In today’s fiercely competitive business environment, we cannot overemphasize the importance of an effective content marketing strategy enough. The last few years have, in fact, seen custom content development becoming the buzzword of the digital marketing space.
A survey by CMI shows that over 85% of marketers leverage content (blog posts, inbound links, social media, landing pages, etc.) to lead their business strategy, generate and close leads, and drive overall brand awareness. Statistics have also shown that the success of your organization largely depends on the quality of the content you produce and make available to your audience.
Outsourced Content Development or In-House Content Development? Which is a Better Choice?
While there is an undisputed need for relevant content regularly, the more pressing question that most business owners and marketers have today is whether to outsource the process of custom content development to people with expertise in the area or keep it in-house and leverage their own talent for the task.
There is no right or wrong answer to this question. The best way to decide is by weighing the pros and cons of both, keeping in mind your own business structure, target audience profile and resources at hand.
So, let’s dive in and compare the pros and cons of both these approaches.
The Pros & Cons of Outsourcing Content Development
Outsourcing content development is hiring a third-party to create content on the company’s behalf. This can be a marketing agency producing content for the client, freelance writers, or a dedicated online writing platform that sources and work with multiple writers to create content as per the client’s requirements.
Below are some pros and cons of this approach.
The convenience of a quick & easy start
The success of any content marketing campaign heavily depends on how easy, fast, and fuss-free it is to drive business. Outsourcing the content creation process to a third-party is a simple process. Here, you just need to share the details of your target audience profile along with a general outline of the expected content, and you will have your website content written and ready in no time.
Balanced outside perspective
An outsourced partner/agency isn’t influenced by any kind of internal bias, which can lead to misunderstandings regarding the type/format of content that interests your target audience the best. A qualified agency will also highlight the areas for improvement, which may be hard for an internal team to identify and work upon.
Advantage of industry expertise
Outsourcing content production allows you to tap into the pool of qualified, experienced, and skilled content creators, along with the advantage of the different tools available to them. They also have the data gathered through research, helping them create relevant, up-to-date content for your business with little time or financial investment on your part.
Clarity in content
Producing engaging & industry-specific relevant content, free from jargon, can be a cumbersome task for companies. Professional writers and agencies have the expertise to break down complex terminologies and jargon into simple-to-understand language & phrases to ensure that your reader understands and can make sense of what is being communicated to them.
Availability of more options
Outsourcing the content creation process enables you to choose the ideal agency/freelancer for individual projects, thus leveraging the benefit of a worldwide talent base, rather than just confining it to a particular area or specific team.
- One of the potential downsides of outsourcing is the difficulty in finding someone (freelancer or agency) with the required expertise and in-depth knowledge in the subject to produce the expected quality in the content specific to your brand and audience.
- Irrespective of whether you go for an agency or a contracted individual/freelancer for custom content development, budgeting can be a huge headache as the costs in the industry vary massively because of intense competition.
- With an outsourced partner for content production, it sometimes gets difficult to balance producing engaging content relevant to your niche vs creating content for quantity’s sake.
- Maintaining constant and effective communication is another issue while outsourcing content production to a third-party agency or freelancer. Since they usually manage multiple clients, the communication flow is less efficient while collaborating with them.
- Lastly, outsourcing makes it difficult to bring an external team of writers up to speed regarding your specific industry, products, and clientele. Any miscommunication here can cause incorrect messages being passed on to the readers, that can hurt the success of the brand.
The Pros & Cons of In-house Content Development
A better understanding of the target segment
With in-house content creation, you get the advantage of leveraging your team and staff, who know the industry inside out, understand the client base, and their needs better.
Because you’re already paying your staff salaries, there is no need to worry about a separate budget for an outsourced partner in case you go for in-house content production approach.
Investment in your team
Creating an in-house culture of content creation gives you the opportunity to build a much smarter team, as they enhance their existing skill sets and their ability and to effectively communicate about their business by researching, writing, reviewing, and more.
No third-party dependencies
The in-house system of content production is a sure-shot way of eliminating the risk of dependency on a third-party, such as potential inflation cost with marketing agencies/online writing platforms or freelance writers suddenly leaving work without notice.
Control over your own growth
In-house content development grants you better control over your teams’ growth, which, otherwise, isn’t accessible from an outsourcing perspective.
- In-house content creation is a time-consuming process and can deviate the focus of your team from other important tasks such as chasing leads and closing on sales.
- With in-house content production, there is a greater challenge of bringing together all parties of the team.
- The internal teams have limited skills and time to develop multiple formats of content, including websites, landing pages, video guides, email, etc.
- One essential for effective content marketing is to build a team of specialists with tangible experience in content strategy and writing, which an in-house team usually lacks.
- Hiring an in-house writer or building a team of writers internally is a good option only if you’re a large company having the budget required to pay multiple people full-time for content writing.
The content today is an effective lead generator and sales driver for businesses. However, taking a decision on whether to go for custom content development by outsourcing it or keeping it in-house requires serious consideration.
You should ideally decide this based on target audience profile and individual business requirements. Whether it is in house, outsourced, or a mix of both that works most effectively for you, finding the right balance without making the quality of work suffer should be the priority.
That being said, both approaches have their own advantages and downsides. It is important to keep in mind that no single approach suits every company and hence identifying your content marketing needs with the final aim of delivering high quality, compelling, and exciting content to your audience can only give you the best results.