While the first blog was launched in 1994, the term ‘weblog’ wasn’t coined until 1997. For the 20 odd years, the practice has grown from an eyebrow pinching conundrum to a marketing best practice. Content creation launched an entirely new form of marketing and a new type of customer who wasn’t just interested in being informed, but now expects information.

In today’s world, content marketing (aka blogging with purpose), isn’t just a cool trend. It’s an essential part of any online marketing campaign. But should you try and handle your content marketing in-house or should you hire a content marketing team?

Let’s explore the pros and cons.

PRO: Content Marketing Expertise

Effective content marketing is no small task. It requires expertise to not only research a topic, but craft pieces that are reader-friendly and attract organic traffic. If your business chooses to handle this work in-house, it means finding a staffer who not only has the necessary content marketing skills, but has the bandwidth to take on the task.

At a minimum, you can expect your content marketing efforts to take 5 – 6 hours per week to manage your content marketing calendar; research topics; draft and edit pieces; format, publish, and share content; monitor performance; and make improvements as necessary.

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CON: Lack of ‘Control’

Lack of control can be a serious hurdle for business owners. The idea of turning over your content development to an outside team can seem like giving up the reins to your business’ voice.

However, delegating is essential for a business to grow. Trying to ‘do it all’ leaves little time to focus on what you do best – which is why your business is growing! When you consider assigning the task to someone else, you want to focus on finding people who ask questions and do research to get to know what makes your business unique. This allows your content marketing agency to embrace your brand as their own.

PRO: SEO Know How

A team well-versed in SEO optimization knows that good SEO not only requires you to research keywords, but to creatively use them so that they are an organic part of the content.

Search Engine Optimization (SEO) requires the tools to research key terms and the understanding of how to use those terms organically. Practices, such as keyword stuffing, are heavily frowned upon by search engines. And, can actually hurt your Google rank.

(Rank refers to your placement within Google’s organic search results.)

Keyword stuffing can also hurt your reader’s experience. When a piece is properly optimized, a reader should find the piece valuable and engaging. They should be unaware of the keywords you’re using, as they should be seamlessly woven into the copy.

CON: Lack of ‘Industry Expertise’

There’s a substantial fear that hiring an outside team means that team won’t have the necessary expertise within your industry. This fear isn’t without its merits. However, a good content marketing firm uses this potential hiccup to their advantage.

By recognizing what they don’t know, but would like to, they can deliver the kind of content your audience wants. Sometimes being too close to a subject – like when you’re an expert in your field – can make you blind to the things your readers don’t inherently know. It can also make you overlook potentially interesting subjects that you take for granted.

PRO: Harnessing the Power of a Creative Team

Team Explores Ideas
As the saying goes, two heads are better than one. This couldn't be truer when it comes to developing creative ideas. By utilizing an outside firm, your business gets the benefit of an entire creative team.

As passionate as you may be about your business, it can be difficult to come up with new and creative ways to showcase your product or service. Hiring a creative content marketing team means bringing multiple lenses to the playing field.

This gives your business the distinct advantage of thinking outside the shopping cart and capitalizing on marketing opportunities that have yet to be tapped.

CON: Removed from Customer Contact

How does a content marketing team that doesn’t have direct contact with your customers speak to your customers? The struggle can be real.

This is especially true if your content marketing team isn’t aware of this hurdle. However, a savvy content marketing team reads customer reviews and competitor reviews to understand the language your target audience is using. And, when possible, a good content marketing team will perform customer interviews to get first-hand accounts.

PRO: No Healthcare of Retirement Benefits Required

Happy Businesswoman Typing
Full-time employees can be an expensive investment. By partnering with an outside firm that gets to know your business intimately, you can get the same level of care, without the headache of healthcare and retirement benefits.

It’s no new news. Healthcare and retirement benefits add up. While providing them is an amazing way to support your employees, they can also put a financial strain on your business or organization.

When you work with an external team, your business doesn’t have to worry about absorbing these expenses. This means your marketing budget can remain focused on what it’s meant to do – market your business.

CON: Predefined ‘Scope’

woman typing
Changes to best practices and timely events could mean a need to shift your content marketing plan. Look for a creative team that can help you dynamically make these changes to best utilize your available budget.

One of the advantages of an in-house employee is their ability to be re-assigned tasks as needed. When you work with a professional content marketing team, you’ll agree to a predefined set of terms. This is known as the project’s ‘scope.’ Some content marketing teams make it extremely difficult to shift their focus from the pre-agreed tasks.

When you’re evaluating a content marketing team, you’ll want to look at their process. Do they regularly evaluate what’s working and make recommendations for improvement? While there will always be a limit to how much your marketing team (or an employee) can take on, a good team should be dynamic enough to adjust the services they are providing to maximize your budget.

PRO: Trends and Best Practices Aware

The internet is constantly changing. Digital powerhouses like Google and Facebook update their algorithms, sometimes without even telling users. It’s not uncommon for things that were best practice two days ago to be out of practice today.

‘Keeping up with the algorithms’ requires a commitment to constantly learning and a team that’s savvy enough to monitor the latest trends.

CON: Disconnection Between Marketing Efforts

As a savvy business pro, you know you don’t want to waste money working against yourself, which is exactly what can happen if your entire marketing team isn’t focused on the same goal. You don’t want your print ads, content marketing campaign, email marketing efforts, and social media campaigns to be working against one another.

They should be supporting each other. This is why it is key to work with a content marketing team who is capable of managing each asset of your marketing efforts. This gives them the ability to take it all on, or if needed, collaborate with your other marketing teams to ensure a cohesive plan.

PRO: Proven Track Record of Success

Team Celebrating Success
With more than 50 years of combined industry experience, the RWL Design creative team has a proven track record of success.

Anyone can put ‘Content Marketer’ on their business card and hawk their services. But when you’re making a strategic business decision, you want to work with a team that’s shown they can be successful.

This means finding a team that’s used SEO rich content marketing campaigns to substantially increase leads – like the RWL Design creative team who helped Eren Design increase new customer acquisitions by 280%!

It means finding a team who can help you capitalize on creative ways to maximize your adspend – just as RWL Design did for the Redlands Symphony, when we leveraged Google Grants to increase the Symphony’s new subscriptions by 16%.

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