Content is the basis for the outward appearance of your company and thus forms the center of your communication strategy. Successful content is the main generator of more organic traffic, leads, and consequently more sales. But who creates your content? Is it better to outsource content production and hire an agency, or should it be produced in-house after all? There is no easy answer to this question. In the following article, we have listed all the advantages and disadvantages of insourcing and outsourcing content production. Stay tuned!
The agency model is broken: A snapshot
Collaborations between companies and marketing agencies have been well established on the market for many years and are therefore the first logical choice for many when it comes to the topic of content creation. We are not trying to convince you that it is not a successful concept. However, in the long run, issues will arise which challenge this mode of operation.
There are certain aspects that have become deeply ingrained over the years and are detrimental to the efforts of both parties. Misunderstandings concerning the content are not uncommon, as external employees are never as close to the company's inner workings and thus interpret things differently. This also entails a certain dependency on the agency, especially in the case of unexpected or spontaneous events. These are just two issues that, among others, reinforce the saying "The agency model is broken."
Before making a decision on how your company should create, build or modify content in the future, it's important to weigh the pros and cons of outsourcing versus insourcing.
Ready? Then let's get started.
Outsourcing – When content comes from external sources
Outsourcing means that content is produced and delivered by an external agency. This has a number of advantages – it is not for nothing that this system has been successful for years.
Advantages of working with an agency:
A quick and easy start: A collaboration with an agency means that the initial setup time is comparatively short. In addition, a degree of content consistency can be achieved, as the contingent is determined in advance.
Outside perspective ensures objectivity & creativity: It is a fact that bringing in external content managers ensures more objectivity and therefore opens up the content for further creative potential.
Broad selection: There is a wide range of agencies and freelancers with different specializations. Depending on the task at hand, you can always find the right partner to work with.
Creative team: There are experts for every area in an agency, be it graphics, video or copywriting, as well as additional support beyond content creation.
Disadvantages of working with an agency:
Content misunderstanding: Certain aspects may be perceived differently and, as a result, the content may be treated differently. There is often also a lack of sufficient in-house knowledge of the product and its uniqueness. A content piece that lacks technical know-how leaves questions unanswered for prospective customers and buyers, which is precisely what should be avoided.
Fluctuation on part of the agency: Employees within an agency develop further, move up to higher positions or leave the company. As a customer, you cannot influence any of this. Ultimately, you are buying a service and not an individual.
Higher costs: The costs (taking into account overhead costs as well as price fluctuations) are higher in the long run. If the demand for content increases in the future, the outsourced expenses will consequently increase as well.
Third-party dependency: You depend on the agency for any issues or requests you may have. This can prove to be a hurdle, especially when it comes to publishing content in a timely manner.
Insourcing – when content comes from the heart (of the company)
Now that we've looked at outsourcing, let's take a look at the second option: insourcing.
Advantages of in-house-production:
Content ownership: The job of a content manager is much more than "just" managing the content. He or she has access to your team's expertise at all times and is responsible for working in close conjunction with all departments and subject matter experts. Content ownership also means that you are in control of which content is published.
Speed & Frequency: You decide when and how frequently content is published.
No one knows your business better than the experts themselves: In-house content comes from your employees and experts who are involved in your organization on a day-to-day basis. As a nice by-product, you invest in your own team and create an internal content culture that is the basis for authentic content.
Lower long-term costs: The initial investment is greater with insourcing, but in the long run (6-12 months) you will save money and achieve measurably better results.
Disadvantages of in-house-production:
- Recruiting a qualified content manager: The first major challenge is to find someone qualified who loves content and whose passion also lies in the production of this content (be it photo, video or text). This, of course, requires a certain amount of time.
- Leadership and management skills are required: Once the content manager is in your company, it is essential to support and keep them.
- Internal development requires time: In order to develop the production of in-house content, time is required. The fundamental prerequisite for this is an understanding from the management level all the way to marketing & sales. This doesn't happen overnight but requires an extensive buy-in in the form of workshops, training and coaching events.
- High initial investment: The advantages of outsourcing in terms of speed and relatively low initial costs are the disadvantages when it comes to insourcing. The initial costs are comparatively higher, as insourcing is more all-encompassing and long-term. The main cost drivers are buy-in workshops and the recruitment of content managers.
Conclusion: So, what now? Insourcing or outsourcing?
Interesting and relevant content that is targeting your customers is the heart of your business and the foundation for attracting potential customers. Therefore, it is important to place a high value on your content, which can be produced in-house or by an external agency. Taking into account time, money and resources, the two models differ from each other and bring different advantages and disadvantages.
At the beginning of this article, we explained the issues with the agency model and the problems that can possibly arise when working together. Have you found yourself in any of these situations or has it given you some food for thought?
Now, we are fully aware that this is a lot to take in. So, in closing, we'd like to leave you with a few questions to help you make a decision:
- Which system is currently in place at your company and is it working as intended?
- What is the biggest challenge for you right now?
- Have you failed with Content Marketing in the past?
- Do you see content production and management as a short-term or long-term game?
- Is it worth aligning your entire organization around Content Creation? How can you take your organization to collaborative content production?
- Do you know your organization's long-term goals?
- How important, do you think, is content for the growth of your lead generation and sales activities and the subsequent increase in revenue? Does your leadership team feel the same way?
If you have any further questions, we're always here to help, and we'd be happy to set up a free consultation.