In-House Content Creation: Is It Worth It?
By Genna Lepore
Whether you have been trying to produce content in-house or have been outsourcing for years, chances are, you may feel like your content isn’t really getting you anywhere.
As a client success manager on IMPACT’s new business team, I hear from prospects struggling with content production on a daily basis.
Most commonly, if a prospect is producing content in-house, I often hear, there’s never enough time to dedicate to producing quality content -- or they don’t know how to convert blog posts into revenue.
If a prospect has been outsourcing their content, I often hear complaints of timeline delays or outsourced writers simply not understanding the intricacies of their business or worse, their customers.
As a former HubSpot employee who worked exclusively with Agency Partners, I can tell you from experience, that outsourcing content isn’t a great long-term strategy.
Why Outsourcing Content Is Bad Long Term
Back at HubSpot, when I consulted agencies on how to develop their services, I’d advise that writing on behalf of a client was advantageous.
At the time, when an agency wrote content for a client, it seemed that they had more control.
That control would ideally allow an agency to meet timelines and, in turn, their client’s ROI would increase.
But that model didn’t work.
Hiccups in client’s delivering content almost always happened. Agencies would set deadlines and clients wouldn’t meet them. Then, engagements would end because clients didn’t see a return on their content investment.
Now that I am at an agency that historically implemented content writing services and acted as an outsourced writer for hundreds of clients, I can tell you that this is the least effective way to produce impactful content.
Why, you ask?
You and only you know your industry, product, and services best. You are experts at what you do.
The topics you should be writing about come from your organization’s daily conversations with prospects and customers; these are not things an outsider could truly know or understand.
By outsourcing content, you are sacrificing the validity and quality of your work.
Think about it.
If you insource content, you can ensure that your content is a true reflection of your expertise and quality. The content owner would live in your industry/business and learn it. They would have built rapport with subject matter experts in house, so that they can interview those employees and produce meaningful content.
If you’re outsourcing, chances are, that writer doesn’t live in your industry day-to-day, leaving a major knowledge gap. While they can still produce quality content, it will never be as good as it can be from a value perspective. Nothing tops a first-hand or inside account.
Another challenge with outsourcing is brand consistency.
Unless you have a writer that knows the intricacies of your brand or a template that clearly defines your organization’s tone and voice, your brand identity is at risk.
Keeping content in house will help ensure that all content is spoken in the same language.
Let’s say you want to write about an edgy topic. Something that could generate a lot of buzz around a controversial question in the sales process.
As a thought leader, why would you leave provocative insights to the interpretation of an outsider?
You’re opening the door to possible misinterpretation by allowing someone external to speak on your behalf.
Cost: Time & Resources
The last piece of the puzzle is cost. It is inevitably more expensive to outsource content than it is to insource.
While we will get into the meat of a cost analysis in an upcoming article, let’s do some quick math for comparison sake.
The average cost of one blog post to an outsourced writer is about $300 per article.
This assumes you are leveraging a solid writer, but also assumes you have to provide everything to that writer to make the article work including an outline, research, sometimes an interview or blurbs.
For that cost, you’re also editing and publishing the article. Not to mention the time cost associated with finding a good writer.
On the opposite spectrum, if you would like an agency to aid in all of the aforementioned services plus copywriting, you’re looking at anywhere between $1000-$1500 per article.
This may not include keyword research or an editorial calendar as that is traditionally handled at the onset of an agency engagement.
If we assume that three blog articles per week is a necessary cadence to see results, the approximate cost of outsourcing for one year could range anywhere from ~$46,000 for just copywriting to well over $200,000 for full copywriting, editing, publishing, interviewing, etc.
If we live in the median of that range, you can surely find a content manager for much less than $100,000 annually including benefits.
This content manager will not only write content, but own and manage all content, subject matter expert interviews, ensure tone and branding guidelines are met and most importantly, produce better quality content!
No One Knows Your Business Better Than You
Rachel Palmeeter, a colleague and Account Executive at IMPACT, speaks to the value of insourcing content as: “It's the difference between someone talking about a brand, and a brand talking about itself."
While we recognize that insourcing content is a major time investment, the biggest advantage to writing your own content is building trust with prospective clients.
Sharing your personal knowledge and expertise with your industry builds major credibility.
Increasing trust with your prospects and customers by clearly answering common questions is the key to content that converts. If you obsess over your customers’ questions and answer them online, you’ll be seen as not only a business, but a helpful educator.
If you’re reading this and you’re still on the fence of who should own content creation, please read this fun and informative article from my colleague, Liz Murphy.
Liz discusses not only the value of keeping content creation in-house, but also the critical nature behind having one person dedicated to managing content.
In upcoming articles we will not only be discussing a cost analysis of in-sourcing versus outsourcing, but we will also address how we at IMPACT consult our clients on how to effectively produce content in house.
Because as you’ve probably guessed, we no longer produce content for our clients.
In the interim, take a peek at clients such as Mazzella and Yale Appliance who have grown their revenue substantially by taking control and insourcing their content creation and placing one person in charge of content management.
If you take anything away from this article, remember this: Prospects are smart.
They want to hear from you.
They can tell when something is ghost-written by a blog writing service versus written by someone who works day-in, day-out in your business … can’t you?
Wondering where to begin?