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Why choose an agency to outsource content?

Updated: Feb 16


A hand holding out a mould of a brain to represent outsourcing content expertise


“We aren’t interested in hiring an agency” are words we still hear when speaking with some of our potential clients. But is it actually the best decision for their business? It often seems like a knee-jerk reaction many companies have, even when they haven’t fully explored what that agency could actually bring to the table.


Deciding when, who, and how to hire for your new projects is not an easy task, especially in the ever-changing digital industry. With so many elements like budget, flexibility, expertise, and timing to consider, it's a daunting decision and, if taken lightly, can be extremely counterproductive. Though this is a topic that has been largely discussed over the years, we're here to simplify the debate and offer you a useful hiring guide to help make the right decision for your company.


 

Content table:


 


Breaking down the essentials: Why outsource content to agencies vs hiring freelancers or in-house employees?


Outsourcing content has actually been a growing trend in recent years, particularly with the rise of digital transformation and the increasing complexity of specialised tasks.


The right choice will ultimately depend on your priorities, which can vary depending on the specific project. Let's explore the basics, with pros and cons for each option:



Flexibility


Companies may consider outsourcing when they need to quickly adapt to changing demands while accessing tailored expertise and resources, enabling speed and efficient scalability. Let's see the advantages and disadvantages of each hiring option:



IN-HOUSE EMPLOYEE:

Hiring an in-house professional may be able to offer the flexibility you need, but there are a few key aspects to consider:


  • Are you hiring them for a full-time position? Hiring in-house professionals usually means abiding by strict working hours. Those working part-time will be majorly restricted and cannot offer the flexibility you need. However, those working full-time will have the opportunity to be 100% dedicated to your needs… for those 8 hours a day. But, even though you’re paying for a full time, will they actually be efficient those 8 hours a day every day?

  • What type of role are they fulfilling? If you hire someone for a specific role, they're more likely to meet your requests. But if the role requires multitasking, they may struggle to prioritise.


It’s also important to note that if your hire is out of office due to annual leave, maternity or paternity leave, sickness or other reasons, you will be forced to await their return or repeat the hiring process with all the cost, time, and risks that entails.


FREELANCER:

  • Pros: Known for their flexibility, freelancers can fulfil your needs with a more dedicated schedule to deliver a project on time, only working when needed, which can be much more efficient.

  • Cons: However, similar to in-house professionals, if a freelancer is unavailable, you are forced to press pause on a project or find another freelancer as a temporary replacement — and this process can be tricky and risky. What’s more, a freelancer often juggles multiple clients at the same time, so their flexibility and attention can often be limited. They may even prioritise some projects over others or struggle to adapt to your internal team.


AGENCY:

  • Pros: Agencies offer more resources to adapt to your priorities, with the ability to scale up or down when needed. Unlike a freelancer or in-house professional, agencies work to meet their obligations beyond the capacity of one person, rapidly adapting to change. This means that if anyone working on your project is Out Of Office, there are other backup team members who can quickly take over at a moment’s notice. Good agencies will always make sure that there is always room in the team for these situations, so you’ll never have to sacrifice your deadlines or waste time finding a replacement.

  • Cons: Outsourcing to an agency may entail relinquishing some control over the project execution process or even having communication challenges if they're very set in their ways.



Quality and expertise


For some projects, it might be extra important to rely on the extra proficiency and skill sets of external partners to deliver higher-calibre content that aligns with their brand standards and objectives. Let's examine how different hiring options—whether in-house, agency, or freelancers—measure up in terms of delivering top-notch results:



IN-HOUSE EMPLOYEE:

  • Pros: By hiring an in-house professional, you’re able to control the entire hiring process, ensuring what hard skills and soft skills are brought on board. This allows for them to be deeply integrated into the company's culture and processes, which can translate into a strong alignment with the brand's quality standards and a nuanced approach to content creation.

  • Cons: However, the depth of expertise may vary depending on the individual's skill set and experience within the specific industry or niche, and it might also have an impact on the time it takes to find that perfect hire and how much it costs to get it.

FREELANCER:

  • Pros: You can still potentially find the same level of quality and expertise in freelancers. As a general rule, the more niche a freelancer’s service is, the more specialist they are in that area. You can also easily evaluate their standard of work by looking at their portfolio and references, so you have proof of their potential.

  • Cons: However, they might have varying levels of expertise and may not fully understand your brand's tone, style, or audience, resulting in a lack of quality and consistency.


AGENCY:

  • Pros: Outsourcing content to an agency ensures access to a diverse team of highly qualified experts across various industries, fields, and markets, each bringing specialised skills to the table. Although you may not be able to decide the exact individuals yourself, the agency will still select the most suitable team members for your specific needs in order to guarantee optimal results from the start. As they typically have more resources than a single freelancer, they are more used to working with different tools and efficient workflows, enabling seamless collaboration and enhanced productivity compared to individuals.

  • Cons: Depending on the agency and its working style, it may result in less personalised attention compared to in-house teams or freelancers, which can potentially affect alignment with specific project requirements.



Budget and resources 



IN-HOUSE EMPLOYEE:

  • Pros: While costly upfront, hiring in-house professionals is a long-term investment in the company's growth and success.

  • Cons: Although in-house professionals may promise the dedication and integration you need in a project, they are a bigger drain on budget and resources than freelancers or agencies. Not only will you need to pay a yearly salary, but you will also have to provide other financial benefits like pensions, paid time off, moving expenses, etc. What’s more, you’ll need to use additional resources to successfully onboard and train your new hire. Plus, their learning curve and the risk that they may not adapt as you hoped. All in all, opting for an in-house professional is an extremely steep investment, which is great for the long term but might not be what you need for certain projects


FREELANCER:

  • Pros: Although you may pay a freelancer a higher hourly rate than your in-house professional, there are no additional costs. You also don’t need to spend as much time and resources on hiring, training, and onboarding them, and they can work on a project basis.

  • Cons: Managing multiple freelancers across different projects can be challenging, requiring careful coordination and oversight.


AGENCY:

  • Pros: Outsourcing to an agency provides cost efficiency and access to a wide range of resources. Agencies leverage shared costs, investing in advanced tools and scaling resources as needed for timely, high-quality content delivery. This allows businesses to maximize ROI while accessing expertise essential for top-notch content production.

  • Cons: Relying on an external agency for project delivery may result in dependency, affecting autonomy in decision-making and project control.



Long-term vs. short-term projects

Choosing the right approach to content outsourcing depends on the duration of your project. In-house employees are ideal for long-term commitments, while freelancers offer flexibility for short-term tasks. Agencies, on the other hand, have more resources to adapt to both, but is it cost-effective? Let's delve into the details to help you make the best decision for your needs:



IN-HOUSE EMPLOYEE:

  • Pros: In-house employees are ideal for long-term commitments, offering consistency and deep integration with your company's goals.

  • Cons: However, once the project concludes, maintaining their workload can become challenging and costly.


FREELANCER:

  • Pros: Freelancers, on the other hand, excel in short-term projects, providing flexibility and agility. Collaboration is seamless, and both parties can easily move on after the project is completed.

  • Cons: However, if the project extends unexpectedly, freelancers may face limitations due to other commitments or resource constraints.


AGENCY:

  • Pros: Agencies offer a balanced solution for both short and long-term projects. With their extensive resources and expertise, they can adapt swiftly to changing project scopes. Their ability to scale up seamlessly and deliver consistent results makes them an effective choice in the long run.

  • Cons: Long-term projects may have higher costs compared to short-term ones due to ongoing resource allocation and maintenance, but this depends on the pricing and clauses of each agency.



Innovation


With so many competitors and new technologies popping up like whack-a-mole these days, innovation has become a real priority for most companies. Whether that’s creative innovation, bringing fresh new ideas that break moulds, or technological innovation with new tools, software, etc., let’s see which type of hire is more likely to breathe new life into your current projects:



IN-HOUSE EMPLOYEE:

  • Pros: In-house professionals may bring valuable creative innovation from their prior experiences, while offering tailored perspectives to your company's goals and audience.

  • Cons: However, their capacity for technological innovation is limited to the resources already available within the company. Also, after a while of working under your umbrella, they may be limited in their exposure to external perspectives and industry trends, potentially leading to a lack of fresh ideas and creativity.


FREELANCER:

  • Pros: In general, freelancers often have worked with multiple clients in similar industries, so they’ll have lots to offer when it comes to helping you stand out from your competition. Plus, collaborating with someone outside of your company can bring a completely fresh perspective, providing an objective view and identifying any friction that you might normally miss.

  • Cons: However, you may struggle to find many freelancers who can work with your specialist tools - unless you offer to train them, which can be less cost-effective.


AGENCY:

  • Pros: With their multi-specialist teams, agencies provide a wealth of innovative potential. They offer fresh perspectives combined with a comprehensive understanding of various industries and markets. While agencies may not possess initial knowledge of your culture or internal processes, they have access to a wide array of tools and software to facilitate innovative content creation and truly set you apart. They're used to working with the latest tech and know to adapt it quickly to each specific need.

  • Cons: Agencies may lack a deep understanding of the company's internal processes, culture, and industry nuances, potentially hindering innovation tailored to specific needs. However, that can be easily solved with initial onboarding and a good communication process.



A safe bet if chosen right: Choosing the best agency to outsource content


Of course, it all depends on your priorities, but when it comes to outsourcing content, agencies seem like a safe bet. Thanks to their flexibility, adaptability, and scalability, combined with their expertise, quality, and innovation, agencies can fulfil all requirements. Plus, agencies provide an organisational over a personal commitment, and that promises one major thing - security.  


However, there are many different types of agencies, and they differ a great deal from each other, so it's important not to put them all in the same box and evaluate carefully based on your needs.


So, how can you find the right agency? Use this checklist!


  • Define your needs: Clearly outline your content requirements, objectives, and budget before selecting an agency to outsource to, trying to anticipate as much as possible.

  • Evaluate expertise and seek referrals: Assess the agency's track record and expertise in your industry or niche.

  • Consider agency size: Decide whether you prefer a larger agency with extensive resources and reputation or a smaller boutique agency with specialised expertise and a more devoted and adaptable approach.

  • Communication and collaboration: Prioritize agencies that value clear communication and collaboration. Ask about their ways of working and feedback processes to ensure smooth workflows between both teams.

  • Assess scalability: Ensure the agency can handle your project demands and scale resources as needed.

  • Budget and pricing: Understand the agency's pricing structure and clarify payment terms to align with your budget constraints.

  • Contract and legal considerations: Review the agency's contract terms and clauses, especially regarding intellectual property rights and confidentiality. Opt for an agency that offers flexibility to your needs and is willing to go the extra mile.

  • Cultural fit: Assess the agency's culture and values for compatibility with your company's working style.


The best of all worlds = Bob's agency!



As a boutique agency, we offer the best of both worlds by providing an established, ready-made team with a solid success track record. Unlike larger agencies, we prioritize adaptability and total flexibility, seamlessly integrating with your team. This approach ensures know-how and quality from the start, along with reliability and security. With us, your project is always active and in good hands, and we offer the complete dedication of an employee without agency fees or limiting clauses. We become a real part of your team, guaranteeing seamless collaboration and exceptional results.


Interested in working with us? Reach out, and let’s talk all about your business. Or leave a comment below, and let's keep the debate rolling 👇

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