One of my favorite things, besides design and food is nerve-wracking my fellow coworkers with bizarre questions; its fun watching them squirm. Anyways, I was thinking about the debate regarding in-house vs. freelance writers: which is best for creating content?

Well, in regards to inbound marketing, marketers rely heavily on quality content to attract traffic, engage their readers and convert them into leads. But where are they getting all their content? If you ask, you will get an assortment of answers.

So do you hire an in-house writer or outsource and pay for a freelance writer? Or you may not have thought of it, but have you considered the benefits of hiring a marketing agency? (We’ll touch on that further on). I have freelanced and now I am currently working for an agency, so here are a few thoughts on the matter.

think about it

In-House Writers

In-house writers are great for companies who have the deep pockets, sufficient time and can afford the costs of hiring a full time writer.

In-house writers are salaried employees, not including the added costs of training, healthcare and insurances.

One of the benefits of hiring an in-house writer is the consistency of your overall produced content. Once trained, they will know how to target your company’s message and tailor it to the right customer. In-house writers are also always available, ready to discuss changes, edits and strategize the content message. But realistically do you have adequate time to train and manage this employee(s)?

A downside that many owners fail to take into consideration are the added expenses associated with hiring and retaining an employee. The chart below shows, not only base salary, but additional fixed expenses such federal, state and/or local taxes as well as health insurance contributions, retirement plan matches, vacation, sick days, etc., resulting in costing as much as 1.25 to 1.4 times the base salary. Add in additional expenses such the cost of recruiting and training and the total starts to escalate quickly.

content specialist graph
*Based on estimates, may vary on job title and industry

Freelance estimates are not shown due to the fact that there are too many variables to consider, experience of writer, type of writing needed, number of articles per month, length of articles, etc. It’s a fairly safe bet, based on our experience, that hiring freelance writers have a comparable cost comparison in hiring a marketing agency. However, you are only hiring a writer. With a marketing agency you are also getting expert services that include graphic design, web development, social media management and marketing strategists that all work together to help you reach your business goals.

Content marketing is young, moves quickly and needs to be targeted, so consult with someone who stays up-to-date with the latest developments in digital and inbound marketing before you start.

Freelance Writers

Are you up to your ears in responsibilities and the last thing you want to do is hire and train another employee. Well, here’s another option, a freelance writer. They are hired on an as needed basis, making them independent contractors – no need for training, healthcare or unemployment insurance.

Freelancers don’t need to work on-site to do the job. A good freelancer will possess all the necessary skills to turn your instructions into a compelling narrative. Make it even more of a success by giving your freelancer access to you and your employees.

On the flip side, you’ve never met this person, they work remotely and potentially can disappear at any moment. So, you ask yourself, are they reliable? Can I trust them?

Most are seasoned writers, doing what they love in order to make a living; they want your recurring business. Others that you may stumble across, may not have the experience in your industry, or talk a good game but fail to deliver the final product. Finding the right freelance writer can take time and energy. How many times did you have to hire someone to find the right fit? Now try doing it with someone you won’t even meet!

Hiring a freelance writer may seem like a more cost effective way to approach the problem. However, when you calculate the time it will take for someone on your end to:

  • Research titles for articles
  • Provide an outline for the writer to follow
  • Edit the article once the writer has sent you the finished product
  • Format the final article for publication including internal and external links, images and CTA’s
  • Publish the article on your website
  • Start the entire process over again 3-5 times a week

the labor costs add up very quickly and remove this person from their normal job duties to handle the extra burden.


Have you thought about hiring an inbound marketing agency?

Marketing agencies are the whole kit and caboodle. And most business haven’t even considered this avenue! You get your content writer, graphic/web designer and someone to handle all your strategic marketing needs. What could be better then that?

Marketing agencies have the resources that you probably don’t have to implement and manage your marketing plan.

But I can’t afford a full-time marketing agency!

The table you just reviewed indicates that hiring a marketing agency is not only more beneficial but a lot more cost effective.

By working with an inbound marketing agency, all your content will be created, distributed, analyzed, and managed; that is one huge responsibility you won’t have to worry about. They will get to know your business in-depth and work with you through the implementation of a strategic marketing plan, to meet your business goals.

What’s your verdict?

What are your goals as a business? Who do you choose an in-house, freelance or marketing agency to do your content writing? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comment section!