According to LinkedIn, 75% of marketers are outsourcing content in some way.
The benefits mean that you can be more flexible with your budget as well as your content marketing calendar.
The hard part is choosing how and whom to outsource to – a freelance copywriter or a professional copywriting agency? In this article, we discuss the top four things you need to consider before you choose.
Your brand must convey a strong, consistent tone of voice across every piece of content. Before working with either a freelance copywriter or a copywriting agency, it’s important to identify their quality standards and style.
All writers will also have their own style, which tends to shine through in all of their writing. When vetting freelancers, reading a good amount of their previous work will ensure their overall tone suits your brand, but it does take time. Once a freelancer is hired, it’s worth tasking an in-house employee with editing the work so that it’s in line with your brand guidelines.
A copywriting agency, on the other hand, can handle the organisation and production process internally. From researching to writing to editing, a good agency will have thorough quality assurance procedures in place – so that every article or post follows the tone and voice of your brand.
Key questions to ask:“Can you talk me through how you ensure quality, even for niche topics? What processes and procedures do you have in place?”
Similar to quality, the range of your content is an important factor when choosing to work with a freelancer or an agency, especially if you have the need to create a variety of content.
Freelance writers tend to specialise in one area. If you have content that stays relatively static, a freelance writer might be enough to meet that need. But, if you require a diverse range of content, you may need to hire several writers across various sectors. There is no room for generalists in an age of digital saturation.
If you require a range of speciality content – for example, if you’re an eCommerce business with different categories of products – you will need to ensure that your content writers are able to deliver industry specific content across all areas. A copywriting agency will have a full team of writers with varied specialities and experience in different sectors, i.e. fashion copywriters or travel copywriters etc. This means that you can ensure that you get industry-specific content every time. That said, you must vet any agency’s previous work against the content you aspire to publish.
Key questions to ask:“How can I ensure that my content will be industry specific and relevant to my audience?”
Frequency of content and deadlines are considerations that need to be discussed with both freelancer writers and copywriting agencies. Know how you’ll contact them, when you can reasonably expect a response and the associated deadlines.
Full-time freelancers are potentially subject to the deadlines of other clients, meaning their availability for last-minute copy may be limited. Likewise, illness or holidays might require you to hire backup writers for cases when your primary freelancer isn’t active.
With a copywriting agency, deadlines and budgets are set, so you can set a goal and the agency will organise their resources to meet it. If you work with an agency, find one with a pool of industry specific writers. That way, sickness and holiday won’t affect output as tasks can shift to other writers, so you can get more content, faster.
Key questions to ask:“Do you have the resource and expertise to deliver content on time? How fast is your response time?”
The final thing to consider is how much content your brand requires. As your need for copywriting and content marketing grows, you will need to ensure that someone is always available to work on your copy.
For small projects, one freelance writer can generally fulfil your needs. But this leaves little room for growth if you plan to scale, as the workload may become too much for one person. If your content requirements vary from project to project, you’ll also need an in-house manager to plan, organise and edit copy, which is a key cost consideration.
A copywriting agency, on the other hand, usually has content strategists to manage this for you, so you can scale up or down at anytime, depending on monthly needs. This is particularly appropriate if you are a seasonal business. Most agencies will also help you develop a content strategy consisting of content auditing and assessment, content planning and things like SEO, tone or voice and style guides.
Key questions to ask: “Can you deliver content to schedule no matter the scale of my project?”
As with any industry, there are both good and bad freelancers and agencies, so once you have established which is best for you, consider how you will go about strategically working together. For instance, what is their turnaround time, delivery process and briefing structure?
These questions considered should help your chosen freelancer or agency better meet your business goals, provide the copy you need and help to deliver results.