same study found that on average, about $120,000 is spent annually on each employee to produce web content, not including the technology and time it took to produce each piece.

Agencies offering content marketing already have not only the necessary training to write amazing content for your company but also the technology to make publishing content and analysing results easy. When you take into account the hours spent on writing, revising and publishing a content piece, you will save much more time when the content is done by experts, thus reducing the money spent per hour.

The Answer Should Be Obvious…

It would be kind of cheating to put it this way, but that’s just how it is: you can always do both. When it comes to content marketing, it would probably be best for you to outsource your content creation to a team of marketing specialists. Meanwhile, in-house SMES can supervise them to ensure your content supports your company’s goals and agenda. What’s essential for a successful content marketing plan is a strong, audience-centred strategy.Establishing a good working relationship built on good communication with an agency will only drive excellent results for your company.

You need to have an authority over content decisions but that doesn’t prohibit you from getting help from content experts to produce results-driven and audience-centred content.

blog writing packages

Topics: Creative Process Outsourcing, Content Development

Written By

Nef Gayola

Nef Gayola

Nef is a content writer at Straightarrow. When she's not binge-watching TV series, she's probably reading articles on subjects ranging from makeup to exobiology. In a love-hate relationship with the arts and humanities.

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