“What’s the benefit to taking an agency? Why not take this in-house?”
At some point during nearly every single new client meeting, we get asked this question. Since it is such a popular question, we figured it would make sense to help more companies answer that question by writing this blog post.
Before I started Hunter & Bard I thought that working with an agency was more expensive, and when I founded Hunter & Bard I would tell people that what they get with us would be our expertise, no employee issues, and high quality writing. While I was right on the last three points – it turns out that taking an agency for inbound marketing is less expensive as well.
Here are the pros and cons of choosing to work with marketing agency:
CONS TO WORKING WITH A MARKETING AGENCY
- Cost – Agencies seem more expensive than an in-house person. For the price of an agency you might be able to get a junior writer to handle your work inhouse. Recent college graduates are cheap and hungry to get in at the bottom floor of a tech brand, in any capacity.
- Location – Agencies don’t have a desk in your office. Which may or may not matter to you. The in-house content writer may be an excellent ping-pong player, which could be an added value to you, especially if you are looking for a lunchtime game.
- Ramp-Up Period: Most agencies are not entrenched in your industry, so they may need 4-6 weeks to conduct proper research and planning.
- Flexibility – An agency can be flexible, to a point. Your in-house content writer, like every member of your team, tends to wear multiple hats. Pick up Chinese food for a late night at the office? Writers are known to be really proficient at doing food runs.
PROS TO WORKING WITH A MARKETING AGENCY
- Cost – We know that we already mentioned this under “cons”. But we were talking about the cost of single content writer. The truth is, you can’t just hire one content writer. You need someone to strategize the direction of the content and manage the content calendar. Quite often, this is also the person who approves the content for publication. You’ll also need an editor, as you’ll see below in section called “Quality”. These days, inbound marketing is more than just about words in a blog post. The content writer has to moonlight as a data scientist, in order to not only quantify the reach of his or her audience and measure the effectiveness of the content, but also to perform A/B testing to validate the optimal content and messaging.The cost of hiring a content writer also doesn’t take into account training, for example. HubSpot and other inbound marketing tools take time to learn, as do the tactics of inbound marketing and distribution. It takes between 6 months to a year to learn HubSpot well and start seeing results – and the team in Hunter & Bard is already certified and ready to go. We hit the ground running, while your new hire is still learning the ropes. With us, your time to value is faster. In this case, inexpensive in-house talent can be pricey.
- Time – When things get hectic at work all hands get pulled on deck in an office, which means there will be times when your content writer should be concentrating on making the most awesome content for you, and instead is working on other things in your office. Then your content starts to slip. And your brand starts to slip. Our only priority is your content and building your brand. That’s it. We won’t get pulled onto anything else and there are no distractions. For that reason, we refuse to purchase a ping pong table.
- Turnover – Turnover is expensive. Very expensive. The average content writer stays at his or her job for 1.5 years. That means all of that HubSpot learning goes out the window 6 months to a year after it was learned and you have the expense of hiring and training all over again. Our team is trained. All of our new hires are trained. And if one of our people leaves, we handle it – you won’t feel a difference in your account. There will be no break in content or coverage. In addition, “49% of new hires will fail within their first 18 months of employment, while only 19% will achieve indisputable success.”
- Expertise – Our team has written, collectively, millions of words of content on behalf of clients. We have worked with brands of all sizes, in a wide variety of mediums. We have branding and messaging strategists working alongside our content writers to ensure we produce the the most highly compelling content for your customers.
- Quality – Our team checks and edits each other’s work. That makes for better writing and fewer mistakes. Did you know that grammar and spelling errors can lower trust by up to 30% in the United States? Everyone makes typos, it’s actually considered a sign of intelligence – having someone else check the work means most of our errors get caught before being published. But good editors do more than just check grammar and spelling errors. They have a gift of rewriting things to make the writer sound even more brilliant than they already are.
In conclusion, if you are absolutely certain that your writer will want to stay a writer forever, and that they will never leave your company – you should make the investment and hire in-house.
If you need to hire a team of writers, bring them in-house too.